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Nanoscience Administration

Randy Heflin 16:9

Randy Heflin, Program Leader

Professor of Physics,
Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, College of Science

Email: rheflin@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-7289

Welcome to the Division of Nanoscience!

Thank you for your interest in our novel, interdisciplinary program.  Nanoscience, the study of materials and structures whose size is on the nanometer scale, lies at the very foundation of our world!  In our daily lives, we encounter consumer electronics, personal care products, stain- or wrinkle-resistant clothing, and solar panels, which rely on nanoscale processes or nanosized particles. 

The future of this rapidly growing industry will bring remarkably powerful quantum computers, advances in medical diagnostics and therapeutics, new energy solutions, as well as a plethora of advanced, nano-engineered materials for faster and more efficient communication devices, cheaper and safer construction, pollution control, and water purification. The Nanoscience degree program at Virginia Tech (one of only two such programs in the U.S.) is cutting-edge at the undergraduate level, preparing graduates for productive, exciting careers in burgeoning nanoscale industries. 

-Randy Heflin, Program Leader


Marc Michel

F. Marc Michel 

Division Leader of Nanoscience, Associate Professor, Geosciences
Email: mfrede2@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-3299

Carla Finkielstein

Carla Finkielstein

Associate Division Leader of Nanoscience,
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Email: finkielc@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-1159

Carrie Hopkins

Carrie Hopkins

Academic Advisor,
Academy of Integrated Science

Email: carrieh7@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-2442

Undergraduate Research

Are you looking for research opportunities to satisfy your NANO 4994 graduation requirement? View our reference document.


Core Faculty

Prof. Emori’s research interests are in nanometer-thick materials with robust spin-driven physics. Many of the physical phenomena studied are pronounced at room temperature and are essential for next-generation computing and communications technologies. Examples include low-loss spin dynamics in epitaxial oxide thin films, spin torque effects arising from thin-film interfaces, and chiral domain walls in ultrathin heterostructures. The group’s experimental capabilities encompass synthesis of high-quality magnetic thin films and heterostructures, tabletop measurements of spin transport and dynamics, and element-specific static and dynamic magnetic characterization at synchrotron facilities.

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-3332
Email: semori@vt.edu    

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Fellow and Associate Professor, Biocomplexity Institute

Dr. Finkielstein is Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, Director of the Integrated Cellular Responses Laboratory, and Member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation.

She has more than fifteen years experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and researcher. She founded the Integrated Cellular Responses Laboratory (ICRL) at Virginia Tech where her group works to understand the contribution of environmental factors on breast cancer initiation and progression.

Dr. Finkielstein's laboratory has produced over 40 publications and book chapters in the field, including articles in top journals such as Nature and Cell. In addition, She has filled and commercialized patents, trained over 120 undergraduate students that continued their graduate education in top and Ivy League Universities, and graduated numerous MSc and PhDs in the last years. Furthermore, Dr. Finkielstein has been running an international high school exchange program that has facilitated a new cultural and scientific experience to many Virginia and Argentinean students.

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-1159
Email: finkielc@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Integrated Celluar Responses Laboratory 
Finkelstein Research Group

Research Scientist, Virginia Tech, ICTAS
Associate Director, Nanoscale Characterization & Fabrication Lab (NCFL)
Associate Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, NanoEarth (an NNCI node)
President/Founder, NanoSafe, Inc.

My research interests are inherently interdisciplinary and focused on developing and implementing creative solutions to protect human health and promote environmental sustainability. Over the last 15 years, my research programs have explored the applications and implications of engineered nanomaterials in environmental systems for diverse clients in industry, non-profit organizations, and government agencies including the US Department of Defense (Air Force, Army, Navy), EPA, NASA, NOAA, NSF and DEFRA (UK).  My current research interests are focused on applying lessons learned from nanotechnology health and safety to help ensure public/national security and resilience amidst the rapid development and deployment of emerging and converging technology platforms incorporating, for example, combinations of nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and cyber security. Teaching and outreach are essential components of my research and include efforts to promote student-led STEM entrepreneurship/social entrepreneurship and collaborations with diverse and underrepresented groups.

