Alfred University is a small, comprehensive university in the Village of Alfred, Allegany County in Western New York, USA, south of Rochester and southeast of Buffalo. Alfred has an undergraduate population of around 2,000, and approximately 300 graduate students. The institution has five schools and colleges. Wikipedia.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Threat Reduction Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2015
The proliferation of nuclear and radiological weapons of mass destruction is a serious threat in the world today. The goal of this proposal is to develop a new, very low cost radiation detection technology that will be useful for detection and for surveillance of individuals who have been near radioactive materials. The technology can also be used for dosimetry, and will provide the technology for manufacturing a ubiquitous detectors for very fast and simple post-event biodosimetry triage of warfighters and civilian victims. The research will be carried out in collaboration with Prof. Yiquan Wu at Alfred University. We will investigate using microparticle radiation sensitive phosphors incorporated in cards and everyday objects, such as signs and license plates. The materials will be invisible, and will detect radiation and store the signal until read at a later time. Since no power source is needed, they are always on and can be operated for years, or possibly decades. Reading is done by scanning the cards using a handheld or desktop laser system. In Phase I, we will model the performance, fabricate and characterize storage phosphors, examine the optical properties and develop readout technology, and design a fieldable prototype system for Phase II.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: NANOSCALE: INTRDISCPL RESRCH T | Award Amount: 900.00K | Year: 2012
NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: The goal of this project is to explore the scalable manufacturing and fundamental behavior of unique nanoscale boride materials for applications in several industrially-relevant and critical technologies, with a special emphasis on energy generation and gas storage applications. This project focuses on two novel and complementary processing techniques for the continuous and scaled manufacturing of boride materials (solution combustion synthesis for production of the boride powders and spark plasma sintering for consolidation of the powders), as well as on fundamental studies that can eliminate critical roadblocks during scale-up for the eventual manufacturability of these advanced materials. The project involves the participation of community college students, as well as collaborations with industrial partners.
TECHNICAL DETAILS: The purpose of this project is the creation, rational design, optimization, and scaled manufacturing of boride nanomaterials at a variety of length scales, from atomic level grain boundary engineering to macroscopic physical behavior of these materials. It is an integrated effort that will fuse theoretical and modeling approaches to recent experimental developments in materials processing, including solution combustion synthesis and spark plasma sintering. This project is the first study to (i) scale the combustion synthesis process for the production of boride nanomaterials, (ii) design and implement a process for the continuous manufacturing of bulk specimens by spark plasma sintering, (iii) optimize the diffusion behavior and gas storage capacity of a variety of hexaboride compounds in electric fields, and (iv) combine experimental work with molecular modeling techniques to study the diffusion of ions and gases in hexaborides.
This project on Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM) is co-funded by the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and Engineering (ENG) Directorates.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.96K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT: This effort is a close collaboration between RMD and Alfred University. Our goal is to develop a process for producing optical ceramics with properties approaching or exceeding single crystals. Ceramic processing can provide enhanced performance, lower cost, higher yield, relaxed constraints on size and shape, and materials that are difficult or impossible to grow as crystals. We will study rare earth oxyorthosilicates, which are desirable for laser hosts and scintillators, but which are difficult and expensive to grow as crystals. The Phase I will focus on understanding the influence of a magnetic field, on learning to control the effect, and on demonstrating a process that is applicable to a number of materials. Phase I has three objectives: 1) Investigate the influence of magnetic field on particulates; 2) Identify mechanisms and study methods to control the effect; 3) Demonstrate enhanced orientation. BENEFIT: The successful development of this technology will have significant technical and economic impact. RMD (and our sister company Hilger Crystals) will implement two strategies for commercialization: first, for the commercial production of scintillator radiation detectors for defense, security and medical instrumentation, and nondestructive equipment, and, ultimately, for the production of materials for other applications including lasers and other optical components.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CERAMICS | Award Amount: 324.29K | Year: 2016
This project is jointly funded by the Office of International Science and Engineering and the Ceramics Program in the Division of Materials Research.
NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: This CAREER project achieves a fundamental understanding of the formation, stability, and manipulation of defects in optoelectronic materials in order to more effectively synthesize high-quality laser materials with tailored properties. This line of research is extremely important in the development of new optical devices, and has not yet been adequately pursued and understood. This project is transformative, as it will open new avenues for utilizing dopants to design and synthesize optical and photonic materials with new capabilities and functionalities. The research has potential impacts on a wide range of important applications, including laser machining and manufacturing, laser-sparked fusion energy, laser communications, high-energy particle and radiation detection, medical imaging, etc. The project has developed an educational program called Collaborative Exchange Research and Materials in Ceramic Sciences (CERAMICS) to help students gain research experience abroad, primarily in Asian countries, through an exchange program. This experience provides students with a more global view of research activities.
