New Faculty Hire – Dr. Gang Cao

The Materials Science and Engineering program is pleased to announce our newest faculty member, Dr. Gang Cao. Cao is joining us form the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kentucky where he was the Jack and Linda Gill Eminent Professor. His research interests focus on the discovery and study of novel quantum materials, particularly heavy transition metal oxides and high-field, high – pressure and low-temperature material properties. Cao has more than 190 publications including one review book. His work has been cited more than 6,200 times. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

“CU Boulder has the world-class intellectual assets for materials research and the Material Science and Engineering Program provides one of the best vehicles to advance comprehensive materials research in the nation. It is a privilege to be a part of it, and I fervently look forward to joing the CU faculty,” says Cao.


Welcome, Professor Cao!

$75M Flexible Hybrid Electronics – Manufacturing Innovation Institute awarded to the University of Colorado Boulder

FHE MII Announcement

The White House and the Secretary of Denfense announced that FlexTech Alliance has been awarded the FHE MII contract. The University of Colorado is part of the winning team led by Flex Tech Alliance who has been recognized for being a key player in this process. For more information see links:


Flex Tech has established a preliminary website for the Institute at:

Direct Link:

DOD’s announcement can be found at:

Smalyukh presented with GSOFT Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research

Associate Professor Ival Smalyukh (Department of Physics) was the 2016 winner for the GSOFT Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research. Smalyukh received the award for his “outstanding contributions to the understanding of liquid crystalline materials systems.”

For more information concerning the GSOFT Early Career Award visit APS physics website:

To find more information on Ivan I. Smalykh view his webpage:


Yang and Yin Awarded $3M ARPA-E Grant

August 26, 2015

The University of Colorado Boulder has received a $3 million federal grant to develop cooling technology that will enable efficient, low-cost supplementary cooling for thermoelectric power plants.

The grant spans three years and is from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

The CU-Boulder research team, led by Ronggui Yang, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, will develop cold storage modules and a system called RadiCold that cools by infrared thermal emission to enable efficient, low-cost supplementary cooling for thermoelectric power generation.

If successful, CU-Boulder’s design could provide power plant operators a low-cost way to supplement cooling without using as much water as they do now.

“I am confident that we will be successful in developing this novel cooling technology that could be useful for both power plants and buildings,” said Yang.

In thermoelectric power generation, only 40 percent of the energy in the fuel is used for power generation. The remaining 60 percent becomes low-grade heat that needs to be carried away by cooling systems.

There are two types of cooling systems: wet and dry. Wet-cooling systems use water resources such as a river, lake or ocean and pass it directly over tubes containing condenser water, and then return it, warmer, to the original source. Dry-cooling systems use air to cool condenser water.

Most U.S. power plants use wet-cooling technologies because water can cool better than air, which allows power plants to operate more efficiently.

In fact, thermo-electric power plants are among the biggest consumers of fresh water in the world. Forty-one percent of total fresh water withdrawal – about 139 billion gallons per day – is used to cool condenser water. Three percent of the cooling water is evaporated and lost. This has an enormous environmental impact, especially in areas already suffering from fresh water shortages. These systems also release heat waste into the environment, which adversely affects wildlife, said Marta Zgagacz, of the University of Colorado’s Office of Technology Transfer and part of the team that will evaluate the commercialization potential of this innovative technology.

Researchers say dry cooling has the potential to significantly reduce water consumption, but the high cost and low efficiency of current technologies discourage their use.

Improved air-cooled heat exchangers can help overcome these challenges. Since air-cooled heat exchangers can only cool water temperatures as low as the surrounding temperature, supplemental cooling technologies – such as RadiCold – are needed to further decrease water temperatures in certain conditions.

Methods to cool a building roof by sending long-wavelength infrared light into the dark night sky have been known for a long time. However, cooling under direct sunshine, and more critically, manufacturing these cooling systems in a scalable and cost-effective way are areas ripe for research, said Co-Principle Investigator Xiaobo Yin, an assistant professor in both mechanical engineering and in the materials science and engineering program.

A RadiCold surface, which is a metal-coated micro-structured polymer, reflects sunlight and allows radiative cooling through infrared thermal emission for both day- and night-time power plant operation.

