Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below an to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities in AMO Physics at Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. APPLY NOW!


Both the Kansas NSF EPSCoR and the Nebraska NSF EPSCoR programs are sponsoring at least six Kansas or Nebraska undergraduate students to participate in their 2017 Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics Summer Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) students (at least three students will be accepted at each campus). 

The Kansas AMO Physics REU will be held at Kansas State University (KSU) and is titled, Interactions of Matter, Light & Learning. 

Students will earn a $5200 stipend, have a $500 travel allowance and on-campus room and board will be covered.

This year's research topics include:

  • Ultrafast lasers & attosecond physics
  • Nanoparticle formation & light scattering
  • Nonlinear fiber optics
  • High energy and neutrino physics
  • Atomic and condensed matter theory
  • Physics education 
Rolling Admission for the KSU REU begins 2/1/2017


For more information on the Kansas State University REU go to: KSU AMO REU or call 785-532-1612

For more information on the 2017 AMO Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) or to apply go to: http://www.unl.edu/summerprogram/physics

Priority deadline for the UNL Summer Physics REUs is 2/1/2017

Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for NSF funding.

Funding for these research opportunities are provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures." 

Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Kansas EPSCoR Physics Teacher Workshop Participants' Collaboration results in Kansas High School Acquiring Access to Cosmic Ray Detector

   Molly Bovos,  Basehor-Linwood High School Physics Teacher met James Deane, Ottawa High School Physics Teacher at the 2016 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Physics Teacher Workshop, "Modeling the Unseen in the Physical Sciences," held at Kansas State University this past summer.  At the workshop, teachers toured the James R. Macdonald Laboratory, discussed cutting edge Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) research with Kansas EPSCoR Physicists and brainstormed how to connect the laser research to their high school physics classroom.  
   At the end of the workshop, Deane invited Bovos to join QuarkNet, a project supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the Office of High Energy Physics, the Office of Science and the U. S. Department of Energy. QuarkNet is a website dedicated to high school students, teachers and physicists working together on physics research that involves the exploration of the nature of matter, energy, space and time. 
   Through the QuarkNet program, Bovos attended a workshop on the study of cosmic rays and cosmic ray muons.  She became very interested in QuarkNet's initiative to make Cosmic Ray Detectors available to high schools students, so she applied and was granted a detector, on loan, from Chicago's Fermilab.  There are nine such Comic Ray Detectors that are registered to Kansas teachers at this time. As an added bonus, QuarkNet provides information collected from around the world allowing other schools with the same equipment to compare data collected. 
HS Senior Alex Teeter
   Already she has students engaged in studying the process that creates cosmic rays, which is a nuclear reaction. One student, Alex Teeters, a Basehor-Linwood High School senior is interested in nuclear physics and is taking an independent study course in Modern Physics with Bovos.  Together they are working on a project involving a time-of-flight study. The study involves measuring how fast a comic ray muon is traveling by spacing several detectors at different heights, then calculating their time of flight from the atmosphere to Earth.  Muons are very unstable particles and they decay in 2.2 micro seconds, so theoretically they should not be able to travel from the atmosphere to the Earth, but they do. According to Bovos, “This is one piece of evidence we have for Einstein’s theory that time slows down for objects moving at speeds close to the speed of light.” 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Kansas EPSCoR AMO Physics Researcher Delivers Words of Encouragement to Hispanic STEM Students

Dr. Carlos Trallero
   Si  Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matematicas is an outreach program that invites 6th-8th grade Hispanic students to the Emporia State University (ESU) campus to participate in four hands-on workshops taught by Hispanic professionals from all over the state of Kansas. This year, Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matematicas was held on October 29, 2016, and Dr. Carlos Trallero, Associate Professor of Physics at Kansas State University and Kansas NSF EPSCoR researcher, delivered the keynote address to 70 Hispanic middle school students as well as a number of parents and teachers in attendance.  Dr. Trallero discussed the many hardships he faced as a student, how he over came them to reach his goals, and how it is so important to never stop trying no matter what obstacles students might face.  Last year Dr. Trallero led a workshop on "How the Internet Works." 
   The Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matematicas Saturday experience is an outreach program at Emporia State University (ESU) designed to increase Hispanic youth’s interest in science and mathematics, foster awareness of career opportunities in mathematics and science related fields, and provide an opportunity for students to interact with professionals working in STEM fields. Hispanic students in 6th-8th grade are invited to the ESU campus to participate in four hands-on workshops taught by Hispanic professionals from all over the state of Kansas. These workshops are designed to allow students to explore STEM topics such as: engineering, physics, medicine, chemistry, and veterinary medicine. This year, "students attended workshops where they built moon landers, excavated dinosaur bones, made ice cream, watched and participated in Chemistry and Physics experiments, and viewed X-rays of animals."
Students conduct a chemistry experiment using charcoal filters (right) and
students put the finishing touches on their moon lander (left). 
   Parents and teachers are also encouraged to attend adult sessions that focus on how to encourage Hispanic students to study STEM subjects and advice on how to support their students as they pursue and succeed in attaining a college degree.
  “We were very pleased with this year’s record attendance,” said Dr. Betsy Yanik, the program’s director. “The teachers, students and parents were highly complimentary of this year’s activities.”

Associate Professor Carlos A. Trallero participation in the Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matematicas as part of the outreach initiatives included in the Kansas-Nebraska EPSCoR Track 2 grant:  Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures.

