Doctoral Student's Nanotech Research Wins Award
May 15, 2012
A UT Dallas doctoral student in materials science and engineering has been awarded a silver medal by the Materials Research Society for her work with nanomaterials.
Nour Nijem, a doctoral candidate graduating this week and advised by Dr. Yves Chabal, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, competed for the honor against 105 graduate students from institutions such as Stanford University, Princeton University, the University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The award recognized her use of advanced techniques to study the molecular interactions of hydrogen and carbon dioxide gases in nanoporous materials.
She was chosen as one of 23 finalists for the Graduate Student Awards based on the merits of exceptional abilities and promise for significant future achievement in materials research.
“Nour stands out because of the high quality and depth of her research,” said Chabal, who holds the Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics. “She’s been incredibly productive in research while still maintaining a 4.0 GPA in her graduate studies, and I think it’s important to point out that she is well-rounded enough to also have a life beyond her work.”
“The top tier competition that she was up against speaks to the quality of our materials science program and students.”
Nijem studies metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for gas separation, storage and sensing applications. She specifically uses sensitive techniques such as IR and Raman spectroscopy to explore hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier. She investigates the capture of carbon dioxide (CO) using MOFs to remove it before it is released to the environment.
“When CO interacts with a specific flexible MOF, the MOF structure changes allowing the absorption of more CO, which is not the case for N (nitrogen),” Nijem said. “Although this system is fascinating, there was no explanation for this behavior before the Raman spectroscopy work that I have done.”
After graduating this semester, Nijem hopes to complete a postdoctoral fellowship and then move on to become a faculty member with research focused on energy-related issues.
“Finding solutions to energy-related problems would be a very satisfying career,” she said.
Nijem earned a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Al-Quds University and a master’s in chemical sciences from Weizmann Institute of Science, both in Israel.