Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET)


COMSET is comprised of more than 25 faculty and staff from five academic departments with a common interest in the application-specific synthesis, characterization and integration of optical materials and optoelectronic structures.

Employment Opportunity

COMSET Faculty

Dr. Jeff Anker (Chemistry)
Email: janker@clemson.edu

Dr. Anker received his B.S from Yale University and earned his Ph.D. (2005) from The University of Michigan with Professor Raoul Kopelman working on magnetically modulated fluorescence-based sensors. After graduation, he was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University with Professor Richard Van Duyne, where he developed plasmonics-based nanosensors to measure chemical concentrations and measure binding kinetics. He joined the Clemson faculty in 2008. Dr. Anker is also a member of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET).

Dr. Anker’s research uses a combination of optical spectroscopy and nanoparticle devices to study chemical and biophysical processes. The interdisciplinary research involves development and bioanalytical application of multifunctional plasmonic and fluorescent sensors and effectors. Fluorescent and plasmonic nanoparticles are increasingly used in cellular imaging because they fluoresce and scatter light so brightly that individual nanoparticles can be easily observed over extended periods. In addition, nanoparticles can act as a platform onto which many components can be loaded. By loading new components onto nanoparticle platforms, new properties are created with diverse applications.

Dr. John Ballato (MSE)
Founding Member
Email: jballat@clemson.edu

Dr. Ballato is a professor of materials science and engineering and Director of COMSET, which is a South Carolina Research Center of Economic Excellence. Previously, Dr. Ballato served as Clemson's Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development and as interim Vice President for Research.

Dr. Ballato was born in New York, N.Y., on Jan. 9, 1971. He earned a B.S. in Ceramic Science and Engineering (1993) and the Ph.D. in Ceramic and Materials Engineering (1997) from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. His research interests include the optical properties of materials; optical fiber fabrication; photonic bandgap materials and structures; rare-earth doping for active and passive applications including lasers, optical amplifiers and isolators. Dr. Ballato has published more than 200 archival scientific papers, holds 25 U.S. and foreign patents, has given in excess of 125 invited lectures/colloquia, and has co-organized 25 national and international conferences and symposia. Dr. Ballato has received the Kreidl Award (ACerS, 1997), the Robert Lansing Hardy Award (TMS, 2003), the Robert L. Coble Award (ACerS 2004) and the Schwartzwalder-PACE Award (NICE 2004 “in recognition of the nation’s outstanding young ceramic engineer whose achievements have been significant to the profession and the general welfare of the American people.” Dr. Ballato also has been a traveling lecturer for the International Commission on Optics (2002). Dr. Ballato was chosen as a Liberty Fellow (2005). The Liberty Fellowship is a statewide leadership program that identifies future South Carolina leaders and trains them in value-based leadership. Dr. Ballato’s mentor is the Honorable David Wilkins, former U.S. Ambassador to Canada. In 2006, Dr. Ballato was honored as one of the distinguished young alumni for Rutgers University’s Graduate School and also was selected as the faculty representative on the Clemson University Board of Trustees. In 2009, he received the Medal of Excellence for Alumni Achievement in Academia from the Rutgers University School of Engineering and was named a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and a Senior Member of the Optical Society of America. In 2010, Dr. Ballato received the Fulrath Award from the American Ceramic Society and was elevated to the rank of Fellow of the International Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE). In 2011. He was elevated to the rank of Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA).

Dr. Ballato has been a Principal Investigator (PI) on more than $40 million worth of sponsored programs, gifts and contracts. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society, Topical Editor for Optics Letters and is an active participant on the “Optoelectronic Glasses” technical committee for the International Commission on Glass. His Erdös number is 4 and Einstein number is 5.

Dr. Phil Brown (MSE)
Email: pjb@clemson.edu

Dr. Brown is the J. R. Swetenburg, Sr. Professor in Engineering. He joined the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University in January 2002.  A textile chemist by training, he earned a B.Sc. in 1987 and received a Ph.D. from the School of Textile Industries in Leeds in 1991.

Dr. Brown’s research interests are primarily focused on the production and properties of synthetic fibers. Specific areas of interests include the production of hollow fiber membranes for liquid and gas separations and studies of phase inversion phenomena related to the solution spinning of fibers. Additionally Brown’s group conduct research into various aspects of melt spinning including bi-component and cross sectional geometries. The characterization of capillary channeled fibers (CCP), in collaboration with other faculty across the campus, are being examined in many application areas such as: air/water filtration, chemical and biological molecule separations, tissue engineering, cell sorting, oil recovery, the inherent transport of high and low viscosity fluids, as well as acoustic and thermal insulation. Bi-component fibers with specific structure related properties are also a focus area for the group such as those that exhibit Bragg diffraction, are able to act as regulated drug delivery devices and fiber and films that can be optically activated under UV-light.

Additional interests are in the broader areas of textile chemistry and encompass fiber surface modification as well as dyeing and chemical finishing of fibrous substrates.

