Celebrating Excellence at CMOC 2024

By Francesca Rameau, Written Communications Assistant

At this year’s Connecticut Symposium on Microelectronics & Optoelectronics (CMOC), four standout presenters emerged from the crowd, representing both graduate and undergraduate students within the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) department. Lizu K.M. Abu Hurayra was recognized for delivering the Best Oral Paper, while Adanma Akoma and Binchao Zhao earned recognition for Best Graduate Poster Paper. Zichen Wang received accolades for presenting the Best Undergraduate Oral Paper.

CMOC, held annually, highlights research excellence in the fields of optics and semiconductors across seven academic institutions and numerous companies in Connecticut. Participating universities this year included UConn, Trinity College, Yale University, University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut University, and the University of New Haven.

photo of MSE graduate student Adanma Akoma

MSE graduate student Adanma Akoma

Adanma Akoma, a fifth-year graduate student in Professor Bryan Huey’s research group, is researching functional materials at the nanoscale using Tomographic Atomic Force Microscopy. Her paper poster for the competition, titled “Novel Tomographic Atomic Force Microscopy of Nb-doped Strontium Titanate and Ni Nanocomposite,” explains how precisely milling a sample into its depth, and simultaneously measuring local properties, enables 3D visualization much finer than most other techniques. In her work, the goal is to correlate nanoparticles and thermoelectric properties, shedding light on the fundamental mechanisms governing energy conversion with the goal of designing more efficient energy materials vital for future sustainable technologies.

photo of MSE graduate student Lizu K.M. Abu Hurayra

MSE graduate student Lizu K.M. Abu Hurayra

Meanwhile, Lizu K.M. Abu Hurayra, currently in his third year as a graduate student in Professor Huey’s research group, is conducting research on Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM). The study focuses on understanding the behavior of different domain orientations in thin films of ferroelectric materials like BiFeO3 and PbZr (Ti)O3.  He also implements tomographic AFM, exposing the 3D structure of ferroelectric domains within grains and especially near grain boundaries. In his paper poster, “Thickness-dependent Study on Ferroelectric Domains in Epitaxial & Polycrystalline Thin films” co-authored by Karla Del Cid-Ledezma and Professor Bryan Huey, Hurayra details how his research enhances our fundamental understanding of materials while also having implications for future technologies such as quantum computing.

photo of MSE undergraduate student Zichen Wang

MSE undergraduate student Zichen Wang

Undergraduate Zichen Wang, who works with Professor Puxian Gao, is researching Ni doped Co3O4 nanocatalysts and CO oxidation. His poster presentation was titled “Ambien Environment Pretreatment Effect on Ni doped Co3O4 Nanocatalysts for Low Temperature oxidation.” It outlined his investigation on the catalytic activity of bimetallic oxide nanocatalysts of nickel and cobalt in the oxidation of carbon monoxide. Wang’s study examined the impact of temperature pretreatment on catalyst activity, employing various characterization techniques such as FT-IR, SEM, TEM, XRD, and XPS to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

photo of MSE graduate student Binchao Zhao

MSE graduate student Binchao Zhao

Binchao Zhao, in his fourth year of graduate studies under the guidance of Professor Gao, is focused on the design of nano-structured multi-functional catalyst for carbon capture and utilization. His poster presentation was titled, “Zeolite Encapsulated Nanoarray Structures: A Robust High-temperature Catalyst Design.” This work provides further insights into his research on a multi-functional catalyst comprising active metal oxide components and zeolite, which exhibits superior catalytic performance and stability across various reactions.

Published: April 23, 2024

Categories: awards, graduate students, news, undergraduate students

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