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FIG Awards 2010

PI and CO

PI Department

Title

Anastasio, D.(Prof.)
Kodama, K.(Prof.)

Earth & Environmental Sciences
Earth & Environmental Sciences

High-resolution Dating to Reconstruct Climate Change and Tectonics

Biaggio, I.(Assoc. Prof.)

Physics

Uncovering the exciton diffusion process in organic molecular crystals

Cheng, X.(Asst. Prof.)

Materials Science and Engineering

An Optofluidic Platform towards Dynamic, Label Free Analysis of Single Cell Function

Hojnoski, R.(Asst. Prof.)
Columba, L.(Assoc. Prof.)

Education and Human Services
Education and Human Services

Using Shared Storybook Reading to Teach Mathematics In Preschool

Kishore, S.(Assoc. Prof.)
Snyder L.(Asst. Prof.)

Electrical & Computer Engineering
Industrial & Systems Engineering

Control Mechanisms for Electricity Supply and Demand in SmartGrids

Pakzad, S. (Asst. Prof.)

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mobile Sensing for Condition Monitoring of Highway Bridges

Rotkin, S.(Asst. Prof.)

Physics

Physics of Quantum Electrodynamic Kapitsa conductance

SenGupta A.(Prof.)
Ou-Yang D.(Prof.)

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Physics

Hydrogen Ion as a Potential Source of Usable Energy: Observations and New Opportunities

Sherer, S.(Prof.)
Meyerhoefer, C.(Asst. Prof.)

Management
Economics

Optimizing Perinatal Care at LVHN

Vinci, R.(Assoc. Prof.)

Materials Science and Engineering

Fabrication and Characterization of novel Pt-based intermetallic films

Anastasio, D. (Professor), Kodama, K. (Professor), Earth and Environmental Sciences
High-resolution Dating to Reconstruct Climate Change and Tectonics

Sedimentary rocks cover 75% of the Earth's surface and provide a record of environmental and tectonic history. Sedimentary deposits host most of our building materials and energy resources. Energy exploration, carbon-sequestration, and tectonics research demands a four-dimensional (3D plus time) understanding of the Earth's architecture. Recent research by Anastasio and Kodama developed methodology to date ancient marine rocks with high-resolution, an order of magnitude better than fossil assemblages or radiogenic isotope dating. We seek ignition funding to develop methodology for novel dating of terrestrial deposits, essential for petroleum exploration, climate reconstruction, and deformation studies. Proof of our ability to date ancient river deposits will allow competitive research proposals to the Petroleum Research Fund (PRF), and to the Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology Program at NSF. We have three research goals: 1) to learn how variations in Earth's orbit are encoded in sedimentary rocks, 2) to discover climate proxies that can be measured with rock magnetic techniques to improve an astronomically-based timescale, and 3) to test the methodology on longstanding problems including depositional fingerprinting, natural deformation rates, and paleoclimate reconstruction. The research includes field studies in the Pyrenees and laboratory measurements at Lehigh University in the S.T.E.P.S. building and at the University of Zaragoza and CENIEH, Spain; leveraging sabbatical appointments to Anastasio during summer and fall 2010. Summer support for female scientist Allison Teleske, a newly matriculated EES Research Fellow, will provide the proof-of-concept data to support research proposals to PRF and NSF in 2011.

Biaggio, I. (Associate Professor), Physics
Uncovering the exciton diffusion process in organic molecular crystals

