E X C E L L E N C E T H R O U G H I N N O VAT I O N
IN THIS ISSUE Turning the very, very small into the next big thing Nanoparticles recruited to destroy cancerous tumors Imaging the unseen â€” through galactic dust or the fog of war Light-absorbing polymers turn photovoltaics into green technology
More on research at UMass Lowell www.uml.edu/research
EXCELLENCE THROUGH INNOVATION
SPRING 2009 Ingenuity is published by the Office of Public Affairs University of Massachusetts Lowell
Chancellor Marty Meehan Provost Ahmed Abdelal Chief Public Affairs Officer Patricia McCafferty Director of Publications and Publisher Mary Lou Hubbell
FROM THE PROVOST As a public university, UMass Lowell has a profound commitment to address the needs of our community. Today, the definition of community
Editor Sandra Seitz Staff Writers Edwin Aguirre Renae Lias Claffey Elizabeth James Sandra Seitz Graphic Design Paul Shilale The University of Massachusetts Lowell is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action, Title IX, H/V, ADA 1990 Employer.
extends from our region of the state to the world. We have researchers who are leaders in innovation, who collaborate with each other in bold new ways and who are deeply engaged in corporate and international partnerships. I want to introduce you to the impressive range of interdisciplinary science and engineering research at UMass Lowell. In this inaugural issue of Ingenuity, you will get a glimpse of some of the developments emerging from our labs today as we tackle todayâ€™s major health, environmental, technological and economic development challenges. For more information about our research, go to uml.edu/research.
Please direct address changes and comments, Including requests for permission to reprint, to: Office of Public Affairs University of Massachusetts Lowell One University Avenue Lowell, MA 01854 Tel. (978) 934-3223 Email: Marylou_hubbell@uml.edu
Ahmed T. Abdelal Provost
TABLE OF CONTENTS SPRING 2009
NANOTECHNOLOGY The Very Small Grows Very Big – Safely Leading research in the fundamental science of manufacturing at the nanoscale and collaborating for commercialization. Related Research Drug-eluting stents. Quantum dots. Nanosensors.
NANOMEDICINE Cancer Research Explores New Technology for Patient Benefit Innovative approaches to cancer treatments – nanoparticles, green tea catechins and protection during radiation. Related Research Nano drug delivery. Nano-based biosensors. Life Sciences award.
IMAGING Seeing the Unseen: Advances in Imaging Exciting things being done with submillimeter microwave imaging, from “seeing” hidden weapons to penetrating the galaxy’s interstellar dust. Related Research Metamaterials. Radiation Laboratory. Measuring the magnetosphere.
GREEN TECHNOLOGY Start With a Polymer, Add Creativity and Voila! Flexible Solar Cells Developing innovative, green and sustainable methods of making new materials, including flexible, lightweight photovoltaics. Related Research Greening PVC. Electronic ink. Wind turbine structural integrity.
ALSO INSIDE: Research Snapshots New centers, facilities and programs. Patents and licensing. Partnerships, grants and student research.
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THE VERY, VERY SMALL GROWS VERY, VERY BIGâ€”SAFELY UMass Lowellâ€™s Nanomanufacturing Center leads in applications in industry, defense and medicine.
[SYNOPSIS] Nanotechnology offers great promise for the future and great challenges in the present. UMass Lowell is a leading center of research in the fundamental science of manufacturing at the nanoscale and a collaborative partner for commercialization. Our mission includes simultaneous research on health and safety, and environmental impacts.
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The promise of future-changing technology Nanotechnology is widely regarded as the next world-changing technology that will enable cascading breakthroughs in ways as yet undreamed of. Like the development of electricity and computing before it, the full flowering of nano will change everything in the decades to come. Meanwhile, existing products can be made more useful, cost-effective and durable through incorporation of nanoelements. “At the nanoscale, materials behave in unique and unusual ways,” says Joey Mead, professor of plastics engineering and co-director of the Nanomanufacturing Center. “It’s a matter of surfaces and interfaces: the surface of a nanoparticle is a much greater percentage of its bulk, so miniaturized versions of normal manufacturing processes will not work. New processes have to be researched and developed, crossing disciplines such as chemistry, physics, engineering and biology.” Once the novel approach or process is mastered — whether it’s template-directed assembly, electrospinning, self-assembly or something else — nanoelements can make products lighter weight, with better Continued
The UMass Lowell Nanomanufacturing Center Co-Directors: Prof. Joey Mead, Plastics Engineering; Prof. Julie Chen, Mechanical Engineering; Prof. Carol Barry, Plastics Engineering Interdisciplinary teams work on: • • • • •
Nanomedicine Nanomaterials Nanoelectronics Environmental Health and Safety Sensors
Since inception the Center has received more than $24 million in funding, including $3.4 million for the NSF Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing, $5 million from the John Adams Innovation Institute and $3 million from the Army Multifunctional Sensor Center. Industry partners range from start-ups to large companies, including Raytheon, Nypro, Konarka and Triton.
Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell The Plastics Engineering Department is an internationally-recognized source of research and education in plastics and polymers. Founded in 1954, it offers the only ABET-accredited undergraduate program in the U.S. and has more than 3,000 alumni. The program combines hands-on laboratory experiences with the fundamentals of mathematics, science and engineering. Constant feedback from industry and alumni ensures relevance in plastics manufacturing and design technologies, while industry partners have contributed to the update and outfitting of laboratories.
UMASS LOWELL IS A PARTNER IN A NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION NANO SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CENTER (NSF NSEC) ONE OF ONLY FOUR IN THE COUNTRY THAT ARE DEVOTED TO RESEARCH IN NANOMANUFACTURING. PARTNERS INCLUDE NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MICHIGAN STATE. UMASS LOWELL INGENUITY 2009 3
performance, in applications as diverse as flexible electronics, photovoltaics, biosensors and drug delivery. The Center includes a comprehensive educational program that reaches all levels, with new seminars and courses, a graduate certificate and modules in existing courses. Outreach includes teacher/student workshops, programming with the Museum of Science and industrial seminars.
release nutrients according to pH changes in the cells: a celldriven, self-feed bioprocess that continuously monitors the cell chemistry. The end result? Happier cells, happier technicians and happier company executives.
