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Chemical engineer earns National Science Foundation CAREER award for work with graphene quantum dots
Date:2/14/2011

MANHATTAN, KAN. Research with small particles has led to a big-time award for a Kansas State University researcher.

Vikas Berry, assistant professor of chemical engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award for his work involving graphene, which could lead to improved electronics and optoelectronics.

Berry will use the five-year, $400,000 CAREER award to study a new process to produce graphene quantum dots, which are ultrasmall sheets of carbon atoms. By controlling their size and shape, Berry and his research team can control graphene's properties over a wide range to develop better switches for computers, to manipulate graphene-devices and to engineer novel particulate systems.

"This research will help us produce large quantities of graphene quantum dots of controlled shape and size, and establish their electrical and optical properties," Berry said.

The National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program is one of the foundation's most prestigious awards for supporting early career faculty who effectively integrate research and education within the context of their institution's mission.

Since he arrived at K-State in 2006, Berry has been researching graphene, a recently discovered form of carbon that is only one-atom thick. The two scientists who discovered graphene received the 2010 Nobel Prize for physics because of the new material's remarkable properties. Graphene is the strongest known material, has the highest charge carrier mobility and is highly impermeable, among other properties.

While other researchers have been able to make quantum dots, Berry's research team is the first to make quantum dots with a controlled structure in large quantities, which may allow these optically active quantum dots to be used in solar-cell applications.

"Quantum dots will have a lot of applications once they are developed," Berry said. "This field will evolve, beca
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Contact: Vikas Berry
vberry@k-state.edu
785-532-5519
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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