Contact: 
Email: Kelly Hall (MC 0193), Room 410L
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office: 540.231.5812
Mobile: 540.449.3388

Research and Affiliations: 
ICTAS
NanoEarth
NCFL
NNCI
NanoFabNet
VTCRC

Associate Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Liu earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Zhejiang University (P. R. China) in 2005. Before completing his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (advisor, Dr. Paul F. Nealey), he worked at HGST, a Western Digital® company (California), to apply his findings on 15-nm block copolymer lithography in magnetic data storage in 2010. After completing his doctorate in 2011, he conducted postdoctoral research at Northwestern University (advisor, Dr. Chad A. Mirkin), where he was named an Outstanding Researcher in the International Institute for Nanotechnology. 

He joined as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and an affiliated professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech in Fall 2014. He is also an assistant professor of Nanoscience in the Academy of Integrated Science (AIS) and is affiliated with the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (VTSuN)and the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII), a Macromolecular Science and Engineering program at Virginia Tech.

Liu has four patents assigned to Western Digital® and one patent licensed to Intel®.

Associate Professor, Geosciences
Leader, Division of Nanoscience
Luther and Alice Hamlett Junior Faculty Fellow

Associate Professor, Physics

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-3158
Email: vinh@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Terahertz Spectroscopy Group

Collegiate Assistant Professor, Academy of Integrated Science

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-3158
Email: ctian@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Profile Page

Affiliated Faculty

Contact: 
Phone: (540) 231-5243
Email: ashkar@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Ashkar Research Group

Research Scientist

Contact:
Phone: 540-951-5958
Email: anandban@vt.edu 

Research and Affiliations:
Tyson Lab

Assistant Professor, University Libraries

 Dr. Brown's research involves the application of computational molecular modeling and bioinformatic tools to relate the structure and dynamics of molecular systems to function. Dr. Brown also runs the DataBridge undergraduate research program, which trains and has students apply data science techniques to a variety of data-centric projects the group consults on with collaborators from all over campus and beyond. Projects include working with historical election data, text data mining for antimicrobial resistance and COVID-19 topics, and more. Data visualization, analysis (trend spotting, text data mining, etc), and tool generation are areas where students work to find solutions for research projects.

Contact: 
Phone:  540-231-9231
Email:  ambrown7@vt.edu

Research Groups: 
Bevan & Brown Lab
DataBridge

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Fellow and Associate Professor, Biocomplexity Institute

Dr. Capelluto has published more than 30 papers in journals such as Nature, Cell, Structure, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Journal of Immunology. The central theme of his research is to understand how membrane protein-lipid interactions drive intracellular signaling and modulate cellular processes ranging from the regulation of the innate immune response, endosomal membrane trafficking to blood coagulation.

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-0974
Email: capellut@vt.edu    

Professor, Chemistry
A.C. Lilly Faculty Fellow of Nanoscience
Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Professor of Radiology, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

For nearly 40 years, Harry Dorn has made pioneering developments in joining high-performance liquid chromatography with nuclear magnetic resonance to form a technique that has since become an important tool in the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. His laboratory has also initiated a second research area involving electron paramagnetic resonance and dynamic nuclear polarization. This work has led to new approaches for next-generation magnetic resonance imaging instruments. In the early 1990s, the Dorn Laboratory began a new area of research involving the synthesis, separation, and functionalization of the newly discovered carbonaceous nanomaterials, nanotubes, fullerenes, and metal-encapsulated fullerenes, or endohedral metallofullerenes. More recently, the Dorn Laboratory reported a remotely new class of radiolabeled fullerenes.

In addition to his positions at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Dorn directs the Carbonaceous Nanomaterials Center at Virginia Tech.

Contact: 
Phone: 540-526-2049
Email: hdorn@vt.edu    

Research and Affiliations: 
Dorn Laboratory

Dr. Esker's group focuses on the use of solution casting, spin-coating, self-assembly, and the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique to explore the physical chemical aspects of polymer dynamics in confined geometries and at surfaces and interfaces. These systems are ideal for studying contemporary issues affecting nanotechnology like nanofiller reinforcement in polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS)/polymer nanocomposites, magnetic nanoparticle-lipid interactions for drug delivery systems, and biomimetic engineering of cellulose/polymer interfaces in composites. 