Researching risk, right from the beginning Fulfilling the promise of nanomanufacturing, like any emerging technology, may pose unanticipated risks to workers, the public and the environment. UMass Lowell sets the standard for responsible research. “The key to our mission is to couple nanomanufacturing research with parallel research on health and environmental impacts,” says Julie Chen, professor of mechanical engineering and co-director of the Nanomanufacturing Center. “In that way, we work to build safe practices into the production processes, from the beginning.” For example, handling nanoparticles in a lab — measure, fill, pour — poses a new challenge since the particles behave more like a gas, drifting about and not settling. Michael Ellenbecker, professor of work environment, directs a study of the handling of nanoparticles in a fume hood to determine possible exposures and to evaluate different hoods. A new hood design, with a constant-velocity air curtain washing down the open front, blocks the particles effectively.
Research achievements are wide-ranging With about 40 faculty researchers and more than 100 students, nanomanufacturing research at UMass Lowell has accrued a record of achievement in this still-nascent field, helping to accelerate technology transfer where it is needed through interdisciplinary teams. Take the cell culture NANI, for example: the Novel Automated Nutrient Incorporation project. Researchers are working with biotech companies on a problem in stem cell research – that Ph.D.-level technicians must “feed” the cells around the clock. The cost is high, it’s hard on the technicians and each operation is an opportunity for error. The team has created a novel hydrogel system – little beads that will float in the cell medium and
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MASSACHUSETTS HAS NAMED UMASS LOWELL A CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR NANOMANUFACTURING, PROVIDING FUNDS THROUGH THE JOHN ADAMS INNOVATION INSTITUTE FOR UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY RESEARCH LEADING TO COMMERCIALIZATION.
Related Research: Nanotechnology EMBEDDED SENSORS CHECK FOR CRACKS, WILL TRAVEL Researcher: Asst. Prof. Ramaswamy Nagarajan, Plastics Engineering Department The body armor worn by U.S. soldiers in the field can develop hidden cracks, sharply reducing its effectiveness. Ram Nagarajan has developed wireless sensors that can monitor the structural integrity of critical safety items, including body armor. He works with silver ink made of micro/nanoparticles that can be printed onto a variety of substrates. The resulting sensors are wireless and passive (with no power source on the device itself) printed onto surfaces that need to be monitored. Interrogated remotely by radio frequency, the sensors reveal cracks and strains even in the absence of a clear line of sight. Monitoring of structural health is greatly needed, whether for personal safety devices, the integrity of key equipment or the country’s aging infrastructure. “Most sensors in current use have wire connections, making them less adaptable in diverse settings,” says Nagarajan. “Our innovation is in the micro/nanoparticle ink, which can be printed on plastic, polymer or ceramic to create sensors that can be monitored wirelessly.” These nanostructured sensors can be fabricated using low-cost, large-scale manufacturing techniques. Sensors can be adapted to track humidity, pressure and vibration, in addition to strain and crack detection in critical components.
NEW TECHNOLOGY USES NANOSPHERE LITHOGRAPHY FOR QUANTUM DOTS Researchers: Prof. William Goodhue, Asst. Prof. Dan Wasserman, Physics Department Researchers at the Photonics Center, co-directed by Goodhue and Wasserman, have made a breakthrough in assembling precise quantum dot arrays using nanosphere lithography. Quantum dots are a new form of semiconductor whose dimensions are so small that their optical and electronic properties are determined as much by their size as their material composition. They are versatile, since these properties can be manipulated by controlling the dot dimensions and material. Applications include transistors, lasers and detectors, with potential in medical imaging as well as quantum computing and communication. Use of optically active quantum dots, fabricated from gallium indium arsenide, opens up the infrared region of the spectrum. Unlike self-assembled quantum dots, which resemble pyramids, the new technology yields nano-discs. “The discs are easier to both model and characterize,” says Goodhue. “And this fabrication process makes them uniform and ordered, allowing for control of density. The disc diameter controls wavelength.” Nanosphere lithography is also low cost — “It uses a beaker and spinner instead of an electron beam writing machine”— and a high throughput process, suitable for production.
ADVANCED MATERIALS FOR BIOMEDICAL DEVICES Researcher: Prof. Rudolf Faust, Chemistry Department Prof. Rudolf Faust and his research group are working with Boston Scientific Corp. to develop new biocompatible and functional materials for better performance in several medical devices. He has a long standing collaboration with Boston Scientific and was a key participant in development of the Taxus™ drug-eluting stent. This stent contains an antiproliferative drug that helps prevent a re-narrowing of the artery following angioplastic surgery. Faust worked with Boston Scientific to perfect the challenging scale-up and production processes for the polymer, which coats the stent and controls drug release — specifically, a triblock copolymer, produced by the living cationic polymerization process that Faust helped to pioneer. Recently, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awarded a grant of $200,000 a year for three years, to be matched by Boston Scientific. The collaborative research team will work on the design, precision synthesis and nanomanufacturing of new materials, specifically polyisobutylene-based urethane lead coatings to be used with pacemakers and defibrillators. The grants are intended to fund collaborations among scientists, academic institutions and industry that show scientific merit and promise what the center deems “significant” commercial potential in the near term.
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[SYNOPSIS] Distinguished University Professor Susan Braunhut uses rigorous technique and cross-disciplinary collaborations to develop innovative approaches to cancer treatments: nanoparticles that destroy tumors with heat, green tea catechins effective against breast cancer cells, compounds that protect key organs during radiation.
RESEARCH IN LAB KEEPS CANCER PATIENTS FIRMLY IN MIND Nano-Technology Leads to New Therapies
UMASS LOWELL IS RESEARCHING HUMAN LIMB REGENERATION, FUNDED BY AN $8.5 MILLION DARPA GRANT TO A CONSORTIUM WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH AND THE WISTAR INSTITUTE. 6
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Improved patient care is the goal Cancer patients and their well-being are never far from the thoughts of Susan Braunhut and her research team, even though the research results may be useful to doctors and patients only many months, or years, in the future. Pure and applied research, yes, but with a clear purpose.
Nanoparticles fight cancer tumors Braunhut, a University Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, has worked on an innovative form of cancer treatment, as consulting scientist with Aduro Biotech (formerly Triton BioSystems). The treatment works by attaching magnetic nanoparticle bioprobes to specific antibodies, which then seek out and attach to the target tumor. When a magnetic field is activated, the bioprobe particles heat up and kill cancer cells, but not any of the surrounding healthy cells. “It gives us laser-like precision and, so far, has shown no side effects,” says Braunhut. “The antibody-guided nanoparticles attach only to tumor cells and not normal cells and are benign until activated.” The antibody is varied according to the target cancer type: breast, ovarian, prostate. The therapy is also unique in allowing for precise control of the length of treatment. The development of this promising new treatment is in animal testing for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process.
