Meet Michael J. Bronikowski
Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Education: 1986 California Institute of Technology, B.S.
1992 Stanford University, Ph.D.
Courses Taught: General Chemistry
Survey of Chemistry
Introduction to Physics
Survey of Physics
Career Specialties: Michael Bronikowski is interested in nanotechnology and nano-materials, especially production of and applications for carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
Professional and Community Activities: Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are tubes of carbon atoms with nano-scale diameters (0.5–10 nanometers). This new nano-material is predicted to have many exciting mechanical and electronic properties including superior tensile strength and extremely high electrical conductivity. To fully realize the potential of CNT-based materials, it will be necessary to grow CNT to lengths measured in meters (typical current achievable lengths are 100–1000 microns). Bronikowski's research involves investigations into methods by which CNT can be grow to much longer lengths than are currently achievable, to take advantage of these unique materials' properties.
In his lab, CNT are grown by catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CVD): carbon-containing gases such as methane are passed over nanometer-sized particles of catalytic metals, and under appropriate conditions these gases will decompose upon the catalytic particles to release their carbon atoms, which will form into CNTs. His research involves investigation of methods to stabilize and control the structure of the catalytic particles used, so that they are stable over long periods of time during the CVD process. This will allow continued growth of CNT to reach ultra-long lengths.
“Use of refractory-metal diffusion inhibitors to slow Ostwald ripening of catalytic metal particles: a route to ultra-long Carbon Nanotubes (CNT)”; Bronikowski, Michael J.; Carbon 107, 297 – 303 (2016). (available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2016.05.072
Honors and Awards: National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry, 1992–1994
Procter & Gamble Fellowship in Physical Chemistry (ACS), 1993
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1986–1989