Dr. George Chumanov (Chemistry)
Email: gchumak@clemson.edu

Dr. George Chumanov is a Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Clemson University. He received his B.S. at Moscow Engineering Physics Institute and his Ph.D. (1988) from Moscow State University, working with Professor Edward Manykin in the field of optics and spectroscopy of biomolecules. He was a Postdoctoral Associate at Iowa State University with Professor T. M. Cotton, conducting research in bioanalytical applications of Raman spectroscopy. Most recently, Dr. Chumanov worked at Ames Laboratory USDOE, where he studied photoinduced electron transfer processes at interfaces.

Dr. Chumanov's current research consists of three parts: the preparation and modification of different nanoparticles, including one-, two- and three-dimensional regular structures; the investigation of their properties using different spectrochemical techniques together with optical, electron, atomic force and scanning tunneling microscopy; and the development of new materials and devices for environmental and biomedical diagnostic applications. His concentration is on metal, metal/semiconductor and metal/dielectric hybrid nanoparticles, which exhibit unique optical properties due to the excitation of so-called plasmon resonances (plasmons). Plasmons can be effectively tuned by changing the size, shape, composition and local environment of nanoparticles, making them the ideal building blocks for the next generation of optical materials, electronic and photonic devices.

Dr. Liang Dong (ECE)
Email: dong4@clemson.edu

Prior to joining Clemson University, Liang Dong served as senior technical manager at IMRA America Incorporated, R&D director at Lightwaves2020 Incorporated and R&D manager at Corvis Incorporated. He also worked as senior scientist at Corning Incorporated and managed optical fiber fabrication activities at Southampton University. Dr. Dong has over 20 years of experience in research and development in photonics and optical fibers, covering a wide range of topics in materials, designs, simulations, photosensitive processes, nonlinear processes, optical amplifiers, lasers, active/passive optical devices and system integrations for wide range applications such as telecommunications, industrial machining, medical and sensing. He is the author of several invited articles and book chapters and has given a large number of invited talks at international conferences. He has published over 200 papers and has over 20 granted patents. He has also served as referee for a large number of journals in optics and telecommunications, member of conference committees, associate editor for IEEE Photonics Technology Letters and guest editor for Optical Fiber Technology. He currently serves as associated editor for IEEE Quantum Electronics, program chair for OSA topical meeting on Specialty Optical Fibers (SOF), and on program committees of Optical Fiber Communications Conference (OFC) and Advanced Solid State Photonics (ASSP).

In addition to his ongoing interests in optical communications, his current focus is on development of specialty optical fibers for high power fiber lasers as well as design and construction of robust practical high power fiber laser systems for industrial, medical and defense applications.

See also: clemson.edu/ces/departments/ece/faculty_staff/faculty/ldong.html and http://people.clemson.edu/~dong4/

Dr. Steve Foulger (MSE)
Director, Founding Member
Email: foulger@clemson.edu

The Gregg-Graniteville Endowed Chair and Professor of Materials Science at Clemson University, Dr. Foulger is a founding member of COMSET. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996. As a graduate student under the guidance of Professor Gregory Rutledge, he explored the structural characteristics of the disordered state of liquid crystalline polymers through molecular simulation. Before coming to Clemson, he served as a polymer scientist in the Division of Research, Development and Engineering of the Italian company Pirelli Tyres/Cables and Systems.

Dr. Foulger's current research focuses on the development, characterization, and application of dielectric, semiconductor, and metallic nanomaterials. These particles are of interest not only because they can be used to make very small structures, but also because the commonly understood properties of ordinary bulk materials are dramatically different at the nano-length scale. Dr. Foulger is part of a multi-disciplinary team transitioning the basic science of nanomaterials into a technology that can be exploited in the development of novel optical and electronic devices.

Dr. Bruce Gao (Bioengineering)
Email: zgao@clemson.edu

Dr. Gao, an Associate Professor of Bioengineering, received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami in 1999. His research interests include optical imaging, microfabrication and cell-ECM interactions.

Dr. Luiz Jacobsohn (MSE)
Email: luiz@clemson.edu

Dr. Luiz Jacobsohn joined COMSET and the School of Materials Science and Engineering of Clemson University in 2009, and prior to that he spent six years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Jacobsohn received his B.S. in physics in 1992 and a Ph.D. in 1999, both from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His interests are on the development of technologies for radiation detection, including new scintillator materials, nanoparticles and transparent ceramics. He is also involved in the development of thermoluminescent nanoparticles for thermal sensing.

SmartState, SC Centers of Economic Excellence Dr. Eric Johnson (ECE)
PalmettoNet Endowed Chair in Optoelectronics; Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Email: ejohns8@clemson.edu

As the PalmettoNet Endowed Chair in Optoelectronics, Eric Johnson serves as the head of the South Carolina SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Optoelectronics. Before joining Clemson, Dr. Johnson held a joint appointment as a Professor of Physics and Optical Science as well as Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he also served as the Director of the Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications. He was previously an Associate Professor at the College of Optics (Tenured) and Photonics/CREOL at the University of Central Florida, and was the Vice President of Research and Development at Digital Optics Corporation. Dr. Johnson has also held various other positions in industry for development, engineering, and management.

