University of California, Riverside

Materials Science and Engineering

News & Highlights

Tenure-track Faculty Positions

The Bourns College of Engineering invites applications for the following tenure-track and tenured faculty positions in Engineering as well as cross disciplinary hires with potential home departments in Engineering, the Sciences, School of Public Policy, and/or School of Medicine beginning the 2016/2017 academic year.

Faculty positions in Engineering:


The University of California at Riverside (UCR) is embarking on a major new hiring initiative that will add 300 tenured and tenure-track positions in 33 cross-disciplinary areas selected through a peer-reviewed competition. Over the next three years, we will hire multiple faculty members in each area and invest in research infrastructure to support their work. This initiative will build critical mass in vital and emerging fields of scholarship, foster truly cross-disciplinary work and further diversify the faculty at one of America’s most diverse research universities. We encourage applications from scholars committed to excellence and seeking to help redefine the research university for the next generation. Additional information available at

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the Bourns College of Engineering is leading cluster hires with potential home departments in engineering or the sciences to enhance UCR’s research strengths in

  • Computational Materials (3 open rank positions): One area includes ab initio approaches with applications in energetics and kinetics of material growth and structure including dopants, crystal defects, domain boundaries, crystal hetero-interfaces, magnetic properties, and vibrational spectra. A second area includes GW, Bethe-Saltpeter, and TDDFT approaches. A third area will focus on strongly correlated materials using traditional tools of condensed matter theory or more quantitative tools such as dynamical mean field theory or quantum Monte Carlo. All candidates are expected to collaborate with experimental groups.
  • Phonon and Magnon Engineered Materials and Devices (3 open rank positions): Areas of interest include: spectroscopy of phonons and magnons, phonon transport in nanostructures, phononic crystals and phonon engineered materials, thermoelectric devices, magnetic materials, spin waves and magnonic devices. The candidates are expected to collaborate with the research centers on campus focused on investigation of phonons and spins in nanoscale systems.   
  • A PhD in a relevant area at the time of employment is a minimum requirement. Candidates must have published research of the highest quality and demonstrate exceptional promise for, or a proven record of, high quality research and teaching, securing external funding, collaborating across disciplines, and working successfully to benefit a diverse student body.

    UCR is a world-class research university with an exceptionally diverse undergraduate student body. Its mission is explicitly linked to providing routes to educational success for underrepresented and first-generation college students. A commitment to this mission is a preferred qualification.

    Advancement through the faculty ranks at the University of California is through a series of structured, merit-based evaluations, occurring every 2-3 years, each of which includes substantial peer input.

    Full consideration will be given to applications received by December 23, 2015. We will continue to consider applications until the position is filled. To apply, please register through the web link at For inquiries and questions, please contact us at

    The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability  protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. 


We seek applicants who will complement the highly motivated and entrepreneurial spirit of the College faculty, and who will contribute meaningfully to the success of future teaching, research, and service accomplishments. Incumbents are expected to initiate and sustain strong sponsored research and graduate training programs.

The Bourns College of Engineering is proud of its faculty's accomplishments and rapid growth. The College currently has 102 faculty members, 2,400 undergraduates, more than 750 graduate students, and more than $33.4 million in annual research expenditures.

The College is home to eight interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research centers : The Center for Bioengineering Research (CBR), the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), the Center for Research in Intelligent Systems (CRIS), the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), the Center for Ubiquitous Communications by Light (UC-Light), the Winston Chung Global Energy Center (WCGEC), the Center for Phonon Optimized-Engineered Materials (POEM), and the Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy (SC-RISE). 

For further information please visit BCOE's webpage: 



MSE Welcomes Two New Faculty!

The MSE Program is proud to announce the recent hire of two new joint faculty members, P. Alex Greaney and Richard Wilson, to start in the 2015/2016 academic year.

P. Alex Greaney, Ph. D.

Lorenzo MangoliniDr. Greaney received his M.Eng. in Metallurgy Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Oxford in 1998 and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 2003. After postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Greaney joined the faculty at Oregon State University before moving to the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Greaney’s research is focused on using computation and theory to understand the fundamental structure-property relationships in materials. His group’s research encompases thermal properties of materials, mechanical properties, functional nanostructures materials, and computational design of materials. This research is aimed at solving societally impactful problems of energy conversion, energy storage, and clean water. Currently the group is researching gecko adhesion, battery materials, photocatalysis, creep in superalloys, thermal transport in molecular framework materials, and design of shape-shifting materials. This research is funded by grants from the American Chemical Society, the W.M Keck Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and the US National Science foundation.

 Richard Wilson, Ph.D.

Bryan Wong

Dr. Richard Wilson will begin as an assistant professor at the University of California Riverside in the summer of 2016. Dr. Wilson’s research focuses on developing a nuanced understanding of electronic, magnetic, and thermal transport phenomena. The ultimate goal of his research is to leverage a fundamental understanding of transport phenomena into materials and devices with enhanced functionality. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California Berkeley, where he is developing methods for controlling the magnetization dynamics of ferromagnetic metals on ultrafast time scales. Earlier this year, he earned his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois, where he used optical techniques to characterize heat flow in solids on nanometer length scales. 

