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sparks group news items

2024

February - Dr. Sparks and Hasan travel to Golden, Colorado to attend the Integrating LLMs into the Materials Chemistry Curriculum workshop. Sparks presents a talk entitled "Expanding the capabilities of students through generative artificial intelligence tools"

January - Dr. Sparks and Andrew featured in a Q&A interview with Nature Reviews Materials magazine for their Materialism Podcast! Read the interview here rdcu.be/dxe0G

January - Dr. Sparks participates on a panel entitled "The Impact of Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence on Scientific Research and Daily Life." at the Chinese American Scholars in Utah annual meeting.

 

January - Dr. Sparks travls to Biosphere 2 in Tucson AZ to present his talk "Materials Informatics: Expectations and Reality" at the MateriAlZ Winter School on materials.

2023

December - "Not as simple as we thought: A rigorous examination of data aggregation in materials informatics" accepted to Digital Discovery.

December - “NLP meets Materials Science: Quantifying the presentation of materials data in scientific literature” accepted to Matter

December - Mark, Hayden, and Jackson all graduate with their MS degrees!

 

December - "Tales From Sabbatical III: Coming Home" published in Matter. Read the article here.

December - Dr. Sparks travels to Los Angeles to eat some killer fish tacos present a seminar entitled "Materials Informatics: Moving Beyond Screening via Generative Machine Learning Modules" at the University of California, Irvine Materials Science & Engineering Department seminar.

 

December - "Generative adversarial networks and diffusion models in material discovery" was accepted to Digital Discovery. Congrats Michael, Sterling, and Ryan!

December - Dr. Sparks presents at the COE Teaching Excellence Workshop at the University of Utah.

 

November - Dr. Sparks and Ramsey travel to Boston for the Fall MRS 2023 meeting. Sparks presents two invited talks "Improving crystal structure prediction: Accelerating Flexible Unit Structure Engine (FUSE) with Machine Learning Predictions" and "Overcoming Challenges in Real-World Materials Science Optimization: A 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Approach with Ax". Ramsey presents one talk entitled "Leveraging Active Learning in Restricted, Discretized and Predefined Design Spaces for NMR Peak Prediction."

November - Dr. Sparks presents "Teaching Graduate Active Learning" at the Teaching Graduate Level Courses workshop.

 

November - Hasan presents "Are large language models the answer to growing crystallographic materials data?" at the Chemical Crystallography Group (CCG) of the British Crystallography association (BCA).

 

November - Dr. Sparks travels to Boston to present a talk entitled "Materials Informatics: Moving Beyond Screening via Generative Machine Learning Modules" for the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at MIT.

November - Dr. Sparks travels to Copenhagen Denmark to serve as the external examiner for a PhD candidate.

November - Dr. Sparks presents a talk entitled "Materials Informatics: Moving Beyond Screening via Generative Machine Learning Modules" for the Scientific Computing Student Club.

 

November - Dr. Sparks attends the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 2023 meeting in Salt Lake City and provides a College of Engineering tour to visiting conference attendees.

 

November - Dr. Sparks joins the Acceleration Consortium at the University of Toronto as a Full Member.

 

October - Dr. Sparks presents a talk entitled "Expanding the capabilities of graduate students through generative artificial intelligence tools" for the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Utah

 

October - "Machine learning predictions of low thermal conductivity: comparing TaVO5 and GdTaO4" accepted to Advances in Applied Ceramics. Congrats Jake, Travis, and Ramsey!

October - Dr. Sparks travels to Denver to present a talk entitled "Not as simple as we thought: a rigorous examination of data aggregation in materials science" at the HDR Ecosystem Conferences.

October - Dr. Sparks travels to Madison Wisconsin to present a the McElvain Materials Seminar entitled "Materials Informatics: Moving Beyond Screening via Generative Machine Learning Modules" for the Chemistrt Department at the University of Wisonsin-Madison

October - "Crystallinity evolution of spray pyrolyzed fluorapatite thin films by post-deposition treatment" accepted to Thin Solid Films. Congratulations Shadi! Read article here.

October - Dr. Sparks presents a seminar entitled "It’s a Materials World: Global Perspectives on Materials Research" for the Materials Science & Engineering Department at the University of Utah.

September - Dr. Sparks presents an invited webinar entitled "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" to the Materials Squared MatSQ webinar series (#129)

September - Dr. Sparks awarded $286,563 infunding from ES3 to work on materials informatics for additively manufactured carbon composites.

September - Sparks Research Group hosts Dr. Shadi Al Khateeb from Al-Balqa Applied University for a 2 week research exchange funded by the United States-Jordan University Cooperation Network 

September - Andrew Falkowski rejoins the group for a PhD sponsored by ES3 and Kinston joins the group for a PhD sponsored by Micron.

 

September - Dr. Sparks speaks on "Using artificial intelligence to design the materials of the future" as a part of the Future Materials Panel at Kordsa's 50th anniversary event.

September - Dr. Sparks awarded $442,863 in funding from the Army Research Office Materials Design program for research on "Transformers: a novel algorithm well-suited for the unique challenges of materials informatics."