Control of free carrier excitation and transport in organic materials is currently at the heart of several new developments in organic semiconductor technology with an important application in the use of plastic photovoltaic cells for wide-area solar energy harvesting over a variety of substrates and in many forms. Single crystal organic semiconductors have recently led to devices with exceptional performance when compared to those utilizing amorphous materials such as polymers. But even more importantly, the unprecedented quality of these single crystals allows for the first time the exploration of the fundamental limits of organic photovoltaics. The most important limit is the fact that in contrast to inorganic semiconductors where electrons and holes are photoexcited directly, light absorption results in the creation of bound electron-hole pairs (excitons). It is then necessary for them to diffuse towards an appropriately engineered interface in order to generate free electrons and holes and produce a photocurrent in the external circuit. This project aims at developing two new ideas for the investigation of exciton diffusion in organic molecular crystals: (1) Direct imaging of exciton diffusion by spatially resolved imaging of the optical luminescence released by photoexcited excitons at the surface of a crystal. (2) Use of pulsed holographic techniques to create and detect a modulated spatial distribution of excitons and its time evolution. The proposed research will be essential towards establishing a body of evidence and preliminary data demonstrating the feasibility of this kind of investigation, which in turn will be instrumental in obtaining external funding.

Cheng, X. (Assistant Professor), Materials Science and Engineering
An Optofluidic Platform towards Dynamic, Label Free Analysis of Single Cell Function

The dynamics of protein secretion are fundamental to the understanding of many biological phenomena such as tumorgenesis and immunological responses. However, measurement of temporal protein secretion is currently limited to destructive and low-throughput techniques, and often requires a large number of cells. To answer the demand for a label-free and high throughput platform to study cell secretory activities in real time, our long term goal is to combine a highly sensitive optical detector with high throughput microchip technology for cell culture and in situ analysis of single cell secretory functions. The PI's expertise in microfluidic biochip design and Lehigh's strength in optical technology are well suited to address the challenges in creating this revolutionary technology. Specifically, the current proposal intends to demonstrate the proof-of-principle concept by constructing the optical detector compatible with long term cell monitoring. System performance, including the mass sensitivity, signal stability, spatial resolution and dynamic range will all be optimized using model protein solutions in the physiological concentration range, making the system suitable for future single cell studies. The optical sensor will also be combined with home-designed microfluidic networks to demonstrate its high throughput detection capabilities. Results from these feasibility tests are expected to attract external support to integrate the optical sensor with a cell culture microchip. The opto-fluidic platform is significant for basic understanding of cell biology, diagnosis of cell function-based diseases and development of therapeutics targeting cell secretory behaviors.

Hojnoski, R. (Assistant Professor), Columba, L. (Associate Professor), Education and Human Services
Using Shared Storybook Reading to Teach Mathematics In Preschool

Disparities in mathematical performance begin prior to kindergarten entry and have long-term consequences for mathematics achievement. Rich mathematical experiences during preschool are critical in providing a strong foundation for subsequent mathematical learning (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008; National Research Council, 2009). Consequently, instructional strategies are needed in preschool classrooms to increase the attention and focus on mathematics. The primary purpose of the proposed research is to develop and evaluate an innovative method of mathematics instruction using a common routine in preschool classrooms. Shared book reading is a typical activity in preschool classrooms, and its effectiveness in teaching vocabulary has been documented (e. Hargrave & Senechal, 2000; Wasik & Bond, 2001). However, there has been little attention to using shared book reading to teach mathematics. Thus, the proposed research represents a unique approach to promoting mathematical competency with young children. Specific research activities will involve development of the instructional approach, training preschool teachers to use shared book reading to teach mathematics, and evaluating the mathematical performance of preschoolers in intervention and control conditions pre- and post-intervention. The proposed research extends the current literature by using shared book reading to address mathematics with preschoolers and by measuring generalization of mathematical vocabulary and concepts, or "math talk", outside of the shared book reading session. The proposed research is intended to result in an effective method for teaching mathematics vocabulary, concepts, and skills to preschoolers.

