People At The Texas Center For Superconductivity

TcSUH In The News

Implantable Device Can Monitor and Treat Heart Disease

November 02, 2020
Implantable Device Can Monitor and Treat Heart Disease
Congrats to Cunjiang Yu

Congrats to Cunjiang Yu and first authors Kyoseung Sim, Faheem Ershad and Yongcao Zhang, all with UH, and colleagues at Texas Heart Institute and University of Chicago, who have reported in Nature Electronics a patch made from fully rubbery electronics that can be placed directly on the heart to collect electrophysiological activity, temperature, heartbeat and other indicators, all at the same time.

Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UH and corresponding author for the paper, said the device marks the first time bioelectronics have been developed based on fully rubbery electronic materials that are compatible with heart tissue, allowing the device to solve the limitations of previous cardiac implants, which are mainly made out of rigid electronic materials.

“For people who have heart arrhythmia or a heart attack, you need to quickly identify the problem,” Yu said. “This device can do that.” Yu is also a principle investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH.

For more information, read the original news release.


Medical Robotic Hand? Rubbery Semiconductor Makes It Possible

September 16, 2020
Medical Robotic Hand? Rubbery Semiconductor Makes It Possible
Congratulations to Cunjiang Yu.

A medical robotic hand could allow doctors to more accurately diagnose and treat people from halfway around the world, but currently available technologies aren’t good enough to match the in-person experience.

Researchers report in Science Advances that they have designed and produced a smart electronic skin and a medical robotic hand capable of assessing vital diagnostic data by using a newly invented rubbery semiconductor with high carrier mobility.

Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston and corresponding author for the work, said the rubbery semiconductor material also can be easily scaled for manufacturing, based upon assembly at the interface of air and water.

That interfacial assembly and the rubbery electronic devices described in the paper suggest a pathway toward soft, stretchy rubbery electronics and integrated systems that mimic the mechanical softness of biological tissues, suitable for a variety of emerging applications, said Yu, who also is a principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH.

For more information, read the original news release.


Inexpensive, Non-Toxic Nanofluid Could Be a Game-Changer for Oil Recovery

September 10, 2020
Inexpensive, Non-Toxic Nanofluid Could Be a Game-Changer for Oil Recovery
Congrats to Zhifeng Ren, Dan Luo for Paper on Non-Toxic Nanofluid, a Possible Game-Changer for Oil Recovery

Researchers from the University of Houston have demonstrated that an inexpensive and non-toxic nanofluid can be used to efficiently recover even heavy oil with high viscosity from reservoirs.

The nanofluid, made in a common household blender using commercially available sodium, allowed for recovery in lab tests of 80% of extra-heavy oil with a viscosity of more than 400,000 centipoise at room temperature. Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH and corresponding author for a paper describing the work, said recovery in the field is expected to be less than the 80% shown in the lab; how much less will depend on oilfield conditions.

The work, published in Materials Today Physics, suggests a breakthrough in the use of nanotechnology to provide cost-effective and environmentally sustainable ways to produce oil.

The researchers note that so-called heavy oil – the result of the molecular structure of the oil – makes up 70% of global oil reserves, suggesting it will be needed to meet increasing energy demands until clean energy sources are fully developed. Current extraction technologies that involve the use of steam are expensive and environmentally damaging.

For more information, read the original news release.


Bringing Fusion Energy to Commercial Reality

September 09, 2020
Bringing Fusion Energy to Commercial Reality
UH Project Will Develop Superconducting Magnets for Fusion Systems

HOUSTON, Sept. 9, 2020 – Despite growing scientific and commercial interest in fusion as an on-demand energy source – producing emissions-free energy through the fusion of hydrogen atoms – significant obstacles remain. A researcher from the University of Houston has joined an effort by the U.S. Department of Energy to jumpstart the technology.

Venkat Selvamanickam, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will lead a $1.5 million project to develop high temperature superconducting magnets made from low-cost raw materials and capable of handling high currents in a magnetic field greater than 20 Tesla, a unit used to measure the strength of magnetic fields. (The earth’s magnetic field, by comparison, is about 0.0001 Tesla.)