Student Spotlight

Ph.D. student Nicholas Yaraghi wins Best Poster Award at M&M 2015

Nicholas Yaraghi, a 2nd year Ph.D. student of Professor David Kisailus recently attended the 2015 Microscopy and Microanalysis Conference in Portland, Oregon and won first place for his poster presentation entitled “Elemental and Phase Analysis of the Stomatopod Dactyl Club by X-Ray Mapping”.  The research Nick was presenting included Qualitative and Quantitative X-Ray Microanalysis of an ultra-hard biological composite material using new x-ray analysis techniques”.

This work was primarily via a collaboration with Dr. Leigh Sheppard and Dr. Richard Wuhrer, at the University of Western Sydney. Other contributors and co-authors include Nobphadon Suksangpanya, Nicolás Guarín-Zapata and Prof. Pablo Zavattieri (all from Purdue) as well as Dr. Lessa Grunenfelder, Steven Herrera and Dr.  Garrett Milliron (current and former members of Prof. Kisailus’ group).


Photo: Nicholas Yaraghi and Dr. Richard Wuhrer at the 2015 Microscopy and Microanalysis Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Research Highlights of MSE Faculty

Making Batteries with Portabella Mushrooms

What's the key to longer lasting cell phone and electric vehicle batteries? Professors Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan found the porous structure of portabella mushrooms can extend battery life spans. You can read the full UCR Today article here.

September 29, 2015: Porous structure of portabella mushrooms is key to making efficient batteries that could power cell phones and electric vehicles.
Read the Materials Today article here

Balandin Group Paper is the Most Accessed in Applied Physics Letters 

It was recently announced by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) that the paper co-authored by MSE graduate student Rameez Samnakay and ECE graduate student Chenglong Jiang is the most assessed paper in the Applied Physical Letters journal in 2015. The paper entitled “Selective chemical vapor sensing with few-layer MoS2 thin-film transistors: Comparison with graphene devices” was published in January 2015. Rameez and Chenglon – the first authors of the paper – are PhD candidates in Professor Balandin’s Nano-Device Laboratory (NDL) and Phonon Optimized Engineered Materials (POEM) Center. According to the AIP press-release the paper from Balandin group came on top of the list of 25 papers that were the most-accessed articles from Applied Physics Letters published from January to March 2015. The paper that attracted the most interest deals with nano-fabrication of transistors with two-dimensional materials and testing their gas and chemical vapor sensing capabilities. Applied Physics Letters is the premier journal in the field of applied physics and engineering. 


Photo: Rameez Samnakay and Chenglong Jiang are using micro-Raman spectroscopy for quality control of two-dimensional materials used in nano-transistor fabrication.

Link to the Paper:


Prof. Suveen Mathaudhu Elected fellow of ASM International


Prof. Suveen Mathaudhu, an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Materials Science and Engineering Program has been elected to the rank of Fellow in ASM International.  He is one of about 25 society members selected for the honor this year and joins BCOE’s Dean Reza Abbaschian, who was elected as an ASM Fellow in 1992, and served as ASM President in 2006. 

ASM International was founded in 1913 as the American Society for Metals.  Today, ASM is the world’s largest association of metals-centric materials scientists and engineers with over 30,000 members worldwide.  The rank of Fellow of ASM was established in 1969 to provide recognition to ASM members for their distinguished contributions to materials science and engineering and develops a broadly based forum for technical and professional leaders to serve as advisors to the Society. 

Mathaudhu was specifically recognized for his leadership, management and advocacy for the development of new advanced lightweight metals and bulk nanostructured materials, in support of defense materials needs.  He will be honored at the society’s annual meeting in October in Columbus, Ohio.


New Paper-like Material Could Boost Electric Vehicle Batteries

Researchers create silicon nanofibers 100 times thinner than human hair for potential applications in batteries for electric cars and personal electronics

Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan in their lab

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have developed a novel paper-like material for lithium-ion batteries. It has the potential to boost by several times the specific energy, or amount of energy that can be delivered per unit weight of the battery.

This paper-like material is composed of sponge-like silicon nanofibers more than 100 times thinner than human hair. It could be used in batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics.

The findings were just published in a paper, “Towards Scalable Binderless Electrodes: Carbon Coated Silicon Nanofiber Paper via Mg Reduction of Electrospun SiO2 Nanofibers,” in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. The authors were Mihri Ozkan, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cengiz S. Ozkan, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and six of their graduate students: Zach Favors (MSE), Hamed Hosseini Bay (ME), Zafer Mutlu (MSE), Kazi Ahmed (EE), Robert Ionescu (MSE) and Rachel Ye (ME).

The nanofibers were produced using a technique known as electrospinning, whereby 20,000 to 40,000 volts are applied between a rotating drum and a nozzle, which emits a solution composed mainly of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), a chemical compound frequently used in the semiconductor industry. The nanofibers are then exposed to magnesium vapor to produce the sponge-like silicon fiber structure.

Conventionally produced lithium-ion battery anodes are made using copper foil coated with a mixture of graphite, a conductive additive, and a polymer binder. But, because the performance of graphite has been nearly tapped out, researchers are experimenting with other materials, such as silicon, which has a specific capacity, or electrical charge per unit weight of the battery, nearly 10 times higher than graphite.

The problem with silicon is that is suffers from significant volume expansion, which can quickly degrade the battery. The silicon nanofiber structure created in the Ozkan’s labs circumvents this issue and allows the battery to be cycled hundreds of times without significant degradation.


silicon nanofiber images

(a) Schematic representation of the electrospinning process and subsequent reduction process. Digital photographs of (b) as-spun SiO2 nanofibers paper, (c) etched silicon nanofiber paper, and (d) carbon-coated silicon nanofiber paper as used in the lithium-ion half-cell configuration.