Monday, November 7, 2016

University of Kansas EPSCoR Track-2 Student Investigates Behaviors of Heterogeneous Catalytic Materials

Amy Jystad
   Amy Jystad, a graduate student in the department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas, is conducting simulations to study behaviors of heterogeneous catalytic material. Her research is part of the collaborative EPSCoR RII Track-2 FEC between the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC) at the University of Kansas and the University of South Carolina. The project is titled Catalysis for Renewables: Applications, Fundamentals and Technologies (CRAFT). The overall goal of this EPSCoR project is to improve catalysts that convert the biomass, lignin, into commodity chemicals.
Amy's model
    Specifically, Amy's research focuses on "simulating the acidity behavior of the metal centers in metal-doped KIT-6 mesoporous silicates." There is a strong correlation between this acidity behavior and the catalytic activity of metals, such as zirconium, tungsten and niobium. Therefore, by using density functional theory simulations, Amy wants to better understand what determines this behavior. The long term goal of her research is to simulate the reaction mechanisms for the catalytic conversion of lignin into commodity chemicals that "may provide insights and guidelines for developing a renewable source of feedstock that can be used to manufacture plastics and other products currently made from petroleum crude." Her research could also provide beneficial insights for the other EPSCoR RII Track-2 FEC researchers.  Marco Caricato, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Kansas, is Amy's faculty mentor and is part of a core group at the CEBC using computer modeling methods to understand and optimize chemical processes.

The CEBC is a unique multi-scale, multidisciplinary research and education enterprise recognized as 
an international leader in the field of catalysis. Major companies—like Archer Daniels Midland, 
Chevron Phillips, DuPont, INVISTA, Reliance, Solvay, and UOP—choose to partner with the CEBC to leverage the center’s novel research and faculty expertise.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016-2017 Community College Innovative Challenge Announced

picture from the NSF website
Attention Community College Students 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) have teamed up to present the third annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC).

To participate, community college teams of three to five students, a faculty mentor and a community/industry partner are required to collaborate on an innovative STEM-based solution to a real-world problem.  Issues can range from local to global concerns.  Teams will submit projects in one of three theme areas: Maker to Manufacturer, Energy and Environment, and Security Technologies. Each theme also list resource links to assist teams in the developing their project. An official entry consists of a written presentation and a 90-second video.

Winning teams will receive the following prizes:

  • First place: $1,500 per student team member.
  • Second place: $1,200 per student team member.

All entries must be received during the competition submission window from Oct. 14, 2016, to 11.59 p.m. EST, Feb. 15, 2017.  

Consult the Eligibility & RulesEntry Guidelines, Participant Guidelines, Getting Started TipsCompetition Process and Registration for more details related to the competition as well as visit the Promotional Toolkit, where you can download posters, postcards and more .

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NSF EPSCoR announces new funding opportunity for non-tenured faculty: EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 4 "EPSCoR Research Fellows"

     EPSCoR Research Fellows (RII Track-4) is the fourth track within our EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program and is designed to provide non-tenured investigators opportunities to further develop their research potential through collaborative visits to the nation’s premier private, governmental, or academic research centers.  EPSCoR Research Fellows will be able to learn new techniques, access unique equipment and facilities, and explore transforming their research in new directions.  In addition, the experience is intended to establish a foundation for future research collaborations to span the recipient’s entire career, as well as enhance the research capacity of their institutions and jurisdictions.

Eligibility and assistance information: 
  • PIs for all RII Track-4 proposals must hold a non-tenured faculty appointment or its close equivalent, either in the form of a pre-tenure tenure-track position or a long-term non-tenure-track position. 
  • There is a limit of three proposal submissions per eligible institution.
  • Informational webinars for RII Track-4 are planned 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 29, 2016 and November 30, 2016
  • Additional guidelines
  • Full details for RII Track-4 are available in the solicitation, NSF 17-509. 

Proposals are due February 28, 2017.  

Research administrators and potential PIs at EPSCoR-eligible institutions are encouraged to participate on one of the listed webinars; further details for webinar access will follow soon.

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. A jurisdiction is eligible to participate in EPSCoR programs if its level of NSF research support is equal to or less than 0.75 percent of the total NSF research and related activities budget for the most recent three-year period (FY 2016 Eligibility Table). Through this program, NSF establishes partnerships with government, higher education, and industry that are designed to effect sustainable improvements in a jurisdiction's research infrastructure, Research and Development (R&D) capacity, and hence, its R&D competitiveness.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kansas EPSCoR Researcher featured in KSU News Release

Bret Flanders in  KSU Nanowire Lab
Source: KSU News Media
     Dr. Bret Flanders, Associate Professor of Physics at Kansas State University (KSU) and part of the Kansas and Nebraska Track 2: Collaborative Research: Imaging and controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures has been creating gold nanowires for the other physicists and chemists involved with the grant. One of Dr. Flanders’ EPSCoR research contribution is to create and supply nanowires to be used for experiments in both Kansas and Nebraska that involve electronic transfer.  This research was briefly discussed in an earlier Blog Post, Manhattan High School Student Explores Growing Nanowires. However, a new usage of his gold nanowires has emerged and these nanowires are now being used in a novel device, developed by KSU researchers, that could play an important role "during electrode and organ transplant procedures." The device uses Dr. Flanders' gold nanowires to manipulate and sense characteristics of individual cells.
Topographical Image of Gold Nanowire
Source: Nanotechnology 18 (2007) 175707
     These gold nanowires are 1,000 times smaller than a human hair with a diameter of less than 100 nanometers (cells in hair are about 10-20 micrometers in diameter, while red blood cells measure about 7 micrometers).  The Kansas State University article Growing gold: Researchers develop gold nanowires for biomedical procedures provides a more detailed explanation of the nanowire growth processes as well possible benefits the nanowires can contribute to the biomedical community.
   For more information about Dr. Flanders' gold nanowires and their biomedical research impacts, go to the KSU News article: Growing gold: Researchers develop gold nanowires for biomedical procedures.  The growing nanowire research has also been published in the journals Applied Physics Letters as well as Nanotechnology, and has been presented at meetings of the Materials Research Society and the American Physical Society.

