Ruston, LA, United States

Louisiana Tech University
Ruston, LA, United States

Louisiana Tech University, colloquially referred to as Louisiana Tech or La. Tech, is a coeducational public research university in Ruston, Louisiana, United States. Louisiana Tech is designated as a Tier One national university by the 2015 U.S. News & World Report college rankings and is the only Tier One national university in the nine-member University of Louisiana System. As a designated space grant college, member of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and Carnegie Research University with high research activity , Louisiana Tech conducts research with ongoing projects funded by agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense. Louisiana Tech is one of only 35 comprehensive research universities in the nation and the only university in Louisiana to be designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research by the National Security Agency and the United States Department of Homeland Security . The university is known for its engineering and science programs.Louisiana Tech opened as the Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana in 1894 during the Second Industrial Revolution. The original mission of the college was for the education of white students in the arts and science for the purpose of developing an industrial economy in post-Reconstruction Louisiana. Four years later, the state constitution changed the school's name to Louisiana Industrial Institute. In 1921, the college changed its name to Louisiana Polytechnic Institute to reflect its evolution from a trade school to a larger and more capable institute of technology. Under the leadership of Dr. F. Jay Taylor, the college continued to grow and change over time. Louisiana Polytechnic Institute became desegregated in the 1960s and officially changed its name to Louisiana Tech University in 1970 as the school developed into a research university.Louisiana Tech enrolled 11,271 students in five academic colleges during the Fall 2014 academic quarter including 1,726 students in the graduate school. In addition to the main campus in Ruston, Louisiana Tech holds classes at the Louisiana Tech University Shreveport Center, Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, Barksdale Air Force Base, and on the CenturyLink campus in Monroe.Louisiana Tech fields 16 varsity NCAA Division I sports teams and is a member of Conference USA of the Football Bowl Subdivision. The university is known for its Bulldogs football team and Lady Techsters women's basketball program which won three national championship titles and made 13 Final Four appearances in the program's history. Wikipedia.

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The Charles Machine Works Inc. and Louisiana Tech University | Date: 2016-03-14

A crossbore detection system. The system is located in a downhole tool proximate a drill bit. The system comprises circuitry sensitive to a subsurface environment and a sensor that detects changes in the circuitry. The sensor detects changes in the circuitry that indicates that the drill bit has struck an underground pipe. The sensor may detect a series of electromagnetic signals indicative of the strike or may detect changes to an impedance bridge at a capacitive sensor.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROV | Award Amount: 6.00M | Year: 2016

Non-technical Description
Twelve researchers across three institutions in three states (Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama) will collaborate on this brain research, and develop a foundation for the region as a hub for interdisciplinary, collaborative research activity in the neurosciences. This work will focus on understanding the initiation of epileptic brain seizures and longer-term impacts on brain function such as memory. Epileptic seizures directly impact roughly 1% of humans, and have indirect impacts on loved ones and caregivers as well as economic impacts on society. Epilepsy has been called a ?window to brain function? because the condition impairs different brain functions depending on the location of the seizure in the brain and the impacted network of neurons, and because it provides a unique opportunity to study an impaired brain?s function over time and space. The project will develop minimally invasive implantable sensors that can be used for monitoring before, during, and for several months following seizure events. Researchers will relate changes occurring during seizure events with those observed in the intervals between events. The project includes hiring four new faculty, design and purchase of equipment, development of new undergraduate and graduate courses, recruitment and training of a diverse student population to better reflect the regional community, and new student research and workforce opportunities.

