Fall 2019 molecular engineering Ph.D. graduates

Since launching the molecular engineering Ph.D. program in 2014, it has grown to include over 70 students working across the University of Washington on everything from designing and testing battery materials to designing proteins that can turn genes on or off at will. Congratulations to our latest graduates - Justin Davis, Dion Hubble and Grant Williamson!

First-of-its-kind hydrogel platform enables on-demand production of medicines and chemicals

Researchers in the lab of MolES faculty member and professor of chemistry Al Nelson along with collaborators at the University of Texas unveiled a new way to produce medicines and chemicals and preserve them using portable "biofactories" that are embedded in water-based gels known as hydrogels. The approach could help people in remote villages or on military missions, where the absence of pharmacies, doctor's offices or even basic refrigeration makes it hard to access critical medicines and other small-molecule compounds.

Light-based "˜tractor beam' assembles materials at the nanoscale

A team led by MolES faculty member Peter Pauzauskie, a professor of materials science and engineering, has developed a method that could make reproducible manufacturing at the nanoscale possible. The team adapted a light-based technology employed widely in biology "” known as optical traps or optical tweezers "” to operate in a water-free liquid environment of carbon-rich organic solvents, thereby enabling new potential applications.

New technique lets researchers map strain in next-gen solar cells

A team led by David Ginger, professor of chemistry and MolES faculty member, has developed a way to map strain in lead halide perovskite solar cells. Their approach shows that misorientation between microscopic perovskite crystals is the primary contributor to the buildup of strain within the solar cell, which creates small-scale defects in the grain structure, interrupts the transport of electrons within the solar cell, and ultimately leads to heat loss through a process known as non-radiative recombination.

New metasurface design can control optical fields in three dimensions

A team led by MolES faculty member Arka Majumdar, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics, has designed and tested a 3D-printed metamaterial that can manipulate light with nanoscale precision. As they report in a paper published October 4 in the journal Science Advances, their designed optical element focuses light to discrete points in a 3D helical pattern.