Dr. Johnson has served on the Board of Directors for SPIE and has served on various committees for scholarship, conferences, and technical programs within SPIE. He is currently an Ex-Officio member on IEEE’s EDS Optoelectronic Devices Committee. He was also the previous Chair for the Optics in Information Science Division of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the former OSA Technical Group Chair for Holography and Diffractive Optics. He is currently a Topical Editor for Applied Optics and the previous Associate Editor for SPIE's Journal of MEMS. He is a Fellow of OSA, SPIE, and a Senior Member of IEEE. Dr. Johnson has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, MS in Electrical Sciences from the University of Central Florida, and BS Physics from Purdue University.

Dr. Johnson's research spans the area of micro-optics and nano-photonics, with particular emphasis on active and passive photonic devices. Some of his major innovations include the development of methods for fabricating 3-Dimensional micro- and nano-optics (Meta-Optics), high power lasers, novel integrated fiber beam shaping devices utilizing multimode interference, sensors, fiber lasers, data communications, and passive optics for spectral and polarization filtering. He has over 130 publications in the field with 12 issued patents. He has supervised 9 PhD students through their PhD completion and currently supervises four others in Optics and Electrical Engineering. He has received over $15,000,000 in externally funded university and small business research. He was a recipient of NSF's CAREER Award and has been funded by DARPA, AFOSR, ONR, and numerous industrial organizations.

Dr. Pu-Chun Ke (Physics)
Email: pcke11@clemson.edu

Pu-Chun Ke obtained his Ph.D. in 2000 in near-field optics and laser trapping from Victoria University, Australia. His postdoctoral research was conducted at Indiana University-Purdue University (2000-2001) and the University of California, San Diego (2001-2003) on single-molecule membrane diffusion, laser tweezers study of chromatin assembly and biopolymer reptation. He joined Clemson in 2003 and won an NSF CAREER award in 2008 for his research at the interfaces of biophysics, nanoscience and environmental science. Dr. Ke's research has been highlighted by more than 40 media sources including Nature.com, Live Science, ScienceDaily, Nanowerk Spotlight, Biophotonics International and MRS Bulletin. He was the leading author of a "Most Accessed Article" in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2006), a "Top Paper 2007" in the Journal of Physics, Condensed Matter (2007), a frontispiece paper of Small (2010) and a "Most Read Article" in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (2011). He is currently associate professor of physics at Clemson University. 

See also: http://people.clemson.edu/~pcke11/

Dr. Molly Kennedy (MSE)
Email: mskenne@clemson.edu

Dr. Molly Kennedy received her Ph.D. in Materials Science from Washington State University and she joined the Clemson University School of Materials Science and Engineering later the same year (2007).  Her research group focuses on the mechanical response of thin films and interfaces, specifically those used found in biological systems, traditional and flexible microelectronic systems and nanocomposites. Using the fabrication facilities at COMSET and at collaborating labs to fabricate and prepare these systems, her group characterizes how small feature sizes influence both deformation mechanisms and also failure of these structures. She maintains a diverse research group consisting of graduate students, undergraduates and also high school students. To find out more about her group’s research, visit www.clemson.edu/~mskenne.

In addition to research, Dr. Kennedy is also dedicated to engineering education and runs the Research Experience for Undergraduates site "Interfaces and Surfaces: Exploring and Experiencing Science" ( www.clemson.edu/coes/mse-reu) and is the faculty advisor of the Material Advantage undergraduate chapter ( http://clemson.orgsync.com/org/materialadvantage/home).  These activities allow her to excite young engineers about the possibilities within materials engineering.  

Dr. Kennedy also is an active professional member of ASM and TMS.  She is currently the vice-chair of the TMS Mechanical Behavior committee and the co-chair of ASM's Materials Radio. She was honored with one of the 2008 TMS Young Leader Awards for her efforts.

Dr. Sung-O Kim (ECE)
Email: sok@clemson.edu

Dr. Sung-O Kim is currently an assistant professor at the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Clemson University. His research interests are in plasma medicine, micro-plasma devices, flat panel displays and nanomaterials for flexible electronics. He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering with the presidential award at Howon University in Korea, 1996. He also received his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Inha University in Korea in 1998, and in 2000 his thesis on advanced lithography using plasma polymerization received the presidential award. Dr. Kim has served at the Department of Photonics and the Display Institute as a faculty in National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Taiwan from 2004 to 2008. Prior to joining NCTU, he was a postdoctoral research fellow (2001-2004) in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). At UIUC, he worked on the development of micro-plasma and plasma display panel. Prior to joining UIUC, he worked for Samsung SDI as a technical manager and R&D engineer (2000-2001). Sung-O Kim is a member of Society of Information Display, IEEE, American Vacuum Society, American Physical Society, The Korean Information Display Society, The Korean Institute of Electrical Engineers, The Korean Institute of Illuminating and Electrical Installation Engineers and The Korean Institute of Electrical and Electronic Material Engineers.

See also: clemson.edu/ces/departments/ece/faculty_staff/faculty/skim.html and http://people.clemson.edu/~jykim/

Dr. Joe Kolis (Chemistry)
Founding Member
Email: kjoseph@clemson.edu

Joe Kolis is a professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Clemson University. Before joining the faculty in 1985, he earned his B.S. at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1979 and his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 1984, working in organometallic chemistry with Professors D.F. Shriver and F. Basolo. He conducted postdoctoral research at McMaster University with Professor R. J. Gillespie.

