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Seminar Speaker: Dr. Martin Thuo, Iowa State University

February 11, 2022 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Speaker Dr. Martin Thuo, Iowa State University

Title Interfaces-Driven Frugal Engineering: From Heat-free Solders to Graphitic Macrotubes


The need for flexible/wearable electronics, post-CMOS electronics, or ultra-miniaturization of hybrid microelectronics, calls for low temperature and autonomous (self-assembly) fabrication. Concomitant need for energy efficiency during and post-manufacturing exacerbates these challenges. We couple fundamental surface thermodynamics and bottom-up self-assembly to design material synthesis and processing approaches that can meet these demands. This talk discusses the nature of metal nanointerfaces (<10 nm) and how felicitous choice of processing approaches leads to surface/interface-driven tuning of the thermodynamic energy landscape of the material. This altered landscape enables frugal low-energy manipulation of the material by driving relaxation or reactions via low-energy pathways. Surface-directed navigation of the energy landscape manifests as metastable states (specifically undercooling), surface composition inversion (chameleon and hedgehog-like surfaces), inverted (inside-out) thermal degradation to create graphene/graphene oxide macrotubes, and surface plasticity or amphiphobicity for size-controlled feature formation or wetting. We will explore how these breakthroughs are; i) advancing micro- or printed- electronics manufacturing, ii) enabling synthesis of high aspect-ratio synthons of electronic materials through ad infinitum polymerization, iii) translation of these hybrid electronic materials synthons into self-assembled diodes and gates, and iv) albeit briefly, we’ll demonstrate how these principles in surface/interface engineering can be expanded to other areas like controlled wetting and solid lubricants.


Martin Thuo is an associate professor and holds the ‘Schafer 2050 challenge professorship’ in the Departments of materials science & engineering and electrical & computer engineering (courtesy) at Iowa State University. He is an expert in engineering nanointerfaces and surfaces to significantly alter the thermodynamic energy landscape of a material, leading to unprecedented uses, processing, or relaxation pathways. Thuo has pioneered a set of frugal processing methods that have led to heat-free/low-temperature solders, printed conformal metallic wires on biological tissues, bottom-up multiscale/hierarchical materials for microelectronics, and frugal approaches to rare-earth/precious metal recycling and upcycling. In tribology, and in partnership with local industry, he has developed bio-derived solid lubricants for use at ambient and elevated temperatures. 

Thuo’s work has been recognized by C&EN as a materials chemistry development of the year, by IDTechEx with the technical development of the year award in Printed electronics, and has been featured across various platforms including Forbes, nature news, C&EN among others. Thuo is an advisory board member for Angewandte Chemie, a rising starboard member for ACS Nano, and an international advisory board member for Africa Materials Research Society (AMRS). He is a co-host and co-organizer of the ICANX talks. Select honors include Mary-Fieser fellowship (Harvard University), ACSnano rising star, Research excellence award (Iowa State), Black & Veatch faculty fellowship, Visiting professorship (3SR and G2E labs, Grenoble), among others. He is also a co-founder of several start-ups including Safi-Tech (heat-free solder), Sepall (rare-earth and precious metal recovery), and BeFC (Fuel cells).


February 11, 2022
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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EB1 – Room 1011
911 Partners Way
Raleigh, NC 27695-7907 United States