March 2014

Bing Hu Named Honored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Thrust E and UMD member Liangbing Hu has been honored by ASEE with the "Campus Star".

Press Release

January 2014

Precision + Structure: Four Years of Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage

Precision + Structure: Four Years of Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage, an intriguing glimpse into NEES' research directions and advances since its funding in 2009.

Siwy named 2013 APS Fellow

Cutting-edge nanoscience researcher honored

The latest class of Fellows of the American Physical Society includes Zuzanna Siwy, a senior investigator in Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES), an Energy Research Frontier Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and headed by University of Maryland Prof. Gary Rubloff.

Siwy, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, was named a fellow “for her innovative use of nanopores in the development of biosensors and nanofluidic ionic circuits." Siwy’s research on nanopores for electronic circuits was a critical contribution to the NEES project, which has just finished its fourth year of operation (

Election to APS Fellow status requires “exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education. Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers,” the society’s website says.

Each nomination is evaluated by the Fellowship committee of the appropriate APS division, topical group or forum and is approved by the APS council. Siwy was one of eight honorees by the society’s Division of Biological Physics in 2013.


December 2013

Added Molecules Allow Metal-Organic Frameworks to Conduct Electricity

From NIST Tech Beat: December 5, 2013

Scientists from Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage, a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center, have added something new to a family of engineered, high-tech materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs): the ability to conduct electricity. This breakthrough—conductive MOFs—has the potential to make these already remarkable materials even more useful, particularly for detecting gases and toxic substances.

Electron-sharing TCNQ molecules bind to the copper ions in the framework to enable electrical conductivity in MOF materials. The dotted white arrows illustrate the mechanism of electrical conductivity in these materials. (TCNQ: 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinododimethane)

Credit: M. Foster/Sandia National Labs

high resolution version

MOFs are three-dimensional crystalline materials with nanoscale pores made up of metal ions linked by various organic molecules. MOFs have huge surface areas, and scientists can easily control the size of their pores and how the pores interact with molecules by tinkering with their chemistries. These characteristics make them ideal for use as catalysts, membranes or sponges for gas storage or for drug delivery, among other applications.

Thousands of new MOF structures are discovered and characterized each year. While they come in a dizzying array of chemistries and structures, none of them conducts electricity well. The NIST/Sandia team developed a method to modify the electrical conductivity of MOF thin films and to control it over six orders of magnitude. Their findings will appear in the journal Science.*

"MOFs are typically extremely poor electrical conductors because their constituent building blocks, the organic linkers and the metal ions, don't really talk to each other in terms of electrical conduction," says NIST materials engineer Andrea Centrone. "Our work points to a way of controlling and increasing their conductivity."

The group accomplished this by "infiltrating an insulating MOF with redox-active, conjugated guest molecules."

In other words, they infused and bound electron-sharing molecules into MOF thin films to create a material that is stable in air and approximately a million times more conductive than the unaltered MOF.

"Based on several spectroscopic experiments, we believe that the guest molecules serve two important purposes: they create additional bridges between the metal ions—copper, in this case—and they accept electrical charge," says NIST chemist Veronika Szalai.

According to NIST physicist Paul Haney, who provided some modeling for the experimental data, the arrangement of the guest molecules in the MOF creates a unique conductivity mechanism while preserving the benefits of the porous MOF crystalline structure.

These porous and conductive MOFs may be the first in an entirely new class of materials that could be used for sensing, conformal electronics (electronics that can bend and conform to unusual shapes), and other as-yet-unknown applications.

"Our discovery gives chemists and engineers a whole new degree of freedom to tailor these materials for their technological applications," says Centrone. "I would not be surprised if solar cells could be made using this new class of materials."

* A.A. Talin, A. Centrone, A.C. Ford, M.E. Foster,V. Stavila, P. Haney, R.A. Kinney, V. Szalai, F. El Gabaly, H.P. Yoon, F. Léonard and M.D. Allendorf. Tunable electrical conductivity in metal-organic framework thin-film devices. Science Express. Posted online Dec. 5, 2013.


February 2013

YuHuang Wang's Group Create Durable Silicon Nano "Beads on a String" Anode

Pulsing with lithium, tiny silicon beads on a nanotube hold promise for better batteries.