The patent for the device was issued to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing technology transfer activities at the university.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative Issue a Challenge


Generation Nano:  Small Science, Superheroes

   The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) are excited to continue Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes! This competition asks high school students to choose a societal area to focus on and then design nanotechnology-enabled gear for an original superhero.
   Students can envision gear that is grounded in current research but not yet possible, allowing them to learn about the potentials and limitations of real-world nanotechnology. Students will first identify one societal mission from a list of four to address and then submit an entry with three parts: a written section, a short comic strip and a video. 

Contest Details: 
  • Who: A competition for high school students -- individuals or teams of two or three
  • What: A written entry, a 90-second video and a 2-3 page comic strip introducing the superhero and the student's nanotechnology-enabled mission.
  • When: Competition opens Oct. 5, 2016; Submissions are due by Jan. 31, 2017, 11:59 p.m. EST
  • Where: Learn more and submit entry at www.nsf.gov/GenNano
  • Why: To promote early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Contact the Generation Nano team at gennano@nsf.gov.
Follow the Competition at #GenNano 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kansas State University Distinguished Professor of Physics Creates a Unique Research Opportunity for Fort Hays State University Professor and Students

  As part of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures Track 2 Grant's Education, Outreach and Diversity Small College Research Initiative, Dr. Itzik Ben-Itzhak, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Kansas State University (KSU), invited  Dr. Jack Maseberg, Associate Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University (FHSU), to participate in a research collaboration.  The purpose of this initiative is to encourage grant participants to work with small college faculty across the state to advance their career development, strengthen their curriculum and facilitate hands-on research opportunities for their students.
Equipment used in the Collaborative Experiments
  Last April, Dr. Maseberg and some of his students traveled to the KSU campus to conduct unique Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics experiments at the KSU James R. Macdonald Laboratory (JMR) with Dr. Ben-Izak's research team. According to Dr. Maseberg, "this research collaboration involved designing and performing an experiment to measure the Doppler-free kinetic energy release spectrum of diatomic molecules dissociated by double ionization (using either ultra-fast laser pulses or bunched charged-particle beams)." This specific project was chosen because it was a relatively simple experiment that could be easily understood by any undergraduate physics student. Dr. Maseberg stated that it was particularly beneficial for his students to be "able to visit the JMR Lab and be involved in experiment design, construction, data collection, and data analysis." In addition, his students were exposed to equipment and tools not available at FHSU, and they were able to participate in AMO research that would normally be outside of the scope and capabilities of the FHSU Physics Department.

Sam Devore, Summer AMO REU student
   As an unexpected favorable outcome of this collaboration, one of Dr. Maseberg's students who visited the lab in the spring, Sam Devore, applied and was accepted to continue work with Dr. Ben-Itzak as a participant in the KSU AMO Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. After his spring visit, Sam gave a 50-minute public talk to the FHSU Physics Department discussing the initial experiments and the preliminary results. This presentation exposed the FHSU student body to the KSU Physics Department's AMO research possibilities, and encouraged FHSU students to explore future undergraduate and graduate research opportunities at KSU.  Sam will be giving another talk summarizing his entire experience just prior to his graduation in the spring of 2017 as part of his FHSU Physics Senior Seminar.
   Dr. Maseberg commented that this outreach initiative was of great benefit to him and his students. Specifically, it taught his students how to collect data on site and then process it remotely at their home campus. In addition, it exposed his students to the culture and benefits of collaborative physics research. As for his benefit from participating in the initiative, Dr. Maseberg he added, the ultimate goal of the collaboration for him "is to eventually publish the joint findings in a peer-reviewed journal article."

Funding for this Collaborative Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The Grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce and prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Hosts the 2016 Kansas and Nebraska Track 2 Review

Kansas and Nebraska 2016 Review
   Researchers participating in the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCOR Track 2 Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures met in Lincoln Nebraska on September 12, 2016 to discuss their progress and present their accomplishments from year 2 to a grant review panel. Members of the review team included, Dr. Louis DiMauro from Ohio State University; Dr. Mark Stockman from Georgia State University; Dr. Tamar Seideman from Northwestern University as well as an evaluation expert, Dr. Cindy Dunn from the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation at Kansas State University. The evaluation process involved questioning, challenging and providing feedback to the researchers as well as examining the scientific progress each team had made since the last review on May 27, 2015.
The panel questions team members
   Dr. Anthony Starace began the day by presenting a general overview of the accomplishments the AMO teams had made over the last year.  Then, Dr. Itzik Ben-Itzhak, (KSU) and Dr. Martin Centurion (UNL) discussed their team's scientific progress related to the Thrust 1 research initiative: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms and Molecules. Following the Thrust 1 presentationDr. Herman Batelaan, (UNL) and Dr. Carlos Trallero (KSU) presented their scientific progress as it related to the Thrust 2 research initiative: Ultrafast Electron Control by Light in Nanostructures.  The morning session concluded with a presentation by the Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinators, Lindsey Moore (UNL) and Rosemary Blum (KU) showcasing the grant's successful collaborative educational programs as well as the positive impact the programs have had on K-12 students and teachers, undergraduate researchers and small college faculty.
Students explain their research at the Poster Session
   Following a luncheon that encouraged panel members and participants to conduct round table discussions, 35 Students from both states presented their grant funded research at the afternoon Poster Session. The days events concluded with the review panel traveling to campus and touring the University of Nebraska Extreme Light Laboratory.
Review panel tours the UNL Extreme Light Laboratory
   On the following day, September 13, 2016, the review panel met with the Thrust Team Leaders and EPSCoR representatives to provide their feedback. The review team was very impressed with the research and the results accomplished by the collaborative team during year two. They were also very supportive of the teams' AMO investigations and outreach programs and encouraged the researchers to inquire about additional funding so that the work could continue beyond the scope of this grant.

