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The Dinesh O. Shah Professorship in Surface Science

After serving the University of Florida and our Gator Engineers for more than three decades, Dr. Shah legacy continues to shape the Chemical Engineering Department. Find out more about one of the department’s most important initiatives.

Click here for information on the Shah Professorship!

Recent paper featured as highlight and cover art of Journal of Cellular physiology

Research performed by Qiao Zhang and his coworkers was recently selected to be a highlight article and cover art by the Journal of Cellular Physiology. Despite being densely packed with DNA, nuclear bodies and a nucleoskeletal network, the nucleus is a remarkably dynamic organelle. Chromatin loops form and relax, RNA transcripts and transcription factors move diffusively, and nuclear bodies move. Zhang’s work shows a new type of motion of RNA splicing speckles in the cell nucleus. Small speckles move to larger speckles with which they fuse in an ATP and RNA polymerase II dependent manner. The random motion of speckles is regulated by both intra- and extra-nuclear forces. Qiao and his coworkers also devised a novel method to create a pressure gradient flow inside the nucleus. Speckles moved and deformed along curvilinear paths in respond to the pressure flow, suggesting the presence of channels with a low mechanical resistance to motion through which the speckles can move. READ MORE

Chemical Communications paper about co-surfactant states around carbon nanotubes

Research performed by Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student, Yang Zhao, under the advisement of Dr. Kirk Ziegler was recently published in Chemical Communications. Single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) contain a mixture of nanotubes with different chiralities known as (n,m) types. This work reports the formation of thermodynamic co-surfactant states around SWCNTs. The stability of these thermodynamic states enables high-fidelity separations of specific SWCNT (n,m) types based on their selective desorption from hydrogels. By modulating the surfactant concentration of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and sodium deoxycholate (DOC), the Ziegler group found a very specific co-surfactant ratio that elutes a high-purity (90%+) fraction of (6,5) SWCNTs. The elution of only one (n,m) type at a specific co-surfactant ratio while other types are exposed to more surfactant suggests that each (n,m) type forms a thermodynamically-stable structure in the co-surfactant solution. These findings provide a promising foundation for the development of large-scale, high-throughput chromatographic separations that can collect each (n,m) type sequentially. This work was performed in collaboration with the Dr. Jean-Claude Bonzongo group (Environmental Engineering Sciences Department, UF). The full article may be found HERE.

Outreach: High School Researchers Named Finalist and Semifinalist in Intel Science Talent Search 2016

Two senior high school researchers, Beverly Ge (left) and Danielle Liu (right), both working in Prof. Jiang's labs, have been named as the finalist (top 40) and semifinalist (top 300) in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search 2016 competition. Beverly is working on developing new chromogenic vapor sensors using a new type of shape memory polymer; while Danielle is developing smart, self-cleaning antireflection coatings for renewable energy. Beverly will compete in Washington, DC in March for more than $1 million in awards. READ MORE.

Angewandte Chemie paper about Alkane Activation

The Weaver group recently published a paper in Angewandte Chemie that reports the first vibrational spectra of a “pre-activated” alkane adsorbed on a solid surface. A strong interaction between propane and the metal atoms of a palladium oxide surface causes the activated C-H bonds to undergo a large downshift in their stretching frequencies which the Weaver group could measure using surface infrared spectroscopy. By using partially deuterated propane compounds, Weaver and his students were able to show that the adsorbed propane molecules adopt highly specific configurations in which the primary C-H bonds are selectively activated by the metal oxide. Their work demonstrates that geometrical registry between the molecules and the surface plays a decisive role in determining the preferred bonding configurations of alkanes adsorbed on metal oxides. These findings can provide guidance to future efforts aimed at designing catalyst structures with potential to achieve selective alkane conversions. The full article may be found HERE.

Distinguished Professor Mark Orazem featured in ECS Publication

The Senior Director of UF Media Relations, Steve Orlando, recently interviewed Mark Orazem about the research being done in mining-water purification. His team’s idea has attracted the attention of the Minnesota-based Mosaic Company, which produces phosphate and potash for fertilizer and operates four phosphate mines in Central Florida. Check out the full story and video HERE

Distinguished Professor Fan Ren featured in ECS Publication

The Electrochemical Society highlights the life-saving technology and research of Dr. Ren’s and explores his career in the field of electronics and semiconductor devices in an article titled, “Building Better Electronic Devices”. Check out the full story HERE.

Research featured as a frontispiece of Advanced Optical Materials

The research conducted by a Chemical Engineering graduate student, Yin Fang, with Professors Jiang and Taylor (UF Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering) has featured as a frontispiece in the recent issue of Advanced Optical Materials. This work explores a new type of smart nanooptical coatings with bistable optical states using thermoresponsive shape memory polymers. The heat-triggered transition between a disordered temporary state and a 3-D ordered permanent state leads to an easily perceived color change, which provides a unique mechanism for developing reconfigurable nanooptical devices for all-optical integrated circuits. READ MORE