Growing environmental concerns coupled with the ever-increasing need for energy to power our planet have caused a surge in energy storage and conversion research. While remarkable progress has been achieved, many challenges persist and include efficiency, stability and longevity of the materials and devices.
Nanomaterials and nanotechnology, with exceptional and versatile physico-chemical and optical properties can address these challenges but require novel advances in nanomaterial synthesis, catalyst design, interface design in batteries, and advanced characterization for battery materials.
This project will target the synthesis and design of carbon-dot based hybrid nanomaterials for the development of high-energy and long-lasting lithium metal-based batteries. The work will focus on nanosystems with high absorption function and high electronic conductivity for battery materials that could effectively suppress active material dissolution. Battery assembly and performance evaluation will also be central to this project.
Prof. Xia Li, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Quantum dots are excellent nanoscale light emitters, with a broad gain bandwidth and a good tolerance to temperature variations. When placed into an optical cavity capable of confining light tightly, they can result in lasers with very good performance.
Topological arrays of photonic elements provide a novel physical mechanism to create distributed optical confinement, which is robust against fabrication errors and allows for larger design tolerances.
The goal of this project is to use computer simulations to characterize quantum dot lasers using topological confinement in geometries amenable for fabrication. The student working on this project will learn how to perform computer simulations of photonic systems, the basics of topological photonics, and how to properly characterize the performance of a quantum dot laser.
As climate change becomes an ever more rapidly advancing global problem, it becomes more and more crucial that the world turns to renewable energy solutions and ways to decrease carbon emissions. Some carbon emissions are hard to avoid so carbon capture, utilization, and storage will be needed in some cases. Carbonic anhydrase is category of enzyme that catalyzes the hydration and reverse hydration of carbon dioxide, meaning that it has the potential to significantly enhance the capture of carbon dioxide in aqueous solutions.
The difficulty with the use of carbonic anhydrase is that, like many other enzymes, it is easily denatured, particularly in the rather harsh environments of industrial applications. A fairly extensive body of work in recent years has therefore been dedicated to improving its stability in terms of half-life, extreme temperatures, and high salt concentrations, often through the use of computational techniques to identify key residues for mutation or to assess the stability resulting from chimeric mutants.
We plan to use a combination of molecular dynamics and active learning techniques in conjunction with experiment to identify and rapidly explore a reasonable search space for carbonic anhydrase design to increase stability with respect to extreme pH environments. By trading off between exploration and exploitation of a continuous search space, we will identify those points of greatest uncertainty and greatest potential reward and assess them using molecular dynamics and experiment, cutting down on the time needed to assess mutations that are likely to be unfavorable. Overall, this project has the possibility of improving techniques for commercialization of renewable energy sources.
The lifetime of numerous components within a gas turbine engine is limited by the tribological performance of the employed materials and coatings due to the large number of complex contacting and moving mechanical assemblies in the engine. Materials capable of operating efficiently under these conditions will help overcome many of the aerospace challenges ranging from improving durability of the aircraft and premature failure of the components to developing novel gas turbine engines. In addition, the development and implementation of wear resistant materials in moving mechanical assemblies will reduce the number of parts that need to be constantly repaired and consequently reduce the overhaul cost.
The main objective of this project is to critically evaluate the nano-scale interfacial processes in tribological systems within gas turbine engines (wear, friction, lubrication). To that end, novel experimental methodologies will be developed and combined with molecular dynamics simulations to investigate selected systems (e.g. cobalt, nickel and chromium – based systems) under extreme conditions. The atomistic insights gained will provide a better understanding of the interfacial phenomena, which will be used to develop next generation aerospace materials capable of operating effectively in harsh environments.
Step 2: Contact the supervisor and choose your department
When you have selected your research project, contact the supervisors to ensure their department is the most appropriate for your background (i.e., whether you have a BEng or BSc):
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chemical and Materials Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering
This department will be your home department for the duration of your studies.
If you have questions about finding a supervisor or need guidance, write to email@example.com.
Step 3: Prepare and assemble your documents
Ensure that your completed application includes the items on the graduate admissions requirements page. One of the requirements is a Statement of Purpose. Be sure to mention the Nanoscience program in this letter as well as the selected research project and associated supervisors.
The MSc in Nanoscience Program Committee listed below will evaluate the application and you will be notified of the decision. If the Program Committee rejects your application, you may still be considered for admission to the home department.
Pablo Bianucci, PhD – Physics
Pantcho P. Stoyanov, PhD – Chemical and Materials Engineering
Program committee members
Ingo Salzmann, PhD – Physics and Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rafik Naccache, PhD – Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rolf Wuthrich, PhD – Mechanical Engineering
Mojtaba Kahrizi, PhD – Electrical and Computer Engineering