Collaboration for innovative cancer treatments Braunhut, whose lab has been a source of research related to breast cancer for more than a decade, is collaborating with Physics Prof. Jayant Kumar and a research group including Drs. S. Nagarajan, R. Nagarajan, and Drs. Samuelson and Bruno from the Natick Army Research Labs. The interdisciplinary team has modified an active component of green tea – a catechin – Continued
Researcher: Susan Braunhut, University Professor, Biological Sciences Department Dr. Braunhut has worked continuously in cancer therapy and diagnosis, regenerative medicine and tissue reconstruction, radiobiology and biosensors. Her laboratory includes undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistant professors and research staff. She serves as a reviewer for three national study sections and reviews manuscripts for numerous journals. Her work has been published in nationally recognized and international journals. Braunhut’s lab is engaged in several research endeavors, including: • new approaches to treatment of cancer using chemotherapeutic agents, ionizing radiation and hyperthermia • use of biomaterials to improve wound-healing and trigger tissue regeneration Medical device applications include: Quartz Crystal Nanobalance uses living cells to detect environmental toxins: use against bioterrorism or during nanomanufacturing. Collaboration with ECE Asst. Prof. Joel Therrien and Chemistry Prof. Ken Marx. The Smart Bandage Medical device for treatment of wounds and burns using the cell’s growth factors. Collaboration with Prof. Marx. Antibody-directed Magnetic Nanoparticles Novel treatment for breast cancer using magnetic nanoparticles bound to antibodies. Collaboration with Aduro BioTech Inc. and Triton Biosystems, Inc.
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“The presumption had always been that treatment more than eight minutes after exposure was pointless. Secondary biochemical reactions in the body lead to later symptoms,” says Braunhut. But the Wisconsin research showed some mitigating agents could effectively increase animal survival up to 24 hours. And, in cell models, normal cells were spared from radiation effects. “Now we can apply this to cancer therapy for protection [of normal tissue] before, during and after radiation,” she says. “This has changed the thinking in the field.”
using benign green chemistry techniques, which make it remarkably effective against breast cancer cells while it doesn’t harm normal cells. The key breakthrough is the use of naturally occurring enzymes to “stitch together” green tea catechins – yielding polycatechins that are selectively effective against breast cancer. “We’ve made rapid progress by working together,” says Braunhut. “The compound is much more potent against cancer cells when compared to the naturally occurring catechins, besides being more stable.” The new polycatechins, tested in vitro in Braunhut’s lab, are potent in inhibiting several types of human breast cancer cells. Even more interesting, they are more effective at much lower dosages than naturally occurring catechins and do not harm the growth of normal mammary cells.
At UMass Lowell, Braunhut has the unique benefit of access to neutron and gamma irradiation facilities at the Radiation Laboratory on campus, which is planned as a core facility for this multi-university research project. Various compounds generated by 27 different labs working on this problem, using mouse models and X-ray screening, could be sent here for advanced testing. Braunhut’s collaborator is Mark Tries, associate professor of radiological sciences.
Learning what salamanders know – how to regenerate a limb Working with collaborator Prof. Kenneth Marx of the Chemistry Department, in a consortium headed by Dr. Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Braunhut is pursuing what she calls a “mind-blowing” innovation – to make a limb re-grow in an adult mammal. The project, funded by a $8.5 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant, is designed tease out the cellular and molecular processes of limb regeneration, such as in salamanders, and harness these for mammals.
Compounds to protect tissues during radiation Braunhut, is starting a collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin that may lead to dramatically new options in cancer therapy. The project, funded by the National Cancer Institute, grew out of a request by the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy to investigate what healthcare measures could be taken to mitigate radiation damage to people exposed to a ‘dirty bomb’ blast.
“Now we can apply this to cancer therapy for protection [of normal tissue] before, during and after radiation. This has changed the thinking in the field.” — Susan Braunhut
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Braunhut and Marx have extensive experience in tissue healing – the biochemistry of the extracellular matrix. Combining this with expertise in stem cell research and the regulation of gene expression, the team’s goal is to discover what’s required to change the molecular path in mammals from developing scar tissue to developing a functional limb.
Related Research: Nanomedicine LIFE SCIENCES MOMENT FUND AWARDS GRANT TO MULTI-CAMPUS TEAM
NEW SYSTEM DELIVERS POWERFUL DRUGS MORE SAFELY
Researchers: Prof. Garry Handelman, Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences Department; Assoc. Prof. A. James Lee, Community Heath and Sustainability Department; and Assoc. Prof. Lori Pbert at UMass Medical School
One of the ironies of modern medicine is that effective cancer-fighting drugs have toxic side effects in the body and are made in processes that include carcinogens. Other drugs never see patient use due to their poor formulation. If the drugs could be delivered to the tumor without causing harm along the way, cancer treatment would be much improved. Prof. Bob Nicolosi, director of the Center for Health & Disease Research, leads a team that has developed new drug delivery systems that show great promise. The new method is a form of nanoemulsion that self assembles.
An interdisciplinary research team received a $200,000 grant from the UMass Life Sciences Moment Fund to tackle the rising rates of risk factors in 9-13 yearolds in ethnically and economically diverse communities. The researchers, Garry Handelman and A. James Lee at UMass Lowell and Lori Pbert at UMass Medical School, are in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell and the Lowell Community Health Center to develop nutrition and physical activity programs. Their goal: to prevent children from developing Type II diabetes as young adults, a disease that typically occurs in 50-60 yearold adults, but has shown a spike in younger individuals. Diabetes now affects nearly 24 million people in the United States, an increase of more than 3 million in approximately two years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Studies show that the occurrence of Type II diabetes is rising in minority youth because of obesity and inactivity. The disease is more common in some racial and ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans and some Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The Life Sciences Moment Fund awarded $750,000 to five teams of inter-campus researchers at the University of Massachusetts. Part of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science, the $1 million Life Sciences Moment Fund seeks to accelerate the timeline for bringing basic scientific research findings to the bedside by leveraging expertise from each of the five UMass campuses to develop new and promising research partnerships.
Researcher: Prof. Robert Nicolosi, Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences Department
“We’ve been able to incorporate difficult lipid- or water-soluble drugs within the nanoemulsion, without using the toxic levels of surfactants typically required,” says Nicolosi. “Our systems are up to one hundred times more efficacious.” In cancer cell lines using in vitro experiments, the new system shows dramatic effectiveness in limiting the proliferation of cancerous tumor cells. It also increases apoptosis – the programmed death of tumor cells – and is absorbed more easily into cells. Key members of the research team are Assoc. Prof. Thomas Wilson and doctoral students from the Biomedical Engineering/Biotechnology Ph.D Program. Patents are pending. The methodology is available for licensing.
