It’s been an epic summer for U-Haul

Changes afoot at the University of Louisville, pictures of FirstBuild equipment and LVL1 grand opening, Balaji Panchapakesan van in loading dock

Louisville people, equipment, and entire facilities were in motion more than usual this summer.

July and August of 2014 saw many changes in the neighborhood.

-We are now sharing a lab with Dr. Stuart J. Williams from Mechanical Engineering! He has moved on up (literally upstairs) and seems very excited about finally having a fume hood. We have previously been on committees together, sometimes attend the same conferences, and he taught one of my class sessions about his research. We share common interests in microfluidics, electrokinetics, and silicone goop. Welcome, Stuart and students!

-There’s a beautiful new GE/LocalMotors-sponsored creative facility, FirstBuild, within walking distance of the lab. They have tons of equipment for prototyping– initially focused on appliance engineering. Here’s their Grand Opening post. U of L will have a space that opens onto FirstBuild and we look forward to carrying out Capstone and other project-oriented courses in this exciting new environment.

-And continuing with the list of upgrades, Louisville’s hackerspace LVL1 outgrew its old building, and moved to a new one in Butchertown. Here is the ribbon-exploding ceremony video. Many Speed students take an active role in LVL1 after graduating–if you’re thinking about checking it out sooner, in my opinion that would be great. Head over to a Tuesday meeting.

Painting with nanoplates

Gold nanoplates from the O'Toole group are attached to a silicon dioxide surface in a microscale pattern.

Gold nanoplates from the O’Toole group are attached to a silicon dioxide surface in a microscale pattern.

We recently developed a microfluidic method for patterning light-absorbing nanomaterials on MEMS (microelectromechanical systems). The technique relies on a chemical bond between the surface and nanoplates from the O’Toole group, plus microfluidic channels to control where the nanoplates go. Figures (a) through (d) are electron microscope images at various size scales, and figure (e) shows an optical microscope image of the patterned nanoplates trapped under a polymer layer. This method is capable of patterning different types of nanoplates side-by-side. We’ll add it to the other nanoparticle-patterning methods in the lab, including stenciling, etching, inkjet printing, stamping and electron beam lithography.