Archive for March 2014

UA Honors Supapan Seraphin with Distinguished Outreach Award

Ben's Bell recipeint and Thai food chef, and first female MSE faculty member, honored with UA Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award

Since joining UA Engineering’s department of materials science and engineering nearly a quarter-century ago, Supapan Seraphin has been a tireless ambassador for science and engineering education -- especially for women and minorities who imagined such a career to be out of reach.

Seraphin has received the 2014 University of Arizona Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award, given to faculty with “a significant record of conducting outreach policy, practices, and implementation at the University of Arizona; a record of distinguished creative scholarship; and the sustained application of scholarship in non-formal classrooms.” As a principal or co-principal investigator on National Science Foundation grants totaling nearly $10 million, she has guided countless people of all ages and backgrounds toward successful, rewarding careers in science and engineering.

Seraphin joined MSE in 1990 as its first female faculty member and director of the Electron Microscope Facilities for Materials Research, now part of the University Spectroscopy and Imaging Facilities. Her research centers on processing and characterizing materials at the nano-scale, and she holds joint appointments in the College of Optical Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ department of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

She has spearheaded dozens of innovative and influential science education programs, including one in which hundreds of first-year UA students and pre-college students visit the UA electron microscopy lab, where they can view, process and analyze data from the microscopes and other devices without getting their hands on the delicate and expensive – and easily damaged -- instrumentation in the lab.

“I love when first-year students in [College of Engineering introductory course] Engineering 102 say, ‘I know you! I remember you from my high school field trip!’” Seraphin said. “One of my highest rewards is when students and K-12 teachers tell me I have provided them with a life-changing experience and had a positive impact on their career.”

Many she touches never set foot on the UA campus. In a program funded by the Arizona Board of Regents, students in Arizona have gained access to the UA electron microscopes remotely, interacting with the instrument operator in real time from personal computers.  

Seraphin actively promotes science education to K-12 students and teachers around the U.S. -- including on Indian lands -- and abroad, in such countries as Thailand, Kenya, Peru and Brazil. She is also involved in sharing science and engineering with the local community, as part of “Revealing the Invisible Universe -- from Nanoscope to Telescope,” a collaboration between the UA Flandrau Science Center, Arizona State Museum, and National Optical and Astronomical Observatory that involves undergraduates and teachers conducting programs at science centers and museums to explain the value of UA research to the public.

Seraphin’s other honors for her outreach have included the College of Engineering Award for Excellence at the Student Interface; the da Vinci Fellow Award; the University Women in Science and Engineering Diversity Inclusiveness Award; and the Ben’s Bell Award. The last, given to Tucson residents promoting kindness in the community, was inspired by Seraphin’s famous weekly homemade Thai lunches for first-year students in UA residence halls, supported by funding from the Faculty Fellow program.

See the full article here.

MSE PhD Candidate Christina Bisulca is Recipient of 2014 Goetz Instrument Support Program Award

Christina BisulcaMSE PhD Candidate Christina Bisulca received the 2014 Goetz Instrument Support Program Award for her proposal titled "New Applications of Vis-NIR spectroscopy in Archaeological Science." The 2014 award winners will focus on research projects that showcase the capabilities of PANalytical Boulder's advanced spectroscopy instruments, and in exchange, PANalytical Boulder will provide each student with temporary use of instrumentation. Additionally, recipients are eligible to receive up to $500 toward publication charges for papers published by an approved journal, and/or reimbursement of travel costs to recipients with an accepted abstract for an oral or poster presentation at a relevant scientific conference.

Projects were selected based on technical and geographic diversity. Supported research will increase understanding of ancient cultures, climate change impacts, forensic science, forest analysis with satellite imagery, plant physiology, as well as the utility of NIR analysis for industrial polymerization. Field studies will be globally dispersed to awarded students, who are conducting research in locations such as Belize, Greenland, Nepal, Italy, and Bulgaria.

"As students around the world are becoming more familiar with the Goetz program, we've received more diverse and innovative project submissions each year, and this year is no different, said Dr. Brian Curtiss, CTO-NIR of PANalytical Boulder. "PANalytical is able to match the students' innovation with the most advanced instruments to aid their research projects. It's a wonderful partnership we've created with educational research institutions that allows us to continue to expand the boundaries of remote sensing."

For more details and a full list of 2014 Goetz Instrument Support Program Award winners, click here.