Technical Description
The activities of the team across three institutions (Louisiana Tech University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Alabama) are organized under four thrust areas that focus on recording and analysis of electrical activity, magnetic activity, neurochemical and optical signals, and memory function of the brain. A series of coordinated and synergistic investigations will be conducted using innovative methods and tools designed to probe brain function at the molecular, cellular, and macro levels in epileptic rats and human subjects. Patients with focal epilepsy, during their presurgical evaluation, will undergo implantation of intracranial electroencephalographic (iEEG) electrodes for subsequent long-term (days) recording and monitoring of their spontaneous seizures. Non-invasive magnetoencephalographic (MEG) imaging is also used to provide important complementary information on the electromagnetic activity of the brain. This collaboration will advance research and also result in the creation of unique databases of human and animal data from the participating institutions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ELECT, PHOTONICS, & MAG DEVICE | Award Amount: 143.90K | Year: 2016

The information revolution of the past decades has been driven by unprecedented advances in microprocessor technology and a continuous progression towards smaller, faster and more efficient electronic devices. As a result, remarkable new capabilities have been enabled across vastly different areas of human activity such as telecommunication, computation, finances, national security and space exploration. Despite this progress, the past few years has seen scaling issues associated with electronic interconnect delay times and heat dissipation result in the saturation of microprocessor clock speeds at about 3GHz. Photonic integrated circuits, being the analogue of electronic circuits but with photons substituting for electrons as the information carrier, possess an exceedingly high data-carrying capacity and have the potential to address some of the present bottlenecks in microprocessor technology. However, the dielectric waveguides and interconnects currently used in photonic circuits are limited in size by the fundamental law of diffraction, leading to dimensional mismatch between electronic and photonic components. As a result, their practical implementation in real-world devices, apart from telecommunications, has been substantially hindered. Here we propose a new data processing element, an optoelectronic switch, which assimilates the best characteristics of photonics and electronics. It has the potential to address the current information bandwidth limitations of electronic devices, while simultaneously enabling device sizes that are substantially smaller than traditional photonic elements. A significant impact of this work will be the fostering of cutting-edge research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, including from underrepresented groups, implementing a new teaching methodology and pursuing a broader outreach by engaging high school children with fascinating topics in math and sciences.

This proposal seeks to develop a new optoelectronic device, referred to as Surface Plasmon Diode, with operation based on active control of charge-density waves propagating at heavily doped (degenerate) semiconductor interfaces. A synergy between theory and experiment will be pursued to gain insight into the complex multi-physics phenomena behind the device operation, including charge transport and recombination at high-gradient, heavily doped pn+- junctions, spatially and time dependent local permittivity variations at the semiconductor interfaces, and thermal effects due to Ohmic heating and electromagnetic energy dissipation. The experimental efforts will lead to Proof of Concept devices based on Silicon-on-Insulator and epitaxially-grown III-V semiconductor materials and compounds. Bulk material growth/fabrication and characterization will inform the theoretical modeling, which in turn will guide the fabrication and experimental characterization of the prototype. The transient response of the devices will be tested using a direct detection method (IR-detector) for modulation rates ranging from low (kHz) to moderate and high frequencies (few MHz up to 3GHz). For data rates higher than 3GHz a new on-chip electro-optical detection will be implemented. These experimental measurements, in conjunction with the theory, will establish the physical limitations and scaling laws governing the device 3dB bandwidth, and establish a clear roadmap toward direct, electro-optical signal modulation at rates down to the picosecond time scale for signal modulation surpassing -10dB and mode sizes that are substantially smaller compared to present-day optoelectronics elements. The proposed research presents a new approach toward fast optical interconnects, circuitry and logic elements and may lead to breakthrough technologies related to integrated optics and electronics, a multibillion dollar industry.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 518.15K | Year: 2016

Empowering Students to be Adaptive Decision-Makers

The objective of this project is to help students learn to make academic decisions that lead to success. It contains components that are both practical (identifying pathways that students actually take in a particular curriculum) and theoretical (understanding how self-regulated learning and decision making affect real-life choices). The research will broadly impact the way that policy decisions are made in engineering programs across the US. This project is unique in that it packages the research findings not only for other researchers, but for direct student use. An online Academic Dashboard will be developed to help students leverage the research results and put them in the drivers seat of their education. It is expected that these skills will be especially beneficial for students from low-performing high schools who have never been challenged academically before. The end result will be students who self-regulate their decision making process to choose paths that are most likely to lead to success and make adaptive daily choices that help them achieve their goals. Ultimately the work will lead to a more diverse group of engineering graduates by expanding the opportunities for students who have difficulty navigating the engineering curriculum.