TINY SENSORS DETECT VIRUSES, BACTERIA Researcher: Asst. Prof. Xingwei Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Rapid identification of infectious viruses, bacteria and other noxious cells is one of the vexing problems in biomedical research. Now, a UMass Lowell researcher and her team are showing significant The biosensor is based on a biconic tapered fiber. progress. Xingwei Wang has received a New Investigator Award from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The grant, $100,000 for each of the next three years, is part of a program to spur innovative research and advance the careers of promising new researchers. Wang’s research team is working on development of miniature bio-sensing probes for rapid detection of viruses and bacteria. “Our objective is to create and validate a low-cost optical-fiber biosensor featuring a miniature sensing probe, real-time response, label-free direct detection and high sensitivity,” says Wang. The sensors are tiny – the diameter of a human hair – and are being developed for use in everything from health care to common household items like kitchen utensils or toothbrushes to detect food- or water-borne bacteria. UMASS LOWELL INGENUITY 2009
SEEING THE UNSEEN Submillimeter-Wave Technology Offers Breakthroughs in Science and Engineering
[SYNOPSIS] For three decades, UMass Lowellâ€™s Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory has been at the forefront of terahertz research.
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Next generation imaging Imagine an airport security checkpoint that uses high-frequency microwaves and beyond to “see through” clothing to reveal any hidden weapons or explosives; a portable radar system that allows soldiers in the field to tell whether an activity is friendly or hostile; or a telescope that enables astronomers to penetrate the Milky Way galaxy’s obscuring clouds of gas and dust to look at newborn stars. These are just some of the exciting things being done with submillimeter-wave (also known as terahertz), millimeter-wave and microwave imaging. For the past 30 years, UMass Lowell’s Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory (STL) has been leading the way in this challenging, cutting-edge research. The Lab has developed and applied technology, primarily in the frequency range of 100 gigahertz to 5 terahertz, in the areas of military surveillance, homeland security, medical diagnostics and scientific and academic research. At the heart of the facility is a staff of 20 full-time researchers along with 40 graduate and undergraduate students. Together they design, build and maintain a variety of high-performance solid-state Carbon dioxide laser and laser-based measurement systems and implement a number of novel techniques for simulating microwave radar measurements in a laboratory environment. “Our staff represents scientists and engineers of every University discipline, and every aspect of our investigative studies requires interdisciplinary collaborations,” says STL director Dr. Robert Giles.
From the lab to the battlefield In 1979, then-STL director (now science advisor) Dr. Jerry Waldman recognized that emerging terahertz-frequency source/receiver technologies could be used to simulate the military’s sophisticated microwave radar systems in the laboratory to obtain characteristic radar “fingerprints,” or signatures, of aircraft, ships, tanks, trucks and other tactical vehicles at low cost and very high accuracy. The concept of radar scaling is embedded in the basic equations of electromagnetism and is similar to, but more exact than, aerodynamic scaling, where wind tunnels are employed with model aircraft. Continued
Researcher: Dr. Robert Giles, chair of the Physics Department and director/principal investigator of the Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory
Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory The Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory (STL) is a leader in terahertz transmitter and receiver technologies and a pioneer in designing and fabricating broadband solid-state multiplier sources, high-power ultrastable lasers and laser/microwave hybrid systems. The Lab’s research team and students build and maintain a variety of high-performance solid-state and laser-based measurement systems to generate terahertz-frequency radiation. These systems are used to develop a wide range of materials characterization techniques and high-resolution imaging systems for industry and the Department of Defense. Submillimeter and radar technologies are being developed and applied in the following areas: • Radar signature acquisition and analysis • Novel terahertz laser sources • Materials characterization and optical components • Ultrahigh-frequency solid-state devices • Automated positioning control systems • Terahertz molecular spectroscopy
TERAHERTZ-FREQUENCY SYSTEMS WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY COMMONPLACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY FOR APPLICATIONS SUCH AS RADAR IMAGERY, MEDICAL DIAGNOSTICS, DRUG QUALITY CONTROL, HOMELAND SECURITY AND REMOTE SENSING OF THE EARTH AND THE COSMOS. UMASS LOWELL INGENUITY 2009 11
Scaling the acquisition of radar-signature data requires realistic modeling of the ground terrain as well as fabricating precisely scaled replicas of tactical vehicles. A significant portion of STL’s efforts concentrate on building precision scale models of a wide variety of vehicles. The Lab’s success also relies on carefully designed metallic and non-metallic coatings and structures that are added to the models to simulate the full-scale vehicle’s radar-scattering behavior. STL produces comprehensive libraries of target radar signatures of vehicles for use by agencies developing automated target-recognition systems.
Researchers at the Lab spent more than a decade engineering and fabricating scale versions of the military radars and high-precision models of actual targets, as well as measuring and analyzing the resulting radar backscatter. To reduce background stray scatter, the Lab developed a unique anechoic (radiation-absorbing) material called FIRAM™, which is vastly superior to other materials at submillimeter wavelengths. “As a member of ERADS, the Expert Radar Signature Solutions consortium developed by the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center [NGIC], we and our government sponsors are the only research program that uses terahertz-frequency measurement systems to collect real-world radar signature data,” says Dr. Giles in explaining the lab’s unique position. ERADS also includes researchers at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and the University of Virginia. Today, the Lab’s high-resolution terahertz-imaging systems are so sensitive that, based on the radar reflections, they can distinguish a target’s non-metallic materials (rubber, fiberglass and canvas) or detect the target’s presence on desert, soil, asphalt, concrete and other terrains amid ground clutter found in actual military operations (troop packs, ammunition crates, fuel containers, etc.). To help fund STL’s research, in 2001 the
NGIC awarded the Lab a five-year, $27 million contract — the largest single award ever given to the University. In addition to its work for the Army, the Lab has used its unique capabilities to fulfill radar measurement requests from other Department of Defense agencies as well as defense-related laboratories and companies, including MIT Lincoln Lab, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Raytheon.