This technology also solves a problem that has plagued free-standing, or binderless, electrodes for years: scalability. Free-standing materials grown using chemical vapor deposition, such as carbon nanotubes or silicon nanowires, can only be produced in very small quantities (micrograms). However, Favors was able to produce several grams of silicon nanofibers at a time even at the lab scale.

The researchers’ future work involves implementing the silicon nanofibers into a pouch cell format lithium-ion battery, which is a larger scale battery format that can be used in EVs and portable electronics.

The research is supported by Temiz Energy Technologies. The UC Riverside Office of Technology Commercialization has filed patents for inventions reported in the research paper.


Researchers Make Magnetic Graphene

UC Riverside research could lead to new multi-functional electronic devices

Now a team of physicists at the University of California, Riverside has found an ingenious way to induce magnetism in graphene while also preserving graphene’s electronic properties. They have accomplished this by bringing a graphene sheet very close to a magnetic insulator – an electrical insulator with magnetic properties.

“This is the first time that graphene has been made magnetic this way,” said Jing Shi, a professor of materials science and engineering and physics and astronomy, whose lab led the research. “The magnetic graphene acquires new electronic properties so that new quantum phenomena can arise. These properties can lead to new electronic devices that are more robust and multi-functional.”

The finding has the potential to increase graphene’s use in computers, as in computer chips that use electronic spin to store data.

 Read the full story here...


Professor Mathaudhu to receive the NORM AUGUSTINE AWARD for Outstanding Achievement in
Engineering Communications

Dr. Suveen Mathaudhu

"Named to receive the Augustine Award for his compelling and innovative approach of engaging children, young people, and the general public with a better understanding of real science and technology by use of pop culture and other nontraditional means of communicating excitement about STEM."

UCR Today Story

MSE faculty Suveen Mathaudhu on the Science of Superheroes

Mathaudhu   Suveen Mathaudhu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and expert on the science of superheroes.

Prof. Mathaudhu talks about the super materials behind great comic book characters with NPR Member Station KPCC. Please click here to for the entire interview. 



Fall 2014 New Graduate Student Cohort


MSE Welcomes 17 New Graduate Students!

F14 CohortFrom top left: Dr. Ludwig Bartels, Andrew Chen, Chad Warren, Daniel Kosilla, Darren Dewitt, Devin Coleman, Sina Shahrezaei, Ece Aytan, Gardenia Rodriguez, Dr. Javier Garay
From bottom left: David Barroso, Fei Gu, Ariana Nguyen, Pan Xia
MSE Orientation Session 2
                               From left: Siyu Zhang, Dante O'Hara, Daisy Patino, Christian Roach
                               Not pictured: Xiaoxiong Ding, Hadi Maghsoudiganjeh



MSE Welcomes Two New Faculty!

The MSE Program is proud to announce the recent hire of two new joint faculty members, Suveen Mathaudhu and Brian Wong, to start in the 2014/2015 academic year.


Suveen Mathaudhu, Ph. D.

Lorenzo MangoliniProf. Mathaudhu serves as an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Materials Science and Engineering Program, where he studies the underpinning mechanisms that will make metallic materials and composites lighter and stronger.  He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2006.  There, he studied “top-down” processing methods, such as severe plastic deformation, and “bottom-up” processing methods, such as powder consolidation to produce bulk nanoscrystalline and metastable metals for structural and defense applications.  He subsequently served as an ORISE post-doctoral Fellow and then a Staff Scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory from 2006-2010.  From 2010 - 2014, he was the Program Manager for the Synthesis and Processing of Materials at the U.S. Army Research Office, and also, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at North Carolina State University.  He is active in several technical societies, including the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, the Materials Research Society and ASM International.  He is also an expert on the science of superheroes as depicted in comic books and their associated movies, and frequently speaks and consults on this subject.  


Bryan Wong Ph.D.

Bryan Wong

Prof. Wong serves as an Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Environmental Department and the Materials Science and Engineering Program, where he studies the development and application of theoretical tools to calculate, understand. and rationally design functional materials- working closely with experimentalists during each step. The ultimate motivation of his research is to accurately predict the properties of multifunctional materials – either previously synthesized or yet to be made – largely using first-principles calculation techniques. Of particular interest are technologically important problems in energy generation and conversion, especially those requiring an accurate understanding of electron dynamics. Examples of techniques and systems that are currently studied in his group include time-dependent density functional theory for photovoltaic materials, electron transport in chromophore-functionalized carbon nanosystems, optoelectronic effects in core-shell semiconductor nanowires, and large-scale, first-principles calculations for predicting growth and electronic properties of nanomaterials.  Prof. Wong received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 2007.  After graduation, he was employed by Sandia National Labs as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff for the Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics Group.  He has also held the position of Assistant Professor at Drexel University in the Department of Chemistry.  





NSF investment aims to take flat materials to new heights

$18 million NSF investment aims to take flat materials to new heights
The EFRI 2-DARE project led by Alexander Balandin at the University of California, Riverside, will focus on a new class of ultra-thin film materials, termed van der Waals materials, and the synthesis of new structures with them. Credit: Mahesh Neupane, Roger Lake, and Alexander Balandin Graphene, a form of carbon in which a single layer of atoms forms a two-dimensional, honeycomb crystal lattice, conducts electricity and heat efficiently and interacts with light in unusual ways. These properties have led to worldwide efforts in exploring its use in electronics, photonics and many other applications.

