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Beginning scientists receive presidential awards
Date:11/1/2007

o a better job in targeting the rehab."

Schmiedeler also mentors eighth-grade girls in a summer camp for future engineers at his university, developing modules where students learn about a research topic and participate in an activity. He is currently developing a module about his work with robotic-assisted rehabilitation.

Chekesha Liddell, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Cornell University, studies how non-spherical particles in the size range from about 100 nm to one micron (colloids) can be induced to arrange themselves into structures that promise a significantly higher level of control over light waves than traditional optical materials. Artificial crystal structures "self assembled" from the colloidal particle building blocks exhibit symmetries that can enhance the strength of interaction between light and matter.

"In a gem opal, silica particles are close-packed into crystals," says Liddell. "We can make similar synthetic structures and produce the same brilliant reflections from them. But instead of utilizing the natural building blocks, which are spheres in the opal case, we use other geometries and materials with a higher index of refraction."

The new geometries include particles shaped like peanuts, pears, and mushroom-caps, among others. Engineering strong light-matter interactions through the design of new structures enables advances in a number of critical technologies. Among them are structuring solar cell component materials and their interfaces at fine scales to improve the efficiency of the next generation solar-to-electric energy conversion devices; structuring porous silver and other metal-ceramic composite materials to increase the sensitivity of chemical and biochemical sensors to target molecules including proteins, DNA or pesticides; and structuring microscale circuits that can transmit and process large volumes of data at fast rates by manipulating light pulses rather than ele
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Contact: Maria Zacharias
mzachari@nsf.gov
703-292-8454
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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