Other applications Beyond applications in surveillance technologies, the research team has been exploring medical imaging applications, materials characterization techniques and the space-based remote sensing of airborne chemical reactions in the Earth’s stratosphere, as well as new methods of generating and detecting terahertz radiation. Several years ago, the Lab, working on a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Astronomy Division with Prof. Sigfrid Yngvesson at UMass Amherst, sent a staff scientist and grad student to assist in submillimeter-wave astronomy experiments at Antarctica’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The stable, extremely dry atmospheric conditions at the site are optimal for submillimeter-wave spectral studies of the Milky Way’s interstellar medium. “These studies are important in understanding the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies,” says Giles.
STL is leveraging its expertise in terahertz technology to develop advanced imaging systems to detect objects such as weapons and explosives hidden under clothing.
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STL graduate student Elizabeth Ehasz stands next to the Ceremonial South Pole marker. Ehasz was sent to Antarctica to work on a terahertz laser used in a National Science Foundation radio astronomy experiment.
Related Research: Imaging METAMATERIALS—THEORETICAL STEALTH MATERIALS MAY BE ATTAINABLE Researcher: Assoc. Prof. Alkim Akyurtlu, Electrical and Computer Engineering Alkim Akyurtlu is putting theory and experiment together to explore materials that don’t exist in nature – metamaterials – in order to understand and demonstrate their novel properties. Metamaterials can be designed to change the two fundamental electromagnetic properties of materials, the permittivity (electrical) and permeability (magnetic). In theory, if these properties are simultaneously negative, the material would refract the light in the opposite direction from the normal and lead to interesting applications in light focusing, anti-reflection coatings and cloaking (in sci-fi terms, making things ‘disappear’). One project involves something that has never been done – development of isotropic 3-D negative index metamaterials in the area of visible light. Akyurtlu and her team designed a novel structure using nanoparticles embedded in a low-loss host medium. The concept was proved experimentally in a project using this material as a perfect lens – the sample showed negative refraction. Funding sources include the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DARPA, NSF and the Missile Defense Agency.
UNIQUE RADIATION LAB EXPANDS IMAGING OPTIONS Directors: Physics Profs. Gunter Kegel, Partha Chowdhury Neutrons, protons and gamma rays are on tap at the Radiation Laboratory. These are quanta of matter and light, emitted from the deep recesses of the sub-atomic nucleus. When harnessed and made to interact with things in our everyday world, they are powerful tools in modern science and engineering. High-speed particles leave a blue
Researchers at UMass Lowell are workwake of light in the reactor pool. ing on interdisciplinary applications that range from materials modification and trace element detection to medical diagnostics and cancer therapy, from radiological science and neutron radiography to gamma ray imaging and homeland security. The Radiation Lab is a core facility, unique in the five-campus UMass system. It combines a university-based research reactor (one of fewer than 30 in the country), a gamma-ray irradiation facility and a particle accelerator capable of providing pulsed beams of fast protons and neutrons.
IMAGE THE INVISIBLE Researchers: Bodo Reinisch, director, and Paul Song, co-director, of the Center for Atmospheric Research Researchers at the Center for Atmospheric Research (CAR) have changed our understanding of the distant atmosphere around Earth and how it is affected by streams of magnetic activity from the Sun. The matter in space, called plasma, is so tenuous that it is invisible to human eyes. In 2000, NASA launched a satellite named IMAGE equipped with instruments using advanced technology and ideas to take pictures of the invisible materials in space. Riding on IMAGE, the Radio Plasma Imager (RPI), developed by CAR, used low-frequency radio sounding to measure the constantly shifting dimensions and plasma concentrations of the magnetosphere. “We asked ourselves, ‘How does plasma density depend on magnetic activity?’” says Reinisch. “It varies dramatically — changing by a factor of five to 10 — with more plasma during high magnetic activity. The plasmasphere is a dynamic entity, with plasma forced out during magnetic storms and then recovering and refilling.” IMAGE produced the first comprehensive global images of the plasma populations in the inner magnetosphere. With these images, space scientists were able to observe, in a way never before possible, the large-scale dynamics of the magnetosphere.
A new collaboration with UMass Dartmouth, funded by the UMass President’s Office, will develop a proton beam that can be focused down to a micron or less, for use in materials and life sciences applications. UMASS LOWELL INGENUITY 2009 13
START WITH A POLYMER, ADD SOME INGENUITY AND VOILA! â€“ FLEXIBLE SOLAR CELLS Innovative Technology at UMass Lowell Produces New Breed of Photovoltaics
[SYNOPSIS] As demand for clean, affordable and portable energy grows, researchers are searching for new ways to manufacture solar cells. Research teams at the Center for Advanced Materials have a breakthrough idea on how to meet this challenge, part of their innovative approach to green, sustainable methods of making new materials.
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Taking on a challenge It started with a problem posed by the U.S. Army Soldier Center in Natick. Could the Center for Advanced Materials, with its expertise in using new materials for interesting applications, develop flexible, lightweight photovoltaics? U.S. soldiers routinely carry 100 pounds or more of gear into combat. For a three-day mission in Afghanistan, the average amount carried jumps to 130 – 150 pounds. Consider the vital communications and electronics devices, and the batteries to power them, and you’re talking some ungainly loads. Could the Center come up with an alternative energy source, perhaps something that could be incorporated into a field tent? At the Center, the late founder Sukant Tripathy, professor of chemistry, and co-director Jayant Kumar, professor of physics, led a diverse group of faculty, students, post-docs and visiting scholars best described as curious and creative. Sophisticated equipment allows them to synthesize interesting materials, then characterize the new substances for their fundamental optical, chemical and electrical properties and functionality. They like to work with polymers, which are macromolecules, and with small molecules, perhaps stringing them together for new effects.
Harnessing the sun’s power with plastics Kumar explains the basic principles of solar energy harvesting: A photovoltaic cell uses a substance that absorbs sunlight and causes a current to flow. Typically, this is based on silicon, which is heavy and encased in glass. The research team’s key innovation in creating flexible organic photovoltaic cells was to sandwich dye-sensitized nano materials between polymer layers. They developed a novel technique, working with nanoparticles, Continued
CENTER FOR ADVANCED MATERIALS Director: Physics Prof. Jayant Kumar Prof. Kumar holds 32 patents awarded, with 16 others filed or pending. In the past 10 years, he has supervised 20 graduate students in chemistry and physics, of whom seven have received prestigious university and national awards. He directs the Center for Advanced Materials: a multi-disciplinary research and resource facility whose mission is to develop a knowledge base in the design, synthesis, characterization and intelligent processing of advanced materials in the areas of organic polymers, ceramics, biomaterials, composites, semiconductors and electrooptic materials. Numerous collaborative research programs with regional and national companies are underway.