Kishore, S. (Associate Professor), Electrical and Computer Engineering; Snyder, L. (Assistant Professor), Industrial and Systems Engineering
Control Mechanisms for Electricity Supply and Demand in SmartGrids

The matching of supply and demand is a central challenge in designing and operating electricity networks in order to avoid the economic and environmental consequences of supply-demand imbalances. Large-scale deployment of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar increases the randomness and volatility of energy supply as compared to traditional sources like nuclear and coal. At the same time, emerging technologies present new opportunities for rectifying supply-demand mismatches, including smart metering, novel pricing mechanisms, in-home control devices that respond to electricity prices, smart appliances, and new storage devices (batteries) that can be used to level the supply load. We propose to study mechanisms for controlling both the supply and demand for electricity in order to improve supply-demand balance. Our techniques will take advantage of the improved communication and optimization capabilities enabled by the “SmartGrid," currently under development by utilities and government agencies.In particular, we propose to study:
1. Home-level scheduling using optimization methods
2. Neighborhood-level scheduling using distributed communication protocols
3. Pricing strategies using game-theoretic techniques
4. Storage optimization using inventory-theoretic approaches
This research project will result in new models and algorithms for controlling supply and demand in electricity SmartGrids. In the longer term, our results will affect the design of devices and software used by both consumers and utilities and may have policy implications as the nation's SmartGrid is developed and implemented.

Pakzad, S. ( Assistant Professor), Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mobile Sensing for Condition Monitoring of Highway Bridges

Monitoring the condition of large structural systems and infrastructure is an important and growing concern of the engineering community and the public. Widespread application of microelectro- mechanical-systems (MEMS) and Wireless Sensor Networks in various areas of engineering is expected to improve the performance of this new technology and help realize a safe and reliable infrastructure for public use. Fixed network topology is a limitation in using existing sensory for structural health monitoring. This project will explore an exciting and innovative solution to this limitation by employing sensors that are increasingly imbedded in cell phones. Data from cell phones‘ GPS sensors have been used recently for modeling highway traffic flow and real time traffic conjunction management. Security and privacy, as well as communication protocols have been developed and evaluated. However, much of the sensing capabilities of mobile devices have not been tapped into. This includes the accelerometers that can accurately measure vibrations and provide valuable information to assess structural conditions of bridges. There are several important problems that need to be addressed from the analysis point of view for this application to be viable. By collecting acceleration data from sensors that are moving, the data matrix will be incomplete, i.e., there is no guarantee that synchronized data from every point of the structure is available all the time. In this project we will formulate the system identification problem for this new application, solve it under certain favorable conditions, create computer simulations, and put together a detailed list of research tasks and strategies for a grant proposal to be submitted to the National Science Foundation.

Rotkin, S. (Assistant Professor), Physics
Physics of Quantum Electrodynamic Kapitsa conductance

Exponentially increasing heat generation in integrated electronics circuits is one of the "grand challenges" of modern electronics. Modern data centers already use as much power as a small power station generates and more than 50% of such power is “wasted” on the heat removal. Thus, it is important, in the context of the general energy conservation problem, to achieve an efficient heat removal without using large and heavy cooling equipment. Separate from this very practical and grounded application, we note the problem of cooling of the space electronics. The cooling, for example, of the Space Hubble Telescope satellite, was achieved using novel thermal interconnect materials (TIM). As we detail below, major problem for designing an efficient TIM is to overcome the contact (Kapitsa) resistance. Classical Kapitsa resistance for nanoengineered TIM is not low and there are good physical reasons for this. We cannot change the Physics but we will try to circumvent the problem. We study interface Quantum Electrodynamic (QED) interactions that represent a new mechanism which may allow a breakthrough for Kapitsa resistance of a nanoscale TIM. Using carbon-based materials with excellent electronic properties could be very beneficial for TIM applications, especially if their electronic properties will match well those of the contact material. The proposal is focused on basic Physics, being the first, incubation step to initiate a new research program. We will investigate the QED contributions to the thermal conductance across the nanointerface with nanotubes and graphene and evaluate its practical outcome for TIM.

