Melanie Perez

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Advisor: Svetlana Neretina

Fabrication of nanostructured materials for applications in energy, catalysis, and sensing

The Neretina group is designing and fabricating nanostructured materials for applications in energy, catalysis, and sensing. Applications such as Concentrating Solar Power, Thermophotovoltaic, Sensing in Combustion Environments, and Photocatalysis require that nanomaterials withstand high temperatures and harsh chemical environments. The tendency for nanostructured materials to morphologically reconfigure when heated can, however, disrupt or destroy the properties that were so carefully engineered in the first place and, in doing so, puts important applications at risk. With the understanding that temperature-induced shape changes originate from the diffusion of atoms, the goal of this project is to synthesize noble metal nanostructures with an oxide skeleton where the skeleton’s purpose is to obstruct the most at-risk diffusion pathways so as to achieve a more stable configuration.  Melanie will carry out various solution-based syntheses, characterize nanostructure properties, and test whether these properties can be maintained when the structures are exposed to heat treatments.