Our research interest in the Nano & Microsystems Research Laboratory lies within the boundaries of Nanotechnology and Thermal-Fluid Sciences. We carry out both Fundamental and Applied research in Thermal-Fluid sciences and Nanotechnology with a current focus on Micro/Nano systems energy conversion, storage and power generation; Two-phase heat transfer in Micro and Nano domains; Microfluidics & Functional nanofluids; Micro- & NanoThermoMechanical Systems; and Nanoengineered surfaces.
Thermal Energy Storage
More than 60% of consumption energy in the United States is wasted in the form of thermal energy, hence making necessary the development of thermal energy storage technologies for future efficient energy conversion systems. In addition, there are many applications where thermal energy storage is highly desired as in the case of concentrated solar power systems. At the NMRL, we are investigating new ways to store thermal energy through nanoscience.
Solar Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) Energy Conversion
Thermophotovoltaic technology converts heat (e.g., solar) into electricity by thermally radiating photons, which are subsequently converted into electron-hole pairs via a low-bandgap photovoltaic cell. We are interested in developing very high efficiency TPV through fundamental research and system integration.
Effects of surface texture and chemistry on the two-phase heat transfer (collaborators: Dr. Gogos, and Dr. Alexander)
One of the most efficient ways of heat transfer through solid / liquid (or vapor) is phase change (e.g,. boiling, condensation). We are interested in understanding the effects of micro & nanostructured surfaces (laser-fabricated & microelectronics fabrication methods) and surface chemistry on the two-phase heat transfer mechanisms. We are also interested in the Stability of superhydrophobic surfaces in austere environments.
Fluid flow and heat transfer in micro & nano channels
Single-phase and multiphase flow and heat transfer are important in many industrial and biological applications. This research effort aims at understanding and establishing the behavior of single-phase and multiphase flow in the presence of heat transfer at the micro & nano scales.
NanoThermoMechanical logic devices for extreme-environment electronics
Limited performance and reliability of electronic memory devices at extreme temperatures, intensive magnetic and electric fields, and radiation found in space exploration missions and earth based applications requires the development of alternative computing technologies. NanoThermoMechanical logic and memory devices are very attractive technologies as information storage, reading, writing, and processing are all thermal, hence the field of phononics phononics – a science and engineering of processing information with heat – the counterpart of electronics.