By Amanda Campanaro
MSE Professor Puxian Gao was inducted to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) in 2017 for “seminal contribution to the fundamental understanding of engineered nanomaterials assembly and scalable manufacturing,” among other achievements. CASE reputedly admits a limited number of new members each year on the basis of a few criteria, including scientific distinction, unusual accomplishments in new and developing fields of science and technology, and peer recommendations.
The CASE 2017 new member publication lists his admirable professional work, which includes nanomaterials science and engineering for energy, environment and biomedical applications.
“There were a few notable aspects that I am especially proud of on the work we have done in the past decade,” Professor Gao says in regards to his recent induction. “In the field of nanomaterials science and engineering, we have founded and gained quite unique and in-depth fundamental understanding of engineered nanomaterials assembly and scalable manufacturing.” Guided by these understandings, Gao and his team have successfully established nanostructure array integrated catalysis and sensing technology paradigm for various mobile and stationary energy systems. “As such, we have pioneered the research and development of nano-array based catalytic converters and harsh environmental sensors.”
In the past ten years, Professor Gao’s research group has been focusing on bridging nanomaterials science and engineering with practical applications in energy and environmental catalysis, sensors and related electronics and optoelectronics, fire security and energy sources, bio-nano interfaces, and scalable nanomanufacturing.
“In the practical Nanotechnology Research & Development, we have been working on the following directions: 1) Nano-array based catalytic converters for emission control in stationary and mobile sources; 2) Harsh environmental anno-array sensors for advanced energy systems; 3) Full-spectrum nanostructured films as smart sensors and energy harvesters; and 4) Conformal 3D nanostructured film manufacturing,” he explains. “Our latest research effort includes hierarchical nanomaterials assembly and manufacturing, nano-array based catalytic converters and harsh environmental sensors for advanced mobile and stationary energy systems.”
Their research is interdisciplinary, involving various subjects in materials science and engineering, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. “I have been working with students and postdocs from different backgrounds and majors, and collaborating with scientists and engineers from universities, national labs, and industries,” Gao says.
As a member of CASE, Professor Gao is dedicated to serving the community with advancements in science and engineering. “My goal is always to try to make and promote better science and technology that can benefit our community and society at large,” Professor Gao says. “In becoming a CASE member, I am entitled with pride and responsibility in helping advance science and technology and promoting societal awareness in science and engineering.”
The induction means it is now Professor Gao’s responsibility to help fulfill the mission of the Academy, which entails providing information and advice on science and technology to the government, industry and people of Connecticut, and encouraging youth’s interest in science, engineering, and technology.
“The induction to a significant extent is a nice recognition to my research at UConn, thanks to my past and current students, postdocs, and collaborators,” he says. “This will motivate me and my team moving forward, making more scientific advancements and technological breakthroughs in the near future.”
The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering is a private, nonprofit, public-service institution patterned after the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy identifies and studies issues and technological advances that are or should be of concern to the people of Connecticut, and provides unbiased, expert advice on science- and technology-related issues to state government and other Connecticut institutions, as stated on their website. Candidates for membership should be recognized by associates for professional integrity, as well as for accomplishments in science or engineering.