TECHNICAL DETAILS: The overall objective of this CAREER project is to address the fundamental materials science questions associated with using off-valence ion substitution to control the valency of dopant ions in laser and optoelectronic materials. To answer these questions, a thorough understanding of the formation, stability, and manipulation of cation defects and ionic valencies in select materials is being developed. Specifically, the intention of this project is to study the mechanisms by which the valencies of dopant ions can be tuned, by controlling the local oxidizing or reducing environment. Modification of local environments can generate different electronic and coordination structures, which changes the behavior of the optically-active ion centers in a material. This project applies simulation methods to study models with different dopants and/or combinations of dopants to predict possible spectroscopic properties. Electron microscopy is used to examine the distribution of dopants and vacancies in different materials, and to determine the location of substitutional ions; whether they exist in lattice sites or are segregated at grain boundaries. This work brings about unique opportunities to design new optical materials for applications in next generation devices such as ceramic lasers and scintillation detectors. The project also includes a dedicated enhanced educational experience for students, which trains future generations of optical and photonic materials engineers.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 29.62K | Year: 2013
This award will allow 54 undergraduate students to participate at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) annual meeting in order to enhance students, graduate school and academic prospects, as well as to connect students with engineering educators. Specifically, this grant will provide travel funds for undergraduate students, both from 2-year and 4-year colleges and graduate students, to participate in the SHPE 2012 annual meeting (November 14-18, 2012, Fort Worth, TX) for three purposes: (1) to allow students to participate in the SHPE annual undergraduate and graduate technical paper and poster competitions; (2) to allow students to participate in graduate school and young investigator workshops, through the GEM GRAD Lab and Graduate Institute of the SHPE conference; and (3) to connect students and Hispanic Engineering faculty in order to open opportunities for postdoctoral positions, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and research collaborations.
By fostering the participation of 54 undergraduate students at Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) annual meeting, the program supported by this award has the the potential to become an important, large-scale, activity to increase the number of Hispanic engineering faculty numbers in the United States, as it consists of a multi-tiered approach starting with undergraduates and moving all the way up to current faculty members.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CERAMICS | Award Amount: 441.00K | Year: 2014
NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: New and improved approaches to storing electrical energy are critical for hand-held electronics and for integrating new renewable energy sources into our electrical power grid. The research focus is on finding new ways of improving the amount of energy stored in a battery or capacitor by intentionally introducing atomic-scale defects into ceramic nanosheets that form the electrodes. The ceramic nanosheets of interest are remarkably thin - only 5-10 atoms - and they display unusual properties for storing energy, resulting in better capacitors (called supercapacitors that bridge the gap between conventional capacitors and rechargeable batteries). Using new methods to measure the structural defects in the thin ceramic nanosheets and combining that knowledge with the measured electrical storage behavior provides a path to engineering new supercapacitors that may transform the way we use traditional and renewable energy sources. The project includes a team of two graduate students and two undergraduate students and reaches campus visitors of all ages who participate in the Kyocera Museum programs.
TECHNICAL DETAILS: The overall technical objective is to provide the first quantitative assessment of the electrochemical effects of intentional cation defects on proton intercalation in model single-layer nanosheet systems for Faradaic supercapacitors. Model systems include nanosheets of MnO6 and VO6 octahedra, where large fractions of octahedral defects, up to 20%, may be introduced during synthesis. The cation defects include charged metal ion vacancies and MO6 octahedra that are displaced from the otherwise atomically-flat nanosheet. The defects form new proton adsorption and intercalation sites that may markedly increase the energy storage capacity. New X-ray scattering methods enable direct study of the defects in nanosheets, and the model single-layer nanosheet structure provides a platform to determine the unknown roles of defects in pseudocapacitive charge storage. The latter may be transformational by defining the ideal nano- and meso-scale structures to facilitate commercialization of supercapacitors.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 64.35K | Year: 2014
This Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) project is a collaborative endeavor involving Rochester Institute of Technology and Alfred University. It addresses the need for biological sciences courses to encourage students to think critically, focus on unifying concepts, and practice experimental design, analysis of data, and scientific models. Evidence reveals that the shift to these emphases requires the use of interactive instructional practices that have been shown to increase student learning gains. The modules being created by this project include many instructional practices that have been found to be effective in improving deep understanding of core concepts in biology defined by the Vision and Change initiative (http://visionandchange.org/finalreport/) and the Next Generation Science Standards (http://www.nextgenscience.org/). The cornerstone of each module will be a new genre of web-based learning tools called Interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs). IVVs incorporate lessons learned from education and cognitive research on how people learn. They promote active learning by engaging learners with real-world problems, providing needed support, feedback, and guidance for the students, and requiring them to reflect on their own learning processes.
