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


Cara_Craze

Cara Conley

Academic Advisor,

Academy of Integrated Science

Email: cara1@vt.edu

Phone: 540-231-8132

Nora Sullivan

Nora Dragovic

Program Manager & Advisor,

Academy of Integrated Science

Email: nora84@vt.edu

Phone: 540-231-8131


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    

A.C. Lilly Faculty Fellow of Nanoscience

Professor, Chemistry

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

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    

Research and Affiliations:  

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  

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

Many fundamental, yet complex, biological functions are carried out by molecular machineries composed of biopolymers, especially proteins and peptides. Recent advancements in protein and peptide engineering tools have facilitated scientific progress towards a new class of soft materials that merge unique properties of bio- and synthetic polymers.

The Grove lab focuses on design and synthesis of proteins and peptides for a broad variety of applications including assembly of nanostructured materials with tunable morphology and function, biosensing, and drug delivery. Our work is highly interdisciplinary and students will receive training in several areas of chemistry, structural biology, and materials science.

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-7011

Email: tijana.grove@vt.edu   

Research and Affiliations: 

The Grove Lab

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

University Distinguished Professor, Geosciences

Director, Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (VTSuN)

Dr. Hochella's teaching interests are wide ranging, from Earth systems science and sustainability (geo- and bio-aspects), to introductory, mineralogical, environmental, and resource geology, to advanced graduate level courses in my fields of specialty, including nanoscience and technology, mineral surface geochemistry, mineral-microbe interaction, mineralogy, crystallography, bulk and surface atomic structure analysis, and the theory, design, and use of X-ray, electron, ion, and laser-beam spectroscopic, diffraction, and analytic instrumentation.

His research interests include: 

  • elucidating the role that nanoscience and mineral surface geochemistry/biogeochemistry plays in major aspects of the earth sciences, including especially environmental issues and biogeochemical cycling of the elements.
  • mineral-microbe interactions from both geochemical and biochemical perspectives, applications to nutrients and toxins in the environment and their mobility.

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-6227

Email: hochella@vt.edu  

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. 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®.

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-8241

Email: gliu1@vt.edu

Dr. Long received his B. S. in 1983 from St. Bonaventure University, followed by his Ph.D. in 1987 from Virginia Tech.  He spent nearly a decade as a research scientist at Eastman Kodak Company before returning to Virginia Tech as a Professor in the Department of Chemistry.

He has over 43 patents in the field of macromolecular science and engineering, and has recently exceeded 230 peer-reviewed publications.  He has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry since 1998 and currently serves as the Director of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII) at Virginia Tech. He has received many prestigious honors in his field of polymer chemistry recently, including the 2015 Virginia Scientist of the Year, American Chemical Society (ACS) PMSE Cooperative Research Award and ACS POLY Mark Scholars Award, as well as the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) Carl Dahlquist Award in 2011, Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Research Excellence (AARE) in 2010, 2009 ACS Fellow, and invited organizer of the Gordon Research Conference – Polymers, and Chair, ACS Polymer Division.

Dr. Long maintains a vigorous partnership with diverse industries, including BASF, Carlisle, Elevance, IBM, ExxonMobil, SABIC, P&G, 3M, Kimberly Clark, Henkel, Bayer, Kraton Polymers, Align Technology, and Solvay.  He has maintained a 20-member interdisciplinary research group and has been awarded ~ $43M in research funding over the past 17 years at Virginia Tech.

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-6227

Email: hochella@vt.edu  

    

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

Assistant Professor, Geosciences

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-3299

Email: mfrede2@vt.edu

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. Hochella's teaching interests are wide ranging, from Earth systems science and sustainability (geo- and bio-aspects), to introductory, mineralogical, environmental, and resource geology, to advanced graduate level courses in my fields of specialty, including nanoscience and technology, mineral surface geochemistry, mineral-microbe interaction, mineralogy, crystallography, bulk and surface atomic structure analysis, and the theory, design, and use of X-ray, electron, ion, and laser-beam spectroscopic, diffraction, and analytic instrumentation.

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-3158

Email: vinh@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

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

Dr. Tao's research group investigates structural, electronic and thermodynamic properties of nanostructures at atomic or submolecular scale. Currently our main experimental tools are scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy.

Contact: 

Phone: (540) 231-6525

Email: cgtao@vt.edu