Hoboken, NJ, United States
Hoboken, NJ, United States

Stevens Institute of Technology is a private, coeducational research university located in Hoboken, New Jersey, United States. The university also has a satellite location in Washington, D.C.. Incorporated in 1870, it is one of the oldest technological universities in the United States, and was the first college in America solely dedicated to Mechanical Engineering. The campus encompasses Castle Point, the highest point in Hoboken, and several other buildings around the city.Founded from an 1868 bequest from Edwin Augustus Stevens, enrollment at Stevens includes more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students representing 47 states and 60 countries throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. The university is home to three national Centers of Excellence as designated by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Two members of the Stevens community, as alumni or faculty, have been awarded the Nobel Prize: Frederick Reines , in Physics, and Irving Langmuir , in chemistry.Stevens ranks #76 in U.S. News & World Report "Best National Universities" list, #75 for undergraduate engineering and #72 for graduate engineering. Stevens also ranks #3 in the U.S. in mid-career salaries of graduates, as well as #5 in the U.S. among "Best Engineering Colleges By Salary Potential," a list compiled by payscale.com based on self-reported data.Dr. Nariman Farvardin is the seventh president of Stevens. He took office on July 1, 2011. Wikipedia.


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Patent
Stevens Institute of Technology | Date: 2016-03-31

The present disclosure relates to fabricating sacrificial microfiber templates from any biocompatible and resorbable materials depending on the time needed for dissolving the microfiber template to free the endothelial tube with open lumen. Microfiber networks with distinct patterns and defined diameters initially serve as a template to support the growth of vascular cells (endothelial cells or their progenitor cells, or combined with mural cells such as pericytes) and then dissolve to form an empty endothelium lumen. The incorporation of sacrificial microfiber networks encapsulated with vascular cells into 3D cell-rich constructs allows for the creation of various vascularized tissues.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 395.06K | Year: 2016

Every hour the sun provides more than enough energy to satisfy the annual energy requirements of the human population. Full exploitation of this abundant sustainable resource will require efficient means for its economical harvesting. Organic solar cells, which are composed of polymers with various carbon-based additives, are promising vehicles to convert solar energy into electricity on the basis of their flexibility, lightweight nature, and potential for large-area coverage. The conversion efficiencies of current organic solar cells, however, are relatively low and their costs are prohibitively high. The use of high-throughput continuous manufacturing methods, such as inkjet printing and roll-to-roll processing has the potential to reduce the cost of manufacturing. Furthermore, if the organic cell microstructures are favorably controlled during their continuous fabrication, their conversion efficiencies can be increased. This project aims to develop a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the shearing processes during continuous mixing and deposition of the polymer/additive mixtures so that solar cell structures with greater light conversion efficiencies can be obtained while reducing the manufacturing expense. This multidisciplinary project will serve as a fertile training ground for graduate students and will be integrated into outreach activities for underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

Photoactive layers of organic solar cells are comprised of polymer-small molecule nanocomposites, and the crystal size and crystallinity of the small molecule component are critical microstructural factors for light conversion efficiency and long-term stability. This research will investigate how the deformation history applied to polymer-small molecule nanosuspensions prior to and during film deposition affects crystal sizes and nucleation densities of small molecules to impact the efficiency and stability of organic solar cells. This objective will be accomplished by: (1) mapping processing-structure relationships between nanocomposite composition, solution shearing conditions, and resultant small molecule crystallization outcomes; (2) executing a preshearing and coating process that is compatible with industrially-relevant rates to impose target shear histories prior to and during film deposition; and (3) evaluating solar cell performance to determine the effects of small molecule crystallization on light conversion efficiency and stability. By systematically exploring the effects of polymer rheology and processing conditions on the shear induced crystallization of small molecules, mathematical modeling-based design rules will be established to guide the development of continuous processing methods capable of evoking desired crystallization outcomes.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

Additive biomanufacturing is the process of printing 3D living constructs where stem cells interface with biomaterials. A key manufacturing challenge is establishing control of the printed biomaterial constructs to prevent stem cell differentiation. This Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award supports fundamental research to provide needed knowledge for advancing the control of an additive biomanufacturing process (far-field melt electrospin writing). Research results will lead to producing engineered tissue constructs for regenerative medicine and, therefore, impact the health sector and competitiveness of the US biomanufacturing sector. This award also supports engineering education by integrating 3D printing into the undergraduate curriculum, introducing high school students to advanced manufacturing, and broadening participation of underrepresented groups in research.

