Southern University

Southern, United States

Southern University

Southern, United States
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News Article | May 1, 2017

The new study was published in Science Bulletin. Four scholars from Tsinghua University, Li Hang, Gao Xun, Xin Tao and Long Guilu, collaborated with a scholar from Southern University of Science and Technology, Yung Man-Hong. In the study, they solved two-fold and three-fold Forrelation problems in nuclear spins and controlled the spin fluctuation to within a threshold value using a set of optimized GRAPE pulse sequences. It is widely believed that quantum computers have an advantage over classical computers in many computational problems. In the black-box model, many quantum algorithms exhibit quantum speedups. This raises a question: Within the black-box model, just how large a quantum speedup is possible? Specifically, in query complexity, can we find the largest separation between classical and quantum query complexities? Two years ago, Aaronson and Ambainis introduced a new property-testing problem called Forrelation, which determines whether one Boolean function is highly correlated with the Fourier transform of another Boolean function. And they showed that it gave the largest quantum black-box speedup yet known. Professor Long Guilu and his collaborators designed a quantum circuit for implementing multi-fold Forrelations. They realized the two-fold and three-fold case of Forrelations on a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer by measuring the value of Forrelation to determine if it was larger than 3/5 or the absolute value was less than 1/100. This is the first experimental realization of the Forrelation problem reported in literature. Their results are shown in figure 1. Professor Long Guilu, who directed the experiment, says, "One of the difficulties is achieving a high fidelity of the final states, since the value of Forrelation is highly sensitive to the measurement. To control the error within a threshold value, we utilized an optimized gradient ascent pulse engineering technique instead of a composite pulse sequence of hard pulses and J-coupling evolutions." Professor Yung Man-Hong points out the future development of their work: "All the quantum algorithms are implemented on a three-qubit quantum information processor, which may not present the power of quantum computation over classical computation due to the present experimental techniques. However, this prototype experiment indicates that we may gain quantum supremacy in relatively simple quantum devices in the near future." Explore further: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance: Looking for the quantum frontier More information: Hang Li et al, Experimental study of Forrelation in nuclear spins, Science Bulletin (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.scib.2017.03.006

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CENTERS FOR RSCH EXCELL IN S&T | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2010

Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (SUBR) will initiate a project entitled Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering Education in Energy Materials (RISE3M) as a 3-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Research Infrastructure in Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) award. The PIs propose to continue and expand expertise in materials science research developed as part of a previous HBCU-RISE project (HRD-0734845) to encompass the area of sustainable energy production through the use of modern energy materials. The synergism of these two areas includes the shared knowledge in the development of efficient and alternative energy materials for power production as well as access to complimentary materials characterization approaches among researches involved in this project. The work also complements an existing CREST Center for Next Generation Composite Materials (HRD-0932300). The research and education activities will foster the development of new knowledge, processes, and products in material science and engineering applicable to advanced materials for sustainable energy generation and utilization.

The project is organized around several thrusts:

Fundamental knowledge
*Correlate microstructure with physical properties of photoelectron-chemical materials for the photoelectrolysis of water;
*Fabrication and analysis of an actuating polymer technology;
*Development and fabrication of functionally graded ceramic thermal barrier coatings;
*Characterization of thermo-mechanical properties of novel energy materials.

Technology applications
*Photoelectrical chemical power generation;
*Design and improvement of polymers for photovoltaic solar power generation;
*New thermal barrier coating to reduce the repair time and cost in gas turbine power generation industry;
*Improvements in gas turbine power output and efficiency.

Education and outreach
*Advanced material characterization and composite materials and structures courses;
*Increased number of minority students in undergraduate & graduate research;
*Enhanced research infrastructure for Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering;
*Provide an nformation resource for potential collaborators and dissemination;
*Involvement of K-12 through graduate level in the integration of STEM research

Intellectual Merit
The proposed research will lead to the development of new knowledge, processes, and products in materials science and engineering, for application in sustainable energy generation and utilization. . The synergism of these thrust areas includes the shared knowledge in the development of efficient and alternative energy materials for power production as well as access to complimentary materials characterization approaches among researches involved in this project.

