News


Daniel Lambrecht Receives 2017 Cottrell Scholar Award

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 1 March 2017

Daniel Lambrecht has been selected to receive a Research Corporation for Science Advancement 2017 Cottrell Scholar Award based on his proposal entitled "Bridging Quantum Chemistry and Chemical Intuition to Characterize, Understand and Design New Chemical Sensor Materials." 

Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) announces it has named two-dozen top early career academic scientists as 2017 Cottrell Scholars.The designation comes with a $100,000 award for each recipient for research and teaching, for a total of $2.4 million. “The Cottrell Scholar (CS) program champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy by providing these significant discretionary awards,” said RCSA Senior Program Director Silvia Ronco.

Read more about the award here.


Giannis Mpourmpakis Receives NSF CAREER Award

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 1 March 2017

Giannis Mpourmpakis' proposal "Designing synthesizable, ligand-protected bimetallic nanoparticles and modernizing engineering curriculum through computational nanoscience " was recently selected for an NSF CAREER award. 

Although scientists can chemically synthesize metal nanoparticles (NPs) of different shapes and sizes, understanding of NP growth mechanisms affecting their final morphology and associated properties is limited. With the potential for NPs to impact fields from energy to medicine and the environment, determining with computer simulations the NP growth mechanisms and morphologies that can be synthesized in the lab is critical to advance NP application. 
Because this is a relatively new field, traditional core courses in science and engineering lack examples from the nanotechnology arena. In addition to improving the research, the award will enable Giannis Mpourmpakis and his students to modernize the traditional course of Chemical Thermodynamics by introducing animation material based on cutting-edge nanotechnology examples, and developing a nanoscale-inspired interactive computer game.


Paving the Way Towards 1D Helical Conductors with Fractional Quantum Statistics

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 February 2017

In a letter published in the February 2017 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, Ben Hunt and his collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan describe how they engineered a graphene electron–hole bilayer device into a helical 1-dimensional (1D) conductor and characterized its transport properties. In a helical 1D conductor, electrons moving in opposite directions also have opposite spin polarizations, and such helical states can be obtained by combining two quantum Hall (QH) edge states with opposite spins and opposite momenta relative to the magnetic field (i.e. opposite chiralities).

My colleagues at MIT came up with this ingenious way of producing helical edge states from two decoupled graphene layers, and then they proved their idea worked with a series of powerful transport experiments,” says Hunt. “I was thrilled to be able to make a contribution to the experiment by using capacitance measurements to help prove that the unique helical states they observe really are edge states.”


Sergey Frolov Among 2017 Young Investigator Award Recipients

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 February 2017

The Office of Naval Research has announced awards of $16 million through its 2017 Young Investigator Program (YIP). The awards were made to 33 scientists whose research holds strong promise across several naval-relevant science and technology areas.

Sergey Frolov was among this year's Young Investigator Award recipients for his proposal "Semiconductor Nanowire-Based Quantum Emulators".


Sean Garrett-Roe Receives Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 15 February 2017

Sean Garrett-Roe has been selected to receive a 2017 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. The Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes teaching excellence by members of the University of Pittsburgh's faculty. This award consists of a cash prize to the faculty member and a grant to support the faculty member's teaching activities. 

Garrett-Roe was recognized for his work with the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) approach, which uses a flipped classroom model, multisensory input and incorporates technologies to encourage students to engage, derive and interpret the materials of physical chemistry. He has also shared his pedagogical models in such venues as Pitt’s Summer Instructional Design Institute and the American Chemical Society’s national meeting.


PQI Members Receive 2016 Kaufman Awards

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 February 2017

In this fourth year of the annual competition, a total of eight grants were awarded to researchers at four Pennsylvania higher education institutions: Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, The Pennsylvania State University and University of Pennsylvania.

The Kaufman Scientific Advisory Board received 229 letters of intent from 30 academic institutions seeking funding in two categories: New Investigators and New Initiatives.

Benjamin Hunt won a New Investigators Award, i.e., a grant of $150,000 for two years ($75,000 per year), for research on “Proximity effects and topological spin currents in van der Waals heterostructures.” 

Brian D’Urso and Gurudev Dutt won a New Initiatives Award, i.e., a grant of $300,000 for two years ($150,000 per year) for research on “Trapped diamond nanocrystals for precision gravitational measurements and tests of quantum gravity.” 

Read the abstracts here and here, respectively.


Hrvoje Petek Writes a News and Views Article in Nature Nanotechnology

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 10 January 2017

Photovoltaics in action: Electron motion in a type-II InSe/GaAs semiconductor heterostructure has been recorded in a movie immediately after photoexcitation with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Electrons are the lifeblood of semiconductor devices, from transistors that power computers and smart phones, and semiconductor diodes that light up the night, to photovoltaic cells that harvest solar energy to power it all. Under the influence of applied voltages or light stimulations, electrons flow through nanoscale channels and plummet potential gradients at interfaces of disparate materials. In a semiconductor device this ebb and flow occurs several times every nanosecond within billions of transistors on a single microchip, unseen by human eye, but creating text, images and movies in strings of 0s and 1s. But the true time and spatial scales on which electrons are energized and transported span a range of hundreds of femtoseconds and tens of nanometres. Thus, to capture in a movie the physical phenomena of electrons in a device requires a truly extraordinary camera. Writing in Nature Nanotechnology, Man et al. report an experiment that performs just that. Specifically, they record a movie of electron flow in energy, space and time within a semiconductor heterojunction composed of GaAs in physical contact with InSe by imaging electrons emitted into vacuum through the joint action of femtosecond duration IR generation and UV electron emission laser pulses.

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