Using the new system, a passive zero-energy consumption thermal syphon will collect cold water in a local storage unit beneath the RadiCold surface while a low power consumption pipe network collects the cold water from local storage modules into a central storage system that can be used to cool power plant condensers. Roll-to-roll manufacturing technology will enable effective radiative cooling at a low cost.

“I am excited to work with my colleagues at CU-Boulder to transform innovative materials and component research into engineering systems,” said Gang Tan, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at the University of Wyoming. “I also foresee great potential in building energy savings by developing cooling roof and ceiling systems using RadiCold surfaces.”

In addition to these senior researchers, the team will include three post-doctoral research associates, three doctoral students and a few undergraduate students. Two MBA students from the CU-Boulder Leeds School of Business will work closely with the team on technology to market analysis.

Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship Tony Tong from the CU-Boulder Leeds School of Business is also part of the team that will evaluate the commercialization potential of this innovative technology.

ARPA-E is an agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that invests in disruptive ideas to create America’s future energy technologies. For more information on ARPA-E and its innovative project portfolio, please visit

See more at:

MSE Announces First Graduate

May 12, 2015graduation photo

The Materials Science and Engineering Program is proud to announce the first graduate of the program, Qiaoxuan Zhang, who was awarded a Master’s degree.  Zhang enrolled in Fall 2013 as the first student in the Master’s degree program and he successfully completed all the necessary requirements for graduation.  He was recognized at the College of Engineering and Applied Science graduation ceremony on Friday, May 8th.  Congratulations, Qiaoxuan!

Anseth Receives Bonfils-Stanton Award

May 8, 2015

Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth (ChBE) was awarded the prestigious Bonfils-Stanton Award at the 30th anniversary of its Annual Award Program.  The Bonfils-Stanton Award honors outstanding Coloradans for significant contributions in the fields of art and humanities, community service, and science and medicine.  The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation is a private, non-profit Colorado-based organization with a history of funding a variety of art and entertainment institutions through substantial grants that support Coloradans exposure to arts and non-profit organizations.
Click here to read more about the award.

Photo: Business Wire

Smalyukh presented award by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

April 30, 2015Smalyukh4 2

Associate Professor Ivan Smalyukh (Department of Physics) was presented an award in Bamberg, Germany on behalf of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his work in polymer physics.

Photo credit: Humboldt Foundation/Albrecht G.W. Barthel

Smalyukh wins Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award

Associate Professor Ivan Smalyukh (Physics) has been chosen by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award in recognition of his accomplishments in research and teaching. The award honors “scientists and scholars, internationally renowned in their field, who completed their doctorates less than 18 years ago and who in future are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements which will have a seminal influence on their discipline beyond their immediate field of work.” He is one of only eleven Bessel Award scholars chosen in the United States this year.

Smalyukh Research Group:


Anseth Named President of Materials Research Society in 2016

October 15, 2014

AnsethThe Materials Research Society (MRS) is proud to announce the Vice President and new Board members for 2015, elected by the Society’s global membership of almost 16,000.

Kristi Anseth, University of Colorado, will serve as MRS Vice President beginning January 1, 2015. She will lead the Board of Directors as MRS President in 2016, and finish her three-year term as Immediate Past President in 2017. More information on Anseth can be found at

Read more here.

MSE Director granted new patent

April 10, 2014

The CU Technology Transfer Office is happy to report that a research group led by Christopher Bowman of the CU-Boulder Chemical & Biological Engineering department recently received a patent for an improved method of detecting molecular recognition events, for use in diagnostic and environmental sensing applications. This patent is part of a portfolio of intellectual property generated by this group covering technology that uses polymeric materials (rather than conventional enzymatic amplification) to generate an amplified response to molecular recognition events in order to permit detection of low levels of biological molecules. This IP portfolio has been developed by CU startup InDevR, Inc. as part of its ampliPHOX® Colorimetric Microarray Detection system.

TTO filed this patent application on behalf of the university in Sept. 2009; in addition to two related U.S. patents, patent protection has also been granted in the EU. The patent (U.S. 8,652,778, “Use of photopolymerization for amplification and detection of a Molecular Recognition Event”) was issued on Feb. 18, 2014. In addition to Dr. Bowman, the other CU inventors on this patent were John Birks (Fellow Emeritus, CIRES); Kathy Rowlen (formerly UCB Chemistry & Biochemistry, now CEO of InDevR); and Hadley Sikes (formerly UCB C&BE, now at MIT).