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-4601
Email: aesker@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Dr. Esker's profile page  

Professor, Physics
Leader, Division of Nanoscience
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Science

Dr. Heflin's research focuses on the nonlinear optical and optoelectronic properties of organic self-assembled and nanoscale materials, especially conjugated polymers and fullerenes. Current projects include:

  • Organic Second Order Nonlinear Optical Materials Fabricated from Ionic Self-Assembled Multilayers (ISAMs)  
  • Optical Fiber Long Period Grating Sensors with Self-Assembled Affinity Coatings 
  • Plasmonic Enhancement of Nonlinear Optical Responses by Metal Nanoparticles in ISAM Films  
  • Second Order Nonlinearities in Silica Fibers and Microspheres Induced by Polar Self-Assembled Multilayers  
  • Self-Assembly of Ionic Liquid Electromechanical Actuators  
  • Polymer Photovoltaics with Nanoscale Control of Morphology by Thermally-Induced Interdiffusion 
  • Silica Nanoparticle ISAM Antireflection Coatings 
  • MEMS Gas Chromatography with ISAM Stationary Phases 
  • Rapid-Switching Self-Assembled Electrochromic Devices 

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-7289
Email: rheflin@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Dr. Heflin's Homepage

Contact:
Email: hochella@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-6227

Research and Affiliations:
Emeritus

Contact:
Email: ghodes@vt.edu
Phone: (540) 232-8684

Research and Affiliations:
Profile Page

Dr. Khodaparast's current research interests are in the following: 

  • Spectroscopy in Multiferroics
  • Magneto-Optical studies of InMnAs and InMnSb ferromagnetic structures
  • The exploration of quantum coherence, correlations, and many-body effects in narrow gap semiconductors using time-resolved techniques
  • Non-linear Spectroscopy

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-7511
Email: khoda@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Dr. Khodaparast's Homepage

Dr. Matson's research group develops new materials for biology and medicine using techniques and tools from organic polymer chemistry and supramolecular chemistry. The group is interdisciplinary, with the goal of designing and synthesizing new polymers and gels for various applications. Current areas of focus include:

  • New compounds for gasotransmitter release
  • Peptide-based responsive materials
  • Novel covalent nanostructures with anisotropic shapes

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-3329
Email: jbmatson@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
The Matson Laboratory

The finite supply of fossil fuels and the possible environmental impact of such energy sources has garnered the scientific community's attention for the development of alternative, overall carbon-neutral fuel sources. The sun provides enough energy every hour to power the earth for a year. However, two of the remaining challenges that limit the utilization of solar energy are the development of cheap and efficient solar harvesting materials and advances in energy storage technology. Natural photosynthetic systems utilize the sun's energy to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, nature's stored solar fuel. Artificial photosynthetic systems that can oxidize waer and reduce carbon dioxide efficiently to a solar fuel could represent the breakthrough solar power needs to become a viable energy source.

In my lab, the projects focus on two aspects of solar energy conversion: direct catalysis at photoactive electrodes and the development of solar cells from inexpensive materials. Current efforts include:

  • Investigating the structure-function relationship of novel molecular materials for water-splitting and carbon dioxide reduction
  • Utilizing pulsed laser techniques to investigate the mechanism of molecular carbon dioxide reduction catalysis
  • Exploring inorganic charge-transfer spin crossover complexes for use in low-cost, highly efficient quantum dot dye-sensitized solar cell

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-5585
Email: ajmorris@vt.edu

Dr. Park's research interests are theoretical and computational studies of electronic, magnetic, and transport properties of various magnetic materials and nanostructures.

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-5533
Email: kyungwha@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Dr. Park's Homepage

Contact:
Email: cjpereztorres@vt.edu

Contact:
Email: pleim@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations:
Profile Page

Associate Professor, Physics

Dr Robinson's research interests are in optical and quantum mechanical properties of metal and semiconductor nanostructures. Current projects include:

Contact: 
Phone: 540-231-8732
Email: hansr@vt.edu

Research and Affiliations: 
Dr. Robinson's Homepage

Contact:
Email: mdschulz@vt.edu  

Research and Affiliations:
The Schulz Group