Youngstown, OH, United States
Youngstown, OH, United States

Youngstown State University , founded in 1908, is an urban research university located in Youngstown, Ohio, United States. As of fall 2010, there were 15,194 students and a student-faculty ratio of 19:1. The fall 2010 enrollment figure is the highest since 1990, when the number of students on campus was 15,454. Records show that 11,803 of the students are undergraduates. Beyond its current student body, YSU claims more than 88,000 alumni. Wikipedia.

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Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 470.00K | Year: 2013

This Major Research Instrumentation Award supports Youngstown State University with the acquisition of a high performance single crystal X-ray diffraction system optimized for the structural characterization of the most challenging samples. It is equipped with an advanced Cu micro-focus source, multilayer optics, a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) area detector and kappa geometry goniostat, and a variable temperature system. The instrument will dramatically improve the intensity and resolution of the diffraction data from very small and weakly diffracting crystals, many with large unit cells. Cyber-enabled methods will allow non-local users to mail samples and then design and execute their own experiments with real-time support from expert personnel. It will help broaden the research and educational opportunities for a remote user base comprised mainly of students and faculty from Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions. The new instrumentation will support a wide range of externally funded materials science and engineering projects, especially: (1) structural studies of supramolecular, inorganic, semiconductor, and metallic materials; (2) integration of advanced electron microscopy tools (e.g., TEM/SEM, focused ion beam, FIB, and electron backscatter diffraction, EBSD) with diffraction methods; (3) cyber-tools development and crystallography education; and (4) collaborative R&D ventures with commercial partners. The new instrument will also enhance education and training at Youngstown State, supporting the universitys new focus in Materials Science and Engineering at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Continuing advances have made single crystal X-ray diffraction, SCD, increasingly powerful, fast, inexpensive, and easy to carry out for both experienced and novice users. This method allows chemists and materials scientists to determine the precise, atomic-level structures of materials including metals, semiconductors, hybrid inorganic-organic compounds, and polypeptides. However, SCD requires access to the requisite instrumentation and support services, neither of which is found at the vast majority of Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions, PUIs. As such, this award from the Major Instrumentation Program will fund an advanced single crystal diffractometer to support a broad range of research in materials science and engineering. Youngstown State University, a research-active PUI, will be the base for the new instrumentation, which will also be accessible to a large user group via cyber-enabled methods. The new diffractometer will allow increased accessibility for remote users, increased capability for analysis of challenging samples, and improved training and support for novice crystallographers. The user base will be largely drawn from the nations PUIs, which prepare the majority of undergraduate and masters students who go on to complete Ph.D. programs, staff our industries, and become the next generation of secondary school and community college instructors. The new instrument will be integrated into the well-established STaRBURSTT@YSU solid-state structure facility.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 444.56K | Year: 2012

This award to Youngstown State University (YSU) is for the acquisition of a variable pressure scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with high resolution imaging detectors, an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer, nanometer pattern generation system, electron backscatter diffraction, and remote control capabilities. This instrument will enhance existing novel materials research programs, promote STEM education at regional northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania institutions, facilitate and enhance multidisciplinary research, and expand academic-industrial collaborations at YSU. The proposed SEM will be used for multidisciplinary research from several science and engineering disciplines, including: Material Science, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, and Forensic Sciences. The instrument will be used in more than 10 research projects involving over 30 graduate students and postdocs, and more than 300 undergraduate students per year will have access to it. Proposed interdisciplinary research projects include: mono-crystalline ferromagnetic shape memory alloy micro-particles for energy and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) applications; synthesis and characterization of rear-earth oxide nanocatalysts; grain orientation and grain boundary microstructure in ceramic-metal composites; nanolayered ceramic precursors; nanofabrication and study of wide bandgap semiconductor devices; e-beam lithography of polymer microlenses and 2-D/3-D photonic crystals on multilayer polymeric systems; characterization of collagen deposition in scar tissue; design of commercially important rare earth materials; fuel cell electrolyte membranes; and, bio-chemical detection properties of carbon nanotubes.