Dr. Kolis's laboratory group studies the synthesis and chemistry of novel inorganic compounds that demonstrate unusual structures and properties. The group is particularly interested in chemistry under very unusual reaction conditions, such as with very high temperatures and pressures or in exotic solvents. One area of interest is the synthesis of solid-state inorganic compounds in supercritical fluids. When water or any other fluid is heated to very high temperatures and pressures (>400¡C and 2000 atmospheres), it adopts chemical properties that are unknown under any other circumstance. The technique is an extension of the natural processes occurring deep in the earth in hydrothermal vents.

Dr. Kostya Kornev (MSE)
Email: kkornev@clemson.edu

Dr. Kostya Kornev is an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He received his M.S. in Mechanics and Mathematics (1983) and his Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics (1988), both from Kazan State University (USSR). His Micro and Nanofluidic Systems Lab is working on the development of fundamental principles of fiber-based nanofluidics inspired by the lepidopteran fluidic system. The research helps develop a new class of fiber-based devices capable of probing and transporting previously impossible-to-reach liquids, such as those drawn from a single cell or tissue. The basic principles can be used in a wide range of absorbent materials, as in applications requiring low-volume fluid retrieval and analysis coupled with controlled manipulation, such as environmental monitoring and biomedical and forensic probing.

Dr. Kornev's research interests include: biomechanics of insect feeding, wetting and capillary phenomena, magnetic phenomena in nanocomposites, optical and magneto-optical effects, and interactions of strong electromagnetic fields with materials.

See also: clemson.edu/mse/People/bios/Kornev.htm

Dr. Igor Luzinov (MSE)
Email: luzinov@clemson.edu

Dr. Igor Luzinov received a M.S. in Chemical Engineering and Technology in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry in 1990 from Lviv Polytechnic Institute (Ukraine). Before joining the faculty of Clemson University, he served as a Senior Research Scientist at Physical Chemistry Institute (the National Academy of Science of Ukraine), a NATO Research Fellow at Center Education and Research on Macromolecules (University of Liege, Belgium) and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Iowa State and Western Michigan Universities.

The research program of Dr. Luzinov's group at COMSET is focused on fundamental and applied research problems in nanofabrication of thin polymer films and their use for multi-component polymer systems. The main goals of the program are to build submicron polymer films with desired structure and properties; to determine the correlation between the structure and properties of the films; and to use the synthesized layers for interfacial modification of traditional polymer systems and the generation of new materials for advanced applications. 

Dr. Jason McNeill (Chemistry)
Email: mcneill@clemson.edu

Dr. McNeill earned a B.S. in Chemistry (1991) from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. (1999) from the University of California at Berkeley. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2006 he received the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. His research interests include fluorescent “polymer dot” nanoparticles and intracellular single molecule dynamics.

Dr. Thompson Mefford (MSE)
Email: mefford@clemson.edu

Dr. Mefford graduated in 2003 with an honors degree in Textile and Polymer Chemistry and a minor in Philosophy from Clemson University. He then attended Virginia Tech, where he earned his Ph.D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering in 2007. For his Ph.D., he worked on the development of treatments for retinal detachment using hydrophobic ferrofluids. Before returning to Clemson, Dr. Mefford developed methods for the fabrication and functionalization of microfluidic devices as a Post-doctoral Researcher for The Ohio State University Department of Chemistry.

Dr. Mefford joined the faculty of the School of Material Science and Engineering at Clemson in fall 2008. His research focuses on developing stable, polymer-iron oxide nanoparticle complexes and composites for biomedical applications. These applications include: developing materials for magnetic hyperthermia, MRI contrast agents and drug delivery systems. He is also currently involved in collaborations with the Biology, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and the Chemistry departments. In addition, he is also working with the restoration team at the Clemson Conservation Center on preservation techniques for the H. L. Hunley.

In his free time, Dr. Mefford is found running, backpacking, gardening and homebrewing.
See also: clemson.edu/ces/nanoparticle/

Dr. Fei Peng

Dr. Peng is currently an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He received the Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and B.S. from Tsinghua University (China). Prior to joining Clemson, Dr. Peng’s research was focused on the sintering of ultra-high temperature ceramics and the high-temperature oxidation resistance of borides and carbides. Dr. Peng’s current research is focused on the sol-gel processing of ceramic fibers and the directional crystallization of single crystal fiber materials. These materials have a wide use in lasers, structure reinforcement, and functional devices.

Dr. Apparao Rao (Physics)
Email: arao@clemson.edu

Dr. Apparao Rao is the R. A. Bowen Professor of Physics and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. His laboratory is dedicated to understanding the atomic, magnetic, electrical, optical, and biophysical/biochemical properties of micro- and nano-structured materials. His research interests include the characterization and applications of carbon nanotubes, semiconducting nanobelts, nanowires and thermoelectric materials. His group's strength lies in the ability to synthesize several nano-structured materials (using various growth techniques such as electrical arc, chemical vapor deposition and pulsed laser vaporization) and explore the fundamental physics in nanostructured systems (using a wide range of characterization techniques such as Raman scattering, infrared, UV-visible, fluorescence, non-linear optical spectroscopy, harmonic detection of resonance method, atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy and electrical transport measurements).

