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Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center | NanoScience Technology Center | Volume 6, Issue 1 • Spring 2014





ALSO IN THIS EDITION: Industrial Advisory Board Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Faculty News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-6 Message from the Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Student News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-8 Staff Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

UCF TO OFFER NEW NANOTECHNOLOGY DEGREE The new nanotechnology master’s degree offered by the University of Central Florida will have a “huge economic impact” on Central Florida, said Sudipta Seal, director of the Nanoscience Technology Center and the Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center at UCF. The UCF Board of Trustees on Thursday, March 27 approved a new interdisciplinary professional science master’s degree program that will expand UCF’s offerings in the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study of extremely small things—detectable only with very strong microscopes— and how they can be used in a variety of fields from biology to engineering. Examples include micro cameras used in surgery, liquids used to repair scratches on cars, stain-resistant clothes and stealth technology that cloaks planes from radar.

Thursday’s approval comes nearly 10 years after UCF opened the NanoScience Technology Center, which will run the new program. Students will develop the scientific knowledge necessary to make discoveries, along with the business and entrepreneurial skills they need to take those discoveries to the market. Government agencies and academic researchers have been working hard to unravel how the nano world works. It’s one of the hottest growth industries with a worldwide market estimated at $1.2 trillion by 2020, according to Global Industry Analysts.

According to Director Sudipta Seal future plans include a doctoral degree in nanoscience technology Students will work closely with industry partners, and the NanoScience Technology Center is interested in recruiting additional partners. The center’s faculty members already work with 21 companies. Interested companies can contact center director Sudipta Seal at The new program is expected to begin in the fall 2014 semester with ten students.

“The Professional Master of Science in Nanotechnology is a superb vehicle for entry into the exciting, inviting, and rapidly expanding world of Nanotechnology. The program provides students not only with scientific training but also an understanding of the business tools required to commercialize the scientific advances.” – Qun “Treen” Huo, Ph.D., Associate Professor


On February 6 and 7, 2014, the NanoScience Technology Center hosted an Industrial Advisory Board meeting regarding the Professional Science Masters Program. Board members (pictured at left) were joined by Provost Rick Schell, Vice President M.J. Soileau, NSTC/AMPAC Director Sudipta Seal and NSTC faculty (right).

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THOMAS WINS CAREER AWARD: BRINGING 3-D TV BACK FROM THE DEAD One UCF researcher may be on the brink of bringing 3-D TV back from the dead. Gone are the goofy glasses required of existing sets. Instead, assistant professor Jayan Thomas is working on creating the materials necessary to create a 3-D image that could be seen from 360 degrees with no extra equipment. “The TV screen should be like a table top,” Thomas said. “People would sit around and watch the TV from all angles like sitting around a table. Therefore, the images should be like real-world objects. If you watch a football game on this 3-D TV, you would feel like it is happening right in front of you. A holographic 3-D TV is a feasible direction to accomplish this without the need of glasses.”

His work is so far along that the National Science Foundation has given him a $400,000 grant over five years to develop the materials needed to produce display screens. When 3-D TVs first came on the market in 2010, there was a lot of hype and the market expected the new sets would take off. Several broadcasters even pledged to create special channels for 3-D programming, such as ESPN and the BBC. But in the past year, those broadcasters have canceled plans because sales have lagged and the general public hasn’t adopted the sets as hoped. Some say that’s because the television sets are expensive and require bulky equipment and glasses. Thomas’ approach would use new plastic composites made with nanotechnology to make the 3-D image recording process multitudes faster than currently possible. This would eliminate the need for glasses. Thomas and his colleagues have developed the specific plastic composite needed to create the display screens necessary for effectively showing the 3-D images. That work has been published in the journals Nature and Advanced Materials.    Thomas has joint appointments in the UCF NanoScience Technology Center, Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, and Materials Science & Engineering.  The NSF CAREER Award is the agency’s most prestigious award for junior faculty.

