2019 REU Bryce Coyne Attends Photonics West Conference

Photonics West Conference 2020

Bryce CoyneAttending the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco was an incredible experience that shed new light onto my research and the filed of optics and lasers that I was previously unaware of. This was my first academic conference that I had attended and being a talk presenter made it feel even more like jumping into the deep end of a pool. The first couple days the scale of the conference was quite overwhelming, with the events spanning three conference halls and multiple hotels in the area. I was able deal with the nerves that I had going into my presentation using some meditation skills I have acquired through collegiate baseball. Going over my talk with my research advisor it came to my attention how important it is to be as accurate as possible when discussing my research in the professional setting. I had previously presented this research in August of 2019 to fellow undergraduate physics researchers and mentors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. At Photonics West my talk would be under significantly more scrutiny than in the undergraduate setting. The pressure resulted in me having to know the ins and outs of all aspects of my talk. Post-talk questions also brought to light a couple aspects of my research I has not previously thought of. For most, I was asked about potential utilization of the InP crystal analyzed for laser applications going forward which could have real merit and possibilities. This would turn my summer research project into a large-scale project similar to a dissertation.

At the conference I was also able to attend a four-hour course on laser fundamentals with the emphasis being placed how the private laser sector discusses and buys/sells laser systems. The course in addition to providing new information allowed me to think about private optics companies which may be a field I have interest getting into in my future.

The conference also had a large exhibition for companies to showcase new technologies that they have developed. Companies ranged from small photonics start-ups to large companies such as ThorLabs and M2. Personally, walking about the exhibition hall and discussing products and jobs with exhibitioners was more insightful than sitting in on talks. I was able to relate skills and tools that I have developed in the lab to what others are doing in private sectors. To me the exhibition hall was the hidden aspect of science that is an accumulation of academia. Up to this point in my life, education has been the end goal but I now a new perspective of where my education may lead me to. And Photonics West was a great intersection of academics presenting talks and posters while companies showcase their technologies. Overall, the conference was a challenge I had to face in presenting and getting over fears along with a great opportunity to see how much insightful and interesting stuff is going on in optics. I am incredibly humble and grateful to be given this opportunity to present and attend the conference and I hope to continue to make the most of the opportunity that I was given.

Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education

Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education

Eugenia Kharlampieva
Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva, Chemistry

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.

A Diamond as the Steppingstone to New Materials

Dr. Yogesh VohraThe following article appears in the UAB News article titled “A diamond as the steppingstone to new materials, using plasma physics technology”  written by Jeff Hansen.  An adaption of this article appears in Materials Today as “Plasma Process Offers Fine Control Over Diamond Properties.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham physicists have taken the first step in a five-year effort to create novel compounds that surpass diamonds in heat resistance and nearly rival them in hardness.

They are supported by a five-year, $20 million National Science Foundation award to create new materials and improve technologies using the fourth state of matter — plasma. (Read more)

UAB Partners With Nine Alabama Universities fo $20M NSF Award

CPU2AL: Connecting the Plasma Universe to Plasma Technology in Alabama

A partnership comprising nine universities in Alabama, including The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) as the lead institution (Dr. Gary Zank, PI), has been awarded a $20 million, five-year grant by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR

Along with UAH, the partnership includes the University of Alabama (lead: Dr. R. Branam), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (lead: Dr. Y. Vohra), Auburn University (lead: Dr. E. Thomas), Tuskegee University (lead: Dr. V. Rangari), the University of South Alabama (lead: Dr. E. Spencer), Alabama A&M University (leads: Dr. R. Mentreddy and Dr. E. Cebert), Alabama State University (lead: Dr. K. Vig), and Oakwood University (lead: Dr. A. Volkov), with additional assistance from CFD Research Corporation (lead: Dr. V. Kolobov), a computational fluid dynamics software company located in Cummings Research Park. These members bring “a range of expertise in space science, laboratory plasma physics, materials, biosciences, and manufacturing to this endeavor,” says Dr. Zank )….(more).