Broader Impact
The research will contribute to the development of sustainable technologies that will decrease the dependence of the US on fossil fuels. Therefore, broader impacts extend to the improvement of the environment and the economic benefit of society. Consistent with the goals of the RISE proposals, this award will strengthen the doctoral student research capacity in a new area of materials science research at Southern, which currently has the largest number of African American graduate students in science and engineering. The present award will play a significant role in the university?s efforts to achieve doctoral level II status, a rarity among HBCU institutions. The project includes a specific human resource development plan for graduate student development, post doctoral associate training,, integration of education and research, and outreach to the general public, particularly in the southern regions of the US.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IRES | Award Amount: 249.69K | Year: 2014

Technical Description
This U.S.-Ghana International Research Experience for Students (IRES) award supports collaboration in water resources science between Southern University, LA and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi (KNUST). This IRES project establishes a joint effort between the STEM faculty at these institutions, who will undertake effective, innovative, and transformative research that ensures the sustainability of global water resources and large-scale water purification.

The US-investigative team consists of two faculty members from the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at Southern University and A&M College, the nations largest Historically Black College and University; the international participants are faculty members of the Department of Materials Engineering at KUNST. KNUST is the host institution for this IRES project and will facilitate arrangements to enable successful research, scholarly visits, and access to the research laboratories for IRES students. Five faculty members from Southern and Kwame Nkrumah will be directly involved in the research and mentoring activities. Student participants from the U.S. include five undergraduate and one graduate student for five weeks each year over three years. This project will train the next generation of researchers and contribute to developing a globally- engaged workforce.

This project seeks to develop a low cost but technologically efficient composite material for sustainable water purification. It will examine the process of adsorption of the fluoride and other microbial contaminants onto the composite material developed for enhanced fluoride removal. Three separate research tracts that students can choose are: 1) Characterization of fundamental micro-structural properties of laterite, 2) Evaluation of a composite Laterite with alumina and magnesium oxide nano-particles to enhance adsorption of fluoride, and 3) Evaluation of a composite laterite with calcium oxide and silica nano-particles to enhance adsorption of fluoride.
Students will learn data acquisition techniques and the ability to analyze and interpret scientific information.

Broader Description
Students majoring in STEM fields will have the opportunity to engage in research in an international environment where they will have to adapt to solving non-traditional problems.
Additionally, the IRES experience is expected to: 1) enhance US-student global awareness and perspectives, 2) provide experiential learning opportunities for students through multidisciplinary
and multi-institutional partnerships; 3) enhance the ability of water resources science faculty to conduct collaborative research through international engagements. The project will raise
general awareness about related issues and the need and advantages of studying the topics
in multidisciplinary and internationally collaborative environments. The research findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at conferences organized by the World Health Organization and the American Society of Civil Engineering.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 476.23K | Year: 2010

The project will apply a tested methodological approach--a multi-metric approach to assess the impact of STEM instructional multimedia on undergraduate teaching and learning-- to the subject matter of electronic health records (EHR). The project deploy three comprehensive multimedia case studies that introduce undergraduate STEM students to electronic health records and assess the effect of this approach on student learning, including impact on higher order cognitive skills. Three constructs and criteria will be used to assess students actual learning: 1) Learning-Driven factor, 2) Content-Driven factor, and 3) Higher-Order Cognitive Skills factor. Three inter-related qualitative and quantitative matrices will be developed to assess students perceived learning (Perceived Learning Matrix), actual learning (Actual Learning Outcome Matrix), and learning processes (Learning Process Matrix). The innovative multimedia instructional approach developed in this project is expected to give students first-hand observational experience of EHR operations and can be used to teach other information technology topics where visualization is very important as opposed to traditional text book lecture on emerging technology issues.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2011

The research topic of this IRES program addresses the possibility of designing the urban ecosystem to deal with the negative effects of climate change. The proposed program will send students from Southern University and Louisiana State University to China to conduct collaborative research with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Applied Ecology and Southern China Botanical Garden, and the Beijing Forestry Institute, The research will be directed at four general topics: Modeling the impact of global warming and urbanization on natural resources; Combined effects of elevated levels of carbon dioxide and ozone on urban forests; Carbon storage and sequestration by urban forests; and Response of soil carbon dynamics to long-term nitrogen deposition in a tropical forest at the urban-rural interface.