Rapid advances in graphene research during the last decade have suggested tantalizing possibilities for other two-dimensional materials, each of which might have distinct and useful properties.

To investigate the promise of 2-D layered materials beyond graphene, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) recently awarded grants totaling close to $18 million. NSF collaborated closely with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), which is planning to invest an additional $10 million through its Basic Research Initiative.

Over the next four years, nine teams involving a total of 42 researchers at 18 institutions will pursue transformative research in the area of 2-D atomic-layer research and engineering (2-DARE).

EFRI 2-DARE researchers will explore fundamental materials properties, synthesis and characterization, predictive modeling techniques and scalable fabrication and manufacturing methods to create new devices for photonics, electronics, sensors and energy harvesting. They also will investigate forming such devices on flexible, transparent and conformal substrates.

Alexander Balandin of the University of California, Riverside (UCR), will lead the project "Novel Switching Phenomena in Atomic Heterostructures for Multifunctional Applications" (1433395) in collaboration with Alexander Khitun of UCR, Roger Lake of UCR, and Tina Salguero of the University of Georgia.

The EFRI 2-DARE researchers will seek out 2-D layered materials and systems that offer enhanced and new capabilities in thermal storage, thermoelectric performance, gas adsorption and other areas. The rich variety of properties these materials and systems offer potentially can be engineered on demand.

Read the full story here...



Bryan Wong receives R&D 100 award for developing triplet-harvesting plastic scintillators

Widely recognized as the “Oscars of Invention”, the R&D 100 Awards identify and celebrate the top technology products of the year. Past winners have included sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, and high-energy physics. The R&D 100 Awards spans industry, academia, and government-sponsored research.

Sandia National Laboratories’ Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators (THPS) directly address these limitations by controlling all aspects of the detector response through specially designed light-harvesting dopants. These dopants generate controllable amounts of new luminescence that adds to the intrinsic light-yield response of the host material. Compared to existing materials, the THPS offer a 30% improvement in brightness, significantly faster timing response and unprecedented optical discrimination capabilities. The cost is also nearly 10 times less than the closest competing material. They enable, for the first time, the extraction of vital diagnostic information from mixed radiation fields.

The Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators (THPS) Development Team 
Patrick Feng, Principal Developer, Sandia National Laboratories
Mark D. Allendorf, Sandia National Laboratories
Mitchell R. Anstey, Sandia National Laboratories
F. Patrick Doty, Sandia National Laboratories
Michael E. Foster, Sandia National Laboratories
Khalid Hattar, Sandia National Laboratories
Ralph Page, Sandia National Laboratories
Kanai Shah, Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc.
Edgar van Loef, Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc.
Bryan M. Wong, Univ. of California, Riverside

Read the full article here 




Using sand to improve battery performance

From left, (b) unpurified sand, (c) purified sand, and (d) vials of unpurified sand, purified sand, and nano silicon.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. Yes, sand.

"This is the holy grail -- a low cost, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to produce high performance lithium ion battery anodes," said Zachary Favors, a Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Student working with Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan, both Materials Science and Engineering professors at UC Riverside.

The idea came to Favors six months ago. He was relaxing on the beach after surfing in San Clemente, Calif. when he picked up some sand, took a close look at it and saw it was made up primarily of quartz, or silicon dioxide.

His research is centered on building better lithium ion batteries, primarily for personal electronics and electric vehicles. He is focused on the anode, or negative side of the battery. Graphite is the current standard material for the anode, but as electronics have become more powerful graphite's ability to be improved has been virtually tapped out.

Researchers are now focused on using silicon at the nanoscale, or billionths of a meter level as a replacement for graphite. The problem with nanoscale silicon is that it degrades quickly and is hard to produce in large quantities.

Favors set out to solve both these problems. He researched sand to find a spot in the United States where it is found with a high percentage of quartz. That took him to the Cedar Creek Reservoir, east of Dallas, where he grew up.

Sand in hand, he came back to the lab at UC Riverside and milled it down to the nanometer scale, followed by a series of purification steps changing its color from brown to bright white, similar in color and texture to powdered sugar.

After that, he ground salt and magnesium, both very common elements found dissolved in sea water into the purified quartz. The resulting powder was then heated. With the salt acting as a heat absorber, the magnesium worked to remove the oxygen from the quartz, resulting in pure silicon.

The Ozkan team was pleased with how the process went. And they also encountered an added positive surprise. The pure nano-silicon formed in a very porous 3-D silicon sponge like consistency. That porosity has proven to be the key to improving the performance of the batteries built with the nano-silicon.

The improved performance could mean expanding the expected lifespan of silicon-based electric vehicle batteries up to 3 times or more, which would be significant for consumers, considering replacement batteries cost thousands of dollars. For cell phones or tablets, it could mean having to recharge every three days, instead of every day.

The findings were just published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Now, the Ozkan team is trying to produce larger quantities of the nano-silicon beach sand and is planning to move from coin-size batteries to pouch-size batteries that are used in cell phones.

The research is supported by Temiz Energy Technologies. The UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed patents for inventions reported in the research paper.



