In the news

The next technology talent shortage predicted to be in the area of Quantum Computing

  • By Ke Xu
  • 24 October 2018

The New York Times featured a story that predict the next tech talent shortage to be in the area of Quantum Computing. A growing concern among American businesses and universities is that unless policies and priorities change, they will have trouble attracting the talent needed to build quantum technology. Last month, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy invited experts from government, industry and academia to Washington for a daylong policy meeting dedicated to quantum technologies. Several attendees expressed concern that the current administration’s immigration policies could affect quantum research in academia and corporations.

Randall Feenstra receives 2019 Davisson-Germer Prize for pioneering developments of spectroscopic scanning tunneling microscopy

  • By Ke Xu
  • 23 October 2018

Randall Feenstra receives 2019 Davisson-Germer Prize, which recognizes outstanding work in atomic physics or surface physics. Randy was awarded for pioneering developments of the techniques and concepts of spectroscopic scanning tunneling microscopy. The prize consists of $5,000 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient or recipients. This Prize was established in 1965 by AT&T Bell Laboratories (now Bell Laboratories, Alcatel-Lucent Technologies) and with additional support from the Chope Family Trust.
 

Karl Johnson and his team discovered a new material that remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into useful chemicals

  • By Ke Xu
  • 12 October 2018

Karl Johnson and his team worked with a class of nanomaterials called metal-organic frameworks or “MOFs,” which can be used to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and combine it with hydrogen atoms to convert it into valuable chemicals and fuels.

Their findings were published in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) journal Catalysis Science & Technology. The journal featured their work on its cover, illustrating the process of carbon dioxide and hydrogen molecules entering the MOF and exiting as CH2O2 or formic acid—a chemical precursor to methanol. 

Kenneth Jordan will be honored at the Spring 2019 ACS Meeting with a two-day symposium

  • By Ke Xu
  • 2 October 2018

Kenneth Jordan will be honored for his contributions to Computational and Theoretical Chemistry in a two-day symposium titled "Electron-Molecule & Molecule-Molecule Interactions". The symposium is co-sponsored by the COMP and PHYS divisions of ACS and will be held during the Spring 2019 ACS meeting in Orlando, FL. The symposium will be for two full days from March 31 to April 1, 2019.

Zachary Ulissi developed a machine learning system to discover new materials for electrocatalysis

  • By Ke Xu
  • 18 September 2018

Zachary Ulissi and his team developed a machine learning system to search through millions of intermetallics to discover new materials for electrocatalysis.

Typically, catalysts are discovered through trial and error coupled with chemical intuition. Now, an automatic machine-learning framework has been developed that can guide itself to fnd intermetallic surfaces with desired catalytic properties.

Through their study, published in Nature Catalysis, they have a list of materials and intermetallic combinations that experimentalists should try, both for hydrogen evolution and carbon dioxide reduction. The experiments will then determine what will make good electrocatalysts for the large scale.

Hrvoje Petek won the 2019 Ahmed Zewail Award in American Chemical Society

  • By Ke Xu
  • 18 September 2018

Hrvoje Petek has won the 2019 Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology of the American Chemical Society.

The award, which has been given yearly since 2005, recognizes outstanding and creative contributions to fundamental discoveries or inventions in ultrafast science  and technology in areas of physics, chemistry, biology, or related fields.

Giannis Mpourmpakis Part of $800K DOE Study Targeting Safer Storage for Nuclear Waste

  • By Ke Xu
  • 4 September 2018

Giannis Mpourmpakis is part of a collaborative research team studying the corrosion behavior of glass containers often used to store nuclear waste. Its goal is to find solutions to reduce or avoid the degeneration of the containers. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $800,000 to the project, titled “Formation of Zeolites Responsible for Waste Glass Rate Acceleration: An Experimental and Computational Study for Understanding Thermodynamic and Kinetic Processes.” 

Karl Johnson and John Keith unlocked the secrets of Polyisobutylene’s reaction mechanism

  • By Ke Xu
  • 28 August 2018

Karl Johnson and John Keith lead a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol Corporation to unlock the secrets of Polyisobutylene (PIB)’s reaction mechanism.

PIB is a workhorse polymer that is found in a multitude of products, ranging from chewing gum, to tires, to engine oil and gasoline additives. Although commercially produced in large quantities since the 1940s, PIB chemistry was a mystery – scientists weren’t sure how the reaction mechanism that creates the polymer happens at the molecular level, which limited further potential. 

Utilizing the University’s Center for Research Computing to analyze the molecular processes, the Pitt/Lubrizol group found that the assumed reaction mechanism was not correct and that initiation of the reaction requires a “superacid” catalyst. 

The group’s findings were published this month in the journal ACS Catalysis.

David Waldeck selected as the winner of the Bioelectrochemistry Prize of the International Society of Electrochemistry

  • By Ke Xu
  • 21 August 2018

David Waldeck has been selected as the winner of the Bioelectrochemistry Prize of the International Society of Electrochemistry, in recognition of his fundamental work on charge transport phenomena associated with biomolecules, electron transport through proteins and nucleic acids, and electron transfer at biomolecule/electrode interfaces. The Society will present the Bioelectrochemistry Prize publicly at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Durban, South Africa.

Low-Temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope commissioned at CMU

  • By Ke Xu
  • 14 August 2018

A low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope (LT-STM) has recently been commissioned at Carnegie Mellon University, and is available for use by external users. The instrument allows atomic-resolution studies of surface structure and spectroscopic studies of electronic states within a few eV on either side of the Fermi energy. Base temperature is 7 K, and there is a magnetic field capability of up to 2T perpendicular to the sample surface.

First results have been obtained by a team led by Randall Feenstra and Ben Hunt, working with postdoc Felix Lupke, grad student Dacen Waters, and undergrads Nicolas Iskos and Nick Speeney. They studied a two-dimensional (2D) material, Tungsten Ditelluride (WTe2), which is a topological insulator, with properties that will likely spur technological innovations such as spintronics and quantum computing.

Users interested in utilized the LT-STM should contact Prof. Feenstra (feenstra@cmu.edu).

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