WORLD ENERGY CONSUMPTION IS PROJECTED TO INCREASE 59% BY 2020, ESPECIALLY AMONG DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. SOLAR ENERGY CURRENTLY ACCOUNTS FOR LESS THAN 0.1% OF THE WORLD’S ENERGY MARKET. Source: International Energy Outlook 2001, EIA UMASS LOWELL INGENUITY 2009 15
devise a reaction using only water as a solvent, or no solvent at all, with as few steps as possible. Room-temperature reactions eliminate the energy use of high temperatures and the polluting side-products often produced.
Konarka’s new manufacturing facility in New Bedford is capable of producing more than one gigawatt (billion watts) of flexible plastic solar modules a year.
that replaces the corrosive liquid electrolytes commonly used in flexible solar cells. The resulting PV cells are effective across a much broader spectrum of light than silicon cells. Also, they can be used under natural or artificial light, in practically any weather, can be printed or coated onto the substrate using roll-to-roll low-temperature processing, and are manufactured in a nontoxic process. “Polymer-based solar cells are flexible, lightweight, durable and versatile, and can be mass produced at low cost,” says Kumar. They can be used to charge batteries and power portable consumer electronics and biomedical equipment. They can be incorporated into fabrics – soldiers in the field might have a tent that runs or recharges their electronics, for example – or embedded in roofing tiles for residential use.
Making the future greener Often, the processes for chemical synthesis of industrial materials or pharmaceuticals have relied on high temperatures, multiples steps, powerful solvents and toxic catalysts that are persistent and polluting. “When the cost of polluting was low, everyone used the cheapest methods and dumped the residue,” says Kumar. The trend is changing. Industries and pharmaceutical companies are turning to enzymes – nature’s catalysts – in the synthesis of materials. The Center is a leader in enzyme-based synthesis. Naturally-occurring enzymes are very expensive, so researchers are developing effective enzyme alternatives. They often use lipase, stitching the molecules together, and peroxidase, which is derived from horseradish. With these “created” enzymes, they
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A Lasting Legacy Sukant Tripathy envisioned creating a transformative technology that could bring light and electricity to millions of people. After his untimely death in 2000, the University carried through his plans for a spin-off company: Konarka Technologies, with Tripathy and Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Alan Heeger, as founding scientists. The name Konarka came from one of Tripathy’s favorite places – a 13th-century temple in Orissa, India, dedicated to Surya, the Hindu god of the sun. Today, Konarka is a world leader in developing advanced, nano-enabled polymer photovoltaic materials. It has secured more than $150 million in venture capital and government grants from the U.S. and Europe. Its launch marked the fulfillment of a dream. Says Kumar, “Sukant hoped to change the world.”
Related Research: Green Technology WIND ENERGY HELPED BY SMART SENSORS, IN REAL TIME Researchers: Prof. Peter Avitabile and Assoc. Prof. Christopher Niezrecki, Mechanical Engineering Department Developing and exploiting sources of sustainable energy – including wind power – represents one of the fundamental challenges for the country. Researchers at the Structural Dynamics and Acoustic Systems Laboratory, co-directed by Avitable and Niezrecki, are developing novel sensing approaches that will help improve the performance of wind turbines and make them more efficient and reliable. The key innovations are new ways to understand and predict the dynamic behavior of the turbine blades during rotation. One approach uses an optically based sensing technique, called digital image correlation, to monitor the structural health of the blades and to diagnose if the wind turbine needs to be repaired. Another analytical approach to structural monitoring is to measure a reduced set of degrees of freedom for the blades, predicting their interior and exterior spatial response, and identifying points in the structure that are likely to fail. The resulting fatigue accumulating in the blades’ internal members can be computed throughout the structure. This lowers operating costs through better scheduling of maintenance and, most importantly, decreases the likelihood of a catastrophic structural failure. The research team, in collaboration with researchers at UMass Amherst, has received seed funding from the UMass President’s Science and Technology Fund to form strategic partnerships with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratory’s Wind Energy Technology Department.
GREENING OF PVC Researcher: Asst. Prof. Daniel Schmidt, Plastics Engineering Department Daniel Schmidt has tackled a challenging problem: to develop practical, alternative flexible PVC formulations for wire and cable applications. Currently, such materials often contain cheap, though effective, phthalate plasticizers and lead stabilizers, but lead is known to be toxic and phthalates are under scrutiny as endocrine disrupters, as they appear to mimic estrogen. Replacing PVC is not a small problem—in the U.S., more than 2,000 million pounds annually of PVC coatings are made, used, and end up in landfills or elsewhere in the environment. Schmidt’s research group replaced the phthalate plasticizer with a vegetable oil derivative and the lead stabilizer with several non-lead alternatives. They added nanoclay to boost performance and used statistics to identify combinations of these additives that would produce a lead- and phthalate-free material that was safe, highly performing and economically viable. The research demonstrated that such alternative formulations have significant promise in multiple areas – with enhanced mechanical and fire-resistant properties, for instance – and indicated where further improvements could be made. Support came from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), including student researchers, and Teknor Apex Corporation.
PRINTING CIRCUITS AND SENSORS WITH ELECTRONIC INK Researcher: Assoc. Prof. Sanjeev Manohar, Chemical Engineering Department Prof. Manohar’s research group has developed an extremely simple green chemistry method to synthesize kilogram quantities of nanomaterials Using nanomaterials, an ordinary printer head can lay (fibers, spheres) of an entire family of plastics out electronic circuits on paper. called conducting polymers that show enormous potential in renewable energy storage and sensing devices. This research has led to the new area of electronic inks, or e-inks. The team has demonstrated that a water-based e-ink made of nanomaterials — conducting polymers and carbon nanotubes — can be used with a commercial off-the-shelf inkjet printer to print any desired pattern of nanomaterials on flexible substrates like plastic, paper and cloth. Electronic circuits also can be printed directly. An interesting application of these lightweight printed nanomaterials is their ability to detect a variety of chemical and biological vapors that are dangerous to humans. For example, inkjet-printed films of carbon nanotubes on plastics can be used to detect nerve agents, explosives, and a variety of very toxic chemical threat agents.
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RESEARCH SNAPSHOTS M2D2 GETS MEDICAL DEVICES TO MARKET IN UMASS LOWELL- UMASS WORCESTER PARTNERSHIP first 18 months of operation, while ten start-ups received either pass-through “fast-lane” funding or obtained federal funding in the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program with M2D2’s assistance.
