MAE Professor Heng Pan earns Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Heng Pan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, recently received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to create a new process for high yield manufacturing of three-dimensional multi-material nanostructures. The five-year award provides Dr. Pan with $500,000 for his project “Laser Direct Writing of Three-Dimensional Functional Nanostructures.”

Many emerging nano-devices require multi-material integration of arbitrarily designed three-dimensional nanostructures over large areas. However, conventional nanomanufacturing tools are developed for microprocessor manufacturing and are not suitable for emerging nanotechnology applications. Dr. Pan’s research has the potential to mass-produce emerging nano-devices with enhanced mechanical, thermal, optical and electrical properties for the energy, healthcare, communication and defense industries.

Throughout this project, fundamental laser-nanocrystal interactions will be studied to enable efficient, high-speed, scalable photo-patterning of nanocrystals. Experimental and numerical studies will be conducted to understand optical excitation, electron-vibration coupling, relaxation, and transformation processes that occur on timescales from femtoseconds to nanoseconds in nanoscale systems. The project also includes the demonstration of the manufacturing scale-up capability, wherein parallel laser direct writing of functional nanostructures over large areas by scanning a massive array of beamlets at high speed are explored.

The NSF CAREER program enables early-career faculty to build firm career foundations and prepares them to assume research and educational leadership roles in their chosen fields. The award is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the community.

Dr. Pan joined Missouri S&T in 2013.  He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California-Berkeley in 2009. He earned a master of science degree in manufacturing engineering from Missouri S&T in 2004 and earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Zhejiang University in China in 2002.