MVC is a scientific, visual, and artistic competition sponsored by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) and the Materials Research Institute (MRI). Through the creativity and visualization of our researchers, MVC celebrates the quality of research in materials at Penn State and promotes awareness of materials science. Entry is open to all Penn State undergraduates, graduates, post-docs, and faculty working on materials-related topics.
Competition is open during the spring semester and submissions can be entered in one of three categories: scientific, visual, and computation. All submitted images are judged by a panel defined by MatSE and MRI. After deliberation, the panel chooses the top three entries for each category and one image that represents the Best of Show.
Rounded membrane topology reminiscent of an abandoned alien planet covered in a blanket of ice
Submitted by: Woochul Song, Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering
Scientific Description: Cross-section scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of organic/inorganic hybrid membranes for advanced molecular separations. This hybrid membrane has a structure of thin and defect-free nanofilm polymer layer (icy blue) supported by porous aluminum oxide ceramic membrane (light brown) with mesoporous organic balls (red) in between, providing gently undulating surface architecture of separation membranes. All membrane components were designed to be highly resistant to various polar and nonpolar solvents, and both the nanofilm and organic balls are made from angstrom scale synthetic nanochannel structures that can precisely separate target molecules from the mixture using subtle differences in shapes or sizes. Also, enhanced surface roughness given provided undulating morphology of selective layer is expected to improve membrane productivity by increasing membrane area.
Structural Color from Condensed Water Droplets on the Surface of PDMS
Submitted by: Amy Goodling, Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering
Scientific Description: As water condenses onto a hydrophobic surface like the polymer PDMS, it will form a concave geometry which allows for incident light to totally internally reflect at the air to water interface. As the light rays propagate throughout the interface, they interfere with each other and create an iridescent structural color. This color formed from simple water droplets can be captured with an optical microscope, and because of their asymmetry, support an image with a multitude of different colors in each singular droplet as the light leaves the droplet.
Emergent Oscillations in Collections of Double Emulsion Droplets
Submitted by: Caleb Meredith, Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering
Scientific Description: Collections of microscale double emulsion droplets containing hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon oils undergo spontaneous oscillations driven by radially propagating waves of surfactant molecules due to convective flows in the surrounding aqueous solution. These strikingly complex formations arise from only three chemical components: oil, water and surfactant. Droplet movements and cluster organization continually evolves with time and can be sustained for a period of hours. Synthetic material systems of minimal chemical complexity, such as emulsions, are promising models to study self-organization and emergent phenomena found in biological systems. Microfluidics techniques were used to prepare monodisperse droplets, 75 microns in diameter. Image captured using transmission optical microscopy at 2x magnification.
Scientific Description: This nano-antennas integrated micro-ring resonator is capable of directly generating laser emission with controllable orbital angular momentum (OAM). The microring is made of InGaAsP (multiple quantum well layer) on top of InP substrate. The nanoantenna is consist of gold/silicon/gold triple layer with a total height of 60nm.
Scientific Description: A Scanning Electron Microscope image of engineered T cells (pink) attacking a breast cancer cell (green). These T cells are modified to express a receptor which can bind to a protein on the cancer cell surface and eventually induce cancer cell death.
An array of skyrmions in ferroelectric superlattice.
Submitted by: Xiaoxing Cheng, Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering
Scientific Description: A novel emergent polar state in 16 layers PbTiO3/ 16 layers SrTiO3 superlattices on a SrTiO3 substrate, in which an array of skyrmion structure forms spontaneously at room temperature. Image shows the phase-field simulation result of the polarization vectors in PbTiO3 layer.
The electron density change as a single water binds to the surface of a fast-quenched sodium silicate glass
Submitted by: Collin Wilkinson, Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering
Scientific Description: The process of water binding on glass surfaces is the single most plaguing issue for modern glass manufacturing as the water content effects every single property of a glass. A model using topological degrees of freedom at the surface is developed and compared with a combination of molecular dynamics (ReaxFF) and electronic structure calculations (DFT) with the purpose of predicting the probabilistic binding behavior. The above image shows a single water molecule over the surface of a 0.3 Na2O 0.7 SiO2 glass. The densities represent the binding energy of the water atom where blue represents where charge has been taken from and orange is where it has been redistributed.
X-ray micro-CT Data-Driven model of the microstructure of maghemite nanoparticles composite
Submitted by: Anna Madra, Postdoctoral Scholar, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Mychal Spencer, Graduate Research Assistant, Aerospace Engineering; and Namiko Yamamoto, Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Scientific Description: The figure is a 3D reconstruction of the experimental microstructure of a composite material with maghemite (iron oxide) nanoparticles that have been organized into a mesoscale network of fibers. The reconstruction is based on the X-ray micro-CT imaging at the resolution of 8 microns and post-processed with an array of machine learning algorithms to provide a Data-Driven model, shown as the overlaid triangular mesh consisting of 7.4 million degrees of freedom. This reconstruction can be used to analyze and simulate how the conductivity of the material is influenced by the manufacturing parameters. Here, it is emphasized by the less dense and discontinuous arrangement of fibers at the top of the specimen turning into a connected and dense lattice at the bottom of the specimen.
The hydration of mineral Montmorillonite calculated using first-principle solvation model. Isosurfaces represent the polarization charge density at the Montmorillonite-water interface.
Submitted by: Weinan Chen, Graduate Student, Materials Science and Engineering
Scientific Description: Montmorillonite, a soft mineral, is very effective in adsorbing heavy metal from aqueous solution. Therefore, it has been widely used as a natural scavenger of pollutants for removing heavy metal ions from its surroundings through ion adsorption and exchange. This is often accompanied by the swelling of montmorillonite, as its volume expands significantly with the addition of water. The interaction between montmorillonite and water depends on the crystal structure and chemical variances of montmorillonite, and largely affects the efficiency of heavy metal extraction. This work focuses on using DFT method to investigate the montmorillonite-water interaction at the interface.