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TcSUH In The News

Building a Better Bulb

June 01, 2021
Building a Better Bulb
Congratulations to Prof. Jakoah Brgoch and Shruti Hariyani. Another acclaim for the cutting edge research of TcSUH PI Prof. Jakoah Brgoch and Shruti Hariyani, Ph.D. student in Chemistry and recipient of the TcSUH C. W. Chu Scholarship for 2021-2022.

LED lightbulbs offer considerable advantages over other types of lighting. Being more efficient, they require much less electricity to operate. They do not give off unwanted heat the way old-school incandescent bulbs do, and the best of them long outlast even fluorescent lightbulbs.

But LEDs are not problem-free. Questions linger over suspected links between health concerns such as fatigue, mood disorders, and insomnia from overexposure to the blue-tinted light produced by today’s standard LED bulbs. Plus, higher prices can prompt lightbulb shoppers to weigh other options.

A University of Houston research team led by Jakoah Brgoch, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and principal investigator in the Texas Center for Superconductivity, is developing an LED bulb that emits most of its energy from the safer violet segment of the visible light spectrum. Instead of just masking the blue light, they are developing a unique class of luminescent materials called phosphors that absorb a violet LED’s single-color emission and convert the light to cover the majority of the visible spectrum.

For more information, read the original news release.


Hariyani and Brgoch Receive 2021 Chemistry of Materials Lectureship and Best Paper Award

May 12, 2021
Hariyani and Brgoch Receive 2021 Chemistry of Materials Lectureship and Best Paper Award
Congratulations to Shruti Hariyani, 2021-2022 TcSUH scholarship recipient, and her Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Jakoah Brgoch, TcSUH PI, in the Department of Chemistry.

hruti Hariyani, a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Houston Department of Chemistry, and Jakoah Brgoch, associate professor, have been selected as the 2021 winners of the Chemistry of Materials Lectureship and Best Paper Award.

The award, given by the journal Chemistry of Materials and the American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry, honors the authors of an article published in 2020 that has outstanding influence across the field of materials chemistry, while also recognizing that research is a team endeavor. The Chemistry of Materials Lectureship and Best Paper Award symposium will be part of the ACS Fall National Meeting.

For more information, read the original news release.


Scholarship Recipients Announced for Fall 2021 – Spring 2022

April 30, 2021
The TcSUH Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce five TcSUH scholarship recipients for the 2021-2022 academic year. An article on their research is available at

Houston, TX - The Scholarship Committee for the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH) is pleased to announce five TcSUH scholarship recipients for the 2021-2022 academic year. Students will be honored and presented certificates at a reception in the Fall, subject to UH COVID policies.

Scholarship recipients are selected from undergraduate or graduate students in research programs aligned with the Center, with selection based on the student’s academic and research accomplishments. While a high GPA is an essential factor, the committee considers the number of internal and external oral presentations, prizes and awards, number of papers, and other outstanding service or contributions.

For more information, read the original news release.


Endomag wins Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade

April 29, 2021
Now in its 55th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, celebrating the UK’s most innovative and fast-growing companies
University Startup Co-Founded by TcSUH Principal Investigator Audrius Brazdeikis Wins Business Award

Endomag has won a second Queen's Award for International Trade for outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales over the last three years. In its 55th year, the Queen's Award is widely considered one of the most prestigious business awards in the UK and demonstrates outstanding success in innovation and sustainable development. The Queen's Awards for Enterprise recognize UK businesses in innovation, international trade, sustainable development, and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The 'Sentimag' technology is a magnetic surgical guidance probe used with nanoparticle tracers and other magnetic devices to more safely and easily localize solid tumors and the so-called 'sentinel' lymph nodes used in the staging of certain types of cancer. Licensed by Endomag, the technology was initially developed by Audrius Brazdeikis, TcSUH Principal Investigator and Research Professor of physics, and his colleagues at University College London.

Endomagnetics Ltd, trading as Endomag, started trading in April 2007 and is based in Cambridge, UK. It has developed and markets a minimally invasive surgical guidance system to provide a better standard of breast cancer care. These technologies are used internationally to help women with breast cancer avoid surgery when it isn't needed and experience better outcomes when it is. It continues to develop its innovative clinical platform that uses magnetic fields to power diagnostic and therapeutic devices. Over the three years, overseas sales have grown by over 41% per annum from £4.0 million to £8.0 million, comprising 88.5% of all sales. Its top market is the United States, with significant exports to Germany, Hong Kong, and Australia. The company was previously awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise - Innovation in 2018.

For more information, read the original news release.


UH’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Nanotechnology Scales Up for Commercial Production

April 23, 2021
UH’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Nanotechnology Scales Up for Commercial Production
Congrats to Zhifeng Ren and Dan Luo for Enhanced Oil Recovery Nanotechnology Scale-Up

A nanotechnology developed at the University of Houston that shows promise for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has entered a multi-phase manufacturing process intended to test and scale for mass nanofluid production.

The EOR nanotechnology invented by UH physicist Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, and postdoctoral fellow Dan Luo has been exclusively optioned to NaNoEOR™ LLC, an affiliate of Future Energy LLC.

“Dr. Ren and his team have introduced a novel and innovative idea of an exothermic reaction to reduce oil viscosity and we’re excited about the results that we have seen so far,” said Kent Hytken, CEO of Future Energy LLC.

The NaNoEOR™ zero-emissions nanotechnology enables the nanofluid to be injected into a reservoir to significantly reduce the viscosity of heavy oil, oil sands and tight/shale oil deposits by causing an exothermic reaction. This exothermic reaction generates hydrogen gas that emulsifies the oil, decreases the interfacial tension between crude oil and water, and causes wettability alteration for improved sweep efficiency, maximizing oil mobility for increased oil production.

For more information, read the original news release.


Wei-Kan Chu’s 40-Year Teaching Career Honored with Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award

April 08, 2021
Wei-Kan Chu’s 40-Year Teaching Career Honored with Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award
Congratulations to Professor Wei-Kan Chu!

An old Chinese proverb says, give a man a fish, and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

This is part of Cullen University Professor of Physics Wei-Kan Chu’s personal teaching philosophy that has guided his 40-plus year career advising more than 28 Ph.D. students, the bulk of it at the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Texas Center for Superconductivity.

His dedication to and excellence mentoring the next generation’s scientific leaders garnered him two awards, most recently the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools’ (CSGS) 2021 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. In 2020, he received the inaugural UH Graduate School’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award.

“More than 90 universities sent faculty nominations for the CSGS award,” said Chu. “I am very fortunate to have received this award. I feel like it was winning a lottery ticket.”

UH nominated Chu for the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools award after he won the University’s award.

For more information, read the original news release.


UH expanding into Micro-CT for Advanced Materials development, thanks to Naval Research grant

March 10, 2021
UH expanding into Micro-CT for Advanced Materials development, thanks to Naval Research grant
Congrats to Prof. Venkat Selvamanickam on ONR grant for Micro-CT Imaging

Dr. Venkat “Selva” Selvamanickam, the M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has secured a $904,554 grant to procure equipment for Micro-CT imaging.

Professors at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering have received a $904,554 grant from the Office of Naval Research to procure equipment that will allow Micro-CT imaging, which utilizes x-rays to see inside of an object and will allow for significant improvements in the development of advanced materials.

The grant, “Micro-Computed Tomography (Micro-CT) for Non-destructive Evaluation of Advanced Materials and Devices for Defense Applications,” was approved in September. According to Dr. Venkat “Selva” Selvamanickam, the M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering, the imaging equipment will be delivered in March and installed in April.

Micro-CT works similar to hospital CT or CAT scans. However, it typically works at a much finer resolution, and without destroying the sample. Micro-CT is also known as microtomography or micro computed tomography.

According to Selva's proposal, Micro-CT combines x-ray absorption imaging with a single or multiple axes goniometer, advanced 2D solid state detectors and advanced x-ray sources to obtain a sequence of position-dependent images or frames. Based on the knowledge of spatial orientation of each frame, a 3D image of a sample under investigation can then be computed, based on reconstruction of the original 2D frames into a 3D map.

In the awarded proposal, Selva identified seven different application areas that Micro-CT equipment would help the research at the University of Houston. Some specific uses for the Micro-CT highlighted by Selva included as a characterization tool for the development of high-performance superconductor wires and high-energy density and safer lithium solid-state batteries; as an education tool for quality assurance and control manufacturing; and to optimize smart thermal sensors.

For more information, read the original news release.


New Catalyst Moves Seawater Desalination, Hydrogen Production Closer to Commercialization

January 28, 2021
New Catalyst Moves Seawater Desalination, Hydrogen Production Closer to Commercialization
Congrats to Zhifeng Ren.

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported an oxygen evolving catalyst that takes just minutes to grow at room temperature on commercially available nickel foam. Paired with a previously reported hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst, it can achieve industrially required current density for overall seawater splitting at low voltage. The work is described in a paper published in Energy & Environmental Science.

Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH) and corresponding author for the paper, said speedy, low-cost production is critical to commercialization.

“Any discovery, any technology development, no matter how good it is, the end cost is going to play the most important role,” he said. “If the cost is prohibitive, it will not make it to market. In this paper, we found a way to reduce the cost so commercialization will be easier and more acceptable to customers.”

For more information, read the original news release.