From defibrillators to angioplasty stents, the medical device industry provides the tools of the trade to doctors, hospitals and home health aides – and Massachusetts is a national leader with the largest concentration of companies, employing more than 20,000. When a 2002 UMass report noted that the pipeline of new medical devices was running dry, researchers at the Lowell and Worcester campuses stepped in. The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, M2D2, was formed by UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering Prof. Stephen McCarthy and Dr. Sheila Noone, UMass Medical School’s assistant vice provost for clinical research. Its goal is to help start-up companies and entrepreneurs bridge the gap between the invention and commercial production of new medical devices - what McCarthy calls the ‘Valley of Death.’ With funding from the Science and Technology fund of the University of Massachusetts as well as from the John Adams Innovation Institute, M2D2 assisted a total of 23 start-up companies and entrepreneurs in its
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M2D2 assistance starts on a dual track. Doctors and nurses at the UMass Medical Center in Worcester evaluate each invention for its medical effectiveness, while faculty and students in Lowell’s College of Management determine whether the potential product meets key criteria for medical need, market niche and sound science. Asst. Prof. Steve Tello, who teaches management and entrepreneurship courses, recruits and leads the team of students, whose results are reviewed by M2D2’s advisory committee – composed of industry professionals, venture capitalists and experts in economic and technology development – before companies receive more direct assistance. M2D2’s new, targeted form of business incubator is headquartered in the Wannalancit Mills on campus. Entrepreneurs will have office space, shared services and ready access to the pool of student and faculty expertise on campus. After companies pass the medical screen and the business screen in the fast-lane program, M2D2 provides assistance in the form of matching funds, materials and process development, clinical trial help and access to potential venture capital and angel investors.
MASS. BIOMANUFACTURING CENTER HELPS BIOTECH COMPANIES The Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center, under the direction of Prof. Carl Lawton, is one key to ensuring that biotech companies locate manufacturing plants – and jobs – in the region, another example of how UMass Lowell uses industry-driven research to promote economic growth. First established as a bioprocessing development center a decade ago, the Center has partnered closely with industry and higher education. More than 20 biotech companies have been helped to bridge the gap from research to manufacturing. With workforce education, information exchange, process development expertise and shared equipment, the Center encourages biotech companies to manufacture new drugs in the region, rather than out of state or abroad. It allows smaller R&D firms to develop manufacturing processes applicable for drug development without the up-front substantial capital commitment otherwise necessary. The Center also works with the area’s large biopharmaceutical companies, such as Wyeth and Millipore, providing vital support. The Center recently opened the IPS – Wyeth – Dakota Systems Pilot Plant and the Millipore Corporation Process Development Laboratory, where students learn to use the more than $1 million of equipment donated by the four companies.
THWARTING CYBER CRIME — UMASS LOWELL TAKES THE LEAD Thieves. Pornographers. Cyber terrorists planning to disrupt commerce and government. They’re all out there. And, they all depend on anonymity. But they won’t get away with it for long. Jie Wang, professor and chair of the Computer Sciences Department, directs the Center for Information and Network Security. Young, talented faculty have been drawn to UMass Lowell, where they are developing innovative technology that may be applied to tracing cyber criminals.
Prof. Holly Yanco, right, and student Amanda Courtemanche demonstrate a prototype of the tabletop multi-touch panel display.
MICROSOFT CHOOSES PROFESSOR’S ROBOTICS PROJECT FOR FUNDING Microsoft Corp. has selected Assoc. Prof. Holly Yanco’s robotics project as one of eight proposals that will share $500,000 in research funding and advanced software applications. Yanco, who directs the Robotics Lab in the Computer Science Department, was selected from a field of 74 researchers from 24 countries by Microsoft Research. The research proposals examine the growing role of robots in society. UMass Lowell is collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, University of California Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, McGill University, United Arab Emirates University and University of South Florida. Yanco’s project came about after Hurricane Katrina exposed technological gaps that, despite the prevalence of satellite imagery, left many emergency responders resorting to hand-drawn paper maps to search for survivors. Although robot cameras were in use, they were limited to sending video only to operators at the site and not immediately to the staff coordinating search and rescue operations at the command center. “Our proposed intelligent, multi-touch command and control display system will allow collaboration by multiple users on multiple levels,” she says. Yanco and her team plan to use the tabletop display to create a multi-robot interface to monitor and interact with all the robots deployed at a disaster site.
“Using anonymity tools while surfing the Internet is a double-edged sword,” says Wang. “On the one hand, you may wish to share private files, or avoid giving your information to advertisers. But, cyber criminals use the same tools to avoid detection.” Asst. Prof. Xinwen Fu’s research, leading an international team of experts, has identified ways to bypass the Internet’s most popular anonymous communications network, called Tor. He presented their findings to the most recent Black Hat computer security conference, causing “quite a splash,” says Wang. For fighting cyber crime, the current tools are primitive or non-existent. Corporations and institutions rely on beefing up their firewalls, often hiring hackers to test their security systems. When a corporate breach occurs, or police are alerted to criminal activity, authorities don’t have the tools – but they will. “We are proposing to develop the first Massachusetts digital forensics center,” says Wang. “It’s a multi-campus proposal with the Amherst, Boston and Dartmouth campuses, and industrial partners.”
ASTEROID NAMED AFTER UMASS LOWELL An asteroid circling the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and measuring 2½ to 5½ miles across has been named after UMass Lowell. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) in August officially christened minor planet No. 7806 as “Umasslowell” in honor of the University’s academic and scientific achievements. “This is truly a unique honor for UMass Lowell,” says Chancellor Marty Meehan. “We’re grateful to the international astronomical community for this special recognition. It’s nice to know there’s a celestial body out there that bears the name of our University, and that it will forever be known as ‘Umasslowell.’ ” The IAU, through its 15-member Committee on Small Body Nomen-
clature, is the scientific organization responsible for the naming of small bodies in the solar system, such as asteroids and comets. Of the nearly 14,700 names that had been given so far to asteroids, only about 300 have been bestowed to institutes, observatories and universities. Umasslowell revolves around the Sun at an average distance of 226 million miles and takes 3.8 years to complete one orbit. The asteroid’s name was proposed by Edwin L. Aguirre, a former associate editor of Sky & Telescope magazine who is now the science and technology writer at UMass Lowell, and his wife, Imelda B. Joson, Sky & Telescope’s former photo editor.