Funding for this research was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

University of Kansas and West Virginia University collaborate on Water Restoration Project

Congratulations to University of Kansas Associate Professor, Dr. Edward Peltier
Improving Water Management, Treatment and Recovery
in Oil and Gas Production
and Professor, Dr. Stephen Randtke, of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department; Dr. Karen Peltier, Assistant Scientist and Director of Labs for the KU Tertiary Oil Recover Program; and to West Virginia University Director of WVU Water Research Institute, Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz,  Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Dr. Lian-Shin for receiving one of the 11 NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-2 (RII) investment strategy awards.  These NSF EPSCoR Track - 2 awards totaling $55 million are aimed at building research capacity to address fundamental questions about the brain and develop new innovations at the intersection of food, energy and water systems.

The collaborative team, from the University of Kansas and West Virginia University, was awarded $3,898,637.00 for their project titled, Improving Water Management, Treatment and Recovery in Oil and Gas ProductionThe aim of their research is to "develop cutting-edge strategies for better management, treatment, protection and recovery of produced water."

Denise Barnes, head of NSF EPSCoR said "These awards represent a tremendous value for the scientific community, as they foster research into some of the most pressing issues facing U.S. society while simultaneously supporting collaborative research programs and workforce development."
This award will invest in the STEM workforce by supporting and developing early-career faculty researchers.  In addition, students and junior faculty at both universities will cross train at each other's university to strengthen the collaborative research ties and create a new generation of experts in sustainable oil and gas recovery practices.

The research team's goal is to eventually establish a permanent center dedicated to implementing proven best practices to improve the safety of deep-well injection and the handling of the produced water nationwide as well as "develop economical methods for treating produced water so that it can be reused."

Other KU researchers on the project include Belinda Sturm from Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering; Jyun-Sung Tsau from the Tertiary Oil Recovery Program, and Reza Barati in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering. In addition, the WVU team includes Lance Lin from Civil and Environmental Engineering; Harry Finklea from Chemistry; Joe Donovan from Geology; Todd Petty and Eric Merriam from Wildlife and Fisheries, and Shawn Grushecky from Energy Land Management Program.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Acclaimed Hydrologist to Speak Oct. 3 at Kansas State University about Global Water Supply

Hydrologist Jay Familglietti
Jay Famiglietti, a senior scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a professor at the University of California, Irvine, will give the talk, Water, Food and Energy: Interwoven challenges to sustainable resource management, as part of the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in Kansas State University's McCain Auditorium. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

For more information on his work, details of his lecture, and the KSU new release, click here.

Famiglietti's lecture will be shown live online at k-state.edu/globalfood/lecture-series. Kansas State University also will be tweeting live from the event, using the hashtag, #GlobalFoodSystems.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wichita State University Assistant Professor Awarded an NSF/ACI grant

Dr. Gisuk Hwang, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Wichita State University, has been awarded an NSF grant through the NSF/ACI's flagship program called XSEDE (the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment).  His proposal is titled: Thermal Systems program, with the XRAS title, Optimal Designs of Heterogeneous Nanomaterials for Advanced Thermal Management Systems,

The grant awarded the following resources: a SDSC Dell Cluster with Intel Haswell Processors (Comet): 300,000.0 SUs SDSC Medium-term disk storage (Data Oasis): 2,000.0 GB.  These resources represent a significant NSF investment - ACI's portfolio of computational resources has increased in capability by more than two orders of magnitude over the past decade, and has become a fundamental enabler of NSF's research mission across nearly all disciplines today. Although SUs on different platforms do not all represent the same intrinsic computing strength, the XSEDE site providers have calculated the individual value of a SU and GB for their respective resources. Thus the allocation of SU/GBs awarded to Hwang would amount to approximately an additional $10,664.00 to support the scientific goals of the project.

The allocation of advanced computing, visualization, and storage resources by the XRAC is accomplished via a competitive process designed in a similar fashion to the NSF peer review system.

XSEDE is pleased to support this and other NSF-funded research activities to enhance the productivity of scientists and engineers by providing them with new and innovative capabilities that will facilitate scientific discovery,  enable transformational science/engineering, and encourage innovative educational programs.

Update from the National Science Foundation’s SBIR/STTR Program: Fall 2016

NEW SBIR/STTR Solicitations: 
The new SBIR Phase I and STTR Phase I solicitations are available! Take a look and get started soon. The deadline for SBIR and STTR proposals is December 6. 

Solicitation Changes:
An organization may submit no more than ONE Phase I proposal to this SBIR/STTR cycle (where SBIR/STTR cycle is defined to include the SBIR Phase I solicitation and the STTR Phase I solicitation with a December 6, 2016 deadline).

We’re hosting 7 webinars before the December deadline. Join us for the first one on Friday, Sept. 30th at 12:00 pm ET. 

Thinking of submitting? Start your registrations now.

These four registrations take time and are required to receive funding. You must register the same information in the same way in each of these systems to avoid problems later. 

1. Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)
2. System for Award Management (SAM)
3. Small Business Administration (SBA) Company Registry
4. NSF FastLane - register company and Principal Investigator (PI)

Read through SBIR/STTR Topics: 
NSF welcomes proposals for research and development in all areas of science, engineering, and related education. Topics are suggestions. Check them out, here. Not sure where you fit? Consider Other Topics.

