Students at Argonne on the FaST Track to New Skills

AUGUST 20, 2010

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Southern University and A&M College students and their faculty advisor In the GSECARS 13-BM-D research enclosure: left to right, Steven Robins, Riyadh Al-Raoush (faculty mentor), Jasmin Richardson, and Courtney Gordon.

College students and mentors from a number of universities spent 10 weeks this summer learning at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Photon Source (APS) and other facilities and divisions at Argonne National Laboratory as part of the DOE/National Science Foundation-funded Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) program. The program provides hands-on research opportunities for faculty and students from colleges and universities with limited research facilities and those institutions serving populations underrepresented in the fields of science, engineering, and technology. The FaST program at Argonne, which saw 17 FaST research projects carried out across the Laboratory during the summer of 2010, is administered through the Argonne Division of Educational Programs.

• Three students and their mentor Riyadh Al-Raoush from Southern University and A&M, studied at the GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS) x-ray beamline at the APS. Under the guidance of Mark Rivers (University of Chicago and GSECARS), the group performed microtomography experiments on fluid saturated soil columns, important for understanding environmental remediation efforts. They did a complete experiment from start-to-finish, including designing a real-time flow apparatus with SolidWorks three-dimensional computer-aided design software, helping to build it, and treating the soil columns in the laboratory. They then spent four 24-hour days in a row collecting the data at the microtomography facility at the GSECARS station 13-BM-D, and analyzed the more than 100 gigabytes of data they collected.

• Khalil Amine of the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division (CSE) worked with students and faculty mentor Sabrina Bailey from Chicago State University to investigate the compatibility of battery materials at elevated temperatures using differential scanning calorimetry.

• Marc Johnson, also CSE, and students and faculty mentor Jonathan Breitzer from Fayetteville State University studied the synthesis, characterization, and evaluation of new organometallic complexes as catalysts/catalyst precursors for metathesis, oxidation, and reduction (processes relevant to solar fuel synthesis.

• Guenter Conzelmann of the Decision and Information Sciences Division (DIS) worked with students and faculty mentor Marcel Castro-Sitiriche from University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) as they looked at the impact of storage and smart-grid technologies used in commercial buildings on the overall power system and, in a separate project with a different group and their faculty mentor Eduardo Ortiz-Rivera from UPRM, worked on developing and testing new routines for power systems simulations, including short and long-term power market modeling issues.

• Andrzej Joachimiak of the Biosciences Division worked with students and faculty mentor Mark Cunningham from The University of Texas-Pan American through the intricacies of a R&D program to test the capabilities for the Structural Genomics Program protein structure determination pipeline and assess the new enhancements in gene cloning of full-length proteins and protein domains predicted through bioinformatics approach, protein expression, solubility and production, crystal growth, data collection, structure determination and refinement. Joachimiak also worked with students and faculty mentor Soon-Ok Park from Governors State University as they continued development and implementation of a personal digital assistant for Midwest Center for Structural Genomics cloning and purification databases.

• Tijana Rajh from the Center for Nanoscale Materials, and students and faculty mentor Linda de la Garza from Valdosta State University, worked on a project to design, characterize and apply soft-organic-based materials such as electrically-conductive, n-type and p-type polymers and proton-conductive polymers to build frameworks around inorganic semiconductor materials. 

• Jeffrey Sims of the Facilities Management and Services Department and students and faculty mentor Paulette Hebert from Oklahoma State University supported the Energy Science Building (ESB) Project and the Office of Project Management Strategic Planning Group with a range of tasks including review of ESB Building Information Modeling design progress submissions, developing presentation graphics and posters for ESB and future Argonne building projects, developing plans for the Argonne energy quad buildings, and assisting the strategic planning team in planning the efficient use of office and laboratory spaces.

• David Tiede of CSE and students and faculty mentor Alvin Holder from The University of Southern Mississippi studied the design and synthesis of transition metal complexes, and their characterization in both solution and interfacial phases using a suite characterization tools that potentially included synchrotron x-ray scattering and spectroscopy, pulsed, multi-frequency electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, transient optical spectroscopy, and scanning near-field optical spectroscopy. Tiede also worked with students and faculty mentor Kristy Mardis from Chicago State University in carrying out ab initio electronic structure calculations and molecular dynamics simulations of modular photocatalysts designed for solar hydrogen production by the linking of solar photosensitizers and transition metal catalyst modules.

• Robert Ross of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division (MCS) and students and faculty mentor Yi Jia from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez investigated the use and deployment of wireless sensor networks in a machine room environment.

• Shiu-Wing Tam of DIS and students and faculty mentor Seong Lee from Morgan State University focused on challenges in the areas of high-rate heat transfer and thermal energy storage.

• Todd Munson of MCS and students and faculty mentor Sachin Shetty from Tennessee State University worked on the mathematical formulation and solution of statistical and stochastic models for the optimal design of intrusion detection systems.

• Rajesh Ahlu and students and faculty mentor Xueqing Tang from Governors State University worked on producing an execute simulink of the Argonne General Computational Toolkit to be coupled with the Argonne Powertrain System Analysis Toolkit© software for fuel cell vehicle performance simulation.

• Jeff Collins of the APS Engineering Support Division worked with students and faculty mentor Bharat Thakkar from the Illinois Institute of Technology to fabricate enhanced heat transfer testing tubes and perform a series of heat transfer and pressure loss tests in order to understand the data collection and reduction processes, and how the data can be non-dimensionalized to yield generalized relations.

• Jaewook Shin of MCS worked with students and faculty mentor Jesse Y. Wang from Chicago State University on Empirical instruction scheduling to measured performance in selecting the best performing schedule of instructions to produce better performing codes than the optimal instruction scheduling based on solving the integr programming problem.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.