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Seminar 4/1/2015 - Martin Bazant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Some New Concepts in Batteries

Apr 1, 2015  ·  12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.  ·  Bowen Hall Auditorium

Abstract: This talk will introduce some mathematical models and battery designs that push the boundaries of electrochemical engineering:(1) For Li-ion batteries, the empirical Butler-Volmer equation is replaced by the predictive Marcus theory of charge transfer, and a new theory is proposed for driven phase transformations in nanoparticles and porous electrodes.(2) For flow batteries, new membraneless designs with bromine chemistries are developed that drastically lower large-scale energy storage costs (H2-Br2) or provide flexible vehicular or naval power (Li-Br2-O2).(3) For metal batteries, new charged separators can suppress dendrites by forming stable deionization shock waves -- a concept that can also be exploited for water purification by “shock electrodialysis”.

Bio: Martin Z. Bazant is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   He holds PhD in condensed matter physics from Harvard University and joined the MIT faculty in Mathematics in 1998.  As an applied mathematician, he has made fundamental contributions to theoretical electrochemisty, electrokinetics, and fluid mechanics.  In 2009, he joined Chemical Engineering at MIT and started an experimental laboratory, focused on electrochemical systems for energy storage and water purification.  His honors include the Paris Sciences Chair, the Lighthill Lecture, and Brilliant Ten from Popular Science Magazine.  He also serves as the Chief Scientific Advisor for the Northboro R&D Center of Saint Gobain Ceramics and Plastics.

All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.

MSE Open House 4/6/2015: Please join us to learn more about the Materials Science & Engineering Certificate Program

Apr 6, 2015  ·  12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.  ·  Bowen Hall Atrium

Please join us for the MSE Open House to learn about the MSE Certificate Program. Speak with current students about classes, their experiences and joining the program. Meet with PRISM faculty to discuss your research interest. Pizza lunch will be served.

Seminar 4/15/2015 - Shanhui Fan, Stanford Univ.: Control Light for Information and Energy Applications: One-way Road for Light and Radiative Cooling

Apr 15, 2015  ·  12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.  ·  Bowen Hall Auditorium

Abstract: Electromagnetic waves, or light, represent a fundamental aspect of nature. New capabilities to control light therefore can have important implications for a wide range of applications including information and energy technologies. In this talk, we will discuss our recent works in seeking to develop a gauge field for photons that breaks time-reversal symmetry of light, which is important for creating non-magnetic one-way non-reciprocal devices on chip that is topologically robust. We will also present recent results in seeking to control thermal radiation with photonic structures, which has led to the experimental demonstration of daytime radiative cooling.

Bio: Shanhui Fan is a Professor of Electrical Engineering, and the Director of the Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory, at the Stanford University. He received his Ph.D in 1997 in theoretical condensed matter physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research interests are in fundamental studies of solid state and photonic structures and devices, especially photonic crystals, plasmonics, and meta-materials, and applications of these structures in energy and information technology. He has published over 330 refereed journal articles, has given over 250 invited talks, and was granted 48 US patents. Prof. Fan received a National Science Foundation Career Award (2002), a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (2003), the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiative in Research (2007), and the Adolph Lomb Medal from the Optical Society of America (2007). He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America,  and the SPIE.

All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.

Seminar 4/22/2015 - Stephen Fonash, Penn State University: Light Trapping in nc-Si Solar Cell Structures

Apr 22, 2015  ·  12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.  ·  Bowen Hall Auditorium

Abstract: Nano-scale light trapping structures offer a path to attaining maximum use of the photons impinging on a solar cell surface while minimizing the use of absorber material. The topography and morphology of  these devices plays a critical role in affecting light trapping and in determining the roles of the various light trapping mechanisms and their wavelength range of importance. In this discussion, these guiding ideas will be addressed in the context of nc-Si, an attractive absorber material with environmental, supply, absorption strength, and cost attributes.  Devices using nc-Si materials are shown to be used successfully in light trapping designs, and without significant absorber defects, in a process flow that yields nc-Si solar cells that make effective use of the photocurrents potentially available per area in ultrathin nc-Si cells.

Bio: Stephen J. Fonash holds the Bayard D. Kunkle Chair Emeritus in Engineering Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University and is Director Emeritus of the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU). Dr. Fonash’s research focuses on utilizing nanotechnology in energy conversion, biomedical processes, detectors, sensors, and thin film transistors. He has published over 300 papers in these areas along with three books. His book contributions have been in the area of photovoltaics with the last two being “Solar Cell Device Physics” (Elsevier, 2010) and “Introduction to Light Trapping in Solar Cell and Photo-detector Devices” (Elsevier, 2014). Prof. Fonash’s device transport computer modeling code AMPS (, developed with a number of his graduate students and post-docs, has been downloaded by over 3000 groups around the world for diode, solar cell and photo-detector device design and physical understanding as well as for graduate-level teaching purposes.

Prof. Fonash holds 32 patents, a number of which have been licensed by industry. He has consulted for a variety of firms and has co-founded two companies. Prof. Fonash is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.

Seminar 4/29/2015 - Maria Juenger, Univ. of Texas-Austin: The Future of Concrete May Be in its Past

Apr 29, 2015  ·  12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.  ·  Bowen Hall Auditorium

Abstract: The concrete industry is under increasing pressure to reduce the energy used in production of portland cement and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. There are several possible ways to address this challenge, but the most straightforward is to minimize the amount of portland cement used by substituting other materials to make concrete binders.  We can learn a lot from the Romans, who made strong, durable concrete without any portland cement at all (though not without greenhouse gas emissions!).  We are entering a natural pozzolan renaissance, where the industry is searching far and wide for alternative cementitious materials, including those that mimic the Roman pozzolana.  This presentation will address current research on alternative concrete binders, including the characteristics and performance of North American natural pozzolans.

Bio: Dr. Maria Juenger is Professor and John A. Focht Centennial Teaching Fellow in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where she has been since 2002.  Dr. Juenger received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Duke University and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University.   After completing her Ph.D., she was a postdoctoral researcher in Civil Engineering at the University at California, Berkeley. Dr. Juenger’s teaching and research focus on materials used in civil engineering applications.  She primarily examines chemical issues in cement-based materials; these include phase formation in cement clinkering, hydration chemistry of portland cement, calcium sulfoaluminate cement, and supplementary cementitious materials, and chemical deterioration processes in concrete.  In 2005 she received a Faculty Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.  She has received several awards from the American Concrete Institute for her research, teaching, and service, including the Walter P. Moore, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award in 2009, the Young Member Award for Professional Achievement in 2010, the Wason Medal for Materials Research in 2011, and was named a fellow of the society in 2014.  She is currently chair of American Concrete Institute committee 236 - Material Science of Concrete and is a member of the RILEM technical committee on supplementary cementitious materials.

All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.