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New Initiatives Under Way in Superconducting, Energy and Nano Materials
The Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), internationally recognized for its multidisciplinary research and development of high temperature superconductors (HTS) and related materials, has announced a major reorganization and new national and international initiatives.
The center’s cutting-edge research is fueling innovative technologies with applications in electricity transmission, power generation, medicine and defense. Important TcSUH programs include discovery, understanding and applications of materials that become superconductors at new record high temperatures, production of pure oxygen for medical and industrial applications, lowering the operating temperature of solid oxide fuel cells for clean energy, and development of nano materials and technologies.
Allan J. Jacobson, Robert A. Welch Chair of Science, professor of chemistry and founding director of the UH Center for Materials Chemistry was appointed as TcSUH director by UH President Jay Gogue. Paul C.W. Chu serves as TcSUH’s executive director and chief science advisor without salary and continues as the T.L.L. Temple Chair of Science and professor of physics, leading HTS and advanced materials research programs at UH while also serving as president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Chu’s unique combination of positions has afforded TcSUH an outstanding opportunity to strengthen its international collaborations to advance HTS and related materials science. Wei-Kan Chu, Robert A. Welch Professor of Physics, who is internationally recognized for his pioneering ion beam research, serves as research director.
Jacobson, pleased at the realignment of the TcSUH mission and research focus, said, “We have strengthened our primary commitment to fundamental and applied superconductivity research while also taking advantage of the expertise and synergy between our HTS researchers and strong UH research programs in nanomaterials and energy materials.”
Recent TcSUH collaborations established with DOE Superconductivity Partnership Initiative industrial members in the energy sector and with the Strategic Partnership for Research in NanoTechnology (SPRING), an alliance of Texas universities, create an outstanding opportunity for the further development of materials research at UH, Paul Chu said.
The center encompasses three major research divisions. As TcSUH’s largest core program, the Superconductivity and Related Materials division explores the fundamental aspects of HTS and related materials, focusing its applied programs in biomedical technologies, HTS wire and coated conductor characterization and development, and devices for energy, communications, transportation, space and defense.
The Energy Materials and Applications division conducts collaborative research in the area of fuel cells, ion transport membranes, and energy transmission and storage for energy production, distribution and utilization, where there is strong overlap with the HTS coated conductor program.
The Nanoscale Materials and Applications division has programs in nanomagnetics, inorganic nanomaterials, bionano materials, and organic films and nanocomposites. Each program has strong alliances with U.S. and international universities, industrial partners and medical institutions. A new Seed Projects Initiative provides initial support for innovative projects to capture new developments in science and engineering, and 11 additional UH faculty members from chemistry, physics and engineering were funded for FY06.
All TcSUH research divisions are supported by the Materials Characterization Facilities that include a new world-class scanning tunneling microscopy facility for studies of HTS and related materials that will officially open this summer.
A new initiative, the Houston International Materials Forum (HIMF), is being established by Paul Chu with initial private funding from the S.S. Chern Foundation to support an environment for the world’s brightest minds to brainstorm selected crucial issues of current materials. It is anticipated that HIMF will become one of the world’s leading venues for intellectual inquiry and exchange in HTS and complex materials.
Training the next generation of scientists and engineers is central to TcSUH’s mission. The center’s extensive education and outreach activities support science education at the graduate, undergraduate, secondary and elementary school levels through programs that provide opportunities for student research, disseminate current superconductivity and complex materials research and applications, encourage students to pursue science and engineering careers, and enhance elementary and secondary science teacher professional development.
About the University of Houston :
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the U.S., stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
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For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom.
For more information about TcSUH, visit the center's Web site.
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