Seed Projects


Each year, the PAQM Seed Program funds projects in materials science related to the two Columbia MRSEC IRGs that demonstrate great promise for new research thrusts. Over the lifetime of the MRSEC, The PAQM Seed Program has brought 7 faculty participants with new research directions into the existing IRGs.

Notable past seed projects have included testing superatom materials as battery electrodes, which led to a new collaboration on pseudo-capacitors with high performance, as well as Biomaterials for Sustainable Textiles, a collaboration with FIT which won a National Geographic Chasing Genius award for infinitely renewable algae-based materials. Research highlights from PAQM's current seed projects can be found below


Seed 1: Biomaterials Innovation Hub

Participants:  Theanne Schiros, John Kymissis, Helen Lu


Summary: The Biomaterials Innovation Hub is an evolution of the previous seed project Biomaterials for Sustainable Textiles. The goal of this project is to investigate new materials for clothing derived from biological sources that have dramatically lower environmental impact than traditional materials. The hands-on materials development is led by students from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and technical expertise in both synthesis and characterization is provided by the Columbia participants.

The team continues to focus on advancements in nanofibers to biotextiles to produce enzyme-treated biotextiles that are flame-retardant with enhanced strength and flexibility, hybrid biomaterials for embedded technology and biomedical applications, and wearable disease detection through emerging materials.

Seed 2Synthetic Networks in Quantum Materials

Participants: Latha Venkataraman, Ana Asnejo-Garcia, Dmitri Basov, Michal Lipson, Xavier Roy, James Schuck 


Summary: The focus of Synthetic Networks in Quantum Materials is on experimentally realizing quantum phases of matter and controlling their properties. The goals are to explore novel organizational principles and control mechanisms for attaining on-demand properties of quantum materials combined with advanced molecular systems. The team has focused on (1) the systematic exploration of non-linear optical phenomena in van der Waals materials, and (2) the development of new methods to detect light emission from single-molecule devices. 

The team is currently building on the advances in these two areas while researching in operando tunable hBN interfaces for control of non-linear susceptibility, the development of novel methods for SHG experiments with nano-scale spatial resolution, detailed analysis of the frequency dependence of non-linear susceptibility, incorporating a spectrometer to enable frequency resolved light-emission measurements from the single-molecule junctions and understanding the impact of molecule-electrode coupling on light emission.