SUPERCAPACITOR TECH COULD STORE, CONDUCT POWER ON THE SAME COPPER WIRES Jayan Thomas has been working on nanotechnology for seven years. For the last year, he has led a team of students working to create cables that can actually store energy. He says, “We can change the world. That is what we are looking forward to.” We all know copper wiring is great for sending electricity from point A to point B. Thomas has added an outer layer of technology—tiny or nano copper oxide whiskers that can store energy for later use. He explains, “As you enhance the surface area, it can store a lot of energy. So, we converted the outside surface of that copper wire into an energy storing device.”

The video shows Thomas’ device is not hooked up to a power source. It is powering the light from stored energy. Thomas’ team believes you could build a solar cell and his wiring right into clothing. You’d be able to store enough energy to power your smart phone or MP3 device. Years from now, the technology could power electric cars and store energy for your home collected from solar panels.

GESQUIERE WINS RESEARCH INCENTIVE AWARD Andre J. Gesquiere is a winner of UCF’s 2014 Research Incentive Awards. The RIA program rewards outstanding achievements in research, scholarly and creative activities.

Gesquiere is an Associate Professor with appointments in the NanoScience Technology Center, Chemistry, and Materials Science & Engineering. His research includes imaging and spectroscopy of nanoscale materials and biological systems.

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SEAL LAUDED AS TOP INNOVATOR The National Academy of Inventors named Sudipta Seal an NAI Fellow for 2013. Seal is one of three UCF professors recognized by NAI for their work in photonics and nanotechnology. Seal and his peers were honored for their prolific spirit of innovation, which has benefitted economic development, quality of life and the well-being of society. Seal is an engineering professor and director of the NanoScience Technology Center and the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center. He is a distinguished professor and also a Pegasus Professor. His list of professional accomplishments includes finding ways to use nanotechnology to aid in the prevention of retinal degeneration and other conditions. Among his most recent work is a nano-engineered material that can remove large volumes of oil from seawater that doesn’t hurt the environment. He holds 38 patents. Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors. The 143 innovators elected to NAI Fellow status this year represent 94 universities, governmental and nonprofit research institutes. Together, they hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents. Andrew Faile, deputy U.S. commissioner for patents in

the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, inducted the honorees during the 3rd annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 7 in Alexandria, VA. The NAI Fellows were also recognized in a full-page advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education and in Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors. Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

DURIP AWARD WINNERS EARN NEARLY $2M IN FUNDING UCF researchers including professors Romain Gaume and Yongho Sohn are working on projects funded by grants from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. The University of Central Florida earned five research grants this week worth nearly $2 million from DURIP, placing UCF among the top three university award recipients in the nation. Awards totaling $39.9 million will help 149 university researchers at 84 academic institutions purchase stateof-the-art research equipment, which will benefit science education, medical training and the preparation of troops. “Our strategy of focusing on research that stimulates the local and state economies has served us very well in competing for these federal awards,” said MJ Soileau, vice president for research and commercialization at UCF. “Our faculty have consistently shown that they can compete with the best and the equipment purchased with these awards will position them even better for future funding. This is particularly important since most contracts and grants are for specific work to be done and have little or no money for purchase of major capital equipment.”

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Professor Kathleen Richardson will receive $627,000 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to purchase an advanced X-ray diffraction system for the development of novel infrared optics, high-power solid-state laser and nuclear detector materials as well as a variety of other material research and education programs largely focused on materials advances critical to the Department of Defense. She is working with professors Romain Gaume of CREOL and the NanoScience Technology Center, and Yongho Sohn of the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center and Materials Science & Engineering Department.


Welcome to another news cycle. I am pleased to see the approval of our new Professional MS program in Nanotechnology. Thanks to our faculty who worked very hard for the last two years to make this a reality. We join a handful of nanoeducation programs in the country. We also thank our PSM Industrial Advisory Board for their support. Congratulations to Dr. Jayan Thomas who received the NSF CAREER award, “bringing the 3D TV back from the dead.” His recent invention presents a new generation of supercapacitors from a simple Cu wire embedding surface-coated nanowhiskers and has received press coverage around the world. His technology can be integrated into solar cells, selfpowered textiles and so on.

