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Past Seminars

Fall 2023: Tuesday, November 14th from 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Delia Milliron  |  Professor | Department of Chemical Engineering

  • Professor Milliron is the ​Bill L. Stanley Endowed Leadership Chair in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering

  • The Milliron Group focuses on chemical synthesis and assembly of nanostructured electronic and electrochemical materials, processing-structure-property relationships, energy and electronic devices.

  • Professor Milliron's research group is composed of chemists, materials scientists, and engineers motivated by the challenges of next-generation electronic devices and energy technologies


Fall 2023: Tuesday, October 17th from 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Edward Yu | Professor | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

"Semiconductors for Sustainable Energy Applications"

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Abstract:  Semiconductors are the fundamental enabling material for
technologies ranging from computing and communications to solid-
state lighting to solar panels. In recent years there has also been a
resurgence of interest in re-establishing many semiconductor
manufacturing capabilities in the United States. In this presentation,
I will discuss some of my laboratory’s recent research on semiconductor-
based photoelectrode devices that enable splitting of water molecules
into hydrogen and oxygen using illumination by sunlight. These devices perform with high efficiency and excellent stability, and can be manufactured using nanoscale thin-film reactions and other processes drawn from the world of semiconductor chip manufacturing. They have the potential to enable cost-effective green hydrogen production, i.e., production of hydrogen without carbon dioxide emissions, thereby mitigating the ~830 million tons of carbon dioxide generated annually by current methods of commercial hydrogen production – a market of over $150 billion in 2022. I will also talk a bit about my own educational and career paths, and my perspective on STEM education and careers now and in the future.

Spring 2023: Wednesday, March 22nd from 6:00-7:30

Jonathan L Sessler | Professor | Biomedical Engineering

"Texas-Inspired Drug Discovery Efforts"

This lecture will present the development of expanded porphyrins as potential

drug leads. The presentation will begin with a personal story of a 3x cancer

survivor and how with the assistance of great coworkers and collaborators

an effort has been made to fight back against this disease by studying the

chemistry and anti-cancer biology of gadolinium(III) texaphyrins.


Texaphyrins were the first of the so-called expanded porphyrins--larger 

analogues of heme pigments--to stabilize a 1:1 complex with a metal cation.

Subsequently, and continuing as a focus today, an effort has been made in our laboratories and those of many others to create additional expanded porphyrins. Hundreds are now known. Several from our laboratory have proved useful at stabilizing actinide cation complexes.


Recently, efforts have been made to create so-called immunogenic cell death promoters designed to prevent cancer recurrence based on redox-active gold(I) carbenes. An introduction to this new research direction will be included in this lecture, as well new work involving the development of expanded porphyrins and ExJade as

ligands for the lanthanides and actinides.


Fall 2023: Thursday, March 9th from 6:00-7:30

Huiliang (Evan) Wang | Assistant Professor | 

Biomedical Engineering

"Ultrasound triggered liposome light source for

noninvasive optogenetics"

Optogenetics has revolutionized neuroscience understanding by allowing

spatiotemporal control over cell-type specific neurons in neural circuits.

However, visible light cannot be directly delivered to deep brain tissue, due to

the severe dissipation and scattering of photons. As a result, invasive

craniotomy is usually required to implant optical fibers in the brain for in vivo

optogenetic stimulation, resulting in permanent damage and chronic gliosis in brain tissue. To achieve non-invasive optogenetics with high temporal resolution and excellent biocompatibility, we have developed focused ultrasound triggered nanoscopic light sources (Lipo@IR780/L012) for deep brain photon delivery. Synchronized and stable blue light emission was generated under FUS irradiation due to the activation of chemiluminescent L012 via nearby reactive oxygen species generated by IR780. In vitro tests revealed that Lipo@IR780/L012 could be triggered by FUS for light emission at different frequencies and hence activate opsin-expressing spiking HEK cells under the FUS irradiation. In vivo optogenetic stimulation further demonstrated that motor cortex neurons could be

noninvasively and reversibly activated under the repetitive FUS stimulation after i.v. injection of lipid nanoparticles to achieve limb motions control.

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Spring 2023: Thursday, February 16th from 6:00-7:30

Hang Ren | Assistant Professor |  Department of Chemistry

"Revealing the heterogeneity in metal dissolution reaction via

colocalized electrochemical and structural imaging"

Electrochemical metal dissolution reactions are fundamentally important in

battery and corrosion processes. Their kinetics is highly dependent on surface

structures and the presence of passive films. In this talk, I will present the

study on the initiation of metal dissolution reactions on Ag and Ni,

representing model systems for oxide-free and oxide-covered metals,

respectively. The local dissolution kinetics is voltammetrically mapped via

scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM). Co-localized characterization of crystal orientation reveals slower dissolution on {111} close-packed planes. The local dissolution kinetics on grain boundaries can also be directly measured, which shows a faster dissolution rate on some but not all grain boundaries. The dependence of passive film breakdown on the thickness of the passive film is also revealed, which is obtained from colocalized TOF-SIMS mapping. We demonstrate that correlative electrochemical and structural imaging are powerful tools for studying heterogeneity at complex electrochemical interfaces.

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