My research career began in physical chemistry, studying quantum-state resolved, molecular photodissociation dynamics. In post-doctoral work, my research expanded into linear and non-linear laser-based optical diagnostic development and then broadened at NASA-Glenn to include the synthesis, characterization and applications of organic and inorganic nanomaterials. Presently, I would characterize myself as a research chemist with keen interests in realizing applications for nanomaterials.
Direct experience includes synthesizing a range of nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes, onions, capsules, metal oxide semiconductors, noble and transition metal catalysts and nitrides. Synthesis methods have included CVD, plasma and ablative methods with emphasis upon reacting flows for scalable production, e.g. carbon nanotubes production. Applications where fundamental studies will have profound impact include composites, tribology, sensors, Li ion batteries, catalysis and optical pressure and temperature sensing. A rather unique feature of my work has been use-inspired synthesis followed by application testing, which exploits the synergy between chemical and size-scale properties.
Through various research projects I have gained direct experience with a) the laser-based techniques of laser-induced incandescence (LIF) and laser-induced incandescence (LII) in "point" and 2-D configurations, Raman spectroscopy, Rayleigh scattering, degenerate four-wave mixing (DFWM), transient grating, photoacoustic and cavity ring-down spectroscopy, b) the solid-state spectroscopies of scanning and transmission electron microscopies (SEM & TEM), c) the chemical analysis methods of infrared spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and laser-induced breakdown (LIBS).
Prior to arriving at Penn State, for ten years I managed a large and active research group at the NASA-Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio that included post-doctoral fellows, graduate students for whom I served as co-advisor and mentor, and undergraduate students in cooperative education and summer programs. In addition, I have hosted visiting faculty and their accompanying students. During my tenure at NASA, fundamental science has been motivated by and directed towards practical applications for space exploration and aeronautics. I believe applications can bring practical motivation to students. Having pursued engineering applications for materials will also permit me to convey the need for obtaining a sound foundation of fundamental physical science principles.
Research focuses on nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes, onions, capsules, metal oxide semiconductors, noble and transition metal catalysts and nitrides. Applications include composites, tribology, sensors, Li ion batteries, catalysis and optical pressure and temperature sensing. Current research includes energy utilization, storage, conversion, conservation and generation; carbon construction; microplasmas; and atmospheric research.