Intern Spotlight

Eric PacanskyMy name is Eric Pacansky and I am a graduating senior from the College of New Jersey (TCNJ). While at TCNJ, I have been studying business administration and have learned many concepts regarding how to run a business. To compliment my studies, I have had the good fortune of participating in two internships. I am grateful for the many opportunities and challenges these internships have presented, especially those I received as a membership services intern at ECS.

When I first arrived at ECS in December 2016, I was not exactly sure what electrochemistry was or why it was so important. Then, after being presented with some of the topics that fall under the umbrella of electrochemistry, I was worried that I wouldn’t last long at ECS since I wasn’t able to comprehend most of what electrochemistry is all about. Thankfully, I was assured that having a solid foundation in electrochemistry was not one of my job requirements in the membership department.

I was then informed about ECS’s Free the Science movement. Free the Science is ECS’s plan to provide platinum open access of its journals. This means authors will not have to pay publishing fees, and readers will not have to pay subscription fees. As someone who is studying business, this idea sounded crazy to me. It sounded like a utopian ideal that couldn’t possibly work. Why would the organization exist if it wasn’t trying to take every last dollar it possibly could? That’s when I was reminded of ECS’s mission to advance the science. For the most part, publishers have historically created paywalls that affect a person’s ability to either publish or gain access to an article. These paywalls have held back advancements in science. Removing these barriers is the future of scientific publishing and ECS’s work to do this shows the organization’s commitment to its core values and supporting scientists.

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JSS CoverDeadline: June 14, 2017

ECS is seeking to fill the position of Technical Editor in the Dielectric Science & Materials Topical Interest Area for the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS).

The Dielectric Science & Materials (DSM) Topical Interest Area (TIA) includes theoretical and experimental aspects of inorganic and organic dielectric materials, including electrical, physical, optical, and chemical properties. Specific topics include growth processes; reliability; modeling and property measurements; polarizability; bulk and interfacial properties; interphases; reaction kinetics; phase transformations; thermodynamics; electric and ionic transport; polymers; high k, low k, and embedded dielectrics; porous dielectrics; thin and ultra-thin films.

JSS has been in existence since 2012. It was created as an outgrowth of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) to deal more exclusively in solid state topics. JES and JSS provide unparalleled opportunities to disseminate basic research and technology results in electrochemical and solid state science and technology. JSS publishes a minimum of 14 regular and focus issues each year. All ECS journals offer author choice open access.

ECS maintains 13 TIAs, and there is one Technical Editor (TE) for each TIA, supported by Associate Editors and an editorial advisory board. TEs for the ECS journals ensure the publication of original, significant, well-documented, rigorously peer-reviewed articles that meet the objectives of the relevant journal, and are within the scope of the Society’s TIAs.

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UNM logoECS hosts a vibrant network of nearly 70 student chapters, bringing together innovative young minds across the globe. Joining that list is the ECS University of New Mexico Student Chapter, chartered by the ECS Board of Directors on March 7, 2017. The chapter’s faculty advisor, Fernando Garzon, believes the establishment of the student chapter could help encourage research collaboration and bolster students’ visibility in the scientific community.

“It greatly benefits students to have a venue such as the ECS University of New Mexico Student Chapter to engage in meaningful scientific dialog with their peers and mentors,” says Garzon, past ECS president. “Engagement in a student chapter helps improve communication skills and provides networking opportunities with other individuals engaged in the ECS technical interest areas.”

The development of the ECS University of New Mexico Student Chapter can provide an avenue for students in different departments working in the electrochemical and solid state science technical area to connect. According to Garzon, many students across campus are actively involved in research pertaining to fuel cell materials, bioelectrochemistry, advanced electrolysis, electrochemical synthesis of fuels, sensor technology, and more.

“Students are more aware of the role that electrochemical and solid state science plays in their lives and the development of more sustainable, lower impact technologies to enhance the well-being of the growing global population,” Garzon says.

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The electric vehicle market continues to build momentum every year, with consumers around the world growing more interested. But in order for EVs to pave the way for the future of transportation, more efficient, longer-lasting batteries will need to be developed.

That’s where ECS member Jeff Dahn, leader of Tesla’s researcher partnership through his Dalhousie University research group, comes in. Recently, Dahn and his team unveiled new chemistry that could increase battery lifecycle at high voltages without significant degradation.

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By: John C. Besley, Michigan State University; Aaron M. McCright, Michigan State University; Joseph D. Martin, University of Leeds; Kevin Elliott, Michigan State University, and Nagwan Zahry, Michigan State University

ResearchA soda company sponsoring nutrition research. An oil conglomerate helping fund a climate-related research meeting. Does the public care who’s paying for science?The Conversation
In a word, yes. When industry funds science, credibility suffers. And this does not bode well for the types of public-private research partnerships that appear to be becoming more prevalent as government funding for research and development lags.

