HEMI APL Seed Grants Awarded

The Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) Research and Exploratory Development (RED) mission area have awarded two, $50,000 seed grants. These seed grants promote pioneering research and collaboration between HEMI and JHUAPL RED.

Paulette Clancy, professor, and head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, teamed with Nam Le, staff scientist at JHUAPL RED, on a project titled, “Towards Proton Radiation-Resistant Perovskite Solar Cell Materials for Space Applications.” The goal of the project is to understand what defects are formed when energetic particles interact with metal halide perovskites (MHPs), as these can lead to performance degradation and thus limit the viability of these promising solar cells. Their low cost, lightweight, and simple manufacturing process make them an ideal candidate for in-space manufacturing goals of future space missions.

The second seed grant is awarded to the team of Jaafar El-Awady, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Christopher Stiles, senior staff scientist in JHUAPL RED. Their project is titled, “Developing a Multiscale/Multiphysics Framework to Support the Ecofriendly Mitigation of Ice Loss from the Arctic and Greenland Glaciers and Icesheets.” The project’s objectives are to create a mechanistic-based multiscale computational framework that can predict the mechanics of ice deformation under creep loading, as well as the effect of ice nucleation proteins on the structure and mechanical properties of the formed ice. This study could result in an environmentally friendly framework for mitigating ice mass loss in Greenland and Antarctica.


HEMI Fellows awarded DURIP grants

Ryan Hurley, assistant professor in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Kit Bowen, the E. Emmet Reid Professor of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, were awarded Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) grants. DURIP enables university faculty to procure major equipment needed to perform cutting-edge foundational science research relevant to national defense.

Hurley will use his grant to obtain equipment needed to build an extreme-pressure triaxial compression apparatus. This will enable his research group to conduct in-situ studies of geomaterial deformation mechanisms. Bowen’s grant will support his work exploring the role of cluster reactivity in destroying chemical warfare agents.

The Department of Defense awarded a total of $59 million to 147 university researchers under DURIP. More than 500 proposals were submitted, resulting in a highly competitive selection process. DURIP is jointly administered by the Army Research Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research through a merit competition.

HEMI – APL A&MD grant seed award

James Spicer, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and HEMI staff engineers Matt Shaeffer and Justin Moreno, have been awarded $50,000 HEMI–APL Air and Missile Defense (A&MD) seed grants.  

Spicer teamed with A&MD materials scientists Yo-Rhin Rhim and Dajie Zhang on a proposal titled “Photo-assisted processing of micro-structured ultra-high-temperature-ceramics.” Their seed grant will be used to investigate the feasibility of fabricating dense carbide coatings for environmental barrier applications using gas-solid reaction-based processes. They will also look into cellular carbide microstructures for thermal management under extreme conditions. 

Shaeffer and Moreno will support David Brown of A&MD in a seed grant project titled, “Hypersonic impact studies of large particles.” They will explore the resultant phenomena of particles 50 to 100 micrometers in diameter moving at hypersonic velocities colliding with a metal target using real-time diagnostics. To achieve these velocities, the team will utilize HEMI’s hypervelocity facility for impact research experiments (HyFIRE). The HyFIRE diagnostic equipment will enable them to determine the critical failure mechanisms and how the material behaves under these extreme impact conditions. 

The HEMI – APL A&MD seed grants program is jointly funded by the Whiting School of Engineering and the Applied Physics Laboratory.  

Susanna Thon appointed marshal salant faculty scholar

HEMI Fellow Susanna Thon, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been appointed as the Marshal Salant Faculty Scholar. 

The Marshal Salant Faculty Scholar was established by Marshal Salant `80, university trustee and the managing director and global head of Alternative Energy Financing at Citigroup, a multinational investment bank and financial services corporation. 

Thon and her research group at the NanoEnergy Laboratory study nanomaterials engineering for optoelectronic devices with a focus on solar energy conversion and sensing. Her work applies techniques from nanophotonics and scalable fabrication to produce devices and materials with novel optical and electrical functionality. Insights from Thon’s research on photovoltaics are helping to push the boundaries of efficiency and cost-effectiveness using flexible platforms and new materials.  

Thon and her colleagues have recently developed new materials-based methods to increase the power output of next-generation solar cells, as well as a new multimodal characterization technique to accelerate technology development. 

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HEMI Fellows awarded best papers at MS&T conference

Lori Graham-Brady, HEMI associate director and professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and KT Ramesh, the Alonzo G. Decker Professor of Science and Engineering and director of HEMI, were awarded best papers by the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. On October 11, 2022, their winning papers were presented at a special awards symposium at the Materials Science and Technology Technical Meeting and Exhibition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

Graham-Brady’s paper is titled, “Fragmentation and Granular Transition of Ceramics for High Rate Loading,” and included co-authors Amartya Bhattacharjee and Ryan Hurley of Johns Hopkins University. 