3 New Program Directors:
Three new SBIR/STTR Program Directors started this summer – Henry Ahn (Biomedical Technologies), Debasis Majumdar (Advanced Materials and Instrumentation), and Rick Schwerdtfeger (Semiconductors, Photonic Devices, and Internet of Things). Click here for a list of Program Director Contact Information. 

NSF staff will be at several events in the coming months. If you attend, come find our booth!

Water Environment Federation’s Annual Tradeshow and Conference (WEFTEC), Sept. 24-28, New Orleans, LA
WEFTEC is a water quality conference for thousands of professionals looking for water quality solutions and the latest innovation. NSF will sponsor the innovation showcase with 14 NSF-funded companies presenting. Learn more.

SBIR Women’s Networking Event & New England SBIR Conference, Oct. 5-6, Cambridge, MA
The events will convene women entrepreneurs, technology companies, inventors, leaders and supporters of STEM entrepreneurship and early-stage funding decision makers to discuss non-dilutive funding opportunities. Learn more.

SynBioBeta SF 2016, Oct. 4-6, San Francisco, CA
SynBioBeta SF 2016 is a conference for the synthetic biology industry – bringing the global community together to drive technology and business forward. Highlighted topics for this year include the future of food, biosecurity, engineered cell therapies, DNA storage, public engagement, and more! NSF Network Gets 20% Off Registration. Use Code “NSFSAVE20” Learn More & Register.

SXSW Eco 2016, Oct. 10-12, Austin, TX
SXSW Eco creates a space for business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to drive economic, environmental and social change. NSF Network gets 40% off the walk-up rate for SXSW Eco. Use code: “reg-eco-rate2partner4_f695dec569” Learn More & Register.

We updated our Twitter handle to @NSFSBIR. Please follow us/tag us with your news. We’re happy to promote the successes of NSF SBIR funded companies. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nebraska student travels to Kansas State University to conduct summer research in AMO Physics

Kurtis setting up his
research experiment.
   Kurtis Borne really enjoys the field of laser optics so when the opportunity to conduct further hands-on laser research as a participant in the Kansas State University (KSU) Atomic Molecular and Optics (AMO) Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program presented itself, he immediately applied. The main reason Kurtis wanted a research experience in AMO physics was because he had already spent a lot of time studying its theoretical principles while attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).
   Kurtis is a native of Omaha, NE and is currently majoring in Physics and German with a minor in Mathematics.  He is also a Physics Lab Instructor and the Society of Physics Student Vice President at UNO.
  During this past summer, Kurtis worked in the James R. Macdonald Laboratory at KSU with Dr. Artem Rudenko and Dr. Daniel Rolles on a project titled “Visualizing ultrafast molecular motion in interferometric pump-probe experiments.”  The purpose of the project was to build a new interferometric setup for pump-probe experiments and to analyze the fragmentation patterns of cyclohexadiene (C6H8) from single pulse laser interaction.  When asked what he hoped to find as a result of his research, Kurtis said “The molecule I work with has been studied for decades. I hope that I can identify patterns that have already been confirmed, so we can continue on to more advanced methods of studying this molecule.”
The above diagram is a Dalitz Plot used to read
the energy distributions of three fragments 
  So far, his research has produced various fragmentation patterns of the molecule; and as a result, he has been able to conduct further studies of the associated geometry and energy that has been detected.  As for the impact of his research, Kurtis said it will assist the researchers at Kansas State University with applying the newly equipped delay stage for more accurate pump-probe experiments that test the dynamics of this molecule as well as other molecules.
  As for his personal learning experience, Kurtis said this AMO REU has taught him how to assemble and program optical equipment, to utilize the theory behind the experiments and to implement new methods for analyzing data. Overall, Kurtis enjoyed this opportunity and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in studying experimental AMO Physics, but added it requires a lot of time management, patience as well as a willingness to learn new skills.
   When he returns to his home institution, Kurtis plans to continue studying AMO Physics, and he wants to shadow individuals who work in laser induced-ultracold atom trapping so he can draw comparisons to his research.

Funding for this Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Kansas Physics and Physical Science Teachers "Model the Unseen" in their lesson planning with the assistance of Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Researchers

   On June 9-10, 2016, Kansas NSF EPSCoR continued its successful Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) physics teacher professional development initiative.  This year's title was “Modeling the Unseen in the Physical Sciences.” Twenty four high school and middle school physics and physical science teachers from all over Kansas participated in this two day educational opportunity held at Kansas State University (KSU) .
Dr. Chris Elles, Dr. Uwe Thumm, Mr. Jared Bixby, and Mr. Zach Conrad
  The objectives for the workshop involved addressing the Science and Engineering Practices listed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), encouraging teachers to use modeling strategies in their lesson planning, and facilitating the opportunity to make curriculum connections to the cutting edge AMO Research occurring in Kansas. Participants reviewed the NGSS with Jared Bixby, Education Curator for the Sunset Zoo, and received an update of the state’s science assessment plan from Zach Conrad, Interim Science Consultant for the Kansas Department of Education.
Teachers tour the James R. Macdonald Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Lab with Dr. Kevin Carnes
   Dr. Kevin Carnes, KSU Research Professor of Physics & Associate Director of Operations JRM Lab, and Dr. Charles W. Fehrenbach, KSU Research Assistant Professor of Physics, led tours of the James R. Macdonald Laboratory (JRM) explaining the history of the lab, the various lab equipment processes, lasers and the innovative AMO experiments currently taking place in the lab.
Penny Blue, Dr. Jackie Spears (KSU) and Dr. Paul Adams (FHSU) facilitate modeling instructional strategy discussions and lesson planning activities
    Penny Blue, a science instructor from Lyons High School in Lyons, KS and teacher participant from last year’s teacher workshop, provided an introduction to modeling instructional strategies. Then teachers were asked to review lessons they currently teach to identify ways to incorporate modeling practices into their instruction.  The first day ended with teacher’s discussing takeaways from the the tour and presentations with Dr. Jackie Spears, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction (KSU) and Dr. Paul Adams, Dean of the College of Education, Anshultz Professor of Education, and Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) as well as preparing questions for the next day's interactive activities working with the Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Chemists and Physicists.
Round table discussions with Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Researchers
   On day two, teachers spent the morning participating in round table discussions with Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO researchers: Dr. Chris Elles (KU), Dr. Uwe Thumm (KSU), Dr. Bret Flanders (KSU) and Dr. A.T. Le (KSU).  Each researcher provided a short presentation of their own research and talked about how they use models in their work.  Then, the researchers brainstormed with teachers to ascertain curricular connections to the AMO Research.  

