Giannis Mpourmpakis Awarded $550,000 in NSF Funding to Design Metal Nanoparticles That Capture Carbon Dioxide

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 August 2016

Building upon their previous research, Giannis Mpourmpakis and collaborators at Pitt and CMU were awarded grants from the National Science Foundation to develop a novel computational framework that can custom design nanoparticles. In particular, the group is investigating bimetallic nanoparticles to more effectively control their adsorption properties for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The three-year grant, “Collaborative Research: Design of Optimal Bimetallic Nanoparticles,” is led by Giannis Mpourmpakis, with Götz Veser, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at Pitt and Chrysanthos Gounaris, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University as co-investigators. The NSF Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) awarded $350,395 to Pitt and $199,605 to CMU to support computational research and targeted experiments.

Karl Johnson and Jill Millstone Awarded 1.5 M Grant to Identify and Destroy Hazardous Chemicals

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 August 2016

Karl Johnson and Jill Millstone will collaborate with Pitt chemistry professor Nathaniel Rosi and Temple chemistry professor Eric Borguet on research funded by a grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's (DTRA) Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) within the United States Department of Defense. They will investigate the use of multifunctional metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with plasmonic cores that can be used to detect and destroy chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. The $1.5 M award comes with a 1 M dollar 2 year option period after the initial 3 years. The collaborative team will develop and study new MOF-nanoparticle hybrid materials for the selective detection and destruction of toxic chemicals.

Hrvoje Petek Awarded Grant from NSFC for Research on Ultrafast Dynamics on TiO2 Surfaces

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 21 July 2016

Hrvoje Petek and his collaborator Jin Zhao of the Department of Physics at the University of Science & Technology of China recieved a Natural National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Keystone Project funding of 3,000,000 yuan (approximately $450,000) for a joint international research project on "Ultrafast Dynamics on TiO2 Surfaces".

The grant will start on the first day of 2017 and will cover a period of five years until December 31, 2021.

Giannis Mpourmpakis Awarded Grant from ACS for Modeling Petrochemical Reactions

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 June 2016

Giannis Mpourmpakis received a $110,000 grant from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for computer modeling research to investigate the conversion of ethane, propane, butane and other alkanes used in the petrochemical industry.

The study, “Identifying Structure-Activity Relationships for the Dehydrogenation of Alkanes on Oxides,” will look to gain a fundamental understanding of the dehydrogenation of small hydrocarbons to olefins on metal oxides under experimental conditions.

Susan Fullerton Awarded NSF Grant Funds Study to Develop a Transistor Based on 2D Crystals

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 19 May 2016

Sussan Fullerton received a $496,272 grant from the National Science Foundation to study two-dimensional semiconductors with the goal of demonstrating a switch that requires less power than conventional silicon-based transistors. 

As electronic devices continue to become more integrated into our daily lives, more energy is required to power these devices,” said Susan Fullerton, the principle investigator of the study. “On a large scale, decreasing the power requirements of electronics would impact global energy consumption.”

Vincent Liu Awarded Grant to Investigate Condensed Matter and Atomic-Optical Physics

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 15 December 2015

PQI faculty Wensheng Vincent Liu has received a five-year $1.42 million grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to predict and understand topological phases of quantum atomic matter (i.e., a cold ensemble of interacting atoms) under novel conditions, well beyond the standard regimes. 

While the research is theoretical in nature, the findings are expected to motivate and guide ongoing and future experiments in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, as well as provide the models for engineering novel electronic materials of the desired quantum properties in condensed matter physics. The acquired new knowledge has the potential to find applications in the future generation of precision quantum-based devices and possibly topological quantum computers and communication technology.

Tevis Jacobs Awarded NSF Grant to Explore Nanodevices in Real Time

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 29 October 2015

PQI faculty Tevis Jacobs received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to observe and measure nanoscale contact inside of an electron microscope-enabling for the first time visualization of the atomic structure of the component materials while they are in contact. 

Technologically, nanoscale contacts are found both in advanced microelectronic devices, as well as in emerging nanoprobe-based technologies used to make those devices. By using a nanoprobe to make contact, device manufacturers can measure and manipulate behavior down to the atomic scale. Jacobs and his team will investigate the physics, chemistry, and materials science of nanoscale devices during contact.

John Keith Awarded ACS Petroleum Research Fund to Study CO2 Recycling Catalysts

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 24 July 2015

To further his research in renewable energy catalysts, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund recently awarded a Doctoral New Investigator Award to PQI faculty John A. Keith. The two-year, $110,000 grant, "Unraveling Heterocycle-Promoted Hydride Transfer Mechanisms for Energetically Efficient Fuel and Petrochemical Production" will enable Dr. Keith to study design principles for renewable energy catalysts that efficiently convert CO2 into fuels and chemicals. 

Hrvoje Petek Part of $20 Million Grant to Observe Molecules in Action

  • By Workstudy User
  • 28 August 2014

The UC Irvine Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit has received a $20 million renewal award from the National Science Foundation to continue its groundbreaking work in pushing the limits of interrogating chemistry on ultrafast and ultrasmall scales. Ultimately, the goal is capture chemistry in the act on the single-molecule level.

Headed by V. Ara Apkarian of UCI’s Department of Chemistry, CaSTL is one of eight NSF-funded “Centers for Chemical Innovation” that are designed to tackle grand challenges in the field. A team of 12 faculty members from five different universities and nearly 60 researchers have joined CaSTL to build the “Chemiscope” – the chemist’s microscope – designed to visualize chemical transformations on atomic scales and in real time.

Sergey Frolov Lands ONR Grant to Study Majorana Fermions

  • By Workstudy User
  • 31 May 2014

PQI faculty Sergey Frolov has received a $3 million Office of Naval Research Basic Research Challenge grant to explore ways of transforming quantum computing through the use of an unusual particle. Frolov will be the primary investigator for the study on the Majorana fermion, a long-posited but elusive elementary particle that Frolov and colleagues discovered in 2012.

"First, this is of great fundamental interest to science," Frolov says. "We are greatly expanding the horizons of our knowledge, and we may be adding a new, third class of fundamental particles to fermions and bosons."