The new SEM will support the educational and outreach goals of the university and will be fully integrated into undergraduate and graduate research programs, and into modules and dedicated courses in electron microscopy. The integration of the instrument with the YSU CyberInstrumentation Consortium (STaRBURSTT@YSU) will ensure sophisticated access to the SEM and other lab instruments for a large number of external users, most of whom are at community colleges (CC), or other primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) - an outreach activity for which YSU is well known. The SEM will provide training and education opportunities to K-12, undergraduate and graduate students, to high school science teachers, and to CC and PUI faculty through: (1) collaborative STEM projects between YSU, Westminster College, Eastern Gateway Community College, Poland Seminary High School and LaBrae High School, Trumbull Career & Technical Center, and Mahoning Valley Historical Society; (2) Summer Materials Camp for High School Science Teachers; and (3) YSU Engineering Explorers and related programs. Thanks to its relative ease of use and impressive imaging capabilities at nanoscale resolution, the SEM will be one of the core attractors in YSUs outreach programs for K-12 & community college students and teachers, especially those at minority serving institutions that often have the desire but lack opportunities to pursue STEM careers.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: I-Corps | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2016

This I-Corps Team project seeks to investigate the commercialization potential of Schottky diodes capable of operating at temperatures in excess of 600C. Schottky barrier diodes are used in wireless technologies for commercial and military needs, high efficiency switches for power distribution, sensors, photovoltaic inverters, and in the automobile industry. Schottky barrier diodes made from SiC currently available commercially are limited to operating temperatures below 300C. It is widely accepted that the development of electronic systems capable of high temperature operations above 300C, without the need for cooling, is a critical technology for current and future applications. The ability to operate electronic components in harsh conditions advances technology across a broad spectrum of applications. The proposed new technology is poised to expand the innovation boundaries set by current temperature limitations. If successful, this could lead to commercialization of other electronic components. Target applications include power systems for oil-drilling, automotive, aerospace and space exploration.

The goal of this project is to determine the commercialization potential of Schottky diodes capable of operating at temperatures in excess of 600C. The innovation in our technology comes from the materials used as the metal contacts (refractory metal borides and nickel gallide) as well as the unique processing techniques employed. This process removes deleterious but inherent oxides that form at the interface. This technology can also be extended to fabricate transistors with similarly improved high temperature reliability. The new technology could lead to the reduction or complete elimination of expensive cooling systems in high temperature electronics operation. Funds from this I-Corps Team project will enable assessment of interest among the electronics community addressing target markets. This project offers opportunity to further the teams understanding of the market opportunity for the technology. The workshops and interviews will help the team gain perspectives on the target customers and thereby lead them to either a licensing pathway, a spin-out SBIR/STTR pathway for further development, or a commercial partnership to accomplish both. Since the scope of the opportunity is rather wide, the team will use information gathered from this project to prioritize the deployment of limited resources towards sectors that offer the highest probability of commercial success.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ELECT, PHOTONICS, & MAG DEVICE | Award Amount: 129.75K | Year: 2013

The objective of this project is to conduct a rigorous proof of principle experimental test of coherent perfect rotation (CPR), which is a first example of a hermitian (thus reversible), multiport, 100% quantum efficient optical mode conversion process. Hermitian coherent perfect processes are a generalization of the antilaser (coherent perfect absorption, or CPA that combines wave interference with a (sufficiently large) time reversal symmetry breaking transport process. The PIs have shown theoretically that CPR can optimize the optical efficiency and contrast in many optical devices including cavity-based laser frequency locks, opto-magnetic sensors, and optical modulators.
Intellectual Merit:
The theory of CPR is relatively complete, simple and subtle. As a general result of linear optics, CPR provides useful insights into optimizing optical systems with components as ubiquitous and prosaic as beam splitters and cavities. This understanding of fundamental symmetry (time-odd optical elements) combined with coherence may be used to improve select non-linear optical processes as well. Verification of CPR will be a first step in the extension and diffusion of this methodology for improving optical design and devices.
Broader Impacts:
Because this research illuminates the use of fundamental symmetries and coherence in optimizing quantum efficiency, experimentally verifying the method is of value for a broad array of optical devices and protocols, and may ultimately inform commercial optical design.
Testing CPR will involve mentoring a postdoc and undergraduate physics and engineering students, through their inclusion in the Photonic, Electronic, and Optical Materials (POEM) research group at YSU.
Their participation will include extensive, novel laboratory work, co-authorship of scientific publications (for some of the students it will be their first peer-reviewed scientific publication) and presentation of research findings at national meetings. The PIs have a proven record of successful and effective post-doc mentoring.
The PIs have long-standing commitments to science education in northeast Ohio through YAPA (a teacher outreach program active since the 1970s, initiated during the PSSC era) and the Ohio Section of the American Physical Society (OSAPS) and the regional American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The PIs will use activity generated by this research support in outreach by promoting public interest in science and exciting younger students about the innovative careers opportunities in technical fields (primarily Physics and Electrical Engineering).

