Dr. Babak Anasori in the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology at IUPUI has won four new federal grants this fiscal year for his work on a family of layered nanomaterials called MXenes. MXenes, discovered only ten years ago, are (few atoms thick) two-dimensional nanomaterials that form sheets 100,000 times thinner than paper. Due to their superior mechanical, electronic, and electrochemical properties, MXenes have applications in electronics, biomedical devices, sensors, antennas, catalysts, gas separation, water purification, conductive coatings, and smart fabrics.
The National Science Foundation's Future Manufacturing program awarded Drexel University, IUPUI, and the University of Pennsylvania $3.0 million over four years to investigate large-scale and high-quality production of MXene nanomaterials. Receiving $665,000 at IUPUI, Dr. Anasori aims to address nanomanufacturing fundamental challenges such as customization with desired end-product properties. STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute (SEIRI) of IUPUI is also part of this major grant to evaluate the education and workforce development aspects of this future manufacturing project. Separately, IUPUI and Purdue University were awarded a collaborative grant over three years by the NSF's Division of Materials to predict, design, and fabricate MXenes that contain rare-earth elements, such as neodymium and gadolinium, and to learn how such elements can control the electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of MXenes. Dr. Anasori’s lab was awarded $337,000 for the experimental investigation of these novel nanomaterials.
During the year, Dr. Anasori also won $510,000 from the Office of Naval Research for a 3-year study to design and fabricate novel materials that can withstand the ultra-high skin temperatures of hypersonic vehicles. In addition, his lab recently joined a 3-year international consortium on "Accelerating Carbon Capture" to research ways to efficiently convert carbon dioxide to methanol under ambient conditions using renewable energy. This consortium involves the USA and five European countries: Italy, the UK, France, Romania, and Greece. The U.S. partners are the Department of Energy's Argonne National Lab and Anasori lab for a total budget of $500,000 and IUPUI's share of $238,000.
"The use of MXenes will enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, economy, and national security," said Dr. Anasori, "Meanwhile, our materials research will address the ever-increasing demand for faster computers and more data storage with lower energy use, which calls for new materials and computing paradigms. After decades of aggressive miniaturization, traditional electronic device materials are reaching the limits of atomic scale. MXenes have novel quantum-mechanical properties that could provide a new platform."
"These four projects span environmental, defense, energy, electronics, and manufacturing applications with large market size and basic science," said Dr. Razi Nalim, executive associate dean for research at the School of Engineering and Technology. "Flying faster than five times the speed of sound, hypersonic vehicles may become important for the country's defense and future air travel. Also, as we transition to renewable energy to fight climate change, we need ways to store energy for later use and be easily carried on cars and trucks. Methanol is a stable liquid fuel that can power engines and fuel cells and is a feedstock for other products."
"Dr. Anasori's success in garnering substantial external support for his research agenda in MXenes exemplifies our School's mission to compete and succeed at the highest levels in all that we do," said Dr. David Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Technology. "Our investment in research infrastructure, including the world-class nanotechnology facilities in Innovation Hall at IUPUI, enable outstanding faculty like Dr. Anasori to establish and sustain their important work."
For more information on MXenes please contact Dr. Anasori, Babak: firstname.lastname@example.org>