This project seeks to advance understanding of academic pathways, achievement, and self-regulation in engineering. Students who persist in a major but never progress to graduation are of particular interest. Preliminary work has shown that the students who remain in college the longest without graduating are also the least likely to change majors. The project employs a multi-faceted approach to both study and assist these students who persist but do not progress through the lens of self-regulation, with particular focus on the self-regulation model of decision making and self-regulated learning. The research goals are to: 1) identify curriculum-specific patterns of achievement that eventually lead to dropout as well as corresponding alternative paths that could lead to success and 2) advance knowledge of self-regulation patterns and outcomes in engineering students. The education goals are to develop curricula and advising materials that help students learn how to effectively self-regulate their decision processes through contextual activities and story prompting.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL STUDIES AND ANALYSES | Award Amount: 358.90K | Year: 2015

PI: DeCoster, Mark A.
Proposal Number: 1547693

One type of Biomanufacturing involves placing cells together in both two dimensions (2D) and three dimensions (3D). To better approximate what happens in the body in both healthy and diseased tissues, the growth of cells, as well as cell death must be understood. Much like pruning the limbs of a tree without killing it, the investigators of this project will use a controlled, natural process called apoptosis to prune groups of cells in both 2D and 3D environments to improve the function of the overall construct. These studies could enhance our understanding of how to control normal cell formations into tissues and how to control disease processes such as cancer. The containers for the cells to be studied in this project will include bioreactors generated using 3D printers.

The technological components of this project seek to address the challenges of generating and shaping assemblies of cells in both 2D and 3D environments. The project aims to understand the growth processes of both normal and cancer cells, with the goal of achieving better biomanufacturing strategies and insight into tumor growth. Beyond just growth, the investigators of this EAGER award will also apply apoptotic stimuli to cells using two types of high-aspect ratio structures (HARS), to prune away cells in a controlled manner. To facilitate imaging into thicker (>0.5 mm) 3D cell assemblies in this project, gradient index (GRIN) lenses combined with multi-photon microscopy will be used. The HARS materials used in this project include a hollow, non-degradable halloysite, and a novel, biodegradable biocomposite containing copper. Both HARS materials scale from the nano-dimension in diameter to the micro-dimension in length. The experiments carried out in this project will utilize bioreactors generated using 3D printers and functional outputs from the bioreactors will include detection of glutamate and pH dynamics using a fast-growing glioma cell line and slower growing (normal) astrocyte primary culture model to compare cellular outputs with growth before and after the pruning process of apoptosis. To better approximate dynamic processes in the brain, microglia will also be added to model recovery after apoptosis. A foundry of 3D printed bioreactors generated for the project will be established in the form of bioreactor images, .stl files, and animations, and will be tested for integration with commercially available millifluidic devices to detect, for example, chemical changes occurring in the bioreactors over time. Results from this project are anticipated to impact future biomanufacturing strategies and educational materials considering the increasing availability of 3D-printing technology and design software.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NANO-BIOSENSING | Award Amount: 299.81K | Year: 2016

PI: Prabhu Arumugam

A practical understanding of the human brain is one of the the greatest scientific challenges of the 21st century. Current neural probes to elucidate the chemical mechanisms underlying brain function lack the multiplexing and multimodal capabilities necessary for detecting multiple classes of brain analytes that have been implicated in various brain disorders. This project will advance basic neuroscience research by the development of highly sensitive, and highly reliable diamond-platinum nanoelectrodes capable of sensing local concentration changes of brain chemicals. The nanoelectrodes will also facilitate fundamental advances in emerging analytical measurements within cellular and sub-cellular domains.