Youngstown State University | Date: 2014-07-15

Improved semiconductor devices are fabricated utilizing nickel gallide and refractory borides deposited onto a silicon carbide semiconductor substrate. Varying the deposition and annealing parameters of fabrication can provide a more thermally stable device that has greater barrier height and a low ideality. This improvement in the electrical properties allows use of Schottky barrier diodes in high power and high temperature applications. In one embodiment, a refractory metal boride layer is joined to a surface of a silicon carbide semiconductor substrate. The refractory metal boride layer is deposited on the silicon carbon semiconductor substrate at a temperature greater than 200 C. In another embodiment, a Schottky barrier diode is fabricated via deposition of nickel gallide on a SiC substrate.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Catalysis | Award Amount: 200.64K | Year: 2014

Professor Ruigang Wang of Youngstown State University is funded by the Chemical Catalysis Program of the Division of Chemistry for research to help improve the performance of systems used to catalyze the conversion of dangerous carbon monoxide emissions to less harmful substances. These catalytic conversion systems, composed of tiny particles of metal supported on a metal oxide substrate, are used in automobiles as part of the exhaust clean-up system, but also find application in gas sensors, fuel cells and other useful devices. The nature of the interaction of the small metal particles with the oxide substrate, as well as the contact area between these two parts of the system, determines how selective and active the catalytic convertor is. Therefore, the goal of this research is to develop a deeper and more detailed understanding of how contact between the metal particles and the oxide substrate affects the catalysis so that performance of these devices can be improved. In addition to the broader impact that this work is having on technology of use to society, the work is also positively affecting the educational experience of a number of undergraduate students involved in the research. Youngstown State enrolls a high percentage of students from groups that are traditionally under-represented in science, so the research team is working with other programs at the university to engage students from these minority groups in the project. The research is having a further impact by the inclusion of community college faculty from the surrounding region in the research team.

This project focuses on elucidating the effect of the shape and size of cerium oxide (CeO2,) supports on carbon monoxide oxidation. The goal is to develop stable catalysts with high redox activity at low temperatures. Particle shape and, especially, the type of crystalline faces exposed on the surface of crystalites are believed to play a major role in surface reducibility and catalytic activity of cerium-based oxide type redox catalysts. Preliminary data obtained in a pilot study have shown that CeO2 particles shaped as nanorods, nanotubes, or nanocubes with reactive {110}, {100}, {211}, etc., faces on the crystal surface can be produced using hydrothermal and microwave methods. In this project, the research team is preparing CeO2 supports with well-defined sizes and shapes, and investigating how these shapes and sizes affect model catalytic reactions, such as carbon monoxide oxidation and the water-gas shift reaction. The overall goal of this research is to develop a predictive model that naturally links different metals with various CeO2 surfaces for a superior low-temperature catalytic activity. Through the development of such a predictive model, the project has the potential to have a major impact on materials processing for many practical applications such as catalysis, fuel reaction and gas sensing, where the redox functionality of cerium-based oxides plays a crucial role.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 307.42K | Year: 2014


Non-Technical: Youngstown State University (YSU) and its industrial partners are aggressively pursuing research in various materials including semiconductors, polymers, carbon nanotubes, ceramic-metallic composites and functional materials. A major requirement in processing these materials is the ability to etch desired patterns for devices. Funds from the Major Research Instrumentation program provide support for acquisition of an inductively-coupled plasma etching instrument. This instrument enables advances in fabricating efficient devices and helps to educate and train K-12, undergraduate & graduate students and high school science teachers. With the launch of YSUs new PhD program in Materials Science & Engineering, this instrument provides a pivotal training and research tool for use in at least 10 current research projects and provides training to over 30 PhD and MS graduate students and postdocs, and more than 300 undergraduate students per year as it is fully integrated into undergraduate and graduate curriculum at YSU. The PI and co-PIs actively participate in various outreach and minority-oriented programs such as the Youngstown Area Physics Alliance, Summer STEM for Minority Students and Project SEED which provide a platform for recruiting students from underrepresented groups to the research activities enabled by this instrument.

Technical: The multi-disciplinary materials-related research activities at YSU and its industrial partners include wide-bandgap semiconductors for high power electronic and short wavelength optoelectronic devices, multilayered polymeric systems for various photonic applications, carbon nanotubes for chemical and biological sensor applications, ceramic-metallic composites for military combat applications, and functional materials for micro-electro-mechanical systems. High density plasma etching offers a vital capability for fabricating the relevant functional device designs. The goal of this acquisition of the inductively-coupled plasma etching system is to support multidisciplinary research and education at YSU. Together with the existing state-of-the-art electron microscopy and lithography tools recently acquired at YSU, this equipment enables better understanding of the underlying structures of these materials in order to develop optoelectronic and nano/micro scale devices as well as elucidate the basic scientific processes governing the interaction of photons and charge carriers with nanometer size structures.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 27.00K | Year: 2017

The Faculty and Undergraduate Research Student Teams (FURST) program brings together small research groups comprised of undergraduate students and faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) in order to provide them with a year-long research experience. The program also provides a one month long intensive summer immersion for its participants at an established summer REU site at Fresno State. FURST students get an opportunity to participate in professional workshops, presentations and academic discussions along with the REU students, whereas FURST faculty can take advantage of an on-site, in-person research collaboration with their peers within the FURST program. The programs main goal is to foster both student and faculty research at PUIs, with the specific goal of producing student and faculty authored publications, as well as presentations. The program is designed to be inclusive and accessible to teams from institutions with varying research focus and support, in order to mitigate cultural changes at institutions which may not consider research a quintessential component of higher education.

