By Rolando Garcia
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
A University of Houston chemist’s cutting-edge research on designing synthetic molecules with an array of potential nanotechnology applications was recently featured on the cover of an American Chemical Society journal.
A paper on dendrimers by Rigoberto Advincula, associate professor of chemistry, was showcased on the cover of a May issue of Langmuir, published by the ACS. Dendrimers are a type of polymer that is compact and ball-shaped (rather than strand-shaped) cluster of molecules. Advincula is considered a leader in this field.
His work on manipulating the shapes of dendrimers to form new hybrid materials could be used in a variety of applications, from nerve agent sensors, improving LED display screens or better controlling energy transfer in photovoltaic devices.
For example, in past projects Advincula and his team have devised new polymer coatings that could improve the brightness and flexibility of display screens on cell phones, PDA’s and other devices.
In related work, Advincula was recently awarded a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to experiment with using lithography to make unconventionally-shaped colloids, which are particles dispersed in solution. The goal is to learn how to make colloids of any shape, size or composition.
This would be a foundational breakthrough in nanomaterials, Advincula said, allow scientists to create new types of microscopic particles.
Also, for his prominence in chemistry, Advincula was awarded the Koh Science Award of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering and delivered the plenary lecture at the academy’s annual meeting. He was recognized for both his excellence in research and outreach. By forging relationships with universities in the Philippines, Advincula, chemistry professor Arnold Guloy and NSM Dean John Bear have recruited several Filipino chemistry graduate students to UH.