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RESEARCH

Top Paper Points to Nanoparticle Safety Short-term exposure to engineered nanoparticles used in semiconductor manufacturing poses little risk to people or the environment, according to a widely read research paper from a UA-led research team.

Carl Philabaum

Fuel for Thought—Kim Ogden, UA professor of chemical and environmental engineering, gives a talk on algae’s potential role in reducing greenhouse gases as part of the 2016 UA Science Lecture Series.

Biofuels Could Reduce Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases The ability of simple algae to remove carbon from the atmosphere and produce cleaner energy and food took center stage in a presentation by Kimberly Ogden at Centennial Hall in February.

photovoltaics. But she devoted most of the talk to algae’s potential to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide and produce fuels that are cleaner than coal, oil and natural gas.

In her talk she described the potential of microalgae – single-celled, nonplant organisms ubiquitous in freshwater and marine environments – for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide and producing fuels.

Ogden is principal investigator for a Regional Algal Feedstock Testbed project. Her research team grows and conducts experiments on microalgae in ponds and aboveground photoreactors at a UA agricultural experiment station located near campus. Because photosynthesis and solar-powered pumps drive the system, operating costs are next to nil, she said.

Ogden summarized the benefits and costs of renewable energy sources like solar, solar thermal, wind, hydro, nuclear and

Major Navy Award for ECE Faculty Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Ming Li is the first UA faculty member since 2010 to receive the highly competitive Office of Naval Research, or ONR, Young Investigator Award, which will support his research in reconfigurable antennas with wireless networks. Li was one of 47 recipients to receive an award through the ONR’s Young Investigator Program, which provides early-

career academic researchers a threeyear grant of more than $500,000. Winning proposals were selected from 280 submissions based on the Ming Li researchers’ past performance and long-term university commitment and on the projects’ technical merit and potential for scientific breakthrough.

Co-authored by 27 researchers from eight U.S. universities, the article, “Physical, Chemical and In Vitro Toxicological Characterization of Nanoparticles in Chemical Mechanical Planarization Suspensions Used in the Semiconductor Industry: Towards Environmental Health and Safety Assessments,” was published in the Royal Society of Reyes Sierra Chemistry journal Environmental Science Nano in May 2015. The paper, which calls for further analysis of potential toxicity for longer exposure periods, was one of the journal’s 10 most downloaded papers in 2015. “This study is extremely relevant both for industry and for the public,” said Reyes Sierra, lead researcher of the study and professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the University of Arizona. Researchers at the UA and around the world are studying the potential effects of these tiny and complex materials on human health and the environment. Engineered nanoparticles are used to make semiconductors, solar panels, satellites, food packaging, food additives, batteries, baseball bats, cosmetics, sunscreen and countless other products. They also hold great promise for biomedical applications, such as cancer drug delivery systems. “One of the few things we know for sure about engineered nanoparticles is that they behave very differently than other materials,” Sierra said. 39:1 spring 2016  ARIZONAENGINEER  11

Arizona Engineer Spring 2016  
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