FURST students will be working on open problems in mathematics under the guidance of their faculty mentors. Research topics include community detection problems in networks, expanding the framework and analysis of the cop and robber game, the use of coarse Ricci curvature in data analysis and interpolation problems, the study and solution of the non-linear Riccati-Ermakov equation, as well as other non-linear dispersive partial differential equations. Strengthening their background in the selected research topic through readings and lecture at their home institutions will prepare FURST students to engage in research at the same speed as the REU students during the immersion phase. Students will be expected to submit the end product of their research for publication in a peer reviewed journal. FURST faculty will engage in solving open problems in their area of research while building collaborations with faculty at other institutions. Faculty are also expected to produce publishable work as a result of participating in the program. In accordance with the stated goals, the program will improve access to research for students at PUIs, where such opportunities are typically limited. It will also (re)-energize faculty at PUIs so that they remain active in research. By doing so, FURST will help transform the research culture at the participating institutions, especially since the bulk of the research activities will take place at FURST teams home institutions. While FURST student participants will learn skills through the program that are invaluable in graduate school and in the scientific workplace, the program will broadly impact the students at the involved PUIs by demonstrating to them (through student talks and presentations) that research can be part of the undergraduate educational experience. Finally, through the immersion in an active REU site, FURST students will gain exposure to the workings of an REU program, and will be able to make better informed choices about applying to REU as a potential next step in their academic development.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: AGEP | Award Amount: 167.08K | Year: 2015

Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, the University of Akron, the University of Toledo, Youngstown State University, Bowling Green University and Cleveland State University will collaborate to create the Northern Ohio Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NOA-AGEP): A Racially and Ethnically Inclusive Graduate Education Model in Biology, Chemistry and Engineering (BCE). These alliance schools will also partner with Central State University and Tuskegee University. This project was created in response to the NSFs Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program solicitation (NSF 14-505) for the AGEP-Transformation (AGEP-T) track. The AGEP-T track targets strategic alliances of institutions and organizations to develop, implement, and study innovative evidence-based models and standards for STEM graduate education, postdoctoral training, and academic STEM career preparation that eliminate or mitigate negative factors and promote positive practices for underrepresented minorities (URMs). The NOA-AGEP project will develop, implement, and study a model to improve URM student participation, preparation, and success in BCE graduate education, and to prepare them for entry into the professoriate

This AGEP-T project will uniquely contribute to foundational knowledge about the recruitment, retention and graduation of doctoral URMs in BCE. The emphasis on inclusive graduate education, an umbrella of supports for graduate students, and extensive diversity training for BCE faculty and staff offers an exceptional opportunity for a regional group of universities with low URM STEM doctoral student enrollment to investigate the promotion of inclusive policies, practices and initiatives. The lessons learned as this project progresses, and the ultimate results from the work, will provide information that will be beneficial to educators, administrators and policymakers, as well as the general public.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: COMPUTING RES INFRASTRUCTURE | Award Amount: 145.38K | Year: 2016

The objective of this research project is to advance knowledge of developer activity by conducting empirical studies on large software systems using an eye tracker. Most eye tracking studies done in software engineering use small snippets of software artifacts such as source code that are shown as images or text. With software artifacts being hundreds of lines long, doing realistic studies using a variety of software artifacts is not practical. To address this problem, this research will develop a robust infrastructure that enables implicit eye tracking within the working environment of the developer thereby supporting inherent scrolling on large files and automating the linking of eye gaze to artifact elements looked at. This infrastructure will advance the state of the art in conducting eye tracking studies in software engineering.

The proposed research will lead to inventing, evaluating, and applying innovative methods and tools that use developer eye gaze to support the developer in software engineering tasks such as code summarization, code recommendations, and software traceability. Additional activities that crosscut these three main directions are related to using eye tracking as a benchmark and standardizing visual effort metrics. The broader impacts of this work include developing educational course content, increased mentoring of underrepresented undergraduate student groups, developing open source software, producing large eye tracking datasets, and collaborating with industry for assessment and validation of the proposed research. Educational activities also include a strong K-12 outreach program to encourage students to pursue a career in computing.

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