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Lehigh shines at global innovation event

Yatin Karpe, Greg Sullivan (managing partner of Tremonti Consulting), Gene Lucadamo and Animesh Kundu take their stations at Lehigh’s booth at the 2014 TechConnect World Conference and Expo.

Six engineering faculty members were invited to display their research recently at the 2014 TechConnect World Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C. Two Lehigh technologies were selected as National Innovation Awardees.

The event is billed as the “world’s largest multidisciplinary multi-sector conference and marketplace of vetted innovations, innovators and technology business developers and funders.” It focuses on advancements in four areas: nanotechnology, microtechnology, biotechnology and clean technology.

Lehigh’s participation at the conference was organized by Yatin Karpe, associate director of the office of technology transfer (OTT).

“Events like the TechConnect conference give faculty inventors an important opportunity to highlight the strengths of their innovations and research in face-to-face interactions with industry representatives,” said Karpe. “They provide a much-needed platform to make the technology transfer process as efficient as possible.”

Martin P. Harmer, professor of materials science and engineering, and Animesh Kundu, a research scientist, won a National Innovation Award for a project titled “A Novel Decontamination Process for Powders for Transparent Ceramics.” The researchers have developed a prototype of a pretreatment process that removes unwanted impurities from ceramic powders by treating the powders in an ultra-high vacuum.

The Lehigh technology, which has applications in the aerospace and defense industries, is the only one that purifies ceramic powders without altering their physical characteristics, thus resulting in superior and more uniform product quality.

Streamlining the synthesis of tunable nanofibers

Harmer and Kundu won a second National Innovation Award for “Rapid Synthesis of Titanate Nanofibers,”a patented technology that reduces the time required to synthesize titanium oxide-based nanofibers from 50-120 hours to between two and eight hours. The chemistry of the fibers can be tuned, making them useful in water purification, energy storage, battery electrodes and other applications.

Chao Zhou, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, gave an oral presentation titled “Parallel optical coherence tomography imaging with space-division multiplexing.”

James Hwang, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Xuanhong Cheng, associate professor of materials science and engineering, gave an oral presentation titled “Cell Detection and Discrimination by a Microfluidic-Integrated Broadband Microchamber.”

Also attending were Bryan Berger, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Gene Lucadamo, industrial liaison officer for Lehigh’s Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.

Berger won a National Innovation Award at the 2013 TechConnect World Conference and Expo for a project in scalable biosurfactant synthesis.

Berger, Harmer, Kundu and Chao displayed the results of their research at the Lehigh booth as part of the conference’s “Innovation Showcase.” Also exhibited at the booth was research by Mayuresh Kothare, department chair and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Rama Rao, a research scientist.

Harmer and Kundu also made presentations to potential investors, collaborators and industry representatives.

“Lehigh’s participation at the TechConnect conference  was superbly orchestrated by Yatin,” said Harmer, who is also the senior faculty adviser for research initiatives in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The Lehigh booth was a big draw throughout the entire event, and the conference helped us make some important new contacts. Lehigh’s presence boosted many people’s impression of Lehigh as a source of technological innovation.”

Lehigh’s participation at the conference supported in part by a University Research Commercialization Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Representatives from Tremonti Consulting, a leading intellectual property and technology transfer firm, also attended the TechConnect Conference. The company is assisting Lehigh innovators with commercialization efforts.

Story by Kurt Pfitzer

Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2014

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