SenGupta, A. (Professor), Civil and Environmental Engineering; Ou-Yang, D. (Professor), Physics
Hydrogen Ion as a Potential Source of Usable Energy: Observations and New Opportunities

We propose to demonstrate that it is possible to recover significant amount of useful energy from hydrogen ion (H+) through acid-base neutralization reaction, a potential source of energy never tapped before. The process is carbon neutral and in addition, it does not involve any oxidation reduction step. Acid-base neutralization is a widely practiced pollution control process for the waste acid streams generated from industrial as well as natural biogeochemical processes. The neutralization reaction, essentially considered to be a thermodynamically favorable association between hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-) ions, generates significant amount of thermal energy (ΔHo= -55.84 kJ/mol). However, due to the dilute nature of the waste acid streams, there is only a miniscule increase in the temperature of the bulk aqueous phase, making it impossible to tap any useful energy. We propose to carry out the neutralization reaction inside a hydrophilic polymer (or biopolymer) phase containing covalently attached weak-acid or weak-base functional groups that are pH sensitive. When contacted with acid or base, the variation in pH causes the functional groups to reversibly acquire and lose its ionic character. This change gives rise to on-off pattern of generation of osmotic pressure inside the polymer causing it to reversibly swell (osmosis) and shrink (deosmosis) due to the movement of water in and out of the polymer phase in accordance with the Donnan membrane principle.

For comparison, the standard state enthalpy change (ΔHo) for burning of coal (carbon) is: C+ O2(g) = CO2 ΔHo = -394 kJ/mol On per unit mass basis, H+ in neutralization reaction is thus a more effective energy source than carbon in combustion. We propose to transform otherwise unusable form of chemical energy from widely practiced acid-base neutralization reactions into compressed air, a form of mechanical energy, that can drive a turbine and produce electricity if needed.

Sherer, S. (Professor), Management; Meyerhoefer, C. (Assistant Professor), Economics
Optimizing Perinatal Care at LVHN

The Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is adopting an electronic medical record (EMR) system at network OB-Gyn practices, and linking the EMRs with an upgraded perinatal documentation system used at the hospital's Triage Unit (where women are evaluated for potential labor). In theory, improving transfer of a patient's clinical data between primary care OB-Gyn practices and Triage should improve the quality of medical decision making as well as the productivity of both primary-care and hospital personnel. However, studies of the impact of commercial HIT within nonacademic medical centers are scarce, and there are no statistical assessments of the value of an integrated system, or studies of the redesigns in organization and work flow required to achieve benefits from integration. Faculty members from the economics and management departments at Lehigh University are working with doctors and administrators at the LVHN to study the overall impact of the new technology, capitalizing on the chance to compare outcomes before and after the implementation of new software systems. The outcomes of interest are the incidence of adverse birth outcomes, patient satisfaction, and staff productivity and satisfaction. We use quantitative methods to measure the extent to which the new systems improve the transfer of clinical data between outpatient practices and the Triage Unit, and how this impacts health outcomes and efficiency. Additionally, we use qualitative methods, principally interviews and archival data analysis, to identify changes in roles, work processes and organizational structures that occur with implementation of the new systems, the response of medical staff to these changes, and their impact on outcomes.

Vinci, R. (Associate Professor), Materials Science and Engineering
Fabrication and Characterization of novel Pt-based intermetallic films

We propose to fabricate several new compounds made of platinum (Pt) and a second metal (aluminum, vanadium, palladium, and cadmium). In the right proportions, these materials should form compounds called “intermetallics” but in practice the intermetallic compound formation often fails to occur because the required reaction is very slow. The atoms in an intermetallic compound form a very ordered array that can exhibit unusual optical, chemical, and mechanical properties that are desirable for such applications as jewelry, electronics, biosensors, and chemical catalysts. We will use an unusual approach in which we will create coatings of the proper composition and encourage them to transform into the desired intermetallics by bombarding them with radiation. This should encourage the sluggish transformations, but will not leave radioactive material behind. The work will initiate a new collaboration between Lehigh and two South African groups: iThemba Labs and the University of Cape Town. Our desire is to generate some preliminary data together to demonstrate both technical feasibility and a collaboration track record. With these in hand, we plan to apply for a National Science Foundation Materials World Network (MWN) grant in fall 2010.

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