See also: www.clemson.edu/~arao

Dr. Michael Sehorn
Email: msehorn@clemson.edu

Dr. Sehorn joined Clemson University as an Assistant Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry in 2007. Dr. Sehorn earned a B.Sc. in 1995 from New Mexico Tech and received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Louisiana Health Sciences Center at Shreveport under the guidance of Dr. Stephan Witt in 2002. Dr. Sehorn furthered his career as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University School of Medicine. Under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Sung, Dr. Sehorn was awarded an NIH fellowship investigating meiotic homologous recombination.

Since joining Clemson University, Dr. Sehorn received the first NIH R01 grant awarded to a member of the Genetics and Biochemistry faculty in 2011 for his work on the role of specific protein factors involved with the progression of meiosis. His current research interests include protein biochemistry and structure-function relations in DNA damage repair and cancer avoidance. Collaborative efforts within COMSET include the development of colloidal NIR contrast agents for bio-imaging applications.

Dr. Raj Singh (ECE)
Email: srajend@clemson.edu

Before joining Clemson University, Dr. Rajendra Singh was a Visiting Assistant Professor at both the University of Waterloo, Canada, and at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. In 1980, he joined Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. as Senior Research Scientist and worked on amorphous silicon solar cells and thermoelectric devices. Part of the work done at Energy Conversion Devices resulted in one U.S. and four foreign patents. He was a member of University of Oklahoma’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for 10 years, as a professor and the Director of the Microelectronics Laboratory. In 1992, he joined Clemson University as the first D. Houser Banks Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. From 1996 to 1999, he served as the Director of the Materials Science and engineering Program at Clemson. In 1997, he became the Director of the Center for Silicon Nanoelectronics at Clemson.

Dr. Singh’s research contributions have been primarily in the field of rapid thermal processing, ultra thin gate dielectrics, low and high-k dielectrics, superconductivity, manufacturing of silicon integrated circuits, solar cells, thermoelectric devices and nanotechnology. He was the first one to report the fundamental differences between furnace processing and rapid thermal processing. His work on rapid thermal processing has led to various new applications, such as novel chemical vapor deposition techniques for the deposition of high- and low-dielectric constant materials and manufacturing of solar cells. His fundamental work has served as an initial incubator to the rapid thermal processing (RTP) technology and the related semiconductor equipment manufacturing industry is now valued at over one billion dollars per year, as he has discovered several of the concepts used in the commercial RTP tools. The use of RTP in solar cells manufacturing is mainly due to Dr. Singh’s contributions. His work on solar cells is a part of many recent textbooks on solar cells and has been cited by researchers throughout the world. His early work on ultrathin gate oxide led to the passivation techniques used in surface of commercial silicon solar cells. Similarly his fundamental work on conducting oxide semiconductor led to the use of these materials in all kind of commercial thin film solar cells. From solar cells to integrated circuits, he has led the work on semiconductor and photovoltaic device processing by manufacturable innovation and defining critical path.

Dr. Singh has published more than 300 papers in various journals and conference proceedings. He is editor or coeditor of more than ten conference proceedings. He has presented over 50 keynote addresses and invited talks in various national and international conferences.

Dr. Rhett Smith (Chemistry)
Email: rhett@clemson.edu

Dr. Smith received his B.S. (2000) from University of Toledo where he did research with Professor Robert A. Flowers, II; and his Ph.D. (2004) from Case Western Reserve University working with Professor John D. Protasiewicz. The title of his Ph.D. dissertation is “Studies on Low-Coordinate Phosphorus Centers and Sterically Encumbered Ligands: Structure, Reactivity, Materials, and Catalysis.” He was a National Institute of Health Postdoctoral Fellow (2004-2006) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Prof. Stephen J. Lippard where he prepared fluorescent biosensors for neurochemical applications. His research focus includes the synthesis and applications of organic and inorganic materials for fluorescent sensing of biologically relevant agents such as neurotoxins, preparing small molecule models of enzyme active sites, and uncovering environmentally-friendly catalytic reactions.

Dr. Roger Stolen (MSE)
Email: rstolen@clemson.edu

Dr. Stolen received a bachelor of arts from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in solid state physics from the University of California at Berkley, followed by post-doctoral work at the University of Toronto. In 1990, he was awarded the Optical Society of America's (OSA) R.W. Wood Prize in recognition of pioneering studies in optical fibers, and in 2005 he received the Institute of Electrical Engineers/OSA John Tyndall Award for contributions that include the identification and understanding of the alteration in frequency and in the phase of light passing through a transparent optical fiber. The IEEE and OSA are two of the world's leading professional associations for the advancement of technology. Recently, Stolen was elected to the prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences as a foreign member. The Russian Academy of Sciences was established in 1724 and is recognized not only as the supreme scientific institution in Russia but as one of the most successful science academies in the world. In 2012, Dr. Stolen was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to fiber nonlinear optics and invention of polarization preserving fiber.

