Kickoff Seminar: Professor Mike Hilinski
Graphene-based Materials for Applications in Heterogeneous Catalysis, Water Treatment and Solar Water Desalination
Dr. Samy El Shall | Virginia Commonwealth University
Hosted by Professor Eric Herbst
This talk will address the development of three classes of graphene-based materials as (1) support for metal nanoparticle catalysts in heterogeneous catalysis, (2) sorbent materials for the removal of heavy metal ions from polluted water, and (3) photothermal energy converter materials for efficient solar water desalination.
In heterogeneous catalysis, we will discuss the superior catalytic activity of Pd nanoparticles supported on reduced graphene oxide (RGO) nanosheets for carbon-carbon cross-coupling reactions. Second, the enhanced catalytic activity for the Fe-based nanoparticle catalysts supported on graphene in the Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis of liquid transportation fuels will be presented. Finally, the superior catalytic activity and selectivity of Pd nanoparticles supported on a sandwich-type nanocomposite consisting of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) wrapped with thin RGO nanosheets for the biomass-refining of liquids derived from lignocelluloisc sources will be presented.
For the removal of heavy metals from water, we will discuss the development of chemically modified graphene-based adsorbents containing highly efficient chelating groups such as diamine, imino and thiourea for the effective extraction of the toxic metal ions mercury (II), lead (II) and arsenic (V) from wastewater.
For photothermal energy conversion, we will discuss the development of a new generation of highly efficient, flexible, low weight, highly porous and cost effective Plasmonic Graphene Polyurethane (PGPU) nanocomposite materials for solar steam generation through the efficient evaporation of water surface pools. The PGPU nanocomposites contain metallic nanoparticles that exhibit very strong solar absorption. The polyurethane (PU) foam provides a hydrophilic surface with abundant microporous structure, excellent thermal insulation properties, and facile and scalable synthesis. The high solar thermal evaporation efficiency, excellent stability and long-time durability make the PGPU nanocomposites excellent candidates for solar-steam-generation applications and seawater desalination.
Microengineered Platforms for Biomedical Research
Dr. Nancy Allbritton | University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University
Hosted by Professor Rebecca Pompano
The research program in the Allbritton Lab is a multidisciplinary effort that brings to bear principles and techniques from chemistry, physics, engineering, and materials science to develop new assays and technologies for biomedical applications. The ongoing work in the lab comprises three major focus areas: analytical techniques for single-cell biochemical assays, microfabricated platforms for sorting and cloning cells, microengineered systems for recapitulating organ level function. These applications utilize microengineered platforms (microfluidic and array devices) to manipulate and analyze living cells particularly targeting the intestinal epithelium or tumor systems. For example, we have developed simple, inexpensive fabrication methods utilizing photoresists, plastics, and hydrogels for cell-based arrays, organ-on-chips, and tissue scaffolds. The fabricated devices include detachable, deformable, or biodegradable array elements designed for cell analysis and sorting. Another example exploits recent advances in mating living cells with microfabricated systems making it possible to create miniaturized devices with organ level function. These “organ-on-a-chip” platforms enable the controlled establishment of multicellular tissue-like cell populations from primary human cells.
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