In a far-field melt electrospin writing process, a polymer material is drawn from a needle to a collector plate, and the processed polymer from the needle tip constitutes the charged fiber. The temperature differential between the needle tip and the plate is defined as temperature gradient; and it affects fiber deformation (that determines fiber diameter) and electrostatic repulsion between fibers (that, through relative alignment of multiple fibers, determines pore size in a 3D polymer construct). A construct with microscale fiber diameters and pore sizes can facilitate confinement of stem cells to prevent stem cells from differentiation. The first research objective is to understand effects of temperature gradient on fiber deformation and electrostatic repulsion between fibers. A multi-physics model (coupling polymer rheology and electrostatics) will be developed to predict effects of temperature gradient on fiber deformation and electrostatic repulsion. The second objective is to establish relationships between fiber deformation and fiber diameter, and between electrostatic repulsion and pore size. Scanning electron microscopy will be used to measure mean fiber diameter and pore size in an electrospun construct. The third objective is to understand effects of fiber diameter and pore size on 3D stem cell confinement. A geometrical-based model will be developed to predict effects of confined 3D focal adhesion site distribution (point contacts between electrospun fibers and colonized cells) on stem cell function. Experiments will be conducted to colonize stem cells on the electrospun constructs, and the focal adhesion distribution will be measured using atomic force microscopy and fluorescent confocal microscopy. Immunochemistry of stem cell surface markers will be conducted to confirm stem cell confinement.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CAREER: FACULTY EARLY CAR DEV | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

This Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant will test the hypothesis that technology firms can make strategic decisions about the architecture and modularity levels of systems and products, so that they can use distributed innovation networks while keeping their competitive advantage in the market. In a paradigm shift from the traditional model in which product development is driven by internal R&D activities, new product development in many technology firms today relies on distributed innovation. In distributed innovation, a large number of autonomous firms, individuals and communities form a network through their common connection with an underlying technical system. Outcomes of this research will significantly improve the ability of engineers and product developers to make strategic decisions regarding systems architecture, determine the degree of openness and modularity of product platforms, and make design decisions to trigger or strengthen long-lasting cycles of distributed innovation. This, in turn, will increase the social value of design through more informed strategic architecture decisions. This research builds on several disciplines including complex and social network analysis, game theory, engineering design and complex adaptive systems. The educational objectives include integration of the science of complex socio-technical networks with engineering design to create activities that foster interdisciplinary analytical thinking in current and future engineers.

To model the interaction of system architecture with dynamics of innovation and competition, a three-layer model will be developed. A unique aspect of the research is that it explores how to use explicit dynamic network representations of components, knowledge, and market competition, and the interaction between them to improve architecture decisions in order to maximize delivered value. In this sense, the research uses recent advances in network theory to bridge the gap between the engineering design and organization science and innovation management. Dynamics of modularity will be used, as a proxy for structural changes in each of these layers and network-embedded game-theoretic methods will be applied to create analytical models that relate technology modularity to market modularity. Stylized models will also be created to explore necessary conditions for stimulating episodes of architecture-driven, self-reinforcing distributed innovation. The theoretical thrust is complemented by an empirical study of the rapid transformation of the commercial wireless industry via absorbing CMOS technology, and the role of product architecture and changes in system modularity at each stage of this transformation for the ten-year period that led to the commercialization of smartphones. The educational activities include designing short, interactive workshops on complex networked systems for high school students, and collaborating with a science museum in New York City to integrate some of the results of the research part of this grant on multi-level networks into their visual, interactive infrastructure for K-12 students. At the college level, tasks are aimed at integrating recent developments in complex network methods and multi-agent systems in engineering design at undergraduate and graduate levels.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMMS, CIRCUITS & SENS SYS | Award Amount: 400.00K | Year: 2016

PI: Fei Tian, Co-PI: Henry Du
Institute: Stevens Institute of Technology

Proposal Title
Facile Lab-on-Fiber Opto-fluidic Platform for the Study of Therapeutic-Eluting Polyelectrolyte Coatings

Project Goals

To develop an innovative lab-on-fiber platform for real-time and physiologically relevant measurements of the release profile of drug-laden polymer coatings.



Nontechnical: Therapeutic polymer coatings on medical implants and in tissue scaffolds for controlled release are increasingly being explored as a patient-care strategy and in regenerative medicine. Clinical translation of these polymers requires controlled and sustained drug release with dose profiles tailored to specific needs. The lack of a robust method to study the release profiles in physiologically relevant microenvironment hinders the development of effective drug-laden polymer coatings and their clinical utilization. This project aims to design, fabricate and demonstrate a facile and innovative all-optical lab-on-fiber platform mimicking physiologically relevant microenvironment for real-time study of therapeutic release from antibiotic drug- and growth factor-containing polymer coatings. The lab-on-fiber platform, consisting in essence of a fiber-optic grating sensor coated with therapeutic polymer enclosed in a glass capillary, holds excellent promise to be a robust and broadly adoptable testbed to meet the critical need in the development and evaluation of therapeutic-eluting polymer coatings. This project will also provide a fertile training ground for students at doctoral, undergraduate, as well as high-school levels with significant opportunities to interact with collaborators at MIT and the Academy of Sciences of The Czech Republic in Prague.

