Home > Press > Understanding heat flow at the nanoscale
The grant is worth more than $400,000 and is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for creative junior faculty
Understanding heat flow at the nanoscale is the goal of Virginia Tech/NSF CAREER project
Blacksburg, VA | Posted on March 17, 2006
Understanding the mechanisms responsible for thermal transport, or heat flow, between dissimilar materials at the molecular level is the goal of Virginia Tech College of Engineering researcher Scott Huxtable, who has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award.
Huxtable, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, recently secured the five-year CAREER grant, which is worth more than $400,000 and is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for creative junior faculty who are considered likely to become academic leaders of the future.
Huxtable will use laser techniques - timed by the picosecond, or one-trillionth of a second - to determine at the nanoscale how heat is transferred across the boundary between two materials. A primary focus of his project will be discovering what types of chemical modifications can be made to the surfaces of materials to control the flow of heat.
Understanding heat flow at this level could help engender the design of nanostructured composite materials capable of controlling thermal conductivity. "This research could impact a wide variety of technologies," said Huxtable, who began studying nanoscale thermal transport as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley.
One example would be improved design of thermoelectric coolers, which offer distinct advantages over conventional refrigerators and other cooling devices: they have no moving parts to break down and do not use harmful chemicals, such as ozone-depleting CFCs. However, thermoelectric devices are still highly inefficient. Better control of thermal conductivity could lead to the development of high-efficiency coolers.
Managing the tremendous amount of heat generated by power electronics is another anticipated result of thermal transport research. "A severe side-effect of the continual miniaturization of power electronics devices, including computers and cell phones, is a dramatic increase in the heat generated," Huxtable said. "This is becoming the limiting factor in device performance." Controlling thermal transport at the nanoscale could help minimize the problem.
Composite materials design could also get a boost. The tiles on the exterior of the Space Shuttle, for example, must be made from insulating materials capable of extremely low thermal conductivity. "The engineering community is always trying to create materials with properties at the thermal extremes," Huxtable said. "Nanostructured materials are a new approach to achieving both high and low conductivity composites."
Every CAREER project includes an educational component and Huxtable's is twofold. In a partnership with the Young Scholars Program in Utica, N.Y., which provides tutoring for underprivileged students from area high schools, he plans to bring two students to his lab each year "for a summer of research and learning. These students will be mentored in hopes that they will be motivated to attend college and to pursue degrees in science or engineering." He also is developing a new course on nanoengineering to teach at Virginia Tech.
Huxtable received his bachelor's degree from Bucknell University and his master's and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He conducted post-doctoral research in materials science, focusing on thermal transport, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 2003.
Copyright © Virginia Tech
If you have a comment, please Contact
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015
Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015
Nanocomposites Market Growth, Industry Outlook To 2020 by Grand View Research, Inc. March 21st, 2015
Nanotechnology Drug Delivery Market in the US 2012-2016 : Latest Report Available by Radiant Insights, Inc March 16th, 2015
Harris & Harris Group Reports Financial Statements as of December 31, 2014 and Posts Annual Letter to Shareholders on Website March 17th, 2015
Arrowhead to Present at 2015 Barclays Global Healthcare Conference March 4th, 2015
Arrowhead to Present at 2015 RBC Capital Markets' Global Healthcare Conference February 17th, 2015
Iran 1st among Islamic Nations in Scientific Production, Nanotechnology February 16th, 2015
Wrapping carbon nanotubes in polymers enhances their performance: Scientists at Japan's Kyushu University say polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes hold much promise in biotechnology and energy applications March 30th, 2015
DFG to Establish One Clinical Research Unit and Five Research Units: New Projects to Investigate Complications in Pregnancy, Particle Physics, Nanoparticles, Implants and Transport Planning / Approximately 13 Million Euros in Funding for an Initial Three-Year Period March 28th, 2015
Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015
UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015
Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015
Prototype 'nanoneedles' generate new blood vessels in mice: Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice March 31st, 2015
Super sensitive measurement of magnetic fields March 31st, 2015
Nanomedicine pioneer Mauro Ferrari at ETH Zurich March 31st, 2015