Dr. Stolen is a distinguished visiting professor in materials science and engineering at Clemson University. He works in the field of optics and is a faculty member at the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies. Stolen spent 30 years working for Bell Labs. He has been involved in fiber optics research since 1971. He was a professor of electrical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., before he retired.

Dr. Andy Tennyson (Chemistry)
Email: atennys@clemson.edu

Dr. Andy Tennyson received an S.B. and S.M. in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 2003, a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from MIT in 2008, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Austin from 2008–10. His research expertise includes fundamental organometallic and coordination chemistry, fluorescent sensors for bioimaging, luminescent materials for devices, and dynamically switchable catalysts. Dr. Tennyson joined the Chemistry Department as an assistant professor in 2010 and is also a member of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET). Research in the Tennyson group broadly emphasizes the application of inorganic and organometallic chemistry to the fields of disease diagnosis, antibiotics for MDR and XDR strains, as well as optoelectronic and photovoltaic devices.

SmartState, SC Centers of Economic Excellence Dr. Marek Urban (Materials Science and Engineering)
Email: mareku@clemson.edu

Professor Marek Urban joined Clemson in the Fall 2012 as the Sirrine Endowed Chair in Advanced Fiber Based Materials (Materials Science and Engineering). Dr. Marek is a graduate of Marquette University, where he received M.S. degree in chemistry, followed by a Ph.D. degree form Michigan Technological University in chemistry. After two years of a postdoctoral position at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, he joined the Department of Polymers and Coatings at North Dakota State University. After 13 years at NDSU, serving as professor and department chair during his last five years, he accepted a professorship position at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, where in addition to his professorship appointment, he directed the National Science Foundation funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) focused on response-driven polymeric films. He also served on the NSF Executive Committee for MRSECs in US. From 2006 to 2012, he directed the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at USM. He is an active member of numerous professional organizations including American Chemical Society, American Institute of Physics, Federation of Societies for Coatings Technologies, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and Society for Applied Spectroscopy. During his carrier he published over 300 research papers, is an author of several patents, wrote 3 books, and is an editor of 8 American Chemical Society Advances in Chemistry or Symposium Series books. He also chaired and organized several symposia for the PMSE Division of the American Chemical Society and in 2003 was also elected to chair the Gordon Research Conference in Polymer Films in Coatings. From 1987-91 he was a recipient of the 3M Company Award for Young Investigators and in 1989 he received the Megger’s Award for the best paper published in the Applied Spectroscopy journal. In 1996, he received the Alcoa Research Foundation Award for the outstanding contributions to multi-dimensional spectroscopy of polymers and films. In 1999 he received the technical Focus Speaker and the Roon Foundation Awards from the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technologies. In recognition of professional excellence, leadership, and public service, in 2000 he was elected as a member of the Academy Arts and Sciences at Michigan Technological University. This year he also received the Distinguished Alumni Lectureship Award, followed by 2002 and 2003 awards from the University of Southern Mississippi: the College of Science and Technology Deans Award and the Research and Scholarly Activity Award. In 2003 he became the Distinguished LETTERS Scholar at the University of Southern Mississippi and in 2004 he received the Distinguished Research Award in the Area of Materials Science and Engineering from Marquette University. In 2006, the USM College of Science and Technology awarded him with the Outstanding Research Faculty Award.

Dr. Hai Xiao (ECE), Bell Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Email: haix@clemson.edu

Dr. Hai Xiao joined Clemson University in 2013 as the Samuel Bell Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, jointly affiliated with COMSET. He previously was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) where he served as director of the Photonics Technology Laboratory (PTL). Dr. Xaio received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2000. From 2000 to 2003, he was a Member of Technical Staff at the Optoelectronic Center of Lucent Technologies/Agere Systems. From 2003 to 2006, he was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. From 2006 to 2012, he was an associate professor of electrical engineering at Missouri S&T. Dr. Xiao is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award in 2006, the R&D 100 Award in 2004, and the Virginia Tech Outstanding Achievement Award in 2003. His research interests mainly focus on photonic and microwave sensors and instrumentation for applications in energy, intelligent infrastructure, clean-environment, biomedical sensing/imaging, and national security. Dr. Xiao has co-authored over 160 technical papers and participated in 29 research projects, totaling about $14M in research funding in the past 10 years from NSF, DOE, ONR, NIH, ARO, national laboratories and private companies.

Dr. Tong Ye (Bioengineering)
Email: ye7@clemson.edu

Dr. Ye, an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, received his B.S. in physics from Fudan University and a Ph.D. in Optics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He completed his postdoctoral training in Physical Chemistry and Laser imaging at multiple institutes, such as Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), Duke University and University of Pennsylvania. Tong Ye joined the Department of Bioengineering in 2013. His primary research interests are in optical imaging and its biomedical applications. Built on the fundamentals of optics and spectroscopy, his research lab focuses on the development of imaging techniques that can improve spatial and temporal resolutions. Thanks to the joint bioengineering program between Clemson University and Medical University of South Carolina, his lab works closely with biomedical researchers and clinicians to study cell and tissue functions.