Maryland NanoCenter News Story


Phys Org News Story
ACS Nano Publication Link


January 2013

Congratulations to Janice Reutt-Robey on becoming the Dept Chair for Chemistry & Biochemistry


Dr. Reutt-Robey's Faculty Profile


November 2012

Congratulations to Khim Karki for being chosen to participate in the first JUAMI workshop

University of Maryland grad student Khim Karki of Dr. Cuming's group (Thrust B) is one of 15 PhD and post-doctoral researchers from the US to be awarded a Joint US-Africa Materials Initiative fellowship. This fellowship will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from Dec. 9-21, 2012 and will challenge participates in solving current issues facing African nations with organic and inorganic photovoltaics, photocatalysis, batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells and other forms of alternative energy.


Program outline
About the fellowship
Khim Karki's UMD webpage

Congratulations to the 2012 NEES EFRC Fall Meeting Poster Award winners

The NEES EFRC awarded 3 posters from the 2012 Fall Meeting for best collaboration, best visuals, and best use of fundamental science to answer tough questions. The judges, Kamen Nechev, Stephen Harris, Eric Wachsman, and Ashley Predith, commended all 23 of the poster presenters on their professional, informative and visually appealing submissions as well as their agility during sharp questioning.

The awards went to:

  • Best Collaboration:
    Khim Karki: Real-time investigation of engineered Si nanostructures for Li-ion battery electrodes
  • Best Visuals:
    Chuan-Fu Sun: Controlling interfaces for electrically interconnected, non-cracking Si beads-string Li-ion battery electrodes
  • Best use of Fundamental Science to Answer Tough Questions:
    Wentao Song: Ethylene carbonate/carbon anode interface: impact of lithiation (paraphrased title as the abstract was not part of the print-out)


October 2012

Reginald Penner Joins ACS Nano as an Associate Editor

University of California, Irvine's Reginald Penner has joined ACS Nano as an Associate Editor starting Oct. 1. ACS Nano is a leading, high impact monthly publication with a focus on nanoscience and nanotechnology. Dr. Penner's appointment highlights his efforts and knowledge in this area of science.


Penner Group Website
ACS Nano Website


July 2012

Wenbo Yang's work is featured on the cover of Chemistry of Materials

Wenbo Yang's work, from Dr. Reginald Penner's group at University of California - Irvine, has been featured on the cover of the July 24th, 2012 issue of Chemistry of Materials. The work showcases their advances with core-shell gold-MnO2 nanowires.


Chemistry of Materials Cover


May 2012

Zuzanna Siwy awarded Faculty Award from the University of California-Irvine

Congratulations to UCI's Zuzanna Siwy has been awarded a prestigious "Distinguised Mid-Career Faculty Award for Research" from the University of California-Irvine. Her work examines fluid behavior over charged surfaces and in nanoscale geometries.


Zuzanna Siwy's UCI Faculty Profile Page
Nature Nanotechnology: Nanopores: Water flow at the flip of a switch
Nature Nanotechnology: Electric-field-induced wetting and dewetting in single hydrophobic nanopores

Congatulations to UMD's John Cumings on his promotion to Associate Professor

Professor John Cumings's accomplishments in teaching and research are exemplary and the promotion is an acknowledgement of the excellent work he has done over the past 7 years.

Yale engineers develop novel system for producing conductive films

Yale engineers, including André Taylor and his group, have developed a novel automated system for generating strong, flexible, transparent coatings with promising uses in lithium-ion battery and fuel cell production, among other applications.


Yale News Article
InterNano Article
Link to paper


April 2012

Marty Green, NEES External Advisory Board, guest editor for MRS Bulletin

NEES External Advisory Board member, Marty Green, was one of the lead guest editors for the MRS Bulletin special issue "Materials for Sustainable Development" in April.


MRS April Bulletin

March 2012

New Record for Smallest Battery

John Cumings (UMD), Jian Yu Huang (SNL), and Khim Karki (UMD) worked with researchers at NIST and UMD and found a practical minimum thickness for LiPON electrolyte in a nanostructure battery.


Science Daily Article
Softpedia Article
Link to paper

Eric Epstein wins an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Eric Epstein, an undergraduate student in Dr. John Cuming's group, has been awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Fellows receive 3 years of support funding, $30,000 annual stipend, and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the institution.


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Website


February 2012

EFRC Research Highlighted in ACS Nano

In it's February 2012 publication, ACS Nano highlighted research performed by Jian Yu Huang (SNL) and others entitled "Size-Dependent Fracture of Silicon Nanoparticles During Lithiation." From this research, it was discovered that silicon nanoparticles have a critical diameter of ~150nm where larger particles can suffer from surface cracking and fracture, while smaller diameters do not suffer from this affect. This finding could have direct applications in creating more robust lithium ion batteries.