   During the afternoon session, the teachers were given time to enhance or create lessons to include the Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS, modeling instructional strategies and curricular connections to the AMO research.  As was done last year, the follow-up sessions will include asking some teachers to present their workshop experiences, their new AMO lessons and any lessons learned after teaching those lessons to the Kansas Association Teachers of Science in April, 2017.

A Google Docs repository was created to store the lessons developed at the workshop. Teachers were encouraged to direct their colleagues across the state to use the resources housed in the Google Docs Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Physics Lesson Plan Repository.

Education and outreach funding for the physics teacher workshop was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Teacher Workshop Participants Present at the 2016 Kansas Association of Teachers of Science Conference

   As part of the follow-up activity to the 2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Summer Teacher Workshop “Connecting the Physics of Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation with the Next Generation Science Standards,” three physics teachers, Penny Blue from Lyons High School in Lyons, KS; Chery Shepherd-Adams from Hays High School in Hays KS; and Brian Vancil from Sumner Academy in Kansas City, KS presented the lessons they created during the workshop at the 2016 Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) conference.  Dr. Paul Adams, College of Education, Dean Anschutz Professor of Education and Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University and Dr. Jackie Spears, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Center for Science Education in the College of Education at Kansas State University, chaired the session.  Both, Dr. Adams and Dr. Spears are Kansas EPSCoR Education and Outreach collaborators.

   During the summer workshop, teachers were asked to create lessons that would connect the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 grant “Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures,” research with the newly adopted Kansas Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for high school physics.  As part of the follow-up the teachers were asked to report back on how the lessons were received in the classroom.  In addition, they were invited to speak about their experience at the KATS Conference that was held April 15–16, 2016 in Rock Springs, KS. Penny discussed several key behaviors of electromagnetic radiation by modeling a “Pinhole Camera Activity.”  Cheryl created a “Perspective Activity” to demonstrate light wave behavior passing through various devices and Brian explained how he used a simple bread board spectrometer to help students understand Spectrometry and discover that the energy of a photon is proportional to its frequency.  The session was well attended and well received.

This year the 2016 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Workshop titled “Modeling the Unseen in the Physical Sciences” will take place June 9-10 at Kansas State University.

Education and outreach funding for the physics teacher workshop was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Manhattan High School Student Explores Growing Nanowires

    Zach Culbertson, a junior at Manhattan High School in Manhattan KS, enjoys learning about science research.  At school, he participates in the Science Olympiad, Scholars Bowl, Quest, FRC Robotics Club, Tennis, and Fencing.  He also enjoys studying Arabic, the Middle East and Politics.
    As part of a class assignment, Zach was asked to explore his career interests and select someone in that position of interest to interview. He knew he enjoyed science, engineering and “hands-on research." In addition, he knew "practical lab experience is very useful in any science career,” so, Zach decided to investigate a career in physics and to interview Dr. Bret Flanders, Associate Professor of Physics at Kansas State University and a member of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures research team.  It was during this interview that Dr. Flanders saw great potential in Zach and offered him an afterschool internship opportunity to work in his lab.
    The focus of Dr. Flanders’ research is making electrodes for the creation of nanowires to be used for experiments involving electronic transfer.  Zach is responsible for constructing and thinning electrodes so that “we can ‘grow’ nanowires” on the tips of the electrodes by sending an electrical current through a solution containing the unique materials needed to create them.
Above are illustrations of methods used for growing nanowires.
    Zach said his lab task is to grow nanowires that can be used to study electronic transfers that will “help increase the speed and efficiency of the electronic devices.”  He stated that the best part of the internship experience is seeing the practical use and impact of what he has learned in his high school science classes.  Zach added that this internship has given him “lots of practical laboratory experience related to lab procedures and practices" as well as an opportunity to better prepare him for whatever kind of science career he chooses to pursue.
    As for his future plans, Zach said, “I would like to attend college, hopefully Harvard, and am looking at going into Aerospace Engineering or Biomedical Engineering, and Middle Eastern Studies. I would also like to try to get involved with the World Food Program as a volunteer.”

The Flanders Group works in the areas of soft matter nanotechnology and biological physics.  Current projects focus on measuring the distribution of cell-electrode residence times as a function electrode-voltage.

