Clarkson has a well-established international reputation

in high-technology materials processing, most notably in the fields of surface science and fine particle technology, including nano- and biomaterials.

Much of this research takes place under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), a NYSTAR-designated Center for Advanced Technology, where Clarkson researchers work in partnerships with industry leaders and government agencies to develop technology for commercial application.

While much of the technology developed by CAMP-affiliated researchers is transferred to New York state businesses for use in manufacturing processes, its impact is worldwide.

CAMP engineers and scientists tackle the toughest challenges facing the global community today in advanced materials, nanotechnology, biomaterials and sensors, engineering, medicine and the environment.

They are also embracing promising new technologies related to fuel cells and energy efficiency, to meet the emerging demands of today's world.

Nanomaterials and the Next Generation of Solar Cells

Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert the sun's energy into electricity at the atomic level. Materials like silicon absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current is produced.

While silicon-based PV devices have been the most widely used to date, the high costs associated with producing silicon has led to significant interest in organic and organic-inorganic hybrid materials for use in PV devices.

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Devon Shipp and his research team are working to create low-cost, large-area titanium dioxide-based PV devices through the use of nanocomposites. Their research is being funded by NYSERDA and the U.S. Army Research Office.

"At the moment, around 80 percent of the solar cells marketed are made of silicon, which not only has been expensive to get but is also expensive to process for PV device manufacturing," explains Shipp. "The type of PV device we are working on doesn't contain any silicon, and should be much, much cheaper."
Shipp and his team are working on making nanostructured semiconductors, a critical part of a solar cell as they collect the electrons and deliver them to the electrode on which the semiconductor material is deposited. PV systems based on materials that have well-ordered nanoscale features are highly sought after because they may increase efficiency through both improved charge separation and reduced positive and negative charge recombination.

"By making the semiconductor component really small (nanometer sized) we expect that electrons will get to the electrode more efficiently," says Shipp.

If Shipp's approach is successful, it could allow for a low cost manufacturing process to be set up to easily make efficient solar cells.

Polymers to Improve Vision

Shipp and his research team are also currently working with a major eye care company to develop new polymer materials for contact lenses to allow both oxygen and water to permeate to/from the eye, allowing them to be worn comfortably for long periods.

The eye needs oxygen to permeate across the cornea since no blood is carried into the eye. To prevent lens adherence to the cornea, the lens must be hydrophilic. In order to achieve such properties and other basic materials properties such as strength and tear resistance, the contact lens industry has looked at combining silicones, which impart high oxygen permeability with hydrophilic polymers to allow the gel to swell in water and give wettability. However, these two types of materials typically do not mix - instead they separate much like oil and water.

This is where Shipp and his research team come in. Their expertise in living radical polymerizations promises to translate into new polymers that undergo nanoscale mixing with a great degree of uniformity. This means contact lenses that not only provide improved vision over long time periods, but are also comfortable.

"While the eye care industry knows that hydrophilic silicones work, there is little knowledge of their structure at the nanometer scale and how that affects their performance," explains Shipp. "We hope that through our research we will gain an understanding of the nanoscale mixing, and use that as a springboard to improve them even more."

ahmadiInstrumentation and Computational Tools for Greener Buildings

Coulter School of Engineering Dean Goodarz Ahmadi, Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering John McLaughlin, and Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Brian Helenbrook, in collaboration with colleagues at Syracuse University, are developing tools that allow for technology innovations for creating new Intelligent Environmental Quality Systems (i-EQS) for improved health and security in indoor environments.
"Our specific objective is to develop experimentally validated computational tools for predicting the airflow and transport and migration of aerosols in the indoor environment," says Ahmadi.
The study will be focused on assessing personal exposure due to exchanges between the breathing zones of occupants in indoor environments. These tools will provide the basis to develop real time prediction and control systems for intelligent built environmental systems to improve human health, as well as for increased security.
The project will ultimately benefit the design of greener buildings and create healthier indoor environments.

Reducing Energy Requirements for Air Purification Systems

In a related project, McLaughlin, Ahmadi and Dr. Xinli Jia, in collaboration with Horseheads, N.Y.-based company Cameron Manufacturing & Design are working on the development of a grid electrostatic precipitator (GEP) for removal of particulates from air.

The GEP is based on a novel design that improves on the air flow dynamics so that the efficiency of charging and collecting of particulates is much greater than can be attained with conventional electrostatic precipitators.
The GEP could greatly reduce the energy requirements for air purification in cleanrooms by eliminating the need for HEPA or ULPA filters. The large pressure needed to force air through HEPA or ULPA filters results in a large consumption of electric power. For example, roughly $1 million a year is needed to supply electric power to four cleanrooms at the Infotonics Technology Center in Canandaigua, N.Y.; virtually all of the power is used to force air through filters.
The project is supported by a grant from Cameron and in-kind contributions from Cameron, and the Infotonics Technology Center. A new experimental version of the GEP is currently under construction at Cameron Manufacturing & Design. Preliminary tests on the GEP will be conducted at Clarkson during the early fall. After these tests are completed, the GEP will be tested in a cleanroom at the Infotonics Technology Center.

andreescuBiosensors for Health and Environmental Monitoring

Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Silvana Andreescu is currently working on biosensors for environmental and clinical monitoring.

A biosensor is a device that detects, records and transmits information regarding a physiological change or the presence of various chemical or biological materials. Biosensors integrate a biological component, such as an enzyme, with an electronic component to yield a measurable signal.

Andreescu's research group is developing implantable enzyme microbiosensors to monitor changes in neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and glutamate that may signal an onset of disease.
"We are looking to construct devices that could be used by researchers to study biomolecular mechanisms at cell and organ levels and by physicians for the early diagnosis of disease," explains Andreescu.

Babu Reappointed CAMP Director

babuLast fall, Distinguished University Professor S.V. Babu accepted reappointment to the directorship of CAMP, a position he has held for the past 10 years.

A professor in the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Babu led the Clarkson team whose recent successful efforts resulted in recertification of CAMP as a Center for Advanced Technology for a third decade of service to New York by the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).
Babu is responsible for managing $920,000 per year from NYSTAR and over $250,000 per year in CAMP membership funds. CAMP's research and technology transfer efforts have led to an economic impact of over $30 million per year across New York state in the last five years. During this five-year period, CAMP has also been credited with creating or retaining approximately 100 jobs in New York.

Xerox Fellow Named Chair of CAMP Advisory Board

Santokh Badesha, a Xerox Fellow at the Xerox Corporation (a Corporate Sponsor for CAMP), has been chosen to chair CAMP's Industrial Advisory Board.
The Board's main role is to review and evaluate all aspects of CAMP's programs and activities and advise CAMP's administration in regards to future policies, projects and emerging areas of research, funding and economic development. Over the years, Badesha has served as a technical point of contact for numerous CAMP research projects. He was also awarded an honorary degree from Clarkson in 2007.

Badesha has worked throughout his career to create new materials and make components that are the foundation of multiple generations of better, faster Xerox copiers and printers. His work has varied from designing environmentally friendly materials to investigating new composite materials with enhanced thermal, electrical, chemical and mechanical stabilities.
Badesha holds 165 patents and has been honored with numerous awards, including the prestigious Xerox President's Award (1996). In 1985 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the U.K.