The recurring topic of conflict of interest has made headlines in recent weeks. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has revised its conflict of interest guidelines following questions about whether members of a recent expert panel on GMOs had industry ties or other financial conflicts that were not disclosed in the panel’s final report.

Our own recent research speaks to how hard it may be for the public to see research as useful when produced with an industry partner, even when that company is just one of several collaborators.

What people think of funding sources

We asked our study volunteers what they thought about a proposed research partnership to study the potential risks related to either genetically modified foods or trans fats.

We randomly assigned participants to each evaluate one of 15 different research partnership arrangements – various combinations of scientists from a university, a government agency, a nongovernmental organization and a large food company.

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Researchers have created a flexible electronic device that can easily degrade just by adding a weak acid like vinegar.

“In my group, we have been trying to mimic the function of human skin to think about how to develop future electronic devices,” says Stanford University engineer Zhenan Bao.

She described how skin is stretchable, self-healable, and also biodegradable—an attractive list of characteristics for electronics. “We have achieved the first two [flexible and self-healing], so the biodegradability was something we wanted to tackle.”

A United Nations Environment Program report found that almost 50 million tons of electronic waste were thrown out in 2017—more than 20 percent higher than waste in 2015.

“This is the first example of a semiconductive polymer that can decompose,” says lead author Ting Lei, a postdoctoral fellow working with Bao.

In addition to the polymer—essentially a flexible, conductive plastic—the team developed a degradable electronic circuit and a new biodegradable substrate material for mounting the electrical components. This substrate supports the electrical components, flexing and molding to rough and smooth surfaces alike. When the electronic device is no longer needed, the whole thing can biodegrade into nontoxic components.

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HydrogenHydrogen has many highly sought after qualities when it comes to clean energy sources. It is a simple element, high in energy, and produces nearly zero harmful emissions. However, while hydrogen is one of the most plentiful elements in the universe, it does not occur naturally as a gas. Instead, we find it combined with other elements, like oxygen in the form of water. For many researchers, water-splitting has been a way to isolate hydrogen for use in cars, houses, and other sustainable fuels.

But water-splitting requires an effective catalyst to speed up chemical reactions, while simultaneously preventing the gasses to recombine. Researchers from the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory believe they may have the answer with the new development of a molybdenum coating that can potentially improve water-splitting.

“When you split water into hydrogen and oxygen, the gaseous products of the reaction are easily recombined back to water and it’s crucial to avoid this,” says Angel Garcia-Esparza, lead author of the study. “We discovered that a molybdenum-coated catalyst is capable of selectively producing hydrogen from water while inhibiting the back reactions of water formation.”

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BatteryThe consumer demand for seamless, integrated technology is on the rise, and with it grows the Internet of Things, which is expected to grow to a multitrillion-dollar market by 2020. But in order to develop a fully integrated electronic network, flexible, lightweight, rechargeable power sources will be required.

A team of researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology is looking to address that issue, developing inkjet-printed batteries that can be modified to fit devices of any shape and size. The team reports that the newly developed inks can be printed onto paper to create a new class of printed supercapacitors.

(READ: Rise of Cyber Attacks: Security in the Digital Age)

This from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology:

The process involves using a conventional inkjet printer to print a preparatory coating—a ‘wood cellulose-based nanomat’—onto a normal piece of A4 paper. Next, an ink of activated carbon and single-walled nanotubes is printed onto the nanomat, followed by an ink made of silver nanowires in water. These two inks form the electrodes. Finally, an electrolyte ink—formed of an ionic liquid mixed with a polymer that changes its properties when exposed to ultraviolet light—is printed on top of the electrodes. The inks are exposed at various stages to ultraviolet irradiation and finally the whole assembly is sealed onto the piece of paper with an adhesive film.

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Two discoveries could provide a simple and effective way to “stencil” high-quality 2D materials in precise locations and overcome a barrier to their use in next-generation electronics.

In 2004, the discovery of a way to isolate a single atomic layer of carbon—graphene —opened a new world of 2D materials with properties not necessarily found in the familiar 3D world. Among these materials are a large group of elements—transition metals—that fall in the middle of the periodic table.

When atoms of certain transition metals, for instance molybdenum, are layered between two layers of atoms from the chalcogenide elements, such as sulfur or selenium, the result is a three-layer sandwich called a transition metal dichalcogenide. TMDs have created tremendous interest among materials scientists because of their potential for new types of electronics, optoelectronics and computation.

“What we have focused on in this paper is the ability to make these materials over large areas of a substrate in precisely the places we want them,” says Joshua Robinson, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State. “These materials are of interest for a variety of next-generation electronics, not necessarily to replace silicon, but to augment current technologies and ultimately to bring new chip functionality to silicon that we never had before.”

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