Energy and Environment

Course and research work emphasizes the development of nanotechnology engineering concepts for new and emerging applications in energy and environmental areas including fuel cells, solar cells, superconductors, sensors, power electronics, and supercapacitors.

Faculty members for research coursework: Profs Michael Carpenter, Harry Efstathiadis, Shadi Shahedipour, and Woongje Sung

Designated Courses:
NENG 421 Introduction to Solar Cell Nanotechnology (3 Cr – Spring Odd years)
Covers physics of photovoltaic devices. Provides an introduction and overview of semiconductor physics relevant to solar cells, p-n junctions, and design and function of solar cells.  Discussions will focus on first, second and third generation solar PV that includes mono and multi-crystalline silicon, thin films (CIGS, CdTe, GaAs) and tandem cells, as well as next generation organic and perovskite based solar cells. Topics will include nanotechnology impacts on solar devices that include cells, modules, measurement techniques, metrology, systems, reliability, operation, maintenance and economics of emerging solar cell technologies.  

NENG 422 Introduction to Fuel Cell Nanotechnology (3 Cr – Spring Even years)
The course provides an introduction to the basic science and technology of fuel cells. It begins with an overview of the various types of fuel cells and their technologies including hydrogen production and storage. Next, the fundamental principles involved in the design and analysis of fuel cell components and systems are described. Topics include the thermodynamics of fuel cells, namely, cell equilibrium, standard potentials, and Nernst equation; ion conduction and sorption in proton-exchange membranes; mass transport in gas-diffusion layer; and kinetics and catalysis of electrocatalytic reactions of anode and cathode for hydrogen, direct methanol, solid oxide, and molten carbonate fuel cells. The transport and reaction in fuel cells are finally combined to provide their overall design and performance characteristics.

NENG 423 Renewable and Alternate Energy Nanotechnologies (3 Cr - Fall)
Provides a broad overview of the global energy landscape, growing energy demand and various energy options impacted by nanotechnology innovations. Diverse sources of renewable energies that include solar, hydroelectric, wind, biomass, fuel cells will be discussed in the context of efficiency, current state of development and economic feasibility. In addition, applying nanotechnology innovations to batteries, solar cells, super capacitors, fuel cells and superconductors will be reviewed.  

NENG 424 Nanoscale Chemical and Biological Sensors (3 Cr – Fall even yrs)
Principles of design, operation, and implementation principles of chemical and biological sensors. Focus on the application of fundamental sensing mechanisms and architectures to prevailing and emerging techniques for device design and integration within a specific chemical and/or biological sensing system. Emphasis will be placed on the engineering of the signal transduction mechanism and implications towards design and fabrication.

NENG 431 Advanced Materials Processing for NEMS/MEMS (4 Cr - Spring)
The course will cover advanced topics of design, fabrication and packaging of various MEMS/NEMS devices including accelerometers, gyroscopes, micro-actuators, micro-robots, and other micro and nano electromechanical devices. Students will learn how to design MEMS/NEMS devices and will gain understanding of device fabrication approaches. The course will cover both fabrication approaches and materials selection.



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