Each year four undergraduates and four graduate students will participate in the research activities in China. The project focuses on a very topical area of interest (i.e. sustainability), which has growing importance considering the worlds current dependence on fossil fuels and the concomitant rise in greenhouse-gas levels. It involves a unique collaboration between the U.S. universities and the institutions in China. The substance of the research efforts should lead to better understanding of complex environmental dynamics in urban settings, which should have application in the U.S. and China as in other parts of the world and promote effective mitigation strategies. Also, the involvement of an HBCU in the IRES program should make a positive contribution to human-resource development in this field.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

This award is one component of a collaborative effort to fund the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Science Education Center Partnership between Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR), LA, the LIGO Livingston site in Livingston, La, through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF), and the Exploratorium. The managing institution for LIGO itself is California Institute of Technology. The project is the continuation of the LIGO Science Education Center Partnership focused on scientific outreach to the general public, teacher training, and teacher education focused on LIGO activities in Louisiana. A previous award helped create the SEC building, with a classroom and a large exhibit hall, with exhibits developed by the Exploratorium and staffed by SUBR student docents and a (separately funded) professional staff. The multilayered partnership of HBCUs, a cutting edge research facility and a renowned informal science center created a model for future partnerships. With the expansion of this partnership the model is extended, and research on the effects of these extensive partnerships can provide information for future attempts at leveraging the resources of research laboratories for educational purposes.

This project will use the LIGO-SEC Partnership to amplify and nurture a Science, Technology, Engineering, Education and Mathematics (STEEM) pipeline that taps into under-represented audiences and engages them in techniques that encourage students to advance their education in STEEM fields. The docent program and the teacher programs will increase participation of under-represented audiences within the STEEM fields. The docent program will train between sixty and eighty under-represented STEEM majors to become community ambassadors in conjunction with LIGO Science Education Centers outreach program, and the docents will interact with between 12,500 and 5,000 participants. The teacher professional development activities target high-need areas in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The activities will develop around 250 teachers familiarity with engineering design processes and underlying science concepts. These teachers will create and build interactive science activities to use in the classroom to engage with students. Graduate students will conduct new research in the use of inquiry and informal science methods within the formal (School) and informal (LIGO-SEC) environments. The graduate students dissertations will contribute to the literature on Informal Science Education. The project is guided by an on-going evaluation.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 84.86K | Year: 2011

Technical abstract:

Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) based fluorescence X-ray gas detector is an indispensable tool for characterizing dilute elements of 10 parts per million (ppm) and below using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XFS). When atoms of a dilute element in a sample are excited by a tuned energy synchrotron radiation beamline, they emit weak X ray fluorescence signal. The fluorescence X-ray signal has low penetrating power, is severely attenuated by air, and ionizes few electrons in an ionization chamber. Detecting the small primary electronic charge signal is very difficult using conventional fluorescence detectors with low signal to noise (S/N) ratio. To improve the S/N ratio, we propose to use a single and multiple gas electron multiplier (GEM) to amplify the ionized primary electronic charge without noise in an ionization chamber. The amplified charge will enhance the S/N ratio, improve the detection, analysis, and facilitate to characterize dilute samples. Conventional fluorescence detectors are affected by micro phonic vibrations, temperature, light, have small S/N ratio, and occasional gain drift with time. The GEM based detector is rigid, gas leak proof, allows cascaded multiple GEMs for gain control, avoids spark discharge from high fields due to a single GEM, has noise free electron amplification, and allows measuring fast signal with high rate capability. The detector has flexible window size for x-ray entrance, flexible solid angle of acceptance, variable GEM dimension, uses multiple gas mixtures, operates at atmospheric pressure, and at room temperature. This project is performed in collaboration with Morgan State University, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and Southern University Baton Rouge to enhance, educate and train minority students in building new detectors that will be used at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and at other national and international laboratories.

