UAB Research Focus Areas Related to CPU2AL

UAB research activities in CPU2AL relate to research thrust in plasma interfaces (solid, liquid, bio-matter) through two goals:

  • The first goal is microwave plasma synthesis of novel superhard materials, specifically to study the formation of superhard materials from C, N, O, and B (CNOB) in low-temperature plasmas and develop an understanding of the formation process and resulting material properties. The evolutionary algorithms combined with density functional theory have been utilized to predict stable crystal structures and properties for CNOB materials and provide guidance to experimental synthesis using the microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition method. A synergistic approach of plasma modeling, diagnostics, structural and mechanical property characterization will be employed to develop plasma chemistry and operating conditions required for synthesis and processing of novel materials and composites. UAB is also developing a large area (>100 cm2) plasma system required for synthesis of superhard materials for applications in automotive, biomedical, and aerospace industries. The large-area plasma systems will also be coupled to laser plasma diagnostics and spectroscopy tools for a real-time analysis of plasma chemistry and process control for transfer to industry.
  • The second goal is related to plasma interactions with soft matter and biomatter, specifically to understand the effect of low temperature plasma on biomaterials. The focus is on plasma surface modification of biomaterials including both the bio-stable materials as well as biodegradable materials fabricated by electrospinning. A particular focus is on the plasma surface modification of small-caliber (<4 mm) tubular vascular graft biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. The plasma surface modification is characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, surface wettability characteristics, and for monitoring any changes in mechanical properties after plasma treatment. The plasma surface modified biomaterials are further evaluated for their performance by in-vitro cell culture studies and biodegradation characteristics. The methods and technologies developed in this research thrust will be transferred to biomedical industry where appropriate.