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LICENSING AGREEMENTS TAKE RESEARCH TO THE PUBLIC UMass Lowell is committed to making intellectual property – discoveries and inventions developed in the lab – available for licensing as useful products. Four such agreements have been concluded recently.
Formulation that delays memory loss in Alzheimer’s patient’s Researcher: Prof. Thomas Shea of the Biological Sciences Department
Companies: Pharmavite and Universal Sequence Inc. (USI)
Early research used mice
Prof. Shea’s research has established the effectiveness of a vitamin-based formulation to improve memory and brain function of both normal adults and Alzheimer’s patients. To be marketed as MemoryXL® by USI, the formulation is the first non-prescription, low-cost intervention for Alzheimer’s disease. Additional clinical trials are testing whether the onset of Alzheimer’s can be delayed – if onset could be delayed by five years, more than 50 percent of those at risk would never experience the disease.
Polymer technology with potential application to medical devices
Nanoemulsions for pharmaceuticals and other products
High performance, biodegradable plastics are environmentally friendly
Researcher: Prof. Rudolf Faust of the Chemistry Department
Researcher: Prof. Robert Nicolosi of the Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences Department
Researcher: Prof. Stephen McCarthy of the Plastics Engineering Department
Company: Metabolix Inc.
Prof. Nicolosi’s research into selfassembly of polymer-based nanospheres using an oil/water/surfactant process is useful for the delivery of pharmaceuticals, anti-inflammatory agents, nutraceuticals and industrial products.
Prof. McCarthy has devised a method of blending two biodegradable plastics to make them more usable and less likely to become brittle with age. The technology is currently used in producing some plastic flatware, yogurt cups and other food packaging.
Company: Boston Scientific Prof. Faust has pioneered a polymerization process that is useful in the design and nanomanufacturing of special coatings for medical devices, such as drug-eluting stents, pacemakers and defribrillators. There is a critical need for biocompatible and functionally tailored materials for medical device applications – a bioengineering of materials for a specific function.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT EXCELS IN RESEARCH Senior Marco Bonett-Matiz graduates with an honors degree in physics and prospects for a long, accomplished career as he starts a Ph.D. program at Yale University. As a sophomore, he began work in the Nuclear Spectroscopy research group led by Prof. Partha Chowdhury. Using fast detectors of gamma-ray photons, he assembled an electronic setup to measure the speed of light on a table-top. His research poster at the 2008 Student Research Symposium won the C. Daniel Cole award for outstanding undergraduate research, given by Sigma Xi, the Science and Engineering Research Society. Bonett-Matiz has analyzed experimental data from a heavy-ion accelerator at the Argonne National Laboratory. He presented his results at a national meeting of the American Physical Society, as well as writing a thesis. He helped others as a math and physics tutor at the Centers for Learning and Academic Support Services, and won an outstanding Tutor Award in 2008.
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The awards and scholarships have been hard-earned. For Bonett-Matiz, as for many UMass Lowell students, the road to academic success was long and circuitous. Self-described as a young “rebel” who “passed through nine or 10 schools” in his native Colombia, Bonett-Matiz at 17 was a full-time worker without a high school degree when he arrived in the U.S. Years of 100-hour work weeks at menial jobs ensued, until he earned a GED and then a license to drive tractor-trailer trucks. Starting college, Bonett-Matiz made the practical choice to study electrical and computer engineering. “I was always interested in science – but I thought I had to compromise my goals,” he says. Once he realized he could make a living, he followed his heart into physics, while taking advanced math courses for pure pleasure.
NEW RESEARCH BUILDING TO BOOST EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
An artist’s rendering of UMass Lowell’s new Emerging Technologies Innovation Center, or ETIC
A signature building will soon provide core facilities for use in fundamental and translational research by faculty and corporate partners. The new Emerging Technologies Innovation Center, or ETIC, will house UMass Lowell’s research and corporate partnerships in nanomanufacturing applications in manufacturing and medicine. The key new core facility in ETIC will be a clean facility equipped with tools for use in nanomanufacturing. ETIC will also include stations for start-up companies, as well as flexibly configured lab space for faculty researchers and their industry collaborators. The new, dedicated research facility will extend many benefits to the campus and larger community. UMass Lowell will be well positioned to apply for and absorb increased federal funding for research in emerging disciplines that have high national priority. Corporations will be able to develop applications in emerging technologies. And the ETIC will help facilitate start-up companies in advanced and emerging
technologies through collaboration with faculty, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students, as well as conducting sponsored research. Productive collaborations and interaction with industry and government agencies are well established. Research at the Nanomanufacturing Center, for example, is conducted with companies of all sizes: Raytheon, Motorola, Tyco Electronics, Textron Systems, Nantero, TSI and Zyvex. The National Science Foundation, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center fund important projects. Advanced technology is the one manufacturing sector for which jobs are growing in Massachusetts. UMass Lowell will help ensure that job growth doesn’t stop where research and development ends.
BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY PROGRAM MEETS NEED FOR RESEARCHERS The more than 600 biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceutical and related companies in eastern Massachusetts form a nexus of technological innovation and development. The University of Massachusetts is filling the demand for PhD-level researchers with its joint degree program in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology. UMass Lowell participates with the UMass Worcester Medical School and with the UMass campuses in Dartmouth and Boston. “Biomedical engineering and biotechnology have continued to grow in economic importance,” says program Director Bryan Buchholz, professor in the Work Environment Department.
“That’s reflected in our growing enrollment, with 65 doctoral candidates at UMass Lowell, plus more than 30 distributed among the other campuses. Besides our many faculty who engage in collaborative research with industry, UMass has great potential for even closer collaboration between the engineering programs in Lowell and the clinical programs at the Medical School, both at the faculty and student level.” The program emphasizes a multidisciplinary, team approach. The strength of the UMass distance learning program allows for enrollment in any of the nearly 300 relevant graduate courses across the campuses, while each candidate receives faculty mentoring and research supervision at a home campus.
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CAMPUS SNAPSHOT 2009 UMass Lowell â€” Internationally recognized for excellence in engineering, science and urban engagement, UMass Lowell is a leader in nano- and bio-manufacturing, advanced materials and green plastics. Lowell offers 15 doctoral, 31 master's, and 37 bachelor's degree programs in fine arts, humanities, social and applied sciences, education, engineering, health and environment and management. Signature programs include plastics engineering, sound recording technology, community health and sustainability and entrepreneurship. The campus partners with industry, health care providers, schools and non-profit organizations to advance research, provide public service and enrich the student educational experience. Research activities exceeded $40.9 Million in FY08.