Banerjee Wins MSA Presidential Student Award

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Parag Banerjee at work in the Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing.

Graduate student Parag Banerjee, advised by Professor Gary Rubloff, won the Microscopy Society of America’s (MSA) Presidential Student Award for a paper titled "Crystallization Behavior of HfO2 Nanotubes in Different Environments,? which he presented at the MSA’s 2009 Microscopy & Microanalysis Meeting this July in Richmond, Va. The award recognizes papers first-authored by students that reflect excellence in research.

Banerjee's paper describes how nanotubes of amorphous hafnium oxide crystallize when heated under various conditions of mechanical stress and temperature. Samples were generated in the Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing and the Maryland NanoCenter's Nanoscale Imaging Spectroscopy and Properties Laboratory transmission electron microscopy facilities. By studying the formation of tiny crystals in these nanotubes, Banerjee hopes to shed light on fundamental atomic rearrangements that occur in nanostructures during crystallization.

Banerjee's overall research concentrates on creating energy harvesting devices (including solar cells) and energy storage devices (including supercapacitors and batteries) using conventional semiconductor processes as well as self-assembled techniques for nano-fabrication.

"If these devices are going to be commercialized," he explains, "they need to be integrated with the [manufacturing] processes currently available. At the same time the devices need to be cheap. These varied process requirements mean that one has to be creative in one’s approach and yet come up with devices that possess improved performance characteristics."

Published April 6, 2009