ME-ISE Degree Approved / Plans for Online Delivery and Expansion Underway

The Master of Engineering with an option in Innovation, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship (ME-ISE) degree has been approved and the MSE Department is working towards online delivery and expansion of the program to other topical areas.

The Master of Engineering with an option in Innovation, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship (ME-ISE) has been approved and is now an available degree through the UA College of Engineering. The program is geared toward students and industry professionals who are interested in the translation and transfer of technologically-promising research discoveries into sustainable technologies and processes. It offers a combination of business-oriented classes and engineering courses to help engineers bridge the gap between innovative ideas and sustainable economic development strategies.

One of the goals stated in Never Settle, the UA's strategic plan, is to increase the online student population. In response to this, the UA recently awarded selected companies to assist with increasing online course delivery. One of the companies awarded this responsibility is Colloquy, a division of Kaplan, Inc. (which is a subsidiary of The Washington Post) and a leading provider of online education strategy, consulting, and delivery with 75 years of expertise in global education services. The MSE Department has been working with Colloquy to plan the online delivery of the new ME-ISE degree program. Colloquy will also provide recruiting, marketing and retention services. Online delivery of the program is planned for implementation by January 2015.

The MSE Department is also working with other College of Engineering departments to research expanding the program to other topical areas such as Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation, and Water Treatment and Reuse. Delivery of such topic-specific sub-plans would likely go into effect by Fall 2015.

See this link for more details on the ME-ISE program.

MSE Lab Trains UA Students in Cleanroom Practices

UA Engineering students are gearing up for a new semiconductor processing lab course in the cleanest environment on campus.

A new lab class in the “cleanest” environment on campus is helping prepare UA engineering and science students for high-tech jobs.

Cleanroom facilities at technology manufacturing companies are critical for designing and producing integrated circuits, memory devices, biomedical test structures, and the like. So there is a growing need for employees trained in cleanroom practices.

The two-credit elective, Semiconductor Processing Lab (MSE 447L/547L), is made possible through funds from the Intel-UA College of Engineering program in materials science and engineering. The lab opens up opportunities for internships and jobs in industries that value cleanroom manufacturing, and it makes graduate students more aware of research facilities and equipment.

“Many employers are impressed when they hear that a student has gone through formal training in fabricating structures in a cleanroom,” said materials science and engineering professor Srini Raghavan, who teaches the lab. “Students have an increased edge over their peers during the hiring process when they are properly trained in these types of procedures.”

The class is offered in the spring to students in all engineering majors and is preceded by a preparatory recitation (MSE\ECE 446\546) in the fall. Students in the lab learn how to gown up to work in cleanrooms and proper handling procedures for chemicals and materials inside a cleanroom, and they become familiar with various fabrication tools for micro and nano structures.

Engineering undergraduate student Diane Haiber said she now attends career fairs with an added level of confidence, thanks to the class.

“The course is structured so that students get hands-on experience through implementation of various fabrication and processing techniques: so far we have done wafer cleaning, thermal oxidation and photolithography,” she said. “And learning goes beyond the lab activities; Dr. Raghavan shares his own experiences from when he worked at Intel.”

Added graduate student Jivaan Kishore, “Not many universities offer such a comprehensive training program with respect to semiconductor processing.”

The class uses the only Class 10 certified cleanroom facility on campus, the Micro/Nano Fabrication Center, or MFC, housed in electrical and computer engineering.
The center’s manager, Omid Mahdavi, said the facility is a prime example of university-industry partnerships, one of the overarching themes in UA President Ann Weaver Hart’s recently unveiled “Never Settle” strategic plan.

“Most of the operational costs of running the MFC facility are covered by space and services offered to industrial clients who have on many occasions hired UA students,” said Mahdavi. “Here we have a lot synergy between academic and industrial activities. In a sense, President Hart’s Never Settle strategic plan has already been in motion here at the MFC for a number of years.”  

The Micro/Nano Fabrication Center Lab in the ECE building is mostly a Class 100 facility and offers a limited Class 10 work environment. To put that classification in perspective, large semiconductor companies, such as Intel and Samsung, manufacture their products in Class 1 cleanrooms where there is no more than one particle the size of half a micron for every cubic foot of air. In contrast, the outside air generally contains more than 30 million particles of dust per cubic foot, which would equate to a Class 1,000,000 rating, also called room air.

The UA is home to two other cleanrooms: a Class 1,000 environment maintained by the chemistry department, and a Class 1,000 to 5,000 environment maintained by the College of Optical Sciences.

See the full article here.

University of Arizona College of Engineering