Drexel University was well represented at the graduation of the 8th Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion (MESC) class in Amiens, France.
The Erasmus Mundus (MESC) program is a two-year degree program in Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. It consists of three semesters of classes plus one semester for a Master thesis in a research laboratory in Europe, China or the U.S. Throughout the course of the program, students rotate among seven partner universities: University of Picardie Jules Verne (France); Paul Sabatier University (France); Aix-Marseille University (France); University of Cordoba (Spain), Warsaw University of Technology (Poland); Xiamen University (China); and Drexel University. Each year, a number of students from the MESC program opt to perform their thesis research at Drexel.
The MESC 8 class sent four students to Drexel from January through August of 2013: Christopher Sole, Muhammad Boota, Ivan Garcia Torregrosa, and Immanuel Mayrhuber. The students worked with five different Drexel faculty throughout their time here: Drs. Yury Gogotsi, Michel Barsoum, Caglan Kumbur, Vibha Kalra, and Jason Baxter. In September they returned to Amiens to defend their theses, and Dr. Gogotsi was present for the defense and graduation ceremony. All four students successfully defended; Ivan was awarded the prize for best presentation, and placed third in the MESC-8 class. Christopher placed first.
The Nanomaterials Group was delighted to host these students for their thesis research and looks forward to welcoming students from MESC-9 in 2014. In addition, we encourage Drexel students to consider applying to the MESC program for their graduate studies. For more information, visit https://www.u-picardie.fr/come-to-the-upjv/mundus-mesc/ or contact Michelle Sipics.
The A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute is seeking a number of PhD students and post-doctoral associates, as well as one research professor, to work with the Nanomaterials Group on a major international research project in electrochemical capacitors and batteries. This project is related to fundamental understanding of charge storage in nanostructured materials and development of new materials and device architectures that will ultimately lead to a new generation of electrical energy storage devices.
For more information on each of the open positions, please see the links below.
Multiple Post-Doctoral Research Associate Positions [Note: all openings currently filled]
Multiple PhD Student Openings [Note: all openings filled as of October 1, 2013]
Research Professor Position [Note: opening currently filled]
Nanomaterials Group members collected an impressive number of awards throughout the 2012-2013 school year. The following is an incomplete list documenting some of these achievements.
American Ceramic Society Ross Coffin Purdy Award
For “most valuable contribution to ceramic technical literature during the calendar year.”
Michael Naguib Abdelmalak, Volker Presser, Yury Gogotsi, Michel Barsoum, Olha Mashtalir, Joshua Carle, Jun Lu, Lars Hultman for “Two-Dimensional Transition Metal Carbides” published in ACS Nano, Vol 6, No. 2, 1322-1331, 2012
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Nanomaterials Group members Travis Longenbach, Riju Singhal (alum), and Jake McDonough all received University awards at the close of the 2013 academic year.
Longenbach received the Student Life Dean J. Peterson Ryder Award for Seniors, presented to seniors in engineering who are proficient in their studies and have participated in extracurricular activities. He was among the students selected to represent Drexel University in the 2013 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.
Singhal, who successfully defended his thesis in January, was selected to receive an Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award in the area of Mathematical Sciences and Engineering. Three awards are presented at Commencement to graduating doctoral students who have written outstanding dissertations that reflect great research. The awards include a cash prize of $1000 and a certificate of recognition.
McDonough received the “Highly Commended” designation in the Graduate Student Day 2013 Doctoral Research Excellence Award competition, and was recognized for his research contributions at the Graduate Student Day reception on May 23.
Overall, eight students from the Materials Science & Engineering department were honored with University awards. Click here to read more on the MSE website.
“Carbon coated textiles for flexible energy storage” is currently listed as #1 among research papers in the Energy & Environmental Science “Hot Articles” category. The paper, which describes a flexible and lightweight fabric supercapacitor electrode as a possible energy source in smart garments, is available for free via the journal’s website: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2011/EE/C1EE02421C.
As part of an annual trip organized by Materials Advantage, Nanomaterials Group doctoral candidate Boris Dyatkin visited Washington, DC for Congressional Visits Day to advocate for STEM education. Read more about the trip at the Drexel MSE website.
