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Amorphous alumina nanowire arrays We sought to explore the applicability of alumina for the presentation of a tetrapeptide directly into the cytosol to induce a phenotypic response...
Dr. Jiao’s current research is focused on the development of nanofabrication techniques for the property-controlled growth of nanotubes and nanowires, and the investigation of carbon nanotubes and semiconductor nanowires as building blocks for nanoelectronic devices and as the new generation of electron field emitters.

Dr. Jiao is committed to mentoring and developing new reseachers. In addition to managing an REU site, Dr. Jiao's lab provides a wide range of opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate research. Some of the projects currently under way are:

  • Sustainable Groundwater Treatment using Granular Activated Carbon Supported Bimetal Catalysts:
  • This project aims to design and fabricate a novel class of GAC-supported Pd-M bimetal catalysts that provides rapid contaminant degradation without accumulation of problematic byproducts or significant susceptibility to poisoning by common components of groundwater. The fabrication procedures developed for these catalysts are cost-effective and scalable to mass production without requiring or generating hazardous materials. The protocols and data developed to assess the reactivity of these catalysts will expand the scope of catalytic hydrogenation processes for water treatment from typical hydrodehalogenation (HDH) and hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) substrates to a more diverse range of contaminants of emerging concern. Current student researchers: Kavita Meduri (Ph.D. Candidate) and Candice Stauffer (undergraduate)
  • Efficiency Enhancement of Photocatalytic Water Purification using 3D Optical Materials: 
  • Photocatalytic water purification is a scientific technique allowing for the destruction of organic pollutants using light. In this process, photons are absorbed by a semiconductor material and converted into a chemical form of energy through a photoelectric-like effect. This results in the degradation of the pollutants by a series of oxidation and reduction reactions at the photocatalyst-water interface. The efficiency of this energy conversion is one of the primary difficulties with respect to the application of this technique in real-world scenarios. This project aims to address this issue through the design and fabrication of 3D structures that optimize the optical and electrical characteristics of the photocatalyst in order to reduce energy losses due to parasitic photon absorption and charge carrier recombination, respectively. 3D photocatalyst cartridges have been created using a chemical synthesis technique, and a continuous continuous-flow photoreactor has been designed and built as a means for testing the effectiveness of the material. In order compare with other photocatalytic purifiers, quantification of the system's Electrical Energy per Order (EEO) is obtained by monitoring the change in concentration of pollutants with an in-line UV-Vis flow spectrometer as the water passes through the reactor. 
  • Current student researchers: Simon Fowler (Ph.D. candidate)  
  • Photocatalytic Material Synthesis and Reactor Development for Semiconductor Quantum Yield Optimization:
  • Utilization of titanium dioxide for water treatment has been well recognized in theory, but applications thus far have been limited. This project serves as a platform for further understanding and optimizing the use of titanium dioxide for water purification. This work includes a custom built photocatalytic reactor system, which flows contaminated water through a chamber of thin film titanium dioxide that is being illuminated by high-powered UV-LEDs. The semiconductor material then generates electron-hole pairs, which primarily react with the water in the system to form hydroxyl radicals. While other reactions occur, these hydroxyl radicals primarily break down contaminants. This conversion of electrical energy to chemical energy is studied by relating the degradation capability of the material under controlled conditions to the electron-hole pair generation of the semiconductor, which can then be related to the quantum yield of that material. In order to effectively perform all of this, several components of this work must be addressed: the material synthesis method and variable catalyst thin films, the reactor design and controls, and the system's spectroscopic analysis. The scope of this project is considered multi-disciplinary, addressing aspects of chemical synthesis, mechanical engineering, materials science, and physics.
  • Current student researchers: Simon Fowler (Ph.D. candidate) and Ryan Catabay (undergraduate)
  • Developing advanced techniques for computationally refining images gathered with in situ observation of metal oxide phase transformations using the transmission electron microscope: 
  • Metal oxides are both critical to prevent in industrial products and to control in prevention of future corrosion. However, the exact mechanisms of formation for the plethora of phases possible remain difficult to determine. By utilizing electron beam-induced crystal formation, amorphous mixtures can directly observed at atomic scale forming into crystals. Through a combination of image processing and simulation, the exact characteristics pertinent to oxide formation can be extracted.
  • Current student researchers: Andrew Barnum (Ph.D. candidate)
  • Investigation of Coloration Defects in Zirconium Sponge: This project combines a variety of analytical methods to assess the composition and origin of a film on the surface of commercially produced zirconium. By identifying and characterizing these impurities, this project helps to address demand for high-purity defect-free zirconium which is a critical component in a wide variety of industries (aerospace, nuclear engineering, manufacturing, etc). It is carried out in collaboration with ATI Specialty Alloys & Components with matching funds provided by the Oregon Metals Initiative. Current student researchers: Micah Eastman (Ph.D. candidate)
  • Optimization of Carbon Nanotube Gas Sensors: 
  • As a quasi-1D structure, the electron transport across carbon nanotubes is highly sensitive to surface chemistry. By using carbon nanotubes as a transport channel in field-effect transitors, this project combines Raman spectroscopy and an ultra-high vacuum probe station to investigate the role that crystalline defects and adsorbed gas molecules play in carbon nanotube electron transport characteristics. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation. 
  • Current student researchers: Micah Eastman (Ph.D. candidate)
  • Nanoparticulate Adjuvants and Delivery Systems Towards New Generation Vaccines:
  • Vaccination has greatly impacted global public health by controlling and preventing infectious diseases and treating cancers. However, it remains difficult to generate sufficient immunity with vaccines containing insufficient immunogenic antigens. To amplify the interaction between antigens and the immune system, we recently reported that antigen coupled to alumina nanoparticles is 500 times more efficiently processed by dendritic cells for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen presentation, and elicits strong cytotoxic T cell response against cancer in vivo (Nature Nanotechnology, 2011, 6,645-50). We now extend these studies to infectious disease, with the goal of utilizing alumina NPs to elicit cytotoxic T cell response to defined pathogen antigens.
  • Current student researchers: Kavita Meduri (graduate), Shree C. Aier (undergraduate); previous student researcher: Lester Lampert (graduate)
  • Characterization of Wafer-Scale Chemical Vapor Deposition Graphene for Spintronics Applications:
  • This project focuses on graphene as a material used for solid state electronic devices and the development of these applications, specifically on the refinement of the growth processes of epitaxial CVD graphene and its characterization.  Quality graphene, monolayer, large single crystal with minimal defects, can be grown by controlling specific growth parameters including substrate material and crystal structure, temperature, ratio of ingredients, pressure and area of reaction chamber and using plasma to drive the reaction. The goal of the research is to develop optimized conditions for high quality graphene growth.  To evaluate graphene quality, characterization will be done through Raman Spectroscopy, SEM and TEM.
  • Current student researchers: Brendan Coyne (post-baccalaureate), Thomas Linder (graduate), Lester Lampert (Ph.D. candidate)

    See the list of publications for more information about past projects.