Title of project: NANOSCIENCE AND MICRO- AND NANOENGINEERING FOR ENERGY, WATER, AND BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS
Funding agency (Optional): DOE, NSF, NIH
Description: We study and exploit unique transport,
thermodynamics and phase equilibria of advanced materials (homogeneous
and heterogeneous 2D and ultra-thin materials, thermoresponsive
nanofluids, and ionic liquids) and micro- and nanostructures to enable
technologies and devices with new functionalities and improved
efficiency with applications in energy, water, micro- and nanofluidic
platforms, separation and sensing technologies, and biomedical domains.
Three research areas currently active are described below.
Enhanced separation using 2D materials laminates Due to their
intrinsic characteristics, such as a unique single-atom thick structure,
outstanding mechanical strength, as well as facile and large-scale
production, two-dimensional (2D) materials are regarded as an ideal
membrane material for ultrafast molecular separation. This has provided a
unique opportunity to develop nearly perfect molecular-level separation
membranes with ultrafast and selective permeation. Recently, we have
shown that physicochemical properties of 2D materials and their
laminates can be tailored to enable unique transport properties.
Currently, we are studying transport characteristics of only a few
nanometer thick laminates of 2D materials for energy-efficient
separation of micro-pollutants from water resources and plasma clearance
of water soluble and albumin bound toxins for kidney and liver support
Thermoresponsive nanofluids for energy efficient compression and
separation Despite nearly two centuries of research, the fundamental
operating principle (i.e. thermodynamics) of cooling systems are still
the same as what was developed by Willis Carrier in 1902 and Ferdinand
Carre in 1858. Major advancements in our understanding of the
intermolecular forces and synthesis of new molecules in recent years
have provided an opportunity to fundamentally change the thermodynamics
of the cooling cycles to substantially enhance their energy efficiency.
Currently, we are working on new classes of nanofluids and
thermodynamics cycles to achieve this objective.
Impact of hierarchical micro/nanostructures on physics of transport
in microchannels phase change process New sensing and enhancement
approaches are being developed and utilized to understand the physics of
different microscale heat transfer mechanisms involved in flow boiling
in microchannels and to measure their relative contributions to the
overall surface heat transfer. Such knowledge is essential to advancing
the science and technology of compact and high performance two-phase
flow heat sinks for applications such as cooling high performance
Knowledge and skills needed: Students with prior
background or great interest in multi-scale transport, molecular
thermodynamics of complex systems and fluid-phase equilibria, surface
science and interfacial phenomena are strongly encouraged to apply.