NSF awards $500,000 to two STEM faculty

nsf logoThe National Science Foundation has awarded YSU’s STEM College two grants totaling more than $500,000 to help continue and expand research in materials science.

A $307,422 grant to Tom Oder, professor of Physics, allows the College to purchase plasma-etching equipment, while a second $200,640 grant allows Ruigang Wang, professor of Materials Chemistry, to continue research into improving catalytic conversion systems in automobiles.

Tom Oder

Tom Oder

It is the third NSF grant for Oder, director of YSU’s Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Research. He previously was the lead investigator for a $224,500 NSF grant in 2010 and a $171,046 NSF grant in 2006.

Oder, who joined the YSU faculty in 2003, said research related to the science and engineering of materials at YSU spans a broad spectrum and includes semiconductors, polymers, carbon nanotubes, ceramic-metallic composites and functional materials. A major requirement in processing and studying such materials is the ability to remove unwanted layers of the material, which is best accomplished using high-density plasma.

Ruigang Wang

Ruigang Wang

Wang, who joined the YSU faculty in 2010, said his grant also allows for the development of workshops for faculty and students of local community colleges that focus on new techniques and cutting-edge research projects at YSU, with the hopes of attracting more transfer students from community colleges.

The grant also supports six graduate research assistant students and at least six undergraduate student researchers.