Technical Abstract: This project aims to design, fabricate and demonstrate a facile and innovative all-optical lab-on-fiber optofluidic platform (LOFOP) mimicking physiologically relevant microenvironment for in-situ time-resolved study of the kinetics and mechanism of therapeutic release from antibiotic drug- and growth factor-laden polyelectrolyte coatings deposited by layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly. The project tackles a major challenge faced by the scientific community in the ability, or lack of, to measure the release profiles of therapeutic polymer coatings in situ under physiologically relevant conditions, especially pertaining to fluid flow and microenvironment in order for their translation as clinical solutions. The LOFOP has as its core a long-period fiber grating (LPG) structure sensitive to LbL events at sub-monolayer resolution. LPG coated with therapeutic-eluting LbL polyelectrolytes will be integrated with glass capillary to mimic physiologically relevant fluid flow in a microenvironment. The LOFOP approach represents a transformative advancement from the commonly used test tube method to a simple and yet powerful optofluidic technique for time-resolved and in-situ release measurements. The aims of the project will be achieved by (1) numerical simulation using full-vector mode solver to select cladding modes most sensitive to LbL processes and to guide LPG fabrication; (2) LbL deposition of antibiotic- and growth factor-eluting polymer coatings on LPG; and (3) in-situ release measurements of the antibiotic and growth factor with physiologically relevant fluid flow rate and spacing as parameters. The results will be fitted with established release models to ascertain the release mechanisms. Feasibility of the LOFOP for simultaneous evaluation of drug release and ensuing bacterial response will be explored by integrating LPG containing antibiotic-eluting coating with glass capillary, the inner wall of which is cultured with S. aureus biofilm. Successful outcome of the project is expected to significantly advance the frontier of both LOF optofluidics and LbL for biomedical applications and beyond.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ELECT, PHOTONICS, & MAG DEVICE | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

The proposed work will generate the required fundamental and technological knowledge for applying the millimeter-wave technology to biomedical imaging applications. Despite the various advantages of this low-cost technology in a biomedical imaging context including high image contrasts and suitable penetration depths, it has not been applied to any such application. The main reason is its limitation in providing sufficient resolutions for diagnostic purposes. This proposal offers a novel approach by which an ultra-wide imaging bandwidth that cannot be realized by any conventional design method is assembled synthetically. This will improve image resolutions to values previously unattained. The main focus of this proposal is the development of a portable and low-cost skin imaging device that can image tissue layers over their depths with high resolutions while offering satisfactory contrasts between malignant and normal tissues. By diagnosing skin tumors at an early stage, the device will save tremendous amounts of time, effort, and patient discomfort and provide significant cost reductions for both the individual patient and the nations healthcare system. The proposed research will be combined with various educational and outreach efforts aimed at involving graduate, undergraduate, and high school students in the proposed research and raising their interests in bio-electromagnetics and bio-medical imaging. The PI will specifically pursue the following main goals: 1) engaging high school students through the Liberty Science Centers Partners in Science program, 2) recruiting undergraduate students, especially from female and minority groups, through the Summer Scholars Research Program at Stevens Institute and motivating them to continue towards graduate studies, 3) participating in the events and seminars organized by the Center for Healthcare Innovation at Stevens, 4) establishing a course on biomedical applications of electromagnetics at Stevens, and 5) disseminating the results of the research at professional conferences and technical journals.

