Strain Improves Performance of Atomically Thin Semiconductor Material

Researchers in UConn’s Institute of Materials Science significantly improved the performance of an atomically thin semiconductor material by stretching it, an accomplishment that could prove beneficial to engineers designing the next generation of flexible electronics, nano devices, and optical sensors.

In a study appearing in the research journal Nano Letters, Michael Pettes, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, reports that a six-atom thick bilayer of tungsten diselenide exhibited a 100-fold increase in photoluminescence when it was subjected to strain. The material had never exhibited such photoluminescence before.

The findings mark the first time scientists have been able to conclusively show that the properties of atomically thin materials can be mechanically manipulated to enhance their performance, Pettes says. Such capabilities could lead to faster computer processors and more efficient sensors.

Wei Wu Receives the First Place Graduate Pre-Doctoral Research Award

(April 27, 2018) Wei Wu, Ph.D. student in the Pettes Nanothermal Transport Lab, received the First Place Graduate Pre-Doctoral Research Award. Wei’s award was presented by the graduate awards committee at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion. Congratulations Wei on winning the annual mechanical engineering graduate research competition and receiving a $2,000 prize!

Student Awarded Materials Research Society Meeting Symposium NM11 Silver Award

(April 11, 2018) Wei Wu, Ph.D. student in the Pettes Nanothermal Transport Lab, was awarded a 2018 Spring Materials Research Society Meeting Symposium NM11 Silver Award for his presentation entitled “NM11.06.03: Strain transfer analysis of encapsulated atomically thin materials in four-point bending experiments” at the conference held in Phoenix, Arizona. The NM11 Deformable Atomically Thin Materials Symposium Best Presentation Awards were supported by the U.S. Army Research Office, and Wei will receive a $200 prize. Congratulations Wei!

Dr. Pettes Awarded $50,000 National Science Foundation

Armed with a recently awarded $50,000 Innovation Corps grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Michael Pettes, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is attempting to gauge whether his new device will save time and money for manufacturing companies during the materials testing phase.

More specifically, Pettes said that he has created a bench-scale high-throughput instrument, which is the first device capable of consecutive measurement of both intrinsic ionic conductivity, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and spatial temperature distribution without breaking vacuum, sample exchange, or change in instrument temperature. Pettes submitted his U. S. patent application through UConn Technology Commercialization Services earlier in the fall semester.

REU Scholars Present at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition

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(November 9, 2017) Raul Montaño (center) and Danielle M. Leppert-Simenauer (right), undergraduate REU scholars in the Pettes Nanothermal Transport Lab, presented their work at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition in Tampa, Fl together with Pettes Lab Ph.D. student Sajad Yazdani (left). Raul was recognized with a 2017 ASME Track 19 NSF Student Poster Competition Travel Award. Danielle’s work was funded by NSF Grant No. 1461165, and Raul’s was funded by NSF Grant No. 1560098.