The Advanced Materials Characterization (AMC) Core has been selected an institutional research core (Director: Dr. Paul Baker and co-Director: Dr. Vinoy Thomas). It will be a part of the fifteen cores that are supported centrally by the office of Vice President for Research. The AMC Core will provide a broad range of services related to the research and development of materials. Our services will cover the analysis of basic properties of materials such as the structure, composition, and hardness. The types of materials to be analyzed include biomaterials, nanomaterials, metals, ceramics, thin films, composite materials, and semiconductors.
The AMC Core will include the University’s only scanning electron microscope (SEM), which provides high resolution images of surfaces of a broad range of materials, including soft matter (biological samples) and has elemental analysis capability (EDX). The x-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) is a powerful surface analysis (probing depth of only 3-10nm) instrument that provides elemental composition and chemical bonding information with small spot size (minimum 10 micrometers) and surface mapping capability. The multipurpose X-ray diffractometer (XRD) is a state-of-the-art instrument purchased in 2018 that provides information on crystal structure and phase identification, particle size and shape analysis (SAXS), thin film analysis, epitaxial layer analysis, and can be upgraded to include even additional capabilities. The micro-Raman spectrometer is a high-resolution spectrometer that analyzes the vibrational modes of the material to provide information about the molecular structure of a material. The nanoindenter measures the hardness of a material near the surface and can measure polymers and thin films. These materials growth and characterization facilities are being combined and proposed as a single core to provide materials characterization under one managed facility and serve as a catalyst for innovative materials discovery at UAB. One of the key strengths of the core will be the broad support from industry usage as well as the multi-departmental use. This multi-disciplinary approach to characterization of advanced materials is a part of the UAB research mission.
A UAB team led by Dr. Vinoy Thomas, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, has surface engineered 3D Printed polymeric soft biomaterial scaffolds by an in-situ robust synthesis of nanoparticles using low temperature dusty plasma.
The proof-of-concept communication published in ACS Applied Nano Materials, reports a rapid and easy method for nanoparticles (SiNp) synthesis from a liquid precursor into dusty plasma and deposition of them onto 3D printed polymer. “Non-thermal plasma has emerged as a viable method for surface engineering soft materials and biomaterials”, says Dr. Vineeth Vijayan, (first author of the publication), “and we have successfully utilized non-thermal plasma for making super-hydrophilic and blood-friendly materials surfaces in our previous publication in Journal of Materials Chemistry”.
As part of the NSF supported EPSCoR collaborative CPU2AL program, the new method we reported has many appealing attributes:
It is a single step greener and cost effective process
The radiofrequency plasma reactor can be an ideal scalable technology for industries to produce and modify the surface of various biomedical scaffolds/devices with SiNp, and
This method can simultaneously modify the 3D printed scaffolds with SiNp for biomedical applications (bone tissue engineering) and also sterilize them.
The future aspects of this present work will deal with (I) functionalization and attachment of SiNp with biochemical moieties by using volatile amino acids in the plasma phase and (II) strategies for preparation titanium dioxide nanoparticles and nanowires via plasma process which in turn could be used for decontaminate corona virus during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Program
Hybrid and Remote Undergraduate Research Experiences in Materials Research
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
NASA-Alabama Space Grant Consortium (ASGC) program at UAB is inviting applications for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program during Fall-2020 and Spring-2021 from students that are currently enrolled at UAB. We offer REU-projects in five research clusters: (1) computational materials research/machine learning (2) materials under extreme conditions (3) materials for energy applications, (4) materials for sensors and laser applications, and (5) biomaterials for implants, tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. This REU experience will be offered in a hybrid model which will include fully remote participation for computational research projects and partly remote and partly on ground lab experiences for experimental research projects within the constraints of social distancing and other laboratory safety measures. The undergraduates will carry out the analysis of data generated in their research projects in a fully remote fashion and make Zoom presentations on completed research to faculty mentors and other undergraduates participating in this program.
The program will offer flexible working hours during Fall-2020 and Spring-2021 (staring October 1, 2020 and ending February 28th, 2021). The program will pay $5,000 over the entire work period involving 400 hours of remote/hybrid research with a faculty mentor at UAB.
For program information contact program director Yogesh Vohra (firstname.lastname@example.org) and for application questions contact program coordinator Charita Cadenhead (email@example.com).
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has developed a new method designed to improve the surface characteristics of Teflon, or polyhetrafluorethylene (PTFE). This method has the potential to address challenges associated with PTFE for blood-contact applications—specifically poor endothelial cell growth and the risk of blood clots.
This article originally post on UAB Engineering website. Read full article here.
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers Drs. Yogesh K. Vohra, Eugenia Kharlampieva and Amber Genau have won a $597,000 federal grant to support up to five doctoral students in the interdisciplinary materials science program. Read entire article here.
Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education
Congratulations to Dr. Eugenia Khamlampieva on her new National Science Foundation grant for MRI: Acquisition of an Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education.
Dr. Kharlampieva says: This Major Research Instrumentation award supports the University of Alabama at Birmingham to acquire an atomic force microscope for interdisciplinary materials research and education. This microscope supports a diverse, multi-departmental research in soft materials ranging from soft synthetic hydrogels to relatively dense composites and biological structures. The instrument will be located at UAB Department of Chemistry and will combine the capabilities for high-resolution and high-speed imaging with quantitative nanomechanical mapping.
The ability to acquire multifunctional, high-resolution data under a wide range of operating conditions allows for studies on a broad spectrum of dry and hydrated samples. The types of samples extend from synthetic networks, polymer composites, nanodevices, to cell membranes and tissues. The common theme among these samples is that they all involve soft materials, i.e., synthetic polymers, biological structures, or combinations of the two. An increased ability to characterize state-of-the-art nanomaterials results in an enhanced fundamental understanding of the structural properties of soft materials and the composition at their surfaces. This includes the effect of the surface morphology on the physical, biological, and chemical characteristics of the materials.
The understanding enables transformative research for the development of new materials in tissue regenerative therapies, controlled drug delivery, molecular sensing, and related biotechnologies. The atomic force microscope will also play a vital role in student education in the fields of chemistry, materials science, biomedical science, and biomedical engineering. A high-caliber research environment is vital to the regional economy in Central Alabama through raising community awareness toward biomedical and soft-materials technologies.
UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.