An understanding of the human brain is one of the greatest scientific challenge of the 21st century. Previous research in this highly topical field has demonstrated the importance of neurochemicals, toxins and field potentials for neuronal communication in healthy and diseased states. The dynamics of interaction between these key functions, in all areas of the brain, is clearly of critical clinical importance to the development of a useful brain chemical model. The proposed research will result in the development of a novel multi-purpose biosensing nanoprobe capable of near simultaneous in vivo sensing of multiple brain analytes in body fluids. The proposed probe will utilize new carbon nanostructures, advanced nanoelectrode geometries and fabrication processes and redox cycling methods to demonstrate at least a 10-fold increase in the key sensor metrics, i.e. the sensitivity, selectivity and limits of detection as compared to current neural sensing electrodes. Specifically, and for the first time, a concentric three-dimensional nanoprobe for brain analyte testing will be microfabricated with several individually addressable BDUNCD (Boron-Doped Ultrananocrystalline Diamond) and Pt nanoring nanoelectrodes ?nanodes?. One of the potential applications of the nanodes is the localized sensing of changes in the levels of different brain analytes, e.g. dopamine, lead and electrical field potentials as affected by external stimuli such as neuromodulation. This will fundamentally improve understanding of neurostimulation mechanisms, which is a promising technique now being employed for patients with brain disorders. The creation of new nanodes, the central goal of this project, would also allow progress in emerging analytical measurements within cellular and sub-cellular domains. This project will deliver innovative nanoprobes to advance basic science that is expected to be transformative in terms of its unique multifunctional, multimodal and multiplexing capability. The proposed research will contribute new advanced materials and fabrication science to the general nanobiosensing field including nanodes for high sensitivity and high selectivity chemical sensing.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 999.23K | Year: 2016

This National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) project at Louisiana Technological University will increase the timely baccalaureate degree completion rate among students majoring in mechanical, biomedical, and civil engineering. The overall objective of the program is to increase engineering retention, leading to an increase in the number of STEM graduates prepared to enter the workforce and be successful. The program offers scholarships for rising sophomores who demonstrate academic talent and financial need. Support includes attendance in a full-time summer session in which students will take some of the required engineering and mathematics courses normally taken during the Fall semester. This approach will provide a smoother transition into more difficult engineering coursework for this at-risk group. This program will include professional and student development activities, as well as mentoring from faculty. Scholarships and support for low-income and academically talented students, who may not otherwise be able to obtain engineering degrees, will help to produce a well-trained STEM workforce that will contribute to the economic well being of the nation.

The project is based on the identification of a critical attrition point in the undergraduate engineering curriculum. Louisiana Tech has identified the engineering statics course as the point at which many otherwise promising students leave engineering due to poor performance. However, the failure rate for students taking statics during the summer session is substantially lower than for the Fall semester. The project will investigate the hypothesis that encouraging talented but at-risk students to pursue statics during a full-time summer session will facilitate these at-risk students in overcoming this identified attrition point in the undergraduate engineering curriculum. Retaining more students in the critical sophomore transition will result in more STEM graduates. The cohorts of S-STEM Scholars will be mentored by a faculty team and participate in other support activities including industry field trips, professional development training and team-building activities. The findings from the program will be disseminated widely to the STEM education community and will help to increase understanding of the attributes and practices of successful student scholarship and support programs for academically talented, low-income engineering students.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2016

