Clark Atlanta University - Georgia Institute of Technology

Xiao-Qian Wang

, Clark Atlanta University

The Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) between three Atlanta University Center (AUC) schools and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) integrates research, education, and student-mentoring in order to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate degrees and to increase their overall participation in the field of materials science and engineering. The three AUC schools are Clark Atlanta University (CAU), Morehouse College (MC), and Spelman College (SC). The partner MRSEC is "The Georgia Tech Laboratory for New Electronic Materials" in which fundamental materials properties and synthesis of epitaxial graphene are being investigated.

Key features of the Partnership

The key features of the PREM involve (1) establishing research collaboration between AUC and GT faculty, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students; (2) strengthening the research and education infrastructure of AUC; (3) providing research opportunities for AUC undergraduates during the academic year; (4) providing summer research experiences for AUC students at GT through the collaborative research program; and (5) developing and hosting summer research institutes for high school teachers. Research Graphane is a two-dimensional system consisting of a single planar layer of fully saturated carbon atoms, which has recently been realized experimentally through hydrogenation of graphene membranes. We have studied the stability of chair, boat, and twist-boat graphane structures using first-principles density functional calculations. Our results indicate that locally stable twist-boat membranes significantly contribute to the experimentally observed lattice contraction. The band gaps of graphane nanoribbons decrease monotonically with the increase of the ribbon width and are insensitive to the edge structure. The implications of these results for future hydrogenated graphene applications are discussed.

Broader Impact

The broader impact of the PREM amounts to (1) a significant enhancement of the infrastructure of AUC for materials research, education, and technology transfer; (2) long-term, sustainable, synergistic impact on the GT diversity programs in science and engineering. In addition, the high school teachers program is designed to better-prepare and motivate high school students from metro Atlanta to major in science or engineering upon entering college. Since the student population of AUC is predominantly African American, the undergraduate student activities will establish a pipeline of well-prepared and motivated undergraduate African American students who will pursue graduate studies in materials science and engineering at GT or other research universities.

Summer Program Activities

The Summer Program activities include (1) quantitative assessment; (2) guided inquiry labs; (3) personal & professional development; and (4) field trips.

Selected Publications

Duminda K. Samarakoon and Xiao-Qian Wang, "Chair and twisted-boat membranes in hydrogenated graphene", ACS Nano 3, 4017-4022 (2009).
O. O. Ogunro and Xiao-Qian Wang, “Quantum Electronic Stability in Selective Enrichment of Carbon Nanotubes”, Nano Lett. 9, 1034 (2009).
A. Nduwimana and X.-Q. Wang, “Energy Gaps in Supramolecular Functionalized Graphene Nanoribbons”, ACS Nano 3, 1995 (2009).

Jane Doe

Research Scientist, California State University

Hans Hanley

Electrical Engineering, Princeton University