Kudos to our Nano-materials faculty that won a DURIP grant promoting interdisciplinary research and partnerships with other centers and departments. Two of our superb nanoscientists and material chemists (Profs. Gesquiere and Zhai) won the UCF Research Award and ACS Outstanding Chemist award. Finally, I want to congratulate our undergraduate and graduate students that took home many research awards from national and international conferences and meetings I hope you enjoy reading our Nanomaterials news. Congratulations to our faculty, staff and students for their outstanding service to the AMPAC and NSTC centers and for their contributions to the growth of the Materials Science & Engineering and Nano programs at UCF. Go Knights!! Sudipta Seal Director, AMPAC and NSTC Interim Chair, Materials Science & Engineering Department

UCF RESEARCHERS MAKE “INVISIBILITY” TECH BREAKTHROUGH Controlling and bending light around an object so it appears invisible to the naked eye is the theory behind fictional invisibility cloaks. It may seem easy in Hollywood movies, but is hard to create in real life because no material in nature has the properties necessary to bend light in such a way. Scientists have managed to create artificial nanostructures that can do the job, called metamaterials. But the challenge has been making enough of the material to turn science fiction into a practical reality. The work of Debashis Chanda at UCF, however, may have just cracked that barrier. The cover story in the March edition of the journal Advanced Optical Materials, explains how Chanda and fellow optical and nanotech experts were able to develop a larger swath of multilayer 3-D metamaterial operating in the visible spectral range. They accomplished this feat by using nanotransfer printing, which can potentially be engineered to modify surrounding refractive index needed for controlling propagation of light. “Such large-area fabrication of metamaterials following a simple printing technique will enable realization of novel devices based on engineered optical responses at the nanoscale,” said Chanda, an assistant professor at UCF. The nanotransfer printing technique creates metal/ dielectric composite films, which are stacked together in a 3-D architecture with nanoscale patterns for operation in the visible spectral range. Control of electromagnetic resonances over the 3-D space by structural manipulation

allows precise control over propagation of light. Following this technique, larger pieces of this special material can be created, which were previously limited to micron-scale size. By improving the technique, the team hopes to be able to create larger pieces of the material with engineered optical properties, which would make it practical to produce for real-life device applications. For example, the team could develop large-area metamaterial absorbers, which would enable fighter jets to remain invisible from detection systems. Other members of the research team include: Li Gao, Youngmin Kim, Kazuki Shigeta, Steven Hartanto and John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Abraham Vasquez-Guardado and Daniel Franklin from UCF: Christopher J. Progler from Photronics Inc. and Gregory R. Bogart from the Sandia National Laboratories. Chanda joined UCF in 2012 from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a joint appointment with the Nanoscience Technology Center and the College of Optics and Photonics. For some of his pioneering work, Debashis was awarded a Department of Energy solar innovation award and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council award among others. He also earned a National Science Foundation Summer Institute Fellowship.

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The American Chemical Society Orlando Local Section recently announced the winners of its 2013 Section Awards. Lei Zhai won the award for Outstanding Chemist. Zhai is an Associate Professor with appointments in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, Chemistry, and Materials Science & Engineering. With more than 163,000 members, the American Chemical Society is

the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A non-profit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe. The ACS Orlando Local Section represents seven counties in Central Florida. The growing Orlando section promotes public awareness of chemistry by being involved in community outreach programs and by working with students and teachers of chemistry and science.