September - Dr. Sparks awarded $200,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation CMMT program for research on "EAGER: SSMCDAT2023: Natural Language Processing and Large Language Models for Automated Extraction of Materials Chemistry Data from Scientific Literature."

August - Dr. Sparks presents an invited talk entitled "Figures, Posters, and Slides: How to effectively communicate science" to the University of Utah Materials Science & Engineering Department seminar.

 

August - Dr. Sparks presents and invited talk entitled "Unlocking creativity: Exploring generative models in STEM for coding, technical writing, and ideation" at the 2023 Annual Teaching Symposium held in the Martha Bradley Evans Center for Teaching Excellence.

August - Sterling successfully defends his PhD and is hired as the Director of Trainings and Programs at the Acceleration Consortium at the University of Toronto! Congrats Sterling, we'll miss you!

August - "A Case Study of Beta-Variational Auto-Encoders, disentanglement impacts of input distribution and beta variation based upon a computational multi-modal particle packing simulation" accepted to Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation. Congrats Jason!

August - "Materials Science Optimization Benchmark Dataset for Multi-Objective, Multi-Fidelity Optimization of Hard-Sphere Packing Simulations" accepted to Data in Brief. Congrats Sterling and Ramsey!

August - Dr. Sparks teaches a workshop on best practices in materials informatics for the CMS3 Summer School on Computational Materials at Texas A&M University.

August - Dr. Sparks presents an invited talk entitled "Extrapolation and generative machine learning in our search for new materials" at the 8th Annual JHU Summer School "Data Driven Materials Discovery: From ML to Maker Space"

July - Dr. Sparks presents an invited talk entitled "Materials Data: Information, Extrapolation, and Generalizability" at the 2023 NIST Artificial Intelligence in Materials Science workshop.

July - Dr. Sparks returns home from his UK sabbatical.

 

July - Dr. Sparks presents an invited talk entitled "Improving crystal structure prediction: Accelerating Flexible Unit Structure Engine (FUSE) with machine learning predictions" at the CECAM Crystal structure prediction in materials discovery workshop in Liverpool.

July - "Machine learning guided optimal composition selection of niobium alloys for high temperature applications" accepted to APL Machine Learning. Congratulations Trupti!

June - "Discovering Chemically Novel, High-Temperature Superconductors" accepted to Compuational Materials Science. Congratulations Colton, Sterling, and Hasan!

June - Dr. Sparks delivers the plenary talk entitled "Probing unresolved materials informatics challenges: Data, optimization, and generalizability" at the Machine Learning in Materials Design and Discovery workshop at the University of Liverpool.

June - Dr. Sparks presents "Investigating the gap between expectation and reality in autonomous materials experimentation" to Saudi Aramco R&D's Catalyst Center of Excellence.

June - Dr. Sparks travels to Berlin Germany to present a seminar entitled "Generative materials informatics: Going beyond screening" to the FAIRmat center at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

May - "Artificial intelligence in materials education: A roundtable discussion" accepted to JOM.

May - Dr. Sparks travels to Birmingham to present a seminar entitled "Generative materials informatics: Going beyond screening" to the University of Birmingham's Chemistry Department seminar.

May - "Morphological evolution effect on the performance of spray pyrolysis-based synthesis of fluorapatite thin films for bioimplant applications" accepted to JOM. Congrats Shadi!

May - "Building a “Hello World” for Self-driving Labs: The Closed-loop Spectroscopy Lab Light-mixing Demo" published in STAR Protocols. Congrats Sterling! Read the article here.

May - Sterling Baird, Husain Alnaser, and Pooya Elahi all graduate with their PhDs and Faris Kahn, Travis Allen, and Mark Halling all graduate with their MS.

 

April - Dr. Sparks awarded the Materials Science & Engineering Department Research Award for 2023! Marcus Parry awarded the 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award for the Materials Science & Engineering Department!

April - "Reversible Electrochemical Lithium Cycling in a Vanadium(IV) and Niobium(V)-based Wadsley-Roth Phase" published in Chemistry of Materials. Congrats Erick and Husain!

April - Dr. Sparks travels to Glasgow to climb Ben Nevis present "Generative materials informatics: Going beyond screening" at University of Strathclyde, Glasgow's Chemistry Department seminar.

March - Dr. Sparks travels to Dublin to present "Generative materials informatics: Going beyond screening" at Trinity College Dublin Chemistry Department seminar.

March - "Compactness Matters: Improving Bayesian Optimization Efficiency of Materials Formulations through Invariant Search Spaces" accepted for to Computational Materials Science. Congrats Sterling and Jason! Read the article here.

March - Dr. Sparks travels to the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University to present the APL Colloquium with his talk entitled "Generative materials informatics: Going beyond screening."

March - Ethan Cutler joins the Sparks Research Group as a joint PhD/JD candidate!

 

March - "BSTS Synthesis Guided by CALPHAD Approach for Phase Equilibria and Process Optimization" accepted to Scientific Reports. Congrats Husain!

March - "Tales from Sabbatical II: During your stay" published in Matter. Read