19:39 PM

Michael Cowan Receives 2021 CoMSEF Award from AIChE

Michael Cowan

In recognition of his graduate student research and ability to enthusiastically communicate the results, Michael Cowan received the 2021 CoMSEF graduate student award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Computational Molecular Science & Engineering Forum (CoMSEF) is an organization within AIChE that gathers a community of engineers and scientists who work in molecular based theories, modeling, and simulation. Cowan is a PhD candidate in the Computer-Aided Nano and Energy Lab (CANELa) at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, led by Associate Professor Giannis Mpourmpakis.

“Our work focuses on a special class of metal nanoparticles that are atomically precise, meaning experimentalists have determined the exact positions of each atom in the structure,” Cowan said. “By running calculations on a supercomputer at Pitt’s Center for Research Computing, we help answer key questions behind nanoparticle properties, including why they are stable, how different metals prefer to mix – or not mix – together, and how to modulate the structures for better use in practical applications.”

Nanoparticles are 1 to 100 nanometers in size and approximately 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. This rapidly evolving area of research can be leveraged in a variety of industries, and nanomaterials are increasingly used as a tool to improve technologies.

“Our work helps uncover why a specific class of nanomaterials are effective for so many applications – like energy, chemical production, or biomedicine – and how to make them better,” Cowan said.

Read more about this research from the CANELa group…