American GNC Corporation (AGNC) and Louisiana Tech University (LaTECH) are proposing a significant breakthrough technology, the Integrated Monitoring AWAReness Environment (IM-AWARE) consisting of an Enterprise Infrastructure with closely coupled smart sensor networks and Enhanced IT Security to enable: (i) real time monitoring of the distribution systems health; (ii) supporting maintenance operations and configuration management; and (iii) making the system clients aware, in an ubiquitous way, when an entity (sensor, valve, pipeline, motor-pump, etc.) failure is detected. Key components of this infrastructure are: (i) a low level standardized smart sensor network with embedded diagnostics at the sensor and intelligent sensor network coordinator levels and (ii) client-server enterprise infrastructure containing a Database, secure communications, and software applications for smartphones, tablets, and/or ruggedized devices. Key advantages of the system include: (a) novel sensor self-diagnostics with a non-spatial correlation algorithm; (b) novel Timed Failure Propagation Graphs (TFPG) algorithm, for joint sensor/component fault diagnostics; (c) system troubleshooting by stochastic inference that mimics human troubleshooting reasoning; (d) APIs for the TFPGs, Bayesian Networks (BN), and Influence Diagrams to facilitate and expedite diagnostic deployment within custom embedded applications; and (e) ruggedized hardware modules design. Advanced sensing schemes are provided for leakage detection, heat flux applications, and fire detection, in addition to monitoring test facility parameters (flow, pressure, temperature). To provide retrofitting and scalability capability strategies include standardized and scalar smart sensor design as well as software APIs and toolboxes development.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: NUCLEAR PRECISION MEASUREMENTS | Award Amount: 219.47K | Year: 2015

It is now a well-established fact that nucleons, protons and neutrons, are made up of more elementary particles called quarks. This grant will support present and future experiments at Jefferson Lab to investigate the quark structure of protons and neutrons. In particular, these experiments will explore how electrons scatter from the proton and from other electrons in a way which will test the fundamental theoretical model of physics, called the Standard Model. These experiments will help to advance the field of nuclear and particle physics, as well as provide a world class education to the graduate and undergraduate students working on those projects.

In the electron scattering experiments at Jefferson Laboratory in which the Louisiana Tech group is involved, many new physical observables will be measured. The physics available from these measurments include measurements of inherent properties of the weak interaction, allowing us to test predictions of the Standard Model of Particles and Interactions, and in particular the weak interaction parameter. Additional measurements will further probe the internal structure of protons and neutrons, providing tests of predictions from existing theoretical models.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 343.41K | Year: 2016

Diamond thin films play an important role in many established and emerging areas of technology including manufacturing tools, protective coatings, and high power electronics due to their increased resistance to wear, chemical stability, low coefficient of friction, low coefficient of thermal expansion, wide optical transparency, biocompatibility, and tunable conductivity. For similar reasons, diamond thin films have also started attracting attention from researchers for use in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) such as sensors and actuators. However, besides performance the scalability, sustainability, and cost of these films are also factors that influence their viability for widespread use. This award supports fundamental research to provide needed knowledge for the development of a novel diamond film growth process that: (1) can be performed virtually on any substrate, including metals, oxides, and plastics, (2) is economical due to low cost and ready availability of the raw material, (3) poses lower health hazards and is environmentally safe, and (4) can be integrated with standard semiconductor technology. Such low cost, scalable diamond films with tailorable physical properties will enable broad impact in energy, manufacturing, healthcare, sensors, electronics, and other important applications, thus providing a positive impact on the U.S. economy and society. In addition, this multi-disciplinary approach involving research in chemistry, materials science, manufacturing, and engineering will provide a significant impact on broadening participation of minorities in research, and incorporating nanomaterial manufacturing concepts in K-12 curriculum.

The concept of directed covalent assembly of nanodiamonds using versatile, room-temperature chemistry to form conformal and compact films will pave the way to a novel class of sustainable coatings for MEMS. The full application potential of covalently assembled nanodiamond films can be achieved by overcoming the scientific barrier of tuning its physical properties (mechanical, thermal, and optical) which are directly linked to the level and distribution of porosity in the film micro-/nanostructure. This research seeks to fill the knowledge gap on the mechanism(s) of porosity reduction through precise control over nanodiamond aggregate size during film fabrication as well as post-fabrication anneal. The research team will characterize porosity distribution and the associated physical properties using state-of-the-art materials characterization methods. Further, microfabricated devices will be made with the nanodiamond films as a vehicle to demonstrate its integration into MEMS, to facilitate quantification of physical properties such in-plane and cross-plane thermal conductivity, and to correlate these findings to the nanodiamond aggregate sizes used during the direct covalent assembly process.

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