People At The Texas Center For Superconductivity

TcSUH In The News

UH Engineering Doctoral Student Publishes In Nano Energy

May 15, 2019
UH Engineering Doctoral Student Publishes In Nano Energy
Jie Chen

Wearable electronics – from smartwatches to fitness trackers – are not just trendy and fashionable accessories, but an integral part of many people’s lives. People use these devices to log the number of steps taken, monitor heart rates and sleep patterns, count calories and more. The demand for wearable devices has spurred advances, such as more compact designs and more complex activity tracking (broken down into different sports), which require more efficient power storage. Traditional batteries can’t meet customer’s expectations of smaller devices and longer run times between chargings. As a result, researchers are working to identify or create alternate power supplies. Jie Chen, a doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, recently tackled the issue in an article published in the prestigious Nano Energy journal.

For more information, read the original news release.


Researchers Report High Performance Solid-State Sodium-Ion Battery

April 19, 2019
Researchers Report High Performance Solid-State Sodium-Ion Battery
Yan Yao

Solid-state sodium-ion batteries are far safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries, which pose a risk of fire and explosions, but their performance has been too weak to offset the safety advantages. Researchers Friday reported developing an organic cathode that dramatically improves both stability and energy density. Yan Yao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston and corresponding author of the paper, said the organic cathode – known as PTO, for pyrene-4,5,9,10-tetraone – offers unique advantages over previous inorganic cathodes. But he said the underlying principles are equally significant. “We found for the first time that the resistive interface that forms between the cathode and the electrolyte can be reversed,” Yao said. “That can contribute to stability and longer cycle life.” Yao also is a principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH. His research group focuses on green and sustainable organic materials for energy generation and storage.

For more information, read the original news release.


UH Researchers Forge Ahead With Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Solar Cell Device Development

March 14, 2019
UH Researchers Forge Ahead With Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Solar Cell Device Development
Venkat Selvamanickam, J.-H. Ryou

An article citing improvements in research involving a new generation of flexible photovoltaic devices reported by the Selva Research Group at the UH Cullen College of Engineering was recently published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. The article is titled “Flexible GaAs Solar cells on roll-to-roll processed epitaxial Ge films on metal foils: a route towards low-cost and high-performance III-V photovoltaics.”

For more information, read the original news release.


NSF CAREER Awards: A Track Record of Success in the Chemistry Department

March 11, 2019
NSF CAREER Awards: A Track Record of Success in the Chemistry Department
Jerry Yang, Jakoah Brgoch

In the past three years, within the Department of Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, junior faculty have demonstrated a track record of success in receiving the highly prestigious National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award. NSF CAREER Awards, which offer five years of funding, are granted to faculty members at the assistant professor level who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through “outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.” Since 2017, five faculty members in the chemistry department have received a CAREER Award. This number of awards is a testament both to their excellence in research as well as the culture of support within the department. “When it comes to award nominations and applications, our department has been extremely supportive,” said Jakoah Brgoch, an assistant professor of chemistry and NSF CAREER Award recipient. “They not only write strong letters of support, but they also help identify awards and make connections that are essential to winning the awards and advancing our careers.” Awarded faculty members include Jerry Yang, Judy Wu, Loi Do, Jakoah Brgoch and Thomas Teets.

For more information, read the original news release.


UH Research Breakthrough Lands Journal Cover

February 06, 2019
UH Research Breakthrough Lands Journal Cover
Jae-Huyn Ryou, Sara Pouladi, Monika Rathy, Venkat Selvamanickam

The journal Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications featured an article on the collaborative work of two UH Cullen College of Engineering research groups on its cover in January. The article, titled “High efficiency flexible III/V photovoltaic solar cells based on single crystal-like thin films directly grown on metallic tapes,” is about the design and development of highly-efficient, low-cost flexible solar cell devices that can adapt to different environments and uses. “The overarching goal of the research is to develop flexible and low-cost, yet high-efficiency photovoltaic device – something that generates electricity by exposing material to light – using high-quality solar cell materials on inexpensive metal tape through a continuous deposition process,” said Jae-Hyun Ryou, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

For more information, read the original news release.


Researchers Report Advances in Stretchable Rubbery Semiconductors, Rubbery Integrated Electronics

February 01, 2019
Researchers Report Advances in Stretchable Rubbery Semiconductors, Rubbery Integrated Electronics
Cunjiang Yu, Kyoseung Sim, Zhoulyu Rao, Anish Thukral, Hyunseok Shim, Hae-Jin Kim

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported significant advances in stretchable electronics, moving the field closer to commercialization. In a paper published Friday, Feb. 1, in Science Advances, they outlined advances in creating stretchable rubbery semiconductors, including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials. Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston and corresponding author on the paper, said the work could lead to important advances in smart devices such as robotic skins, implantable bioelectronics and human-machine interfaces.

For more information, read the original news release.


New Method Yields Higher Transition Temperature in Superconducting Materials

January 25, 2019
New Method Yields Higher Transition Temperature in Superconducting Materials
C. W. Chu, Liagzi Deng

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new way to raise the transition temperature of superconducting materials, boosting the temperature at which the superconductors are able to operate. The results, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest a previously unexplored avenue for achieving higher-temperature superconductivity, which offers a number of potential benefits to energy generators and consumers. Electric current can move through superconducting materials without resistance, while traditional transmission materials lose as much as 10 percent of the energy between the generating source and the end user. Finding superconductors that work at or near room temperature – current superconductors require the use of a cooling agent – could allow utility companies to provide more electricity without increasing the amount of fuel required, reducing their carbon footprint and improving the reliability and efficiency of the power grid.

For more information, read the original news release.


New Thermoelectric Material Delivers Record Performance (Researchers Say the Finding Offers Promise for Clean Power Generation)

January 17, 2019
New Thermoelectric Material Delivers Record Performance (Researchers Say the Finding Offers Promise for Clean Power Generation)
Zhifeng Ren, Jun Mao, Qing Zhu, Zihang Liu, Tian Tong, Jiming Bao, et. al.

Taking advantage of recent advances in using theoretical calculations to predict the properties of new materials, researchers reported Thursday the discovery of a new class of half-Heusler thermoelectric compounds, including one with a record high figure of merit – a metric used to determine how efficiently a thermoelectric material can convert heat to electricity. “It maintained the high figure of merit at all temperatures, so it potentially could be important in applications down the road,” said physicist Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH) and corresponding author on a paper reporting the work, published in Nature Communications. Thermoelectric materials have drawn increasing interest in the research community as a potential source of “clean” power, produced when the material converts heat – often waste heat generated by power plants or other industrial processes – into electricity.

For more information, read the original news release.