ACS Nano Publication


July 2011

Controlling chemistry improves potential of carbon nanotubes

YuHuang Wang's research team along with Northwestern University and the Maryland NanoCenter have developed a breakthrough method to create soluble carbon nanotubes (CNTs) - a long sought after property that has hindered the permeation of CNTs use in technology.


NanoCenter Article
Wang's UMD Chemistry & Biochemistry Faculty Profile
YH Wang Reasearch Page


June 2011

R Penner named UCI Chancellor's Professor

Congratulations to University of California, Irvine professor Dr. Reginald Penner on being named Chancellor's Professor. This title is reserved for "faculty members who have demonstrated unusual academic merit and whose continued promise for scholarly achievement is unusually high." Chancellor's Professors make up less than 3 percent of UCI's faculty. Dr. Penner's outstanding effort.


Penner Group Page
Penner's UCI Chemistry Profile

UCI Chancellor's Professors


December 2010

Virus Helps Build Batteries

Utilizing the Tobacco Mosaic Virus, our EFRC researchers have developed a novel method for producing high surface area electrodes. This method involves the self-replicating and self-assembling properties of the virus to build a template for growing and coating nanorods. Additionally, this technique is scalable and cost-efficient lending itself to become a viable production method.


UMD Engineering News Story

JY Huang and JP Sullivan observe nanowire charging in real time

In the December 10th issue of Science, NEES Thrust D members JY Huang and JP Sullivan of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Lab report the real time observation of a SnO2 nanowire charging with lithium inside a TEM.


NEES Highlight
December 10th issue of Science
Chemistry World Dec 2010 News
AZ Nano News
Science Daily Release

Banerjee's Self-Powered Solar Circuits Featured in Sierra Magazine

NEES EFRC graduate student Parag Banerjee, under the advisement of Thrust D PI Professor Gary Rubloff (UMD), has been featured in Sierra Magazine for his work on solar circuits.


UMERC Article
Parag Banerjee UMD Website


October 2010

Gerasopoulos Wins Best Poster Award at Micro/Nano Alliance Symposium

NEES EFRC graduate student Konstantinos Gerasopoulos, under the advisement of Thrust D PI Professor Reza Ghodssi (UMD), has won the Best Poster award at this year's Micro/Nano Alliance Symposium at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

His work involves utilizing the tobacco mosaic virus as scaffolding for building anodes out of nickel and titanium dioxide.


UMD Materials Science and Engineering Article
"Nanostructured nickel electrodes using the Tobacco mosaic virus for microbattery applications,"J. Micromech. Microeng. 18 (2008) 104003


September 2010

ACS Nano, Discovery News, Nanowerk Feature Work by EFRC Group

EFRC researchers have modified the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) to aid in building silicon anodes. The modified virus can be patterned onto a metal surface, eliminating the need for binders/additives and increasing density. Layering nickel and silicon around the virus in an electro-less plating bath creates a 3D current collector. Capacitance of the new anode has shown a 10x increase while the structure maintains cycling stability and charge rates.


ACS Nano publication
Discovery News

Junior and senior faculty positions in energy announced at University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC)

UMERC, a rapidly growing cross-campus energy research center, has announced two new faculty positions, one at senior and one at junior level. Depending on the candidate, the appointment may be made in any of several engineering departments, or may be a joint appointment. See the announcement for details.


July 2010

Martin to receive the 2010 ACS Award in Electrochemistry

NEES investigator Charles Martin from the University of Florida will receive the 2010 Award in Electrochemistry from American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry. The award recognizes an individual who through scholarly activity has definitely and uniquely advanced the field of electrochemistry.

Congratulations, Chuck!

Martin's University of Florida website

ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Awards

Sherrill will attend summer meeting with Nobel Laureates

The Lindau Council has accepted NEES graduate research assistant Stefanie Sherrill to participate in the 60th Interdisciplinary Meeting of Nobel Laureates from June 27 to July 2, 2010 in Lindau, Germany. This year marks the 60th annual gathering of Nobel Laureates and selected graduate students in Lindau. 

The meeting serves to encourage the transfer knowledge between generations of scientists. Nobel Laureates give lectures, panel discussions and seminars that inspire the new researchers. 68 Laureates are expected to participate.

Academic partners from around the world nominate 1500 individuals from a selected pool of 20,000 students. The Council accepts 500 of the graduate students nominees to attend the event. 

Congratulations, Stefanie!

The Nobel Laureate Meetings at Lindau