Synthetic ultra-wideband millimeter-wave imaging, a novel approach in which an ultra-wide imaging bandwidth will be explored. This cannot be realized by any conventional design method and is therefore assembled synthetically, resulting in significant improvements in the resolution of acquired images. The synthetic increase is achieved by dividing the desired bandwidth into a number of adjacent sub-bands or channels. Each channel contains an antenna unit which is optimized for operation within that specific sub-band. The sub-band antennas are successively placed in front of the target, transmit their signals, and record the backscattered responses. The responses are then processed and combined to synthesize an integrated signal as if it were collected from a virtual equivalent ultra-wideband antenna. By using this concept, the challenges of realizing high-performance ultra-wideband antennas in the millimeter-wave regime are alleviated as each antenna is optimized within a limited bandwidth. An imaging system will be developed based on this approach for the detection of skin tumors in ex-vivo tissue measurements. The system will be optimized and miniaturized through developing a new class of wideband, miniaturized patch antennas for use in multi-static sensor arrays. The final imaging setup will be readily applicable to point-of-care and hand-held imaging devices. The
synthetic ultra-wideband imaging approach will lead to image resolutions which are unachievable using conventional imaging methods. The approach is versatile, as the number and position of the channels can be adjusted to cover any frequency range as required for the specific application. These capabilities bring a whole new level of functionality to millimeter-wave imaging systems and enable applications that are not currently feasible. Furthermore, the new class of wideband, miniaturized patch antennas which will be developed for the miniaturization and optimization of the final imagining setup will be highly desirable for a variety of communication and imaging applications in the millimeter-wave regime.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: National Robotics Initiative | Award Amount: 290.73K | Year: 2016

This project develops technologies to collect visual and inertial data necessary for constructing, offline, high-accuracy 3D maps of the structure for civil and industrial infrastructure such as bridges, power plants, and refineries. It also develops technologies for online processing including localization, path planning and obstacle avoidance. The project builds a system that employs quadrotors to assist their human co-workers in visual inspections of the outdoor infrastructure to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of such operations. The research advances the current state of the art in key areas of sensing, estimation, and control necessary for enabling small-size quadrotors to assist humans in visual inspections. In addition to improving the reliability of the nations infrastructure, the project benefits researchers, developers, educators, and end-users in robotics by developing open-source, modular algorithms for quadrotors. The project offers educational and community outreach activities aligned with local efforts and state-wide initiatives, and seeks to increase diversity and attract underrepresented groups to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) via a partnership with local high schools.

This research addresses the fundamental challenges stemming from sensing and processing limitations that prevent the use of low-cost, small-size quadrotors in visual-inspection tasks. It focuses on a four-step process, where initially a quadrotor is tele-operated at a safe distance from the structure of interest to collect visual and inertial data necessary for constructing, offline, high-accuracy 3D maps of the structure. These maps are then used, by the inspection engineer, to designate areas of interest. Lastly, the quadrotor employs its onboard sensors to precisely localize with respect to the structure and navigate along the inspection route, while collecting additional data for increasing the accuracy and improving the reliability of future inspections. A key innovation is making information available in multiple forms and levels of abstraction so as to meet the often-conflicting needs of offline (e.g., visualization of inspection areas and planning information-rich paths) and online (e.g., map-based localization and obstacle avoidance) uses. Also critical is an information-driven approach for making maximum use of the limited sensing and processing resources available to the quadrotor. Lastly, a key advantage of the proposed approach is that it provides the foundation for continual improvement in accuracy and efficiency after each inspection flight.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 2.78M | Year: 2015

This is an institutional transformation project called the Foundations Program. It is operating in an increasingly receptive environment, building substantially on initial earlier efforts to use evidence-based teaching in lower division STEM courses. The project is working towards a major transformation in the education practices at Stevens Institute of Technology in the core courses in mathematics, science, and engineering taken by all engineering students in their first two years at Stevens Institute of Technology. It is leveraging the experiences of a core group of faculty and academic administrators in which improved teaching practices informed by educational research have been recently implemented. The Foundations Program will provide the training, support, and recognition to enable the participating faculty to make this changes systematically. Training and support include the provision of professional development for faculty participants related to the theory and practice of research-based course design and pedagogy as these are grounded in core STEM disciplines. Trained course assistants will be provided to reform instructors to aid in the transition. Reform instructors will be assisted during their transition by formative assessment experts. The necessary faculty time and internal structures needed to reflect and gauge progress and share this information will also be supported. The Foundations Program plans to use advocacy with colleagues, internally and externally, in order to catalyze diffusion beyond the early phases of this work. A distinctive feature of the program is to target deep and transferable learning, both within and across disciplinary domains. In order to achieve this result coherently, the team will begin with an emphasis on modeling. The associated expected improvement in student competency and self-efficacy is expected to lead to the strongest educational gains and also improve persistence to the bachelors degree by all student groups. Integral to implementation of the Foundations Program, a set of policies and actions are being put in place to align the faculty recognition and rewards system to fully recognize the efforts being made by reform instructors. These changes in the reward system will support the advocacy efforts and are expected to gain traction with the faculty and administration, thereby becoming institutionalized and sustained

