Three CINSAM grants were awarded to faculty in our department for 2018. These grants support undergraduate research at NKU.

Using Sequential LiDAR to Identify & Study Landslide Hazards in Kenton and Campbell Counties, Kentucky, Sarah Johnson (Geology) and Hongmei Wang (Computer Science)

Direct costs of landslide remediation such as road repairs in the State of Kentucky exceed 10 million per year. With a good landslide inventory, citizens can begin to understand landslides processes, assess risk, and prevent damage from the threats they pose. The Kentucky Geological Survey has created and maintains a landslide inventory which is publically available. In preparation for this proposal, we did a test study which covered 4.6% of Kenton & Campbell counties. A new mapping technique was used to identify areas where the land surface has sunk (a landslide scarp) or risen (a landslide toe). The test study resulted in the identification of 19 new, previously uncataloged landslides, and 9 of 16 previously cataloged landslides showed evidence of continued movement. We propose to fully map landslides in Kenton and Campbell counties, and contribute a more comprehensive landslide database for northern Kentucky to the Kentucky Geological Survey landslide catalog. This project will produce peer-reviewed publications at conferences or in journals, and will involve undergraduate students in the interdisciplinary research project.

Fabrication of Josephson Weak LInks for Terahertz Wave Generation and Detection, Luis Gomez and Seyed Allameh

We propose the fabrication and characterization of a superconductive device called a “Josephson Weak Link” (JWL). Josephson weak links are natural voltage-to-frequency transducers that can be used as electromagnetic wave detectors, voltage standards, or magnetic flux Qubits, to name just a few of their applications. Students participating in this research will gain skills in nanofabrication, low-temperature experimentation, electrical characterizations and data acquisition and analysis as well as the physics of the superconductivity phenomena. The main question we would like to answer with this research is if it is possible to fabricate identical junctions using the proposed fabrication method. If we succeed in making identical junctions, this will represent the discovery of a disruptive technology that can change the way our society does computations. This research will be performed in collaboration with Professor David Mast from the University of Cincinnati physics department and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for sample fabrication. 

Systematic Study of the Effect of Incorporation of Carbon Nanotubes into GexSe(1-x) Glass System, Chari Ramkumar & Wayne Bresser

GexSe1-x glass system was successfully synthesized and we have incorporated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into a sample with x = 0.225 and investigated the effect of incorporation of CNTs on the stress-free phase transition. We have observed the sample to undergo a transition to a new stress-free phase between 225oC and 240oC employing Modulated Differential Scanning Calorimetry (MDSC). This study indicates that the glass system with the incorporation of CNTs undergoes the transition at a lower glass temperature (Tg) compared to the glass system without CNTs. In order to confirm that the phase change is due to the exotic properties of CNTs, we have also studied the effect of incorporation of pure carbon into a GexSe1-x glass sample with x = 0.225 and the it was observed to occur at a higher temperature. In the current project, we plan to undertake a systematic study of the effect of incorporation of CNTs on the stress-free phase transition with different x values, different weight percent of multi- and single-walled CNTs commercially purchased as well as synthesized in our lab by employing chemical vapour deposition (CVD). This study is important because it incorporates the exotic properties of CNTs and the stress-free phase of the GexSe1-x, which may lead to a system that could potentially have advanced material properties.