Young Researcher Wins Award for Work on Carbon Nanostructures

Nanomaterials expert Nikhil Koratkar, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer, has won the 2009 SES Young Investigator Award from the Electrochemical Society (ECS) Division of Fullerenes, Carbon Nanotubes and Nanostructures.

The annual award, announced on November 7, is reserved for "one outstanding young researcher" and aims to "encourage especially promising researchers to remain active in the field [of nanotechnology]." As part of the award, Koratkar will receive $500 and deliver a special presentation in April at the ECS annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

"Nikhil continues to be a leader in his field, and this award from the ECS is a much-deserved recognition of his hard work and ingenuity," said Timothy Wei, head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer. "We congratulate him on his latest success, and look forward to seeing more great nanomaterial innovations from his lab in the coming months and years."

"Dr. Koratkar differentiates himself from his peers by his unconventional thinking and extraordinary intuition," said Toh-Ming Lu, the Ray Palmer Baker Distinguished Professor of Physics and director of the Center for Advanced Interconnect Systems Technologies at Rensselaer. "He has made remarkable contributions in interdisciplinary science and engineering in the area of carbon nanostructures, which led to this great honor and award."

Koratkar joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2001, and was named a full professor in 2009. His research interests are focused on the synthesis of a variety of nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes, graphene, as well as metal- and silicon-based nanostructures. Koratkar's group incorporates these nanomaterials into different polymer and ceramic composites. Other research thrusts include the fabrication and patterning of nanostructures for applications in energy conversion and storage, along with the development of super-hydrophobic and super-hydrophilic surfaces and phase change phenomena at the microscale and nanoscale.

The author of more than 60 archival journal publications and book chapters, Koratkar's work has garnered attention from the New York Times, USA Today, BBC Radio, and other media outlets. He received an Early Career Award from Rensselaer in 2005, as well as National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and Rensselaer School of Engineering Excellence in Research Award in 2004. He is currently an associate editor of the journal Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters and an associate fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

After receiving his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Koratkar went on to earn his master's and doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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