The PI team is creating 14 modules that help biology students overcome common conceptual and learning difficulties and enrich student understanding of how scientific knowledge is constructed through observation and experimentation. The design and implementation of the modules are informed by the results of a pilot project carried out by the PI team. In that project, dramatic student learning gains were observed when IVVs were used in an introductory biology and an upper level cell biology course. The PI team is extending their research on the learning outcomes to include the use of all of the newly developed IVVs. The research methods include pre- and post-instruction assessment to examine student learning gains, comparative learning gains of students using the IVVs and students in traditional lecture classes, and direct queries (surveys and interviews) concerning students attitudes to the biological sciences. Modules tested at RIT and Alfred University will subsequently be studied at a broad range of institutions recruited by the PI team. The knowledge resulting from these research studies is informing the design of STEM courses and the ways in which these effective instructional practices can be effectively integrated into traditional biology curricula nationwide.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 370.00K | Year: 2016
Raman spectroscopy is a critical tool used to study bonding between atoms, which allows direct interrogation of both ordered and disordered systems. Such studies often provide new understanding of the atomic-scale origins of the function and properties of materials for next-generation applications. The proposed research, largely within a materials science department, will focus on ceramics and glasses used in energy storage and renewable energy, transportation, energy conversion, health care and defense. Unique to the proposed research is the ability to perform studies at the highest temperatures currently attainable - and with positional resolution using 3-D mapping. By direct examination of materials in-situ or under operating conditions, the research teams aim to uncover new atomic scale processes that can in turn be used to make transformational progress in materials discovery and design. In addition to the research applications, the instrument will be used in graduate and undergraduate laboratory courses, providing a range of baccalaureate and graduate students with training and experience in state-of-the-art materials characterization. With integration into the High Temperature Materials Testing Laboratory (HTMT) and the new Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory (AML) at Alfred University, the Raman spectrometer will be professionally marketed for use by industry and is expected to draw additional corporate users. Alfred Universitys strong history of industrially-funded research includes collaborations with 50 companies, and these links are expected to draw a continuous stream of corporate Raman users, with new users attracted to campus for Raman studies
Raman spectroscopy is a critical tool for uncovering the structural origins of materials properties and processing dynamics, especially when performed under conditions of controlled temperature or gaseous environment (in-situ) or under operating conditions (operando). In the atmosphere of a materials science department, high temperature Raman spectroscopy can be enabling in building comprehensive models of cation or anion disorder, defects in 2-D oxide nanosheets and related nanomaterials, glass devitrification, materials degradation mechanisms, residual stress, and similar problems. The Raman microprobe will be equipped with 3-D mapping and temperature-controlled chambers to enable discovery of new mechanisms that may lead to transformational progress in the fields of energy, environment and health care.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 93.24K | Year: 2013
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I effort will demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative tungsten carbide (WC) metal matrix composite for use as a non-carcinogenic penetrator for armor piercing (AP) munitions for small arms. The objectives of this effort are to: 1) Mechanically compact the WC and binder powders, 2) Sinter the compacted powders into a fully dense composite, 3) Characterize the structure of the composite, 4) Characterize the physical properties of the composite, and 5) Produce a 5.56mm diameter, 500mm long rod with the proposed material. By successful completion of the Phase I project, a new material and processing technique, capable of producing high-performance AP penetrators, will be delivered.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 169.24K | Year: 2012
The Alfred University Calculus Initiative (AUCI) is a multi-faceted project that combines an innovative and distinctive curriculum with classroom transformation, video lessons and examples, online quizzes and homework, and web-based implementation into a comprehensive calculus experience. This project is informed by current research and trends in STEM education, which include engaging students with visual and online technology, creating an active learning environment in the classroom, and incorporating meaningful applications. The AUCI is developing a website from which users can access various course components from remote locations. To take advantage of the intrinsic portability of the course materials, the AUCI is forming partnerships with area school districts so that the course may be offered to high school students on their own campuses and for college credit.
The fundamental goal of the AUCI is to increase understanding and success in calculus and precalculus while maintaining the level of rigor and breadth required for post-calculus courses. One of the key ideas to achieving AUCIs goal is a fundamental re-ordering of calculus topics. The evaluation of this project focuses on student learning outcomes and success in first-year calculus courses as well as on student perceptions of and attitudes towards the course content and delivery methods. Since each component of the project is adaptable to suit nearly any STEM discipline, the research being conducted on the effects of its content and structure have the potential to be a valuable resource for those interested in new perspectives on teaching calculus and other STEM courses in general.