2015 Dean's Student Research Awards

The University of Maryland A. James Clark School has announced the winners of the 2015 Dean’s Doctoral and Master’s Student Research Awards. Created by Clark School Dean Darryll Pines, the competition recognizes distinguished graduate student researchers in order to help propel their careers and demonstrate the value of high quality engineering research. Student entries were judged by members of advisory boards in department-level competitions. Winners are listed below.

Ph.D. Competition

1st Place: Adam Behrens, Bioengineering
Advisor: Peter Kofinas

“Direct Deposition of Body Temperature Responsive Polymeric Surgical Sealants”

Behrens’ research focuses on developing new surgical sealants to supplement or replace conventional sutures and tissue staples. Effective sealants have the potential to reduce risk, reduce cost of complications, enhance surgical competency, and improve patient comfort. His approach uses a technique called solution blow spinning that allows for polymeric micro and nanofibers to be deposited directly onto any surgical site of interest, allowing for in situ biomaterial fabrication.

2nd Place: 
Alex Kozen, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Gary Rubloff

“Next Generation Batteries: Protected Lithium Metal Anodes”

Kozen’s research involves engineering of ultrathin atomic layer deposited (ALD) solid-state lithium electrolytes to protect lithium metal anodes. Replacing conventional anodes with Li metal can drastically increase the capacity and decrease the weight of batteries, however the high reactivity of Li metal prevents adoption due to serious degradation reactions that take place during battery cycling. Kozen’s work demonstrates that a 15 nm thick protection layer deposited directly on the Li anode surface can improve lithium-sulfur battery capacity by up to 6 times over the same battery using a bare Li metal anode. In addition, these ALD solid-state electrolyte protection layers can mitigate Li dendrite formation, a common failure mechanism in batteries using Li metal anodes, increasing both the longevity and safety of next-generation batteries.

3rd Place: 
Yichao Tang, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisor: Alireza Khaligh

“Miniaturized Power Electronic Interfaces for Ultra-compact Electromechanical Systems”

Tang’s research focuses on developing miniaturized power electronic interfaces capable of addressing power conditioning between microelectromechanical devices and energy storage units. Power electronic circuits using high-frequency and soft-switching technologies enable size miniaturization and efficient energy conversion for ultra-compact electromechanical systems, such as kinetic energy harvesting and autonomous mobile microrobots. Tang has introduced novel topological solutions toward fabricating miniature power electronic circuits to effectively and efficiently regulate erratic power for kinetic energy harvesting. In addition, he has proposed innovative highly efficient power electronic interfaces capable of efficiently driving high-voltage actuators for mobile microrobots.

Masters Competition

1st Place: Christopher Bogdanowicz, Aerospace Engineering
Advisor: Inder Chopra

“Quad Rotor Biplane Micro Air Vehicle”

Bogdanowicz’s research involves the design, manufacturing, and testing of a small-scale unmanned aerial vehicle. The vehicle which he built allows for maneuverability in hover as efficient forward flight. Throughout his time at the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, Bogdanowicz has designed and built numerous test apparatus which have allowed for the investigation of low Reynolds number propeller and wing performance and aerodynamic interactions. His experimentation has helped create a unique, light-weight, and efficient micro air vehicle.

2nd Place: Feng Gu, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Liangbing Hu

“Sodium-ion Intercalated Transparent Conductive Electrode with Printed Reduced Graphene Oxide Networks”

Gu’s research focuses on sodium-ion intercalated transparent conductors for optoelectronic applications. For the first time, his work reports that sodium-ion intercalation of reduced graphene oxide (RGO) can significantly improve its printed network’s performance as a transparent conductive electrode, better than any other RGO network based transparent conductors. Also, such transparent conductors show excellent stability in ambient environment.. His work has great commercial potential for the next generation transparent conductors in optoelectronic applications.


Published May 20, 2015