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CAMP Annual Report: Page 10

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 Clarkson Contributes to Fuel Cell Technology

 Dr. Dan Goia, CAMP Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science, and his Research Associate Dr. Igor Sevonkaev have recently developed in collaboration with Umicore AG (Olen/Belgium) two novel classes of electrocatalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The core/shell/shell Ni/NiPt/Pt and the empty NiPt alloy shells show a higher specific catalytic activity compared to present state-of-the-art supported catalysts based on pure Pt or base metal/Pt alloy nanoparticles. Their findings are the subject of two patent applications recently submitted by Umicore and were presented at the prestigious Gordon Research Conference. The materials and the new concepts have been also introduced to top tier manufacturers of fuel cell cars in both the US and Europe and raised considerable interest. 

CAMP Professor Sergiy Minko Uses a Magnetic Field to Give Materials Opposing Properties

Dr. Minko

Professor Sergiy Minko (the Egon Matijevic' Chair of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science) in his laboratory at Clarkson University.

Clarkson University Professor Sergiy Minko (the Egon Matijevic' Chair of Chemistry and Biomolecuar Science) and a team of researchers have developed a process that allows a material to become wet as usual, or to repel all liquids. These dual, opposing abilities of a material are achieved by using a magnetic field. Something that ordinarily would soak up something wet can be transformed so that no liquid (examples: water, oil or chemicals) can dampen it.  This is very important from a military point of view.  They can use the process to make protective clothing in the case of chemical warfare.

Major work on this development was done at Clarkson by Professor Minko (with assistance from graduate student Anton Grigoryev and Research Professor Ihor Tokarev) and at Clemson University with Professors Luzinov and Kornev.  Their results have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and in Advanced Functional Materials.

In addition, Professor Minko and his colleagues have teamed up for another related project that likely has important medical applications. Teams from both universities (Clarkson and Clemson) developed “smart” liquids that contain nanoparticles that can be locked into place with a magnetic field. These particles stay locked even after the magnetic field is turned off or removed. This could be a method to fight cancer, by delivering liquid medicine to tumors, and then destroying them while they are locked in place.

Colorimetric Paper Bioassays

Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Professor Silvana Andreescu and her group have developed a new type of paper-based bioassay for the colorimetric detection of phenolic compounds.  These compounds may be harmful to human health when present in the air, water, and food.  The group’s sensor is based on a layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly approach formed by alternatively depositing layers of charged polyelectrolytes onto filter paper and physically entrapping an enzyme in between these layers.  The sensor response is quantified as a color change resulting from the specific binding of the enzymatically generated product to the multilayers of polyelectrolyte on the paper.  In another project, using a similar design, the group has developed a portable nanoparticle based paper assay - similar to a small sensor patch - for rapid and sensitive detection of food antioxidants.  The sensor has been successfully applied for the assessment of antioxidant activity in real samples, including several types of teas and medicinal mushrooms.  The color change for the paper bioassays can be quantified with the naked eye but a digitalized picture can also be used to provide a more sensitive comparison to a calibrated color scheme.  This research is of special importance because the sensors are low cost, filed-deployable and do not require the addition of external reagents.  All of the necessary sensing components and reagents needed for the detection are deposited onto the paper.  Such assays are particularly appealing for remote sensing applications, where specialized equipment is not available, and also for high throughput analysis of a large number of samples. 

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International Research Experiences for Students in Advanced Materials for Sustainable Development


Program participants stand in front of the Materials Engineering Building at Tsinghua University in China. Clarkson Professor Hayley Shen (in a dress) is at the front left.

Students were provided with an international research experience during the summer of 2012. In the second year of its co-sponsorship with Corning, Inc. for a National Science Foundation program, Clarkson’s CAMP helped send eight students to China. During the summer, they studied materials processing related to energy and the environment. This program is titled International Research Experiences for Students: Advanced Materials for a Sustainable Development (IRES-AMSD). It involves three Clarkson University Professors: Professor Hayley Shen and Professor Yongming Liu (both of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Distinguished University Professor and CAMP Director S.V. Babu. This intense ten week program included eight different projects ranging from splitting water with solar energy to analyzing mechanisms in chemical mechanical polishing. The students also visited Corning-Shanghai and presented their final research results at the Corning Headquarters.