Dr. Lin Zhu (ECE)
Email: zhu3@clemson.edu

Dr. Lin Zhu obtained the Ph.D. in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology in 2008. While at Caltech, his work mainly focused on the modal control of high power, broad area semiconductor lasers using photonic periodic nanostructures. Dr. Zhu's current research interests include high power, high beam quality diode laser arrays, beam combining, optomechanics and plasmonic devices. His work has been funded by many federal and state agencies, including ARO, DARPA, NSF, SC Space Grant, SC EPSCoR/IDeA and ORAU. Dr. Zhu was the recipient of the 2010 DARPA Young Faculty Award and 2010 ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award.

Dr. Zhu's work has resulted in more than 40 refereed journal publications, magazine articles, and invited presentations at a number of conferences and workshops. He is a reviewer for most major journals in optics, including Applied Physics Letters, Nano Letters, Optics Letters, Optics Express, Optics Communications, IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology, IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics and IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.

Research Faculty and Adjuncts

Dr. Jian Luo (MSE)
Email: jianluo@clemson.edu

Jian Luo is currently a Professor of Nano Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He graduated from Tsinghua University in 1994 with dual Bachelor's degrees, one in Materials Science and Engineering and another in Electronics and Computer Technology. He received his M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering in 1999, and his Ph.D. in Ceramics in 2001, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation, he worked in the optical fiber and telecommunication industry for more than two years with Lucent Technologies and OFS Fitel/Furukawa Electric Co. in Norcross, Georgia. In 2003, he joined the Clemson faculty and COMSET as an Assistant Professor; he was subsequently promoted to an Associate Professor in 2009 and a Professor in 2012 at Clemson. Dr. Luo received an NSF CAREER award in 2005 and an AFOSR Young Investigator award in 2007.

Dr. Luo’s research group has investigated nanoscale interfacial phenomena and applied these phenomena to control microstructural evolution and tailor materials properties. The recent research projects investigate advanced materials for energy applications, including: lithium ion battery materials; electrochemical capacitors; solid ionic conductors; high-temperature alloys; and materials for nuclear and fossil energy power systems.

Dr. Luo’s research interests also include: oxide nanoparticles; nanostructured multilayers and thin films; materials characterization; sintering and grain growth mechanisms; thermodynamic modeling; and optical materials, fibers and devices.

Dr. Dave Musgraves (MSE)
Email: jdm047@clemson.edu

Dr. Musgraves is a researcher in the Glass Processing and Characterization Lab at COMSET, leading research projects on the development and application of novel infrared-transparent glasses. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Arizona, where he studied the use of ultraviolet light as a method to photocatalyze sol-gel reactions with spatial resolution, using this as a tool to direct-write thin film structures from solution. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Pomona College, where he later served as a Lecturer of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr. Musgraves conducts research on a variety of challenges in chalcogenide and tellurite glasses. Current research projects include the development of glasses for use in thin-film sensor devices, in fiber-optic infrared light transmission, and in the precision glass molding of optical elements. Additionally, Dr. Musgraves conducts research into the evolution of glass network structure across multiple length scales, and the impact of this evolution on the resultant properties of the glass. His research in these areas combines efforts in statistics, quantum computational modeling, spectroscopic and thermal analysis in an effort to explore fundamental problems in glass science.

Dr. Ramakrishna Podila
Email: rpodila@g.clemson.edu

Dr. Podila obtained his Ph.D. in 2011 in optical spectroscopy from Clemson University. His postdoctoral research was conducted at the Brody School of Medicine (East Carolina University, 2011 – 2012) on understanding the biophysical mechanism involved in the immune response following exposure to nanomaterials using optical spectroscopy. He is now a research assistant professor of physics at Clemson University. His current research interests are very wide and include nanomaterial synthesis and characterization, energy storage, non-linear optics, and nano-biophysics. Dr. Podila has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals including Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Nano Letters, and ACS Nano. For further information on his research interests, please see www.clemson.edu/~ramakrp.

Sergei Pyshkin
Email: spyshkin@yahoo.com

Sergei Pyshkin earned the PhD in 1967 from the Moldova State University for his work "Investigations of Doped GaP Crystals" and the Dr. Scie. (habilitat) thesis "Investigation of Photoconductivity and Luminescence of Semiconductors at Various Level of Excitation" from Moscow State University in 1978. He worked on various problems in non-linear optics and semiconductor physics at the A. F. Joffe Institute (St. Petersburg), the Institute of General Physics (Moscow) and the Moscow State University under the guidance of Alexander Prokhorov (Nobel Prize for lasers). He was awarded the State Prize from the Republic of Moldova for investigations in solid-state physics and microelectronics as well as the academic rank of Professor in physics of semiconductors and dielectrics. Since 1964 Prof. Pyshkin has worked at the Institute of Applied Physics, Academy of Sciences of Moldova, heading their Laser Research Laboratory (1986-2001). He has also held positions as Senior Lecturer and Professor at the Free International University of Moldova (1999-2005). During the 2005-2006 academic year, Prof. Pyshkin was a Fulbright Fellow at Clemson University, SC, USA. The author of approximately 200 scientific papers and books, Dr. Pyshkin’s career work has focused on GaP properties and laser applications, non-linear optics (multi-quantum absorption), electron and phonon transport phenomena, photoconductivity and light scattering, luminescence, and crystal and thin film growth.