UC Riverside to Lead New Energy Frontier Research Center Project

The project “SHINES” will receive $12 million from the Department of Energy to pursue fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use

Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, to lead the SHINES initiative
 University of California, Riverside
Jing Shi, a professor of Physics and Astronomy as well as Material Science and Engineering, to lead the SHINES initiative
A UC Riverside-led research project is among the 32 named today by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as an Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), designed to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy in the United States.

“Spins and Heat in Nanoscale Electronic Systems” (SHINES) will receive $12 million over four years from the Department of Energy. The lead researcher is UC Riverside Professor of Physics and Materials Science and Engineering Jing Shi, who will work with researchers from seven universities.

SHINES is one of 10 new projects announced today, along with 22 other projects receiving new funding based on achievements to date. The Department of Energy announced a total of $100 million in funding to support fundamental advances in energy production, storage, and use.

“Today we are mobilizing some of our most talented scientists to join forces and pursue the discoveries and breakthroughs that will lay the foundation for our nation’s energy future,” Secretary Moniz said. “The funding we’re announcing today will help fuel innovation.”

He said the intent of the Energy Frontier Research Centers is to make fundamental advances in solar energy, electrical energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, materials and chemistry by design, biosciences, and extreme environments.

“I am happy to hear the news,” said Shi, the UCR physics professor who has put together an interdisciplinary team of  researchers from UC Riverside, UCLA, Johns Hopkins University, Arizona State University, University of Texas, Austin and Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the scientific advances that they come up with,” said Michael Pazzani, UC Riverside’s Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development. “This is exactly the kind of scientific leadership that UC Riverside has been encouraging and supporting. This project will lay the groundwork for energy technology for the nation.” 

SHINES will investigate several aspects of basic research: new ultrathin films, nanostructured composites, high resolution imaging, the transport of electrical signals, heat and light. “All of it will be studied, modeled and simulated in order to help the nation’s ability to advance in the way we use energy,” said Shi, the lead researcher.

The SHINES team:

Alexander Balandin, University of California, Riverside
Tingyong Chen, Arizona State University
Chia-Ling Chien, Johns Hopkins University
Javier Garay, University of California, Riverside
Alexander Khitun, University of California, Riverside
Ilya Krivorotov, University of California, Irvine
Roger Lake, University of California, Riverside
Chun-Ning (Jeanie) Lau, University of California, Riverside
Elaine (Xiaoqin) Li, University of Texas at Austin
Allan MacDonald, University of Texas at Austin
Kang L. Wang, University of California, Los Angeles
Mingzhong Wu, Colorado State University at Fort Collins
Ruqian Wu, University of California, Irvine



Silly Putty Material Inspires Better Batteries

Engineers use silicon dioxide to make lithium-ion batteries that last three times longer between charges compared to current standard

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Using a material found in Silly Putty and surgical tubing, a group of researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a new way to make lithium-ion batteries that will last three times longer between charges compared to the current industry standard.

The team created silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanotube anodes for lithium-ion batteries and found they had over three times as much energy storage capacity as the carbon-based anodes currently being used. This has significant implications for industries including electronics and electric vehicles, which are always trying to squeeze longer discharges out of batteries.

“We are taking the same material used in kids’ toys and medical devices and even fast food and using it to create next generation battery materials,” said Zachary Favors, the lead author of a just-published paper on the research.

The paper, “Stable Cycling of SiO2 Nanotubes as High-Performance Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries,” was published online in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

It was co-authored by Cengiz S. Ozkan and professor, Mihrimah Ozkan, Materials Science and Engineering professosr, and several of their current and former graduate students: Wei Wang, Hamed Hosseinni Bay, Aaron George and Favors.Battery and silcon dioxide sample

Silicon polymer and battery used for the research.

The team originally focused on silicon dioxide because it is an extremely abundant compound, environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and found in many other products.

Silicon dioxide has previously been used as an anode material in lithium ion batteries, but the ability to synthesize the material into highly uniform exotic nanostructures with high energy density and long cycle life has been limited.

Their key finding was that the silicon dioxide nanotubes are extremely stable in batteries, which is important because it means a longer lifespan. Specifically, SiO2 nanotube anodes were cycled 100 times without any loss in energy storage capability and the authors are highly confident that they could be cycled hundreds more times.

The researchers are now focused on developed methods to scale up production of the SiO2 nanotubes in hopes they could become a commercially viable product.

The research is supported by Temiz Energy Technologies.

Materials Science and Engineering Student, Edwin Preciado, Awarded National Science Foundation Fellowship

 Preciado, a second-year Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student, works with Ludwig Bartels, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He is developing single layer as well as improved optical properties over silicon — that will be used in the next generation of microchips.  The goal is to incorporate elements into the film to allow for more sensitive tunability that can improve computing and reduce its energy cost.edwin

 Eighteen graduate students at the University of California, Riverside have received Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFs) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) this year.  The highly competitive fellowships are awarded to individuals early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.

“The graduate community is extremely proud of the accomplishments of these graduate students who are at the beginning of their research careers,” said Joseph Childers, the dean of the Graduate Division at UC Riverside.  “The fact that they have been awarded these prestigious scholarships in a national competition speaks to the outstanding quality of the students themselves as well as to the dedication of the faculty who train them.”

The NSF awards the GRFs directly to graduate students selected through a national competition. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($32,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution) for graduate study that is in a field within NSF’s mission and leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree.

 Katie Marie Magnone, a first-year Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student, who also works with Professor Ludwig Bartels, received an honorable mention.  