The proposed program will contribute to the knowledge base on how universities, especially those with a research focus, can first conceptualize and then implement an effective model to transition teaching in major core STEM courses to evidence-based approaches. It will further illuminate the key faculty enablers that can promote depth and spread of such approaches. A diffusion of innovations model is being employed to guide the research on this institutional transformation process. The team will investigate and assess the effectiveness of a strategy that simultaneously targets both individuals and the organizational environment and the planned evolution in later years from defined and prescribed changes to emergent or adaptive changes. The role of full-time, non-tenure track teaching faculty is explicitly included. The program will contribute to the identification and assessment of curricular content and the teaching practices, such as modeling, that can promote deeper and transferable learning within and across disciplines in the critical foundational STEM courses.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 499.42K | Year: 2016

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers the Maritime Transportation System (MTS) to be among the 16 most critical infrastructure sectors in the U.S. whose assets, systems, and networks if disrupted or rendered incapacitated would have crippling effects on the nations economy and the safety and security of its citizens. Over the past five years, an increasing number of reported maritime cybersecurity incidents have highlighted the vulnerabilities of the MTS to cyber threats, including vessel navigation, cargo scanning and port facility operations. The evolving complexity of these occurrences, together with the many components that comprise the maritime environment require that maritime professionals must be well prepared in the emerging science and technologies needed to inform, support, and implement maritime and critical infrastructure security policies and directives. To effectively enhance the security of our nations maritime borders, ports and inland waterways, maritime professionals must possess the skills needed to address cyber threats, must be well adept at developing and evaluating new methods and tools for efficient and effective response and system resilience, and must be able to define new strategies for mitigating cyber threats.

In order to address this challenge, Stevens---together with its collaborators from Rutgers University and Texas Southern University (one of Historically Black Colleges and Universities)---will develop two interdisciplinary programs in Maritime Cybersecurity in order to bridge the current knowledge gap between the two disciplines Maritime Systems and Cybersecurity. As such, this project will build a common basis for Maritime Systems and Cybersecurity professionals to work together effectively in addressing the unique cybersecurity challenges of the MTS. Through workshops, the newly developed materials will be disseminated to other academic institutions and the community at large. Dedicated seminars, student internships, and maritime cybersecurity-focused research projects will serve as additional mechanisms to enhance cyber awareness across the maritime enterprise as part of this project.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMMS, CIRCUITS & SENS SYS | Award Amount: 330.00K | Year: 2016

This project considers passive radio frequency (RF) sensing that employs wireless communication signals as illuminators of opportunities (IOs) to detect, locate, and track objects of interest. Such capabilities are useful for a wide range of applications, e.g., indoor localization, health monitoring, vehicle tracking, and many more. Originally considered as a supplementary technology to active sensing (e.g., radar), passive RF sensing has emerged as a promising alternative that far exceeds the scope of standard radar operations. Passive RF sensing has many advantages over its active counterpart: no dedicated transmitter and RF pollution free; covert operation; order of magnitude cheaper to build, deploy and operate; and the ability to simultaneously access several IOs to obtain multiple views and spatial diversity of the surveillance area. Recent interest in passive RF sensing is further driven by spectrum scarcity and a growing pressure from the wireless sector to release government-held spectrum, including spectrum allocated to active sensing, in order to boost the economy. Given the ubiquity of wireless infrastructure, it is expected that passive RF sensing will be integrated in peoples daily life. For example, wireless service providers can offer wireless devices with built-in passive RF sensing functions and make them broadly available to any user. Thus, the associated economical and societal impact of the proposed research is substantial.

Despite the advantages, there are fundamental technical issues that need to be investigated for passive RF sensing. Specifically, unlike active sensing which has a well-established theory for optimum signal processing based on the matched filter (MF), existing passive sensing techniques were introduced largely by imitating the MF, without adequately considering the differences between the two systems. The MF requires knowledge of the transmitted waveform that is unavailable in a passive system due to the non-cooperative nature of the IO. The standard strategy is to replace it with a reference signal, which is a noisy copy of the IO waveform obtained via an antenna steered toward the IO, and cross-correlates (CC) the reference signal with the received signal. The CC detector is not an optimal method. In fact, it is very sensitive to the noise contained in the reference and further deteriorated by the direct-path interference, i.e., the direct transmission from the IO to the passive receiver. To address these issues, this project aims to develop novel signal processing techniques for passive RF sensing by taking into account impairments such as noisy reference, DPI, and multi-path clutter, which are inherent in passive systems. In addition, the project will develop techniques for passive RF sensing involving sensors placed on moving platforms (e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles) to obtain close-up looks of the scene, which is of interest for disaster relief, rural search, and many other applications. A major technical challenge there is to cope with excessive clutter Doppler spread induced by platform motion. Finally, this project also has a significant educational component aimed to provide integrated research experience and training for undergraduate and graduate students.

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