Education and outreach funding for this high school internship opportunity is provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Emporia State Partners with AVID Climate Initiative to Explore Aerosols

     Dr. C. Matt Seimears, Chair and Associate Professor of the Education/Early Childhood/Special Education Department at Emporia State University was awarded a Kansas NSF Education and Diversity award to develop four spring 2015 mini-camps and a summer 2015 camp addressing the AVID Climate Initiative (ACI).
Seimears' mini and summer camps’overarching goal was to initiate an AVID/ACI systemic reform involving Emporia State University, USD 259 Wichita, Kansas and USD 490 EL Dorado, Kansas; and Butler Community College (BCC) and to train each participant from USD 259 Wichita, Kansas; USD 490 EL Dorado, Kansas; and Butler Community College (BCC) to the use of the newly developed ACI curriculum. USD 259 is an urban district, USD 490 is a rural school district both with underrepresented populations of minority and first generation education students. Specifically, the camps were designed to analyze the impact of Aerosols in relationship to the atmosphere as well as create climate experiences and experiments that could easily be replicated district wide. In addition, the program exposed both students and teachers to the possibilities of STEM Climate careers. Two ESU faculty, one BCC science faculty member and eleven rural students, eight teachers and twelve pre-service teacher candidates from five high school AVID programs within USD 259 and USD 490 participated.

   The highlights of the program were: 1.) determining Wichita might have too much brake dust in the air above the city, and 2.) discovering the existence of burning pasture Aerosols in air around rural parts of Kansas.  Participants commented, “This was very exciting, we had no idea that even sea spray can be an Aerosol in the air. We always thought it was only hair spray or paint cans.” Students built a solar dehydrator as a final project.

   If future funding becomes available, Seimears plans to invite urban students and teachers from the Kansas City area to participate next year. He wants to continue to encourage students, especially those from lower economic and underrepresented communities, to pursue STEM climate careers .

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a global nonprofit program whose mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college or other post secondary opportunities.  

The 2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Education and Diversity Grants were designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce and prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of climate or energy research or atomic/molecular/optical science.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Kansas EPSCoR Climate and Energy Exhibit travels to the Courtland Art Center

The Courtland Art Center in Courtland Kansas is featuring the Kansas NSF EPSCoR research exhibit on renewable energy and climate change.  The EPSCoR exhibit is titled Kansas: Climate and Energy Central, which is the central theme of the major research initiative, Climate Change and Energy: Basic Science, Impacts and Mitigation.

This traveling exhibit showcases the research of Kansas scientists who worked together to address the challenges Kansas faces in the areas of renewable energy and climate change. The key components of the research exhibit are broken down into four modular displays. These modular displays focus on the exploration of following research themes:
  1. Farmscapes examines Kansas farmer’s land practices and the impact of their choices
  2. Climate Science presents locally collected data and illustrates how climate trends are defined, compared and used to make future decisions. 
  3. Energy explores better ways to use the sun’s energy, examines the potential of protein based solar cells and investigates the role of nanotechnology
  4. Pathways explains how Native American traditions can be utilized to create a balanced relationship with nature.
The exhibit will be featured at the Courtland Art Center from now through February 29, 2016. Arrangements to visit the exhibit can be made by calling 785-527-0941 or emailing nick@jenrusfreelance.com. 
This exhibit originated with the Flint Hills Discovery Center museum in Manhattan, KS. 

Special thanks for developing this exceptional community outreach project goes to the team of Kansas EPSCoR scientists and faculty: Dietrich Earnhart, Department of Economics, University of Kansas; Charles W. Rice, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University; Judy Wu, Department of Physics, University of Kansas; Joane Nagel, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas; and Dan Wildcat, American Indian Studies, Haskell Indian Nations University along with Chuck Regier and Joel Gaeddert of the Flint Hills Design company. 

Learn more about this exhibit here:  http://courtlandarts.com/blog/2016/1/climate-science-exhibit

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015-2016 Kansas EPSCoR First Awards Announced

Kansas NSF EPSCoR provides funding support for Kansas to build its research capacity and competitiveness in science and technology. One mechanism utilized to provide this support is the Kansas NSF EPSCoR First Award program. This program is designed to assist early career faculty with becoming more competitive for funding from the research directorates at the National Science Foundation by: 1) encouraging early career faculty to submit proposals to the NSF (or other federal funding agency) as soon as possible after their first faculty appointment, and 2) by accelerating the pace of their research and the quality of their subsequent proposals. 

For the 2015-2016 academic year, Kansas NSF EPSCoR honored six faculty members from across the state with First Award grants in the areas of Climate and Energy Research or Atomic/Molecular/Optical Science. The researchers and  their projects that were awarded the Kansas NSF EPSCoR funding are:

Placidus Amama
Assistant Professor 
Chemical Engineering
Kansas State University

Nanocarbon Hybrid Structures for Fast and Reversible Lithium Ion Storage

Current efforts to increase the performance of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have focused on decreasing the diffusion distance of Li ions through the use of nanostructured electrodes with unique geometries. The use of 30 nanostructured electrodes with exceptionally short ion and electron transport distance will result in a significant decrease in the diffusion time. Significant enhancement in the LIB performance of over 50% is anticipated with the use of 3D nanocarbon electrodes. However, efforts thus far have failed to produce 3D nanostructured electrodes with the optimal architecture and textural properties due to the limited understanding of the complex electrochemical interactions within the multicomponent 3D electrode system (current collector, active material, and electrolyte). Consequently, there is a complete lack of guidelines for the rational design and synthesis of high-performance 30 nanostructured electrodes. The goal of this research is to fabricate high-performance 30 electrodes using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as the nanoscale building blocks.

