Long-standing tradition of Rossin College faculty's success with NSF CAREER Award continued in 2021

The long-standing tradition of Rossin College faculty members earning recognition through the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development program continued in 2021, with three assistant professors joining this nationally distinguished group of teacher–scholars:

  • Distributed systems enable resource sharing in the form of hardware, software, or data, and comprise multiple machines connected through a network. The internet is the largest, best-known example; others include social networks, online gaming, and e-commerce. Such systems must perform innumerable complex interactions—fast—for potentially millions of users, without ruining the data. Improving that speed is at the heart of Roberto Palmieri’s research proposal to optimize the technology known as Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) to better serve the massive number of internet-user requests.

  • Every researcher has their holy grail. For Siddha Pimputkar, it’s cubic boron nitride. Nitrides are a broad set of chemical compounds in which a nitrogen atom is bonded to another element such as gallium or boron, or most metals. Some of these nitrides are powerful semiconductors, more efficient than silicon, that ubiquitous presence in just about every device you power on or plug in. Some nitrides rival diamond in their hardness. Some are also capable of working in extreme environments. And some, like cubic boron nitride, can do all those things. "Compared with silicon, cubic boron nitride has the potential to work under more extreme conditions, including higher voltages and currents," says Pimputkar. "This allows the elimination or re-envisioning of whole components of circuitry, thereby reducing the size of these power converters, and hence, their cost."

  • Is it possible to build safe, sustainable chemical plants on a small scale? The kind of plants that could—among other things—convert biomass into biofuel, on the very farms producing those crops? Possibly. But doing so requires figuring out, in part, a more benign process of hydrogenation, the chemical reaction between molecular hydrogen and other compounds and elements that is used to create new molecules. Srinivas Rangarajan is developing novel tools to better understand a promising chemistry called catalytic transfer hydrogenation (CTH).

Learn more about the accomplishments that led to the 2021 NSF CAREER Award for these engineering faculty members in Lehigh's Resolve magazine, Volume 2, 2021.