Archive for 2016

UA Engineers Twist Laws of Physics to Boost Sonic Science

This experimental laser ultrasonic setup in collaborator Nick Boechler's lab will create phonons with nature-defying characteristics. (Image courtesy of Nicholas Boechler)

MSE department head Pierre Deymier is bending sound waves in nature-defying ways that could quiet our cities, heal our bodies, provide new sources of energy, and compute and process information. 

For decades, advances in electronics and optics have driven progress in information technology, energy and biomedicine. Now researchers at the University of Arizona are pioneering a new field — phononics, the science of sound — with repercussions potentially just as profound.  

"If engineers can get acoustic waves to travel in unnatural ways, as they are starting to do with light waves, our world could look and sound radically different," said Deymier.

He has received $1.9 million from the National Science Foundation's Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation, or EFRI, program to lead a four-year study on manipulating how sound waves behave. His collaborators are Pierre Lucas, a UA professor of materials science and engineering, and Nicholas Boechler, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. 

Deymier and Boechler will also chair and co-chair the Phononics 2019 international conference on phononic crystals and metamaterials in Tucson in June 2019, to promote this emerging body of research.

Loy Develops Novel Sunscreen Eligible for FDA Fast Track

Douglas Loy lecturingMSE professor Douglas A. Loy has developed microscopic particles of ultraviolet-absorbing plastics prepared by the copolymerization of phenols with aromatic and conjugated aldehydes, like cinnamaldehyde and benzaldehyde, for use as sunscreens. 

The resulting sunscreens provide an inexpensive and nontoxic alternative that is capable of absorbing both UV-A and UV-B wavelength radiation. 

“Making sunscreens from solid, microscopic particles of UV-absorbing plastics provides better protection for longer than commercial sunscreens, while avoiding exposure to the organic chemicals used in traditional sunscreens,” said Loy. 

The new technology, which is available for licensing through Tech Launch Arizona, may be fast-tracked for FDA approval.

Photo courtesy of Tech Launch Arizona

Ratcliff Wins NSF Award to Study Organic Semiconductors

Erin Ratcliff in the labMost people aren’t accustomed to hearing “organic” and “semiconductor” in the same sentence. But the words flow naturally for Erin Ratcliff, a University of Arizona assistant professor of materials science and engineering with a chemistry background.

Ratcliff is co-principal investigator on a new research project funded by the National Science Foundation to better understand and improve the viability of organic semiconductor materials, which are being used more and more in the manufacturing of digital display screens and new electronic devices.

The $590,000, three-year award teams Ratcliff with Jeanne Pemberton, a UA Regents’ Professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Science and principal investigator on the study.

Alumnus Helps Buck National Trend in Graduate Student Funding

With support from alumni, including the founder of Ventana Research Corp., the UA College of Engineering has established the NextGen Fund for U.S. graduate students to keep the nation globally competitive. 

After earning a bachelor's degree in 1990, John Lombardi worked at Norton/TRW Ceramics in Massachusetts. There, staff members familiar with the University of Arizona materials science and engineering faculty encouraged him to attend the UA for graduate study.

With then-professor Paul Calvert as his adviser, Lombardi gained direct experience with rapid prototyping and 3-D printing materials development and earned his MS and PhD in materials science and engineering, or MSE, in 1995 and 1996, respectively.

The research experience and PhD in particular have served him well as an inventor, researcher and entrepreneur, said the president and CEO of Ventana Research Corp., the Tucson-based company he launched in 2001.

Pioneering Champion of Diversity in STEM Reflects on 25-Year Career

Top picture: Supapan Seraphin, right, and some of her students have some fun in the residence hall kitchen preparing vast quantities of Thai curry for hungry students. Retiring UA professor of materials science and engineering Supapan Seraphin leaves generations of students with memories to savor

As the youngest of four daughters raised in Thailand, Supapan Seraphin recalls how local women pitied her mother because she had no sons. In an era when a woman’s place was in the home, they were puzzled by her mother’s resolve that all of her daughters would be educated. 

Seraphin earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and energy technology in Thailand before coming to America to earn her doctorate in materials science and engineering from Arizona State University in 1990. 

Upon her retirement from the University in May 2016, Arizona Engineer asked Seraphin about highlights of her UA career and plans for the future. 

MSE Competes in 13th Annual Materials Bowl

2016 Materials Bowl competitors

On April 25, a stalwart group of MSE seniors battled the dreaded Sun Devils for the Materials Territorial Trophy in the 13th annual Materials Bowl capstone project and poster competition.

Kyle Jakes and Kevin Luke at the 2016 Materials Bowl competition in Tempe

Competing against Arizona State University in Tempe this year were Anfal Alobeidli, Sean Arnold, Kristi Farrell, Eric Gabriel, Ben Geller, Kyle Jakes, Austin Lancaster, Kevin Luke, Kayli Mcarthur, Taylor Rhoades, Jacob Rochester and Lou-anne Wegrzyniak.

While an ASU team took home the trophy this year, Jakes and Luke won second place with their project "An ESH-Friendly Electrodeposition Method for 3-D Packaging," advised by Manish Keswani.

More photos of the 2016 Materials Bowl are available in the MSE Facebook group.

Corral Named 2016 UA Distinguished Scholar

Erica Corral at 2016 awards ceremonyAssociate professor Erica Corral was one of two UA Engineering faculty members to be recognized as 2016 UA Distinguished Scholars, an honor given to mid-career faculty who are leading experts in their fields and making innovative contributions to teaching and outreach. 

"I am delighted to be nominated and recognized by my colleagues for this prestigious award," she said. "I am thankful for the continued support from the University to pursue my academic and scholarly activities." 

Design Day Is on the Way!

UA Engineering Design Day 2016 app logo

UA Engineering Design Day 2016 is fast approaching. 

On Tuesday, May 3, seniors from every single department in the College of Engineering – including MSE – will gather on the UA Mall and in the Student Union to present their capstone design projects. 

Join us from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to check out more than 100 student projects. 

New this year: Download the free UA Engineering Design Day app for iPhone or for Android.

Alumnus Among Wildcats Hiring Wildcats

MSE alumnus Don Zipperian with recent College of Engineering alumnus Raul GracianoOne of the primary goals of the UA Alumni Association Career and Professional Development Lab is to connect talented graduates with alumni employers, whether through high-tech webinars or face-to-face meetings. 

For an example of the lab’s success, look no further than recent graduate Raul Graciano, who received a degree in mechanical engineering in May 2016. Graciano was looking for a job when he met Don Zipperian, MSE PhD 1986, through a Career Lab meet-and-greet

Zipperian is vice president of PACE Technologies, a Tucson-based metallography company. The two clicked; Graciano has been with the company for several months now, and Zipperian was grateful to hire a fresh grad with a continual passion for learning.

Photo courtesy of UA Alumni Association

Neff Among First University Fellows Cohort

Paul Neff; photo by John de Dios/UANewsPaul K. Neff, who received his bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering in 2014, was named one of the University of Arizona's first University Fellows

Neff's intention is to work in an aerospace-related industry focused on high-speed flight applications. 

"I was fortunate in that my research found me as much as I sought it out," said Neff, a master's student and a graduate research assistant in the Corral Laboratory. He will graduate in May 2016. 

Photo by John de Dios/UA News

University of Arizona College of Engineering