Hitesh Bindra
Assistant Professor
Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Kansas State University

A novel method to simultaneously separate CO2 and recover thermal energy from flue gases

This project will focus on evaluation of PI’s recent invention ‘Sliding Flow Method (SFM)’ for simultaneous energy and CO2 recovery from flue gases in fossil-fueled plants. The proposed method first recovers heat energy from the flue gases, and then utilizes same energy to recover CO2. The primary objective of this work is to measure the unknown critical design parameter i.e. axial dispersion of adsorbed CO2 molecules in a packed powder bed. Spectroscopy and other characterization techniques will be applied under different experimental conditions. Once determined, the axial dispersion values will be used for the development of a higher efficiency adsorption based flue gas purification system. A laboratory scale version of this purification system would be developed to assess the performance. This new concept proposed here has potential to fulfill the objectives of reducing the discharge if undesirable components into atmosphere with negligible water consumption and energy destruction when installed in the flue gas exhaust of existing plants. The nature of the proposed research is novel and transformative solution to one of the fourteen Grand Challenges in Engineering, as identified by National Academy of Engineering.

Alice Boyle
Assistant Professor
Kansas State University

Consequences of climate variability for prairie birds

The proposed project is central to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR focus on climate, investigating biotic responses to current climatic variability, filling crucial gaps in knowledge that limit our ability to predict and manage for the consequences of future climate change. Prairies are characterized by highly variable climate, yet we lack the theoretical knowledge to predict whether adaptions to such conditions offers organisms greater resilience to additional change, or whether they already experience conditions near the limits of their physiological capabilities. This study capitalizes upon a 28-yr data set of avian abundances and the infrastructure and experimental manipulations made possible by the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at the Konza Prairie in NE Kansas. It integrates the insights from long-term data with detailed, mechanistic, individual-level data from a marked population of declining songbirds to predict biotic responses to future environmental conditions. This project provides exceptional opportunities for field-based training in research for undergraduates, and concrete plans for broad dissemination of study results commensurate with the scope of this funding opportunity. 

Zheng Chen
Assistant Professor
Electrical Enginnering and Computer Science
Wichita State University

Solar Energy Storage Using Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Enhanced Water Electrolysis for Hydrogen Production

The long-term goal of this research is to develop an energy-efficient solar energy storage system. Existing solar energy harvesting systems are facing a critical issue in that the harvested solar energy is not storable. Ionic polymer-metal composites (IPMCs) have a built-in water electrolysis capability that can convert electricity to storable hydrogen fuel. However, the energy-conversion efficiency of IPMC-enabled electrolysis needs to be further improved in order to make the energy storage more efficient. The research objective of this project is to improve the energy-conversion efficiency of IPMC-enabled electrolysis through advanced fabrication, multi-physics modeling, and robust control from a system perspective. The educational/outreach objectives are to equip engineers with state-of-the-art modeling, advanced fabrication, and control skills and to inform the public society about solar renewable energy systems. The project accomplishes its objectives by the following:
  • Investigating energy-conversion efficiency of IPMC-enabled electrolysis.
  • Developing a multi-physics and control-oriented model for IPMC-enabled electrolysis.
  • Developing an adaptive and robust control strategy for IPMC-enabled electrolysis.
  • Developing a micro-fabrication process to fabricate micro-thin IPMC film.
  • Integrating and evaluating the solar energy storage system. 

Michael Clift
Assistant Professor
The University of Kansas

Sustainable Catalytic Methods for the Conversion of Biomass into Fine Chemicals

The long-term goal of this research program is to develop cofactor mimics as catalysts to enable novel synthetic transformations initiated by C-H and C-C bond cleavage. This approach to chemical synthesis is unique in that it relies on bond cleavage reactions to generate versatile reactive intermediates that will participate in a wide range of subsequent reactions. By contrast, classical synthetic approaches often focus exclusively on the development of bond forming reactions. The overall objective of this proposal is to develop new methods for quinone catalyzed C-C bond cleavage that will facilitate the conversion of bio-renewable feedstock chemicals into fine nitrogen-containing chemical commodities. Further, we seek to promote scientific curiosity and enhance the problem-solving skills of undergraduate students by integrating specific aspects of the proposed research into an innovative, inquiry based laboratory experiment for organic chemistry lab courses. Several aims are proposed to pursue these objectives:
  • Develop topa quinone (TPQ) mimics as catalysts to enable the oxidative decarboxylation of α-amino acids to provide versatile imine intermediates that will be utilized in subsequent in situ additions to generate amine-containing fine chemicals.
  • Develop TPQ mimics as catalysts to promote the depolymerization of lignin model compounds via C-C bond cleavage at the β -O-4 linkage to deliver imines and other useful products.
  • Develop and implement an inquiry-based laboratory experiment for undergraduate organic chemistry students using quinone catalysis to enable amino alcohol cleavage.

Gisuk Hwang
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering
Wichita State University

Absorption-Controlled Thermal Diode and Switch (ACTS)

Completely new and unified theoretical/experimental frameworks of thermal diode and switching mechanisms are proposed using adsorption-controlled thermal transport in gas-filled heterogeneous nanostructures. This enables a) serving scalable and efficient thermal management systems (R > 15) with both theory and experiment, b) understanding atomic-level thermal transport mechanisms through thin adsorbed film in the nanostructures, and c) developing a basic building block for advanced thermal managements for highly-efficient, responsive renewable energy/environmental systems and completely new energy-saving applications i.e., thermal logic gate/computing. Despite rigorous advances in theory, experimental demonstrations for the practical applications have been much lagged behind. Main challenges have been poor steady-state efficiency/transient response time, difficult large-scale manufacturing, and limited operating conditions (very low pressure and cryogenic operation temperatures). Thus, an innovative approach that enables both high thermal diode/switch efficiency with fast transient response and experimental realizations would be highly transformative to carry significant impacts for clean energy and environment future.  This work will advance fundamental understandings of atomic-level thermal transport mechanisms through the thin film (adsorbed layers) near heterogeneous surfaces for energy, nanomanufacturing and biomedical systems.