NSF accords “Honorable Mention” to meritorious applicants who do not receive fellowship awards — also a significant national academic achievement. Thirteen UCR graduate students made the honorable mention list this year. 


First-Year Materials Science and Engineering Student, Nick Yaraghi awarded "Best Poster" at MRS nickConference in San Francisco

First-year MSE Graduate Student, Nick Yaraghi, was awarded a "Best Poster Award" at the MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 for his poster titled "Toughening Mechanisms in the Impact-Resistant Stomatopod Dactyl Club." 

Between 600 and 700 posters were judged during the session and, from these submissions, three posters were awarded "Best Poster."  The meeting chairs selected the winners on the basis of the poster's technical content, appearance, graphic excellence, and presentation quality.

The Materials Research Society (MRS) is an organization of materials researchers from academia, industry and government that promotes communication for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life.


DYP Awarded to Two Materials Science and Engineering PhD Students

saraSarah Bobek, a fourth year Ph.D. student working under the supervision of Professor Ludwig Bartels received two quarters of the DYP (Dissertation Year Program) fellowship for AY 14/15.

Chung Hee Moon, a fourth year Ph.D. student working under the supervision of Assistant Professor Elaine Haberer received one quarter of the DYP (Dissertation Year Program) fellowship for AY 14/15.

 The Graduate Research Mentoring Program (GRMP) and Dissertation Year Program (DYP) awards are intended to enhance the mentoring of domestic PhD students entering their 3rd, 4th, or 5th years of graduate school who are actively engaged in research. Congratulations Sarah and Chung Hee!



Research Highlights of MS&E Faculty

Mantis Shrimp, Toucan and Trilobite, Oh My

UC Riverside professor to lead team selected for $7.5 million grant to study more than 20 organisms to develop strong, tough materials based on their design structures

 A team of researchers led by a University of California, Riverside Materials david Science and Engineering Associate Professor, David Kisailus, have been selected to receive a $7.5 million Department of Defense grant to uncover fundamental design rules and develop simple and basic scientific foundations for the predictable design of light-weight, tough and strong advanced materials inspired by a wide diversity of structures from plants and animals, including the mantis shrimp, toucan and bamboo.

“We are taking what biological systems have constructed over millions of years and coming up with design rules that nature hasn’t really thought of,” said David Kisailus, the lead researcher on the grant who holds the Winston Chung Endowed Chair of Energy Innovation in the department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Materials Science program at the UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering and is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kisailus assembled the multidisciplinary team, whose six co-principal investigators consist of chemists, materials scientists, mechanical engineers and biologists. They are: Cheryl Hayashi, a professor of biology at UC Riverside; Joanna McKittrick andMarc Meyers, both professors in mechanical and aerospace engineering and the materials science program at UC San Diego;Robert Ritchie, a distinguished professor in materials science and mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley; Pablo Zavattieri, an associate professor of civil and mechanical engineering at Purdue University; and Horacio Espinosa, the James N. and Nancy J. Farley professor in manufacturing & entrepreneurship in mechanical engineering at Northwestern University.

In addition, the team includes collaborators with broad backgrounds. They are Professor Nigel Hughes, a paleobiologist in earth sciences at UC Riverside; Elaine DiMasi of Brookhaven National Laboratory; Rajesh Naik and David Mollenhauer, both of the Air Force Research Laboratory; Brad Hollingsworth of the San Diego Natural History Museum; Gabriel Miller of the San Diego Zoo; and Alan Leukhardt of Safariland, a designer and manufacturer of military, law enforcement and sporting equipment.

Cheryl Hayashi, a professor of biology at UC Riverside

The funding, which will be distributed over five years, comes from the Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. This particular grant, managed by Hugh DeLong, department head of complex materials & devices, comes from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, one of the military research offices which awards MURI grants.

With the funding the researchers will study more than 20 organisms, including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, insects and plants. Examples include: light-weight, tough and durable materials with cellular structures such as the stem of bamboo; the beak of a toucan; layered structures from shells of marine snails and antlers from mammals; twisted plywood structures found in crustacean structures such as the club of mantis shrimp; and insect cuticles.

These structures are particularly interesting because they are composed of relatively simple biological materials such as keratin found in fingernails, yet display incredible mechanical performance. The team will also reach back in history, looking at dynamic evolutionary processes such as the structure of the extinct trilobite, which existed for more than 200 million years by adapting to its environment.

The research program utilizes four interwoven thrusts, including the ultrastructural and mechanical investigation of these organisms, development of mathematical models of their structures and new design, fabrication of biomimetic structures that emulate features found in both natural systems and theory-based designs in order to underpin their tough, strong structures. Finally, the team will conduct comparative evolutionary analyses to pinpoint design principles that are unique and those, which have arisen convergently.

Michael Pazzani, UC Riverside’s vice chancellor for research and economic development, whose office provided $70,000 in seed funding to Kisailus and Hayashi for their joint research, is pleased that a UC Riverside professor is leading this project with experts from some of the nation’s finest research institutions.

“This multidisciplinary research will highlight the value in biologically-inspired materials allowing the next generation of materials development to take advantage of what nature has known for millennia,” Pazzani said.



UC Riverside Professor to lead Graphene Symposium

Symposium OO: De Novo Graphene, which is part of the 2014 MRS (Materials Research Society) , is set for April 21 to 25

cengizCengiz Ozkan, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering, will be organizing “Symposium OO: De Novo Graphene,” which is part of the 2014 MRS (Materials Research Society)Spring Meeting and Exhibit.

The MRS Meeting is expected to draw over 6,000 people. De Novo Graphene is the sixth symposium Ozkan has organized for MRS, and will run for five days to highlight recent breakthroughs in the nucleation and growth mechanisms; electronic, electrochemical, mechanical and thermal properties; manufacturing challenges; characterization and modeling of graphene materials; hierarchical architectures of graphene incorporating tunability and mutability in design, and integration with organic and inorganic materials and devices.

The list of more than 25 invited speakers for De Novo Graphene includes Alexander Balandin, a UC Riverside electrical engineering professor.  Also, a number of UCR graduate students will be attending with contributed talks and poster presentations at the symposium.

MSE Faculty named MRS Medalist 

  • balandin The Materials Research Society (MRS) has named  Alexander A. Balandin, University of California, Riverside, as the 2013 MRS Medalist. Balandin is recognized for his "discovery of the extraordinary high intrinsic thermal conductivity of graphene, development of an original optothermal measurement technique for investigation of thermal properties of graphene, and theoretical explanation of the unique features of the phonon transport in graphene." Balandin received his award at the 2013 MRS Fall Meeting on Wednesday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Boston Hotel.  The MRS Medal is awarded for a specific outstanding recent discovery or advancement that has a major impact on the progress of a materials-related field. 
  • Balandin received his M.S. degree in applied physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. Following his postdoctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles, Balandin joined the University of California, Riverside, faculty in 1999 and founded the Materials Science and Engineering Program in 2006. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Optical Society of America, and the International Society for Optical Engineering. He is a recipient of the 2011 Pioneer of Nanotechnology Award for his research on emerging nanoscale devices.

UC Riverside Research from MSE Professors Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan featured on Three Journal Covers 

Prof. Mihri Ozkan, Prof. Cengiz S. Ozkan, and co-workers report a new fluorescence quenching microscopy metrology technique that allows the identification of graphene layers and doped/undoped regions across a large graphene landscape by utilizing the fact that undoped regions of graphene quench fluorescence more than the doped regions through resonant energy transfer. Contrast differences in fluorescence across the graphene sheet reveal the complex ring-patterned doping. This metrology technique is well-suited for industrial, large-scale, pristine, and modified graphene sheet surface characterization. Ozkans’ and their co-workers’ related work published as cover articles in high-venue journals: SMALL, NANOSCALE and ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS.



The U.K. Journal of Physics Names the "Top 20 Graphene Practical Applications" Linking 2 Out of 20 to BCOE/UCR

The U.K. journal Physics World recently selected it's "top 20 graphene practical applications". The applications were highlighed in a special Focus on Nanotechnology issue, which was distributed among the IEEE Nano conference in U.K. this August.

According to this issue, the 2 out of top 20 breakthrough graphene applications come from BCOE/UCR: see page 12 (Build Better Electronics) and page 13 (Remove Unwanted Heat.  Click Here to read the article.


Professor Alexander Balandin Elected Fellow of IMMM

Dr. Alexander A. Balandin, professor of electrical engineering and founding chair of materials science and engineering program at UCR, was elected Fellow of The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IMMM or IOM3). IMMM is a major UK-based engineering institution whose activities encompass the whole materials cycle, from exploration, extraction, synthesis through characterization, processing and applications. It exists to promote and develop all aspects of materials science and engineering and associated technologies. The Institute has 17 technical divisions, societies and associations which act as special interest groups, forming a focus for activities within specific research, educational or industrial sectors. Among the Institute's publications are Materials World and other technical journals. Professor Balandin's nomination cited his pioneering contributions to investigation of thermal properties of carbon materials such as graphene and its derivatives, as well as his development of the phonon engineering concept for nanoscale materials. His invited review on the subject of phononics and phonon engineering has recently appeared in Materials World.

Link to Materials World review

Dr. Balandin's Group Develops Technique to Keep Cool High-Power Semiconductor Devices Used in Wireless Applications, Traffic Lights and Electric Cars

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — A group of researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a technique to keep cool a semiconductor material used in everything from traffic lights to electric cars.

Gallium Nitride (GaN), a semiconductor material found in bright lights since the 1990s, is used in wireless applications due to its high efficiency and high voltage operation. However, the applications and market share of GaN electronics is limited because it is difficult to remove heat from them.

That could change due to a technique developed by the Nano-Device Laboratory research group led by Alexander Balandin, professor of electrical engineering and founding chair of Materials Science and Engineering program.

The research group demonstrated that hot spots in GaN transistors can be lowered by as much 20 degrees Celsius through the introduction of alternative heat-escaping channels implemented with graphene multilayers, which are excellent heat conductors. The temperature reduction translates to an increase in the lifetime of the device by a factor of 10. Read More in Full UCR News Release 

Robert Haddon Selected as Winner of Richard E. Smalley Award

Robert Haddon, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Environmental Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2010 Richard E. Smalley Research Award from the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the society for solid-state and electrochemical science and technology. The award, sponsored by the Fullerenes, Nanotubes, and Carbon Nanostructure Division of the Society, recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding and applications of fullerenes – molecules composed entirely of carbon, in the form of hollow spheres, ellipsoids, or tubes. Link to UCR News Release

Akua Asa-Awuku and Elaine Haberer Earn NSF BRIGE Awards

Bourns College of Engineering assistant professors Akua Asa-Awuku (left photo) and Elaine Haberer (right photo) have been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) highly competitive Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE), it was announced recently. These are BCoE’s second and third BRIGE awards since the program began in 2008. The NSF awards only 27 to 30 BRIGE grants per year. Link to UCR News Release

Would a Molecular Horse Trot, Pace, or Glide Across a Surface?

Professor Ludwig Bartels' lab led the research to answer this question.  "Molecular machines can be found everwhere in nature, for example, transporting proteins through cells and aiding metabolism.  To develop artificial molecular machines, scientists need to understand the rules that govern mechanics at the molecular or nanometer scale (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter)."
Link to UCR News Release

Research Aims to Lighten Load Carried by Soldiers

A UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering professor and a team of researchers nationwide were recently awarded a five-year, $6.25 million grant to develop a greener, lighter-weight and longer-lasting power source for armed service members increasingly reliant on electronic devices.

Yushan Yan, Professor and Chair of the UCR Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and researchers from the Colorado School of Mines, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and University of Chicago, received the grant to study the possibility of replacing batteries with fuel cells.
Link to UCR News Release

Dean Reza Abbaschian Honored at Materials Science & Technology Conference

Reza Abbaschian, William R. Johnson, Jr. Family Professor and dean of the Bourns College of Engineering was honored for his contributions to the field at the Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) Conference and Exhibition Oct. 17-21, 2010, in Houston, Texas. It was hosted by the professional societies ACerS, AIST, ASM and TMS.
Link to UCR News Release

Bourns Welcomes New Faculty for 2010-11

BCOE welcomes two new assistant professors to its faculty ranks during the 2010-11 academic year who hold appointments in MSE: Huinan Liu (Department of Bioengineering and Materials Science & Engineering) and Lorenzo Mangolini (Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering).

Biomimetics Research Featured on TV



Professor Balandin and his team in the Nano-Device Laboratory on radio program, The Loh Down on Science

The research being done on graphene by Prof. Alexander Balandin and his team in the Nano-Device Laboratory was the subject of an episode of The Loh Down on Science, the nationally syndicated radio program featuring Sandra Tsing Loh and broadcast locally on KPCC, the National Public Radio affiliate in Pasadena.

Dr. Balandin's research makes headlines

After Dr. Balandin and his research group published a letter in Nature Materials, their research into new methods of keeping electronic devices from overheating has spurred headlines across the globe, such as Miracle mono-molecule material could quench hot chips, Cooling Down Electronics With Graphene, and Coming Soon To A Laptop Near You – The Ability To Not Light Your Crotch On Fire.


MRS Online Proceedings Library Now Available

The UCR Library has just completed negotiations for access to the complete library of MRS (Materials Research Society) Proceedings! The MRS Online Proceedings Library features over 30,000 peer-reviewed papers presented at MRS Meetings. The proceedings papers can be viewed sorted by meeting by selecting a meeting from the list on the left side of this page. Proceedings can also be viewed sorted by topic. These proceedings are available directly at:

Access is available from campus or from Web or client VPN. Unfortunately, the way the site is arranged makes linking impossible from Google Scholar, UC-eLinks and Compendex, but Compendex does index the papers pretty well and a just plain Google search works well for pulling up papers by title.

MRS Student Chapter Website Up and Running

The website for the student chapter of the Materials Research Society (MRS) is up and running!. Any student interested in Materials is welcome to join. An introductory meeting is planned for the week of October 5. The faculty advisor for this group is Professor David Kisailus. Founding student presiden tis Haurjie Liang, a 4th year MS&E student.

MRS logoMRS Student Chapter

Materials Science students have created a student chapter of the Materials Research Society (MRS). Any student interested in Materials is welcome to join. The faculty advisor for this group is Professor David Kisailus. Founding student president is Haurjie Liang, a 4th year MS&E student.


Balandin Group Demonstrates the First Low-Noise Double-Gate Graphene Transistor

Optical microscopy image of a transistor fabricated by Guanxiong Liu, PhD candidate in Balandin group.Graphene, which consists of just a single atomic layer of carbon atoms bound into crystal lattice, is the hottest new material system considered for applications in future electronics and sensors. The properties, which make graphene so desirable for future electronics, are its extremely high electrical and thermal conductivities. A team of researchers from the University of California - Riverside (UCR) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) led by UCR electrical engineering professor Alexander Balandin designed, built and demonstrated the double gate graphene transistor, which satisfies the low-noise requirements for practical applications. A top noise expert from the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences also participated in the study. The transistors were fabricated at UCR with the electron beam lithography from single atomic layer graphene and had both the "conventional" bottom gate and the top gate separated from the graphene channel by a special gate dielectric. The combined action of both gates allowed the team to investigate the sources of the electronic noise, and to come up with the strategy for its reduction. For any transistor to be useful for communications or information processing, the level of the electronic low-frequency noise has to be reduced to an acceptable level defined by the Hooge parameter. Although modern electronic devices such as cell phones operate at very higher frequencies, the low-frequency noise is extremely important. Due to unavoidable non-linearities in devices, the low frequency noise up-converts to higher frequency, and contributes to the phase noise of the system, thus limiting its performance. The same is true for the proposed applications of graphene as a material for ultra-sensitive detectors. The results obtained at UCR and RPI pave the way for practical applications of graphene. They appear in this week's Applied Physics Letters and featured in nanotechnology media: see, for example, a detail report in Nano Werk and in Nanotechnology Now


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