Eleven UW-Stevens Point students and Dr. Lori Lepak—a research associate in UWSP Professor Michael Zach’s Nanoresearch Laboratory— received the Best Poster Award in the Nanostructured Carbon Materials and Nanoelectronics session at the International Materials Research Congress in Cancun, Mexico.
Lepak and her team won the award for the student poster that showcased their research on nanowires, microscopic devices with applications in solar cells, biomedical operations and in other electronics.
Lepak did part of the work on the project at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois where she synthesized the diamond templates used for growing nanowires with the help of UWSP undergraduates in the local laboratory. The rest of the project was worked on at UWSP with help from chemistry students with varying backgrounds and goals.
“Dr. Lori has done a fantastic job at mentoring students, solving problems and communicating our great results,” Zach said. “The entire team has done fantastic work. I find it truly exhilarating to be leading UWSP students in this type of world-class research.
Many of our students have great work ethics, but coming from small towns they have never had the opportunity to contribute to science at an international level. I look forward to the next few years as we demonstrate the fruits of our research to the local community and at a national level. It is also our hope to start a business with these new discoveries and bring high tech jobs to central Wisconsin.”
“It’s good preparation for a variety of fields,” Lepak said.
UWSP chemistry Professor John Droske created a polymer used in part of the project and Alan Marten of Marten Machining in Stevens Point manufactured a machine used in the process of mass-producing nanowires.
“We’re just one piece of the puzzle but we interlock with local industries,” Lepak said.
Lepak said that the research done at Professor Zach’s laboratory could culminate in a business being started and with it bring high-tech and environmentally friendly jobs to the central Wisconsin area along with further research and employment opportunities for students.
The UWSP undergraduate students who co-authored the research with Drs. Lepak and Zach included Andrew Zimmerman, Samuel Hempel, Corina Grodek, Dylan Jones, Ephriam Daniels, Daniel A. Dissing, Ruth Gervais, Katherine Ebensperger, Anne Llinas, Jeffrey Machovec, and Julia Weber. Additional local authors include Alan Marten from Marten Machining, Timea Hohl and David Seley (former UWSP postdoc in Zach’s laboratory, now in Colorado). Authors from Argonne National Laboratory include Anirudha V. Sumant, Ralu Divan, C. Suzanne Miller, and Daniel Rosenmann.