Dr. Bob Rice
Email: robert.r.c.rice@sbcglobal.net

Dr. Bob Rice has an earned doctorate in Physics as well as continuing educational activities in leadership, psychology, and German. He enjoyed a highly productive career at major aerospace and defense companies including McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. His productivity enabled him to become Senior Fellow and Chief Scientist for the Laser System division at McDonnell Douglas, followed by Senior Technical Fellow for the elite Phantom Works at Boeing, and lastly Senior Scientist for the Center for Lasers and Sensor Products at Northrop Grumman Space Technology prior to his retirement. Dr. Rice has 80 publications and presentations and 78 issued US patents (with 2 more allowed). In addition he is a member of SPIE and a senior member of Optical Society of America (OSA). Dr. Rice has significant technical and historical knowledge of laser communication, laser radar, photonics, free electron Lasers, directed Energy, remote sensing, fiber optics, and crystal growth, and, therefore, is well-qualified to serve as a consultant to this effort.

Dr. Kathleen Richardson (MSE)
Email: richar3@clemson.edu

Dr. Richardson returned to the University of Central Florida / CREOL after spending 7 years at Clemson University / COMSET. She was on the CREOL faculty from 1993 – 2004.

Dr. Richardson received her PhD in Ceramics from Alfred University in 1992. She is world renowned for her research in optical ceramics and infrared glass. She is Fellow of a number of technical societies including the Optical Society of America (OSA), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the American Ceramics Society (ACS), and the Society of Glass Technology. She has received the Outstanding Educator Award from ACS and served as member of its Board of Directors. She also served as Associate Editor with the International Journal for Applied Glass Science, past-President of the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers, and of the Glass and Optical Materials Division (GOMD).

Dr. Richardson's outreach activities are extensive. She currently serves on advisory boards of numerous organizations, including Virginia Tech’s Materials Science and Engineering Department, the NSF-ERC on Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) at Princeton University and as part of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh-bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), in Sydney Australia. Since 2006, she has served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Alfred University.

Dave Witter
Email: dwitter@clemson.edu

Dave Witter is an expert in crystal growth and characterization with 50 years of experience. About half of those years were spent at Texas Instruments (TI) where he was a Senior Member of Technical Staff. Mr. Witter graduated from North Carolina State University in 1968 with a Master’s Degree in Ceramic Engineering and continued learning the crystal growth trade at Union Carbide, Allied Chemical, Texas Instruments, MEMC Electronic Materials, and finally Northrop Grumman SYNOPTICS as Director, Engineering until his retirement in 2006.  His career includes crystal growth contributions to major projects concerning silicon, gallium arsenide, silicon carbide, yttrium aluminum garnet, gadolinium gallium garnet, yttrium orthoaluminate, fluorapatites, vanadates, cadmium zinc and mercury tellurides, barium strontium titanate, ruby, sapphire and magnesium aluminate spinel.  He is presently Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University.  Mr. Witter has been active in the American Association for Crystal Growth since 1973. In 2005 he co-chaired the International Workshop for Crystal Growth Technology in Beatenberg, Switzerland. In May of 2008 he participated in a similar workshop with the lecture entitled “Low Cost Semiconductor and Solar Silicon.”

COMSET Technical Staff

Thomas (Wade) Hawkins
Email: hawkin2@clemson.edu

Mr. Hawkins earned a B.S. in Ceramic Engineering in 1999 and his M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2005. Both degrees were received from Clemson University. Wade has been involved in the Optical Fiber Industry and research since 1997. He began work on the first draw tower at Clemson as an undergraduate research associate at that time. After graduation he became a process engineer with Alcoa Fujikura Ltd, working on process improvements and meeting production demands for creating fiber optic cables. After the telecom downturn, he returned to Clemson where he assisted in installing a state of the art draw tower the university purchased. His research for his Master’s Thesis was on rare earth doped tellurite glasses and their properties. Since becoming a staff member in 2005, he has drawn a wide variety of glass compositions and structures for both internal research, grant research and outside contracts.

Max Jones
Email: maxwel6@clemson.edu

Max Jones graduated from Clemson University in 2013 with a B.S. degree in Ceramics and Materials Engineering. Max originally started working in the optical fiber draw laboratory in 2011 as an undergraduate and, upon completion of his degree, was hired on as a full-time research associate. Max has drawn an array of different types and compositions of optical fibers as well as being trained to run the MCVD lathe.

Dr. Fanting Kong
Email: frantink@clemson.edu

Fanting Kong received the B.A. degree in Physics from University of Science and Technology of China in 2002 and the Ph.D. degree in Physics from The City University of New York in 2010 where he continued to work  as research associate until 2011. While studying at CUNY, he was engaged in research on phase locked fiber and solid-state laser arrays and biomedical-related optical physics and technology such as high-resolution photoacoustic imaging of ocular tissues and focusing through optically diffusive media. His current research is in the area of development of advanced optical fibers, components and characterization tools for high power fiber lasers. He is the author or coauthor of six journal publications and six conference papers.

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