“Models for the Behavior of Boron Carbide in Extreme Dynamic Environments,” is the title of K.T. Ramesh’s winning paper. Co-authors included: Lori Graham-Brady, Ryan Hurley, Mark Robbins, Amartya Bhattacharjee, Qinglei Zeng, Weixin Li, and Nilanjan Mitra from Johns Hopkins University; William Goddard, California Institute of Technology; Andrew Tonge, DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory; Joel Clemmer, Sandia National Laboratories; and Qi An, University of Nevada, Reno. 

Both papers were the result of research conducted in the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments(CMEDE), a center within the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. Funded by the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory, CMEDE research has developed a materials-by-design process for protection materials which have military armor applications.    

HEMI Fellows awarded [email protected] seed grants

Paulette Clancy, department head and professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, and Sarah Hörst, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, have been awarded the 2022 [email protected] seed grants.  

[email protected] brings together researchers from across Johns Hopkins University divisions, departments, and collaborative institutes to advance civilian space research. The grants are intended  to enable Johns Hopkins researchers to test and develop new ideas that enhance their ability to obtain external funding.   

Hörst is a co-investigator on the seed grant project, “Electrification of Titan and Sand Materials” seed grant. Clancy’s project is titled, “Sheltering Life on Titan and Enceluadus.”   

HEMI receives funding from NSF for materials data research

The Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) has received funding from the National Science Foundation(NSF) to expand its materials data research.

As a recipient of one of the inaugural awards in NSF’s Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable, Open Science Research Coordination Networks (FAIROS RCN) program. HEMI researchers will create the MaRCN (Materials Research Coordination Network). MaRCN will advance and coordinate findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable (FAIR) data and support open-science materials research nationally and internationally, bridging the fundamental gap between materials data and data-intensive methods including artificial intelligence and machine learning.  The project will build on a range of planning and preparatory activities including the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and the Materials Research Data Alliance (MaRDA), a community-based network spanning stakeholders in academia, industry, and publishing.

The MaRCN project involves six institutions: Johns Hopkins University (lead institution), SUNY at Buffalo, Duke University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, and the University of Chicago.  The total project budget awarded was $1,490,815.  The award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.



Announcing the 2022 HEMI Seed Grant Awardees

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 HEMI Seed Grants: Prof. Yayuan Liu, Dr. Chao He, and Prof. Dimitris Giovanis!

Liu is an an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and an associate faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her accepted proposal is titled “Designing Vascularized Porous Electrodes with Enhanced Ion Transport for Battery Extreme Fast Charging.”

He is an associate research scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. His accepted proposal is titled “Spectral signature of prebiotic molecules in Titan’s surface materials.”

Giovanis is an assistant research professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and Fellow within HEMI. His accepted proposal is titled “Data Driven Uncertainty Quantification for Energetic Materials.”

Each HEMI Seed Grant awards $25,000 to each recipient for the effective award period of September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023. They are given each year to fund research in fundamental science associated with materials and structures under extreme conditions. All faculty and researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, as well as Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) staff, who can serve as Principal and Co-Investigators are eligible to apply. Learn more about the program here.

Kshitiz Upadhyay receives 2022 WCB Early Career Research Award

Kshitiz Upadhyay, a postdoctoral fellow in HEMI, recently received the WCB Early Career Research Award. Given by the World Congress of Biomechanics, (WCB) the award recognizes the research of promising scientists, six years removed from completing their doctoral degrees and is distributed every four years during the Congress.

He was selected by committee after completing a three-step process: submitting a short abstract, being selected to submit an extended abstract, then giving an oral presentation of his abstract during the WCB 2022 Young Researcher Award Session.

Upadhyay’s research interests lie in the broad area of mechanics of soft materials, with emphasis on constitutive modeling, injury biomechanics, experimental solid mechanics, and data-driven methods. He is is a postdoctoral fellow in the Ramesh lab within the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He received his PhD and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, and B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology–Bhopal, India. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer at Applied Materials India.

He was awarded the Best Dissertation Award, the Graduate Student Research Award, the Gator Engineering Attribute Award, and the Outstanding International Student Award, all from the University of Florida. He also won first place in the 2019 SEM Michael Sutton International Student Paper Competition for his research on the experimental characterization of high strain rate shear response of soft materials.

Dr. Upadhyay will be starting as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University in August 2022.