People At The Texas Center For Superconductivity

TcSUH In The News

AMPing Up Delivery of Superconducting Wires

August 02, 2021
AMPing Up Delivery of Superconducting Wires
Congratulations to Prof. Selva for Spinoff Ramp-Up

Superconductivity, where electrical resistance vanishes, remains a technology that both powers science and mystifies scientists. It charges MRI scanners, enables new drug discovery through advanced spectroscopy machines, and is used to create the kind of powerful magnets that help smash atoms as scientists work to uncover how the universe is made and how it works.

In all of these and more disparate uses, the next-generation machines could have one common connection: the kind of unique wire, or superconducting material, necessary to enable the development of ultra- high field magnets that need hardly any power for sustained operation. It’s a wire that nobody else makes other than Venkat Selvamanickam, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering and director of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

For more information, read the original news release.


Lars Grabow - Engineering Dynamic Solutions

July 27, 2021
Lars Grabow - Engineering Dynamic Solutions
Congratulations to TcSUH Principal Investigator Lars Grabow for feature article in UH Energy - Connections Newsletter - July 2021 Edition

Lars Grabow at the University of Houston received a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the technology for a catalytic process to produce acrylonitrile in small modular reactors near geographically distributed carbon fiber plants, meaning cheaper products with reduced energy costs.

The bulk of U.S. petrochemical feedstocks are located on the U.S. Gulf Coast, in close proximity to upstream products such as oil and natural gas as well as refineries, reducing the cost of logistics. Additionally, most ports and terminals for import and export are located along the Gulf Coast to facilitate intrastate barge and international vessel movements.

While the location offers many advantages, disruptive weather events like hurricanes, freezes and floods — particularly in recent years — often push Gulf Coast facilities offline. Manufacturers responsible for producing end-products, or derivatives, of these main petrochemicals often see feedstocks stranded during these seasonal force majeure events and their production halted due to a bottleneck hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

For more information, read the original news release.


The Pressure Is Off and High Temperature Superconductivity Remains

July 08, 2021
The Pressure Is Off and High Temperature Superconductivity Remains
Congratulations to Prof. Paul Chu and Dr. Liangzi Deng for work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA.

In a critical next step toward room-temperature superconductivity at ambient pressure, Paul Chu, Founding Director and Chief Scientist at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), Liangzi Deng, research assistant professor of physics at TcSUH, and their colleagues at TcSUH conceived and developed a pressure-quench (PQ) technique that retains the pressure-enhanced and/or -induced high transition temperature (Tc) phase even after the removal of the applied pressure that generates this phase.

Pengcheng Dai, professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University and his group, and Yanming Ma, Dean of the College of Physics at Jilin University, and his group contributed toward successfully demonstrating the possibility of the pressure-quench technique in a model high temperature superconductor, iron selenide (FeSe). The results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA.

For more information, read the original news release.


Using the Ancient Art of Kirigami to Make an Eyeball-like Camera

June 28, 2021
Using the Ancient Art of Kirigami to Make an Eyeball-like Camera
Congratulations to Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Principal Investigator at TcSUH, who reports the development of a camera with a curvy, adaptable imaging sensor that could improve image quality in endoscopes,

Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston, is reporting the development of a camera with a curvy, adaptable imaging sensor that could improve image quality in endoscopes, night-vision goggles, artificial compound eyes and fish-eye cameras.

“Existing curvy imagers are either flexible but not compatible with tunable focal surfaces, or stretchable but with low pixel density and pixel fill factors,” reports Yu in Nature Electronics. “The new imager with kirigami design has a high pixel fill factor, before stretching, of 78% and can retain its optoelectronic performance while being biaxially stretched by 30%.”

For more information, read the original news release.


Altered Microscructure Improves Organic-Based, Solid State Lithium EV Battery

June 17, 2021
Altered Microscructure Improves Organic-Based, Solid State Lithium EV Battery
Congratulations to TcSUH PI Yan Yao, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dr. Jibo Zhang, UH postdoctoral fellow, and colleagues at Rice University for their work published June 17 in Joule.

Only 2% of vehicles are electrified to date, but that is projected to reach 30% in 2030. A key toward improving the commercialization of electric vehicles (EVs) is to heighten their gravimetric energy density – measured in watt hours per kilogram – using safer, easily recyclable materials that are abundant. Lithium-metal in anodes are considered the “holy grail” for improving energy density in EV batteries compared to incumbent options like graphite at 240 Wh/kg in the race to reach more competitive energy density at 500 Wh/kg.

Yan Yao, Cullen Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston, and UH post doctorate Jibo Zhang are taking on this challenge with Rice University colleagues. In a paper published June 17 in Joule, Zhang, Yao and team demonstrate a two-fold improvement in energy density for organic-based, solid state lithium batteries by using a solvent-assisted process to alter the electrode microstructure. Zhaoyang Chen, Fang Hao, Yanliang Liang of UH, Qing Ai, Tanguy Terlier, Hua Guo and Jun Lou of Rice University co-authored the paper.

“We are developing low-cost, earth-abundant, cobalt-free organic-based cathode materials for a solid-state battery that will no longer require scarce transition metals found in mines,” said Yao. “This research is a step forward in increasing EV battery energy density using this more sustainable alternative.” Yao is also Principal Investigator with the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH).

For more information, read the original news release.


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.


Non-Invasive Eye-Movement Sensors Developed by UH's Ryou

May 14, 2021
Non-Invasive Eye-Movement Sensors Developed by UH's Ryou
Congratulations to Prof. Jae-Hyun Ryou, Nam-In Kim and Colleagues

Jae-Hyun Ryou, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering, is the lead author for a new research article describing eye-movement sensors that can record data by less obstructive methods than previously thought.

“Highly-Sensitive Skin-Attachable Eye-Movement Sensor Using Flexible Nonhazardous Piezoelectric Thin Film” was published by Advanced Functional Materials in February. Additional authors from include UH include Ryou's students – Nam-In Kim, Jie Chen, Weijie Wang, Mina Moradnia and Sara Pouladi. Other listed authors include Min-Ki Kwon, a visiting scholar while on sabbatical from Chosun University; Ja-Yeon Kim, a visiting scholar while on sabbatical from Korea Photonics Technology Institute; and Xiaohang Li, a professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, who was involved in the discussion and analysis of data with Ryou's students.

According to the paper, Ryou and his team developed a highly sensitive, noninvasive, and skin-attachable sensor made of a stable, flexible piezoelectric thin film. The film is also free of hazardous elements, and it overcomes the limitations of current computer-vision-based eye-tracking systems. Piezoelectric strain sensors are developed as well. The sensor is fabricated from single-crystalline III-N thin film, by a layer-transfer technique that is highly sensitive and can detect subtle movements of the eye.

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.