Two University of Central Florida scientists have earned national awards because their inventions are expected to make a difference in fueling future commercial spacecraft and in the efficiency of solar panels needed to convert sunlight into electricity. TechConnect World has selected engineering professors Sudipta Seal and Neelkanth G. Dhere for 2014 TechConnect National Innovation Awards. The organization is the world’s largest multi-disciplinary, multi-sector conference and marketplace of vetted innovations, innovators and technology business developers and funders. Winners were selected for the potential positive impact their technology will have on a specific industry sector. Harvard University, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, King Saud University and the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology were among the 67 winners. They will be recognized during the TechConnect National Innovation Showcase, June 17-18 in Washington, D.C. Seal, director of both the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center and the NanoScience Tech Center was recognized for his work in the area of nanotechnology. Dhere, who works at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, earned the award for his work in solar power. Seal and his team, in collaboration with professor Eric Petersen at Texas A&M University, found a way to engineer nanoparticles that grow within solid and liquid substances used for propellants in collaboration. Propellants are used to fuel commercial space-launch vehicles as well as government satellite launches. It’s an industry that makes an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion annually. By having nanoparticles grow within the substances, Seal can make the propellants more efficient and less expensive to produce. Coinventors

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include former UCF engineering professor Eric Petersen, now a professor of engineering at Texas A&M University, and UCF graduate students David Reid and Robert Draper . “This is great news,” Seal said. “This technology has many applications including opening up the field of polymer composites.” Dhere and his team of graduate students developed a new way to prepare absorber films for photovoltaic solar panels that makes them more efficient and less expensive. Dhere’s method includes a new process for using the metal organic compound diethyl selenium. The new approach is also safer than the traditional route used in the industry, Dhere said. The novel process can be easily scaled to large-scale panels, which utility companies can then use to generate power from sunlight. This power is then fed into the electrical grid to provide energy to homes around the country. Starting next year Dhere predicts that electricity produced from photovoltaics will cost less than electricity from natural gas, which will increase demand. The ability to make solar panels more efficient and less expensive will then become even more important, he said. One of his graduate students said he is thrilled to be part of the winning team. “This is really great,” said Eric Schneller. “This developed over a long period of time and could really have a big impact. I am fortunate to be part of the team that finalized this technique.”

STUDENT NEWS DOSHI WINS POSTER AWARD AT ESP2014 Mona Doshi won 2nd prize for her poster presentation at ESP2014 in Santa Fe Mona is a member of Dr. Andre Gesquiere’s research group. Mona’s poster presentation, “Application of Charge Transfer and Triplet Photochemistry in conjugated conducting polymer/fullerene nanoparticles in Curing Cancer,” featured research conducted with Dr. Gesquiere and Dr. Alicja Copik of UCF’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. Gesquiere is an Associate Professor with the NanoScience Technology Center and Department of Chemistry. The Excited State Processes in Electronic and Bio Nanomaterials Conference focuses on fundamental photoinduced phenomena in various nanostructured materials.


Rameech McCormack, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering student, was honored at the FGLSAMP Expo 2014 in Jacksonville, FL. His engineering poster won first place at the conference.

Rameech is an undergraduate in Dr. Sudipta Seal’s research group. His work focuses on sensors and materials characterization. In October, Rameech was the only undergraduate winner of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization’s 2013 Student Award. He also presented at the SNO Conference in November in Santa Barbara, CA.

UCF STUDENTS WIN POSTER AWARDS AT 225TH ECS MEETING UCF students won two poster awards at the 225th Electrochemical Society Meeting in Orlando. The competition was highly competitive, and, after several rounds of judging, only 4 awards were presented among 84 posters from presenters around the country and abroad. The following UCF students and faculty were honored:

1ST PLACE, SOLID STATE “Room temperature hydrogen detection with the use of engineered nanostructrued tinoxide array” Rameech McCormack (REU, MAE), Nozomi Shirato, Umesh Singh (Grad, MSE), Soumen Das (NSTC-Postdoc), Amit Kumar (AMPAC-Postdoc), Hyoung J. Cho, Ramki Kalyanaraman, Sudipta Seal

