386030 Materials and Systems Design for Healthcare and Energy Applications

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Meenesh R. Singh, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, Doraiswami Ramkrishna, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, Nathaniel A Lynd, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, Berkeley, CA, Nathan S. Lewis, Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, Alexis T. Bell, Energy Biosciences Institute and Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA and Rachel A. Segalman, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

My research is focused on developing mathematical, computational, and experimental methods for rapid materials screening and systems design for pharmaceutical and solar fuels applications. My research plan in these two different areas is described as follows.

Research Area 1: Designer Crystals for Healthcare Applications

Current Collaborators: Prof. Doraiswami Ramkrishna (Purdue U.) and Dr. Hsien-Hsin Tung (AbbVie Inc.)

Description: The crystal structure and morphology are two critical determinants of the physicochemical properties such as solubility, hardness, cleavage, optoelectronic properties, electrical and heat conductivities, and piezoelectric effect of crystalline materials. The polymorphs (crystal structure) are determined in the early stage of crystallization process whereas the morphologies depend on growth, dissolution, and milling conditions. Figure 1 shows a scheme that probes processes at different length scales using a combination of experimental and mathematical tools to control crystal structure, shape, and size by tuning various environmental conditions. The proposed research is fundamental to crystal growth in different areas (e.g. the semiconductor industry, catalytic applications, and the pharmaceutical industry).

Figure 1: Research Plan for Identification of Structure-Property Relationships and Directed Synthesis of Crystalline Materials

Selected Publications:

  1. Meenesh R. Singh, Jayanta Chakraborty, Nandkishor Nere, Hsien-Hsin Tung, Shailendra Bordawekar and Doraiswami Ramkrishna, “Image-Analysis-Based Method for Measurement of 3D Crystal Morphology and Polymorph Identification using Confocal Microscopy,” Crystal Growth & Design, 12 (7), 3735-3748, 2012
  2. Meenesh R. Singh, Parul Verma, Hsien-Hsin Tung, Shailendra Bordawekar and Doraiswami Ramkrishna, “Screening Crystal Morphologies from Crystal Structure,” Crystal Growth & Design, 13 (4), 1390-1396, 2013.
  3. Meenesh R. Singh and Doraiswami Ramkrishna, “A Comprehensive Approach to Predicting Crystal Morphology Distributions with Population Balances,” Crystal Growth & Design, 13 (4), 1397 – 1411, 2013.
  4. Meenesh R. Singh and Doraiswami Ramkrishna, “Dispersions in Crystal Nucleation and Growth Rates: Implications of Fluctuation in Supersaturation,” Chemical Engineering Science, 107 (7), 102-113, 2014.
  5. Doraiswami Ramkrishna and Meenesh R. Singh, “Population Balance Modeling. Current Status and Future Prospects,” Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 5 (1), 2014

Research Area 2: Artificial Photosynthesis for Solar Fuels

Current Collaborators: Dr. Nathaniel Lynd (LBNL), Prof. Rachel A. Segalman (UC Berkeley), Prof. Alexis T. Bell (UC Berkeley) and Prof. Nathan S. Lewis (Caltech)

Description: Harnessing solar energy to produce liquid fuels is a promising route to support future energy demands. One possible route is to first produce hydrogen, which can be generated by photoelectrochemically splitting water. The solar fuel generators such as photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) involve a two-step conversion of sunlight to hydrogen using a photovoltaic (PV) cell directly (wireless) or indirectly (wired) connected to an electrochemical cell. My research in this area is focused on identifying materials and methods to develop an efficient, robust, cheap and durable PECs for water-splitting and carbon dioxide reduction. One of the design objectives here is to minimize the potential losses in the device using interface and systems engineering approaches.

Figure 2: Research Plan for the Design of Cheap, Efficient, and Durable Solar Fuel Generators

Selected Publications:

1.       Meenesh R. Singh, John C. Stevens, and Adam Z. Weber, “Design of Membrane-Encapsulated Wireless Photoelectrochemical Cells for Hydrogen Production”, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 161 (8), 2014

2.       Jian Jin, Karl Walczak, Meenesh R. Singh, Chris Karp, Nathan S. Lewis, and Chengxiang Xiang, “Experimental and Modeling/Simulation Evaluation of the Efficiency and Operational Performance of an Integrated, Membrane-Free, neutral pH solar-Driven Water-Splitting System,” submitted

3.       Christopher M. Evans, Meenesh R. Singh, Nathaniel A. Lynd, and Rachel A. Segalman, “Improving the Gas Barrier Properties of Nafion via Thermal Annealing: Evidence for Dual-Mode Diffusion,” submitted to Macromolecules.


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