Non-technical abstract:

Detecting dilute elements of ten parts per million and below, in natural or manufactured samples requires a high signal to noise (S/N) ratio detector. When a dilute element under test is excited by a tuned energy synchrotron beamline, it releases a characteristic fluoresce X-ray that is used to ionize a noble gas producing a charge signal. This primary charge signal is too small to be detected because of the large noise interference introduced by electronic amplifiers. The proposed detector uses a gas electron multiplier (GEM) that multiplies or amplifies the small primary charge created by the dilute element fluorescence X-ray. The GEM amplified charge signal amplitude far exceeds the level of the noise produced by the electronic amplifiers providing a high S/N ratio. This will allow better detection and characterization of dilute elements in various samples. This project is performed in collaboration with Morgan State University, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and Southern University Baton Rouge to enhance, educate, and train minority students in building new detectors that can be used at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and at other national and international laboratories.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 99.33K | Year: 2012

Smaller universities including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) and American Indian Serving Engineering Institutions (AISEI) often lack resources required to prepare faculty for highly competitive and critically important STEM education research. As a result, many of the faculty are handicapped when they attempt to acquire funding to investigate and implement new educational ideas. Furthermore, this makes the adoption of modern pedagogy and new STEM education ideas difficult at these institutions. Ultimately, it is the students who suffer because they may not receive the benefits of the newest STEM education discoveries.

This project is assisting critical schools to develop their STEM faculty so they are better able to compete with larger, resource richer institutions. Stronger STEM faculty will translate to stronger universities and to more and stronger STEM graduates. The project builds on prior research and incorporates previously successful faculty development activities. The work is also informed by an elite group of university deans who provided input to the project design. Outcomes are being assessed using an external evaluator and will be widely disseminated.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 216.83K | Year: 2016

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) provides support to undertake an institutional self-analysis in preparation for a Broadening Participation Research Center. Broadening Participation Research Centers are expected to serve as a national hub for the rigorous study and broad dissemination of the critical pedagogies and culturally sensitive interventions that contribute to the success of HBCUs in educating African American STEM undergraduates. The project at Southern University seeks to investigate identified contributory factors envisioned to support advancing diversity and inclusion through global research engagement as a promising interventional approach with the potential to change the culture of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for underrepresented minority students.

The project seeks to frame a new model for transformative STEM teaching and learning that advances science and societal well-being through the 21st century; enhance the research knowledge base to better understand the multidimensionality of underlying issues affecting STEM workforce disparities; and incorporate research, education, outreach, and knowledge transfer into an integrated learning ecosystem that will inform STEM education practices and interventions. To address this grand challenge, the projects activities and strategies are designed to investigate the viability of global translation in: creating shareable knowledge; educating a new generation of scholars, practitioners, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders; positively impacting the inclusion of disproportionately represented diverse minorities in the STEM workforce; and developing practical solutions to the most pressing environmental, economic, and social challenges of sustainability. The project will be guided by formative and summative evaluation.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 3.25M | Year: 2010

Southern University is centering itself at the forefront of the sustainability frontier by engaging in the development of the next generation of sustainable materials, energy and technologies. Basic sciences that will lay the foundation for development of this initiative within the SU STEM enterprise are Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, and Physical Sciences, which will combine to support three primary research thrusts - Materials Science & Energy Technologies; Biomass Conversion, Biofuels & Bioenergy; and Climate Change & Environmental Impact. Computational Science & Information Technology will serve as an undergirding connection throughout.

The ACE Implementation project entitled: The New Energy Workforce - Sustainable Materials, Energy & Technology, will develop concentrations within the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, and Sciences, and create an interdisciplinary international degree program that integrates research, academics and experiential learning toward resolving sustainability issues faced by Louisiana, this nation and the global community.

The project will expose undergraduate students to sustainable materials, energy, and technologies through an interdisciplinary dual-degree curriculum that integrates academics, research and global engagement with international universities; assemble interdisciplinary teams of international scientists and engineers to identify solutions to sustainability challenges affecting the global community; and engage in interdisciplinary sustainable materials, energy and technologies research activities with special emphasis on clean and renewable resources suitable for commercialization and replication. Forging collaborative partnerships that emphasize student and faculty exchange, joint research foci, joint course offerings and joint academic degree programs will promote scientific and technological understanding within the global STEM Enterprise.

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