Professor Jeremiah Abiade was recently awarded a $290,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his research on, “Collaborative Research: Size-effect driven nanoparticle ferromagnetism.”

The research objective of this proposal is to test the hypothesis that reducing the dimensions of certain normally diamagnetic metals to the nanoscale can result in ferromagnetism. Reports of ferromagnetism in noble metal nanoparticles like gold are considered controversial because the findings contradict well-established physics. Laser-processing techniques are being used to synthesize nanoparticle samples of noble metals like gold, silver and palladium of desired sizes in oxide thin films. Deposition of the nanoparticles in nonmagnetic oxide thin films simultaneously provides synthesis, suppressed agglomeration, and in-situ passivation of the nanoparticles by the oxide thin films (magnesia, alumina, etc.).

Detailed atomic-level structural characterization and high-resolution physical property measurements along with element specific magnetization studies are being used to thoroughly characterize the samples. The magnetic studies include static and dynamic measurements and ferromagnetic and electron paramagnetic resonance studies of the nanoparticles. Understanding the size-dependent behavior of these materials will elucidate the origin of the ferromagnetism in noble and near-noble nanoparticles. The project supports 2 graduate students and involves several undergraduate students.

The educational objectives of this proposal are to: mentor a diverse group of high achieving students to STEM careers and contribute to K-12 STEM recruitment efforts. Undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds will be involved in our research-based mentoring program: Success Through Enthusiasm and Awareness of Materials Engineering Research (Project STEAMER). All of the educational and outreach activities will be assessed to monitor the efficacy of the programming and to contribute to the literature on STEM-based education. The grant period is from June 2015 to May 2018. To learn more, please contact Professor Jeremiah Abiade here


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