Dr. Vadym Mochalin, a Research Associate Professor with the Nanomaterials Group, has accepted an invitation to join the Editorial Board for the prestigious Scientific Reports.
Scientific Reports was launched in mid 2011 by the Nature Publishing Group, the publishers of Nature. It is hosted on nature.com and available to the public, publishing original research papers of interest to specialists within a given field in the natural sciences. Mochalin will serve an initial two-year term as a member of the editorial board.
Mochalin leads nanodiamond research for the Nanomaterials Group, and is the author of more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and 8 international patents on nanodiamond, carbon nanoonions, graphene nanoscrolls, nanotubes, energy storage systems, composites, photocatalysis, modeling of materials, and thermodynamics of solutions.
Researchers in the Nanomaterials Group recently reported on the discovery of a new family of two-dimensional materials called “MXenes.” The materials’ structures are similar to graphene, with which they share many properties, including good electrical conductivity and potential applications in energy storage. Now, in a new paper in Nature Communications, Drexel researchers have demonstrated several new possible avenues for practical applications of MXenes.
MXenes are transition metal carbides and nitrides, created by selectively removing aluminum from layered ternary carbides known as MAX phases. Through this exfoliation process, the carbide layers are separated into two MXene sheets just a few atoms thick. MXenes can accommodate various ions and molecules between their layers by a process known as intercalation, which is sometimes a necessary step in order to exploit the materials’ unique properties. For example, placing lithium ions between MXene sheets has been shown to render them promising materials for both lithium-ion batteries and electrochemical capacitors.
Computational studies have suggested that fully exfoliating, or delaminating, certain MXenes would yield layers with exceptional charge capacities for use in battery anodes. To date, however, large-scale delamination had not been achieved. In “Intercalation and Delamination of Layered Carbides and Cabonitrides,” the Drexel team reports on successful intercalation of MXenes with several organic molecules, including dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), which allowed them to fully exfoliate stacked layers into MXene sheets and ultimately create MXene “paper” by filtering flakes from solution. This flexible and electrically conductive “paper” showed a lithium ion capacity of four times that of typical MXene material, with extremely high charging rates and a cyclability superior to graphite, which is used in commercial lithium-ion batteries. Critically, this work demonstrates that such material can be synthesized on a large scale.
Much attention has recently been drawn to two-dimensional – in other words, atomically thin – materials for which the sheet width is about 10,000 times larger than its thickness. Graphene is just one representative of a large group of two-dimensional solids, and MXenes add a dozen new members to the family that have unusual properties dictated by their structure and presence of various transition metals: for example, combining metallic electrical conductivity with hydrophylicity (good wetting). This new finding further expands the potential uses of the new materials.
“By demonstrating chemical intercalation of organic molecules between MXene layers, we have substantially altered properties of MXenes,” says Dr. Yury Gogotsi, whose Nanomaterials Group led the research in partnership with Dr. Michel Barsoum. “By separating MXene sheets via intercalation, we produced excellent materials for electrodes of batteries and electrochemical capacitors. We are currently exploring several other exciting applications and we firmly believe that this is just the beginning of an exciting road towards discovery of new MXene structures and finding applications in which they can outperform other materials.”
The researchers note that successful delamination of MXenes also creates opportunities in composites, catalysis, sensors, and sorption applications.
Amanda Pentecost, a BS/PhD student in the Nanomaterials Group, has been awarded a 2013 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Pentecost has already published two journal papers based on nanodiamond research performed as an undergraduate member of the Nanomaterials Group. In winning the award, she joins NMG members Kelsey Hatzell and Kristy Jost, who were named as winners in 2012.
NSF made 2,000 award offers from more than 13,000 submitted applications. A full list of the 2013 Fellows can be found here.
“Adsorption of proteins in channels of carbon nanotubes: Effect of surface chemistry,” featuring work by Vadym Mochalin, Maria Lukatskaya, and NMG alum Volker Presser, has been published in the March 2013 volume of Materials Express.