2ND PLACE, ELECTROCHEMISTRY “Detection of H2O2 Using Redox Active Nanoparticles Immobilized on Highly Ordered Polymer Nanopillars” Swetha Barkam (Grad, MSE), Zenan Yu (Grad, MSE), Rameech McCormack (REU, MAE), Shashank Saraf (Grad, MSE), Jayan Thomas, Sudipta Seal Rameech McCormack (pictured, second from left), Swetha Barkam (pictured, third from left), and Shashank Saraf are members of Dr. Sudipta Seal’s research group. Rameech is an undergraduate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a participant in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Swetha and Shashank are Ph.D. candidates in Materials Science & Engineering Zenan Yu is a Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Jayan Thomas’s research group. He is pursuing a degree in Materials Science and Engineering.

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NANO STUDENTS WIN ‘14-15 SCHOLARSHIPS Swetha Barkam (pictured at left) and Rameech McCormack (pictured, page 7) have been awarded scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year. Both students are members of Dr. Sudipta Seal’s research group and the College of Engineering & Computer Science. Swetha, a Ph.D. candidate (Materials Science & Engineering), will receive the Austin L. Grogan Memorial Scholarship. The award is worth $500.00. Her research interests include interaction and application of nanoparticles in biology. Rameech was selected to receive the Whalen Family Trust Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00. The scholarship is open to juniors and seniors in Aerospace Engineering. Rameech’s research interests include sensors and materials characterization.


Ushaben (Usha) Lal is a recent graduate of UCF’s Leadership Enhancement Program. Usha is a Travel Coordinator at the NanoScience Technology Center. Usha attended monthly seminars and gained higher level knowledge to serve researchers and UCF professionally. In addition, the LEP scholars hosted a Leadership Institute (“Leadership Legacy”) attended by 200 participants. In a congratulatory letter, UCF President John Hitt wrote, “Usha’s selection reflects highly on her personal qualifications and her supervisor’s confidence in her leadership potential”.

Congratulations to Usha from Dr. S. Seal Usha, along with NSTC’s Diane Maldonado, volunteered time for UCF’s Diversity Week at the Diversity Initiative Breakfast on October 21, 2013. Diane and Usha were part of a team of UCF employees whose efforts made for a successful event.

GRAD STUDENTS WIN RESEARCH EXCELLENCE FELLOWSHIP Graduate students Le Zhou and Shashank Saraf from the Materials Science & Engineering department, have been awarded UCF’s Graduate Research Excellence Fellowship. The UCF College of Graduate Studies presents the fellowship annually to outstanding graduate students who have excellent research backgrounds and proposals for the thesis or dissertation phase of their graduate degree programs. The fellowship is a supplement to the students’ graduate research assistantship. The award is worth up to $2,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. Saraf is a member of Dr. Sudipta Seal’s research group. His interests include interaction of the nanoparticle in liquidsolid environment, its kinetics and thermodynamics, and its implication in biology. Zhou is a member of Dr. Yongho Sohn’s group. He is currently researching phase transformations in Ni-Mn-Ge alloys for magnetocaloric applications.


Sandra (Sandy) Griggs started her career in technical schools. She worked as an office manager for High-Tech Institute and Registrar and Bursar for Everglades University, before moving on to Lincoln Technical where she worked in the library and admissions office. The most rewarding part of her job was working with students. They weren’t typical college students, but rather working moms and dads seeking a brighter future for themselves and their children. Graduations were special, family events with standing room only. Sandy plans to finish her degree at UCF and show her son “that you’re never too old to follow your dreams with persistence, patience and, as we say in Mexico , “con ganas,” which means with desire or drive.


Phone: (407) 882-1455 | Fax: (407) 882-1462 | NANOSCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CENTER

Phone: (407) 882-1578 | Fax: (407) 882-2819 |


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NanoMaterials spring14  

NanoMaterials provides news and insight from nano and materials science research at the University of Central Florida. The magazine is publi...

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