Venkat Selvamanickam, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will lead a $1.5 million project to develop high temperature superconducting magnets made from low-cost raw materials and capable of handling high currents in a magnetic field greater than 20 Tesla, a unit used to measure the strength of magnetic fields. (The earth’s magnetic field, by comparison, is about 0.0001 Tesla.)The work is part of a $29 million program through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, intended to close fusion-specific technological gaps to accelerate deployment of a commercially viable fusion system.

For more information, read the original news release.


Jakoah Brgoch Wins 2020 NSM Junior Faculty Award

September 03, 2020
Jakoah Brgoch Wins 2020 NSM Junior Faculty Award
Congratulations to Jakoah Brgoch, TcSUH PI!

The University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics awards faculty at the rank of assistant professor the NSM Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Research every year.

The award was created in 2015 to recognize faculty for their great potential in research and scholarship as shown by the exceptional quality of their contributions.

Jakoah Brgoch, who is now associate professor of chemistry, was nominated by his peers in the college to receive the 2020 award, along with a $5,000 check and plaque.

David Hoffman, chemistry department chair and professor of chemistry, wrote in his nominating letter that Brgoch “is a productive, innovative scientist who has generated exciting research results that have led to numerous high-profile publications and extensive external research funding.”

Brgoch said he is honored to be recognized by his peers for his work.

“It’s amazing to join the ranks of many of my colleagues in our department who have also won the award,” he said. “It’s nice validation to know that what you’re doing is recognized by the college and you’re making an impact outside of your research group and your department.”

For more information, read the original news release.


Welch Foundation Provides Thousands in Research Grants to Chemistry Department

August 26, 2020
Welch Foundation Provides Thousands in Research Grants to Chemistry Department
Congratulations to Profs. Lee and Lubchenko (TcSUH Principal Investigators), and Prof. Jerry Yang (former TcSUH Welch Professor).

For decades, the Welch Foundation has supported faculty research at the University of Houston with millions of dollars. This year alone, it is providing $980K in Welch Research Grants to faculty from the Department of Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The most recent Welch research grants were awarded this year to: T. Randall Lee, Cullen Distinguished University Chair and NSM associate dean for research, Ding-Shyue (Jerry) Yang, associate professor of chemistry, and Vassiliy Lubchenko, professor of chemistry. All three will receive $80,000 per year for the next three years.

For more information, read the original news release.


New Physics Journal Earns High Impact Factor in First Reporting Period

UH Physicist Zhifeng Ren is Editor-in-Chief of Materials Today Physics

August 13, 2020
New Physics Journal Earns High Impact Factor in First Reporting Period

UH Physicist Zhifeng Ren is Editor-in-Chief of Materials Today Physics

Just three years after its launch, an academic journal led by Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston, has earned an impact factor putting it in the top 2% of all scientific journals.


Materials Today Physics earned an impact factor of 10.443, the first year it was eligible for the rating. According to SCIJournal.org, an impact factor of 10 or higher is considered “excellent.” Fewer than 2% of scientific journals reach that benchmark, the organization reported; physics and astronomy journals have an average impact factor of 2.9.


Ren serves as editor-in-chief with David Singh, University of Missouri Columbia, and Takao Mori, National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba-Shi, Japan, as the associate editors.


The impact factor of a scientific journal is a measure of the frequency with which its articles are cited in a particular year. Calculated by Clarivate Analytics, the impact factor is calculated based on a two-year period, and this is the first year Materials Today Physics was eligible to have its impact factor ranked.


Ren said the ranking places Materials Today Physics No. 2 among 54 physics and astronomy journals, as well as No. 2 among 23 energy-focused journals and No. 41 among 460 materials science journals.


“Such a high ranking is extremely difficult to achieve, considering the journal’s short history,” Ren said. “With such an outstanding start, we expect it will further grow its reputation and impact factor.”

For more information, read the original news release.


‘Drawn-on-Skin’ Electronics Offer Breakthrough in Wearable Monitors

July 30, 2020
‘Drawn-on-Skin’ Electronics Offer Breakthrough in Wearable Monitors
Congratulations to Cunjiang Yu, Faheem Ershad, and colleagues!

A team of researchers led by Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston, has developed a new form of electronics known as “drawn-on-skin electronics,” allowing multifunctional sensors and circuits to be drawn on the skin with an ink pen.

For more information, read the original news release.