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September 2020

MEAM PHD Thesis Defense: “Control of Dry Adhesion via Mechanics and Structuring”

September 23 at 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

Dry adhesives that rely on van der Waals forces have a number of applications due to their versatility, reusability, and repeatability. Applications include small-scale pick-and-place and microtransfer printing processes, wearable sensors, climbing/perching robots, and robotic gripping. However, van der Waals forces are macroscopically short-range and are the weakest of the interatomic forces, so careful mechanical design of adhesive structures is required to provide sufficient dry adhesion strength for many of these applications. This thesis investigates the mechanics-based design of structured…

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MEAM Seminar: “Aluminum Scandium Nitride Microdevices for Next Generation Nonvolatile Memory and Microelectromechanical Systems”

September 29 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

Aluminum Nitride (AlN) is a well-established thin film piezoelectric material. AlN bulk acoustic wave (BAW) radio frequency (RF) filters were one of the key innovations that enabled the 3G and 4G smart phone revolution. Recently, the substitutional doping of scandium (Sc) for aluminum (Al) to form aluminum scandium nitride (AlScN) has been studied to significantly enhance the piezoelectric properties and to introduce ferroelectric properties into AlN based material systems. The properties achieved have profound implications for the performance of future…

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October 2020

MEAM Seminar: “Operator Inference: Bridging Model Reduction and Scientific Machine Learning”

October 6 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

Model reduction methods have grown from the computational science community, with a focus on reducing high-dimensional models that arise from physics-based modeling, whereas machine learning has grown from the computer science community, with a focus on creating expressive models from black-box data streams. Yet recent years have seen an increased blending of the two perspectives and a recognition of the associated opportunities. This talk presents our work in operator inference, where we learn effective reduced-order operators directly from data. The…

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MEAM Seminar: “Real-Time Reduced Order Modeling using Time-Dependent Basis: Applications in Turbulent Flows and Combustion”

October 13 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

The question of "what set of basis functions should be used?" is of fundamental importance to scientific computing. The performance of different choices of basis is assessed primarily by the rate of convergence and robustness. However, when the one-dimensional basis is extended to higher dimensions d, the computational complexity increases exponentially with respect to d. This fundamental challenge has been dubbed the curse of dimensionality and it is one of the greatest impediments to solving many important problems in science…

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MEAM Seminar: “Engineering Solutions for Tough Problems in Trauma: From Occlusion Balloons to Decision-Support”

October 20 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

Acute hemorrhage and hemorrhagic shock result in approximately 60,000 annual deaths in the United States. The vast majority of these deaths are in severely injured patients, but experts in trauma care believe many of these deaths can actually be prevented. Efforts focused on injury prevention and pre-emptive intervention have produced some improvements in survival. However, for those who sustain severe injuries, a range of engineering solutions could mitigate the risk of death from hemorrhage. In this talk, I will review…

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MEAM Seminar: “Data-driven Physics Discovery and Scale Bridging in Materials”

October 27 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

In this talk I will provide an overview of our recent work in data-driven methods---mainly machine learning---to enhance computational materials physics models. This body of work has proceeded along two main fronts. The first is system inference, where we seek to identify physical mechanisms via their mathematical signatures as differential or algebraic operators. Our approach of Variational System Identification leverages the weak form of partial differential equations to identify the physics underlying pattern formation, and the deformation mechanisms of soft…

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November 2020

MEAM Seminar: “Saltatorial Locomotion on Terrain Obstacles”

November 3 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

Robots often struggle to move through complicated environments from cluttered living spaces to treetop canopies where humans and animals flit with ease. Jumping is an exciting locomotion mode that can enable small ground-based robots to maneuver around large obstacles and gaps in complicated environments. A high-power jumping robot can rapidly traverse obstacles, but the resulting fast and forceful stance phases are challenging for control and estimation. In this talk, I will present my work developing a small monopedal jumping robot,…

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MEAM Seminar: “Merging Human-Machine Intelligence with Soft Materials Technology”

November 10 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

Whereas human tissues and organs are mostly soft, wet and bioactive; machines are commonly hard, dry and biologically inert. Merging humans, machines and their intelligence is of imminent importance in addressing grand societal challenges in health, sustainability, security, education and joy of living. However, interfacing humans and machines is extremely challenging due to their fundamentally contradictory properties. At MIT Zhao Lab, we exploit soft materials technology to form long-term, high-efficacy, multi-modal interfaces and convergence between humans and machines. In this…

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December 2020

MEAM Seminar: “’Smart’ Biodegradable Polymer at Nano and Micro Scales for Medical Applications”

December 1 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Zoom – Email MEAM for Link, peterlit@seas.upenn.edu

The ability to transform medical polymers, commonly used for resorbable surgical sutures, into desired 3D forms/shapes/structures at nano and micro scales with “smart” functions, while sustaining the materials’ excellent biocompatibility and biodegradability, provides significant applications in different biomedical fields, ranging from tissue engineering and controlled drug/vaccine delivery to medical devices. Here, I will present our recent research works to create 3D microstructures of biodegradable polymers for developing single-administered vaccines, and convert the biopolymers into “smart” piezoelectric nanomaterials, which can generate…

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