NSF Announcement

Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva Awarded a NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award

NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER)


Eugenia Kharlampieva“CNMB member and a faculty member in the UAB Department of Chemistry Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva
has been awarded a  National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Award entitled “CAREER:  Shape Responses of Ultrathin Hydrogel Microcapsules” for a five year period 2014-2019. This is one of the  National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations”

Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva Awarded a NSF Biomaterials Grant

Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva Awarded a National Science Foundation Biomaterials Grant
Immunomodulatory Ultrathin Multilayer Coatings for Pancreatic islet Transplantation NSF-DMR1306110, program of Biomaterials (BMAT)
Eugenia KharlampievaThis grant will supports the development of a novel type of cytoprotective material with controlled immunomodulatory and inflammatory responses to be used for cell-basedtransplantation therapy for diabetic recipients. This project is in collaboration between departments of Chemistry (Eugenia Kharlampieva, PI) and Microbiology (Hubert Tse, coPI).  Although transplantation of pancreatic islet cells has emerged as a promising treatment for Type 1 diabetes, its clinical application remains limited due to adverse effects of immunosuppression and declining allograft function. The awarded project will develop a preclinical approach to preserve islet viability and function during culturing and transplantation by protecting pancreatic islets (cell clusters) with a novel polymer coating. These coatings will be designed through hydrogen-bonded assembly of cytocompatible macromolecules with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.  This project is particularly timely since current islet encapsulation systems are challenging for transplantations due to high cytotoxicity and the requirement for large injection volumes. The design of novel immunoprotective materials will open new prospects for developing biomaterials with unique characteristics having applications in various bio-related areas such as bioengineering and tissue engineering. The awarded project will develop interdisciplinary collaborative research which should stimulate awareness of the needs of the UAB biomedical research community for specialized polymer-based biomaterials as novel platforms for cell transplantation therapy.

NSF Awards CNMB Scientist Major Instrumentation Grant

NSF Awards CNMB Scientist Major Instrumentation Grant

National Science Foundation Awards Major Research Instrumentation Grant to CNMB Investigators Andrei Stanishevsky, (Principal Investigator), Sergey Vyazovkin (Co-PI), Ho-Wook Jun (Co-PI), Yogesh Vohra (Co-PI) and Derrick Dean (Co-PI).The proposed imaging microprobe X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) system is designed for spatially resolved chemical analysis of solid surfaces. This tool creates a new multi-user element of the core shared

The imaging microprobe X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) system is designed for spatially resolved chemical analysis of solid surfaces. This tool creates a new multi-user element of the core shared analytical facility in the interdisciplinary Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointegration (CNMB) at U of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). It serves a large team of users from CNMB, four UAB science and engineering departments, and fosters collaborations through the partnership with Alabama State U (ASU) and NSF-Materials World Network with Technical U of Lodz (Poland). XPS is critical for us due to its unique ability to discriminate between different oxidation states and chemical environments in a thin layer (<5 nm) of a material, yet capable of the depth profiling of chemical composition when using a sputtering accessory. Imaging XPS is the only tool that has a combination of features to address the challenges of microscale characterization in our projects on: (i) surface modification and functionalization of new multi-scale biomaterials; (ii) bio-active monolayers and self-assembled biomimetic

Imaging XPS is the only tool that has a combination of features to address the challenges of microscale characterization in our projects on: (i) surface modification and functionalization of new multi-scale biomaterials; (ii) bio-active monolayers and self-assembled biomimetic nanoarchitectures; (iii) novel phases formed under extreme pressures; (iv) chemistry of interfaces and thermally-induced processes in polymer and polymer-ceramic multifunctional nanocomposites; (v) surface and interface phenomena in wide band-gap semiconductor materials and structures; and (vi) nanostructured, multilayer, and gradient metal-ceramic and ceramic thin-film materials. This XPS system provides training in 3 graduate and 5 undergraduate courses with enrollment of ~135 per semester, enhances research opportunities in our interdisciplinary NSF-REU site where women and minorities account for 57% of the participants and in our partner ASU?s CREST and HBCUUP programs, and raises the awareness of surface science and engineering among K-12 students, teachers, and general public through our NSF-RET site and UAB day at McWane Science Center in Birmingham. CNMB provides necessary infrastructure and long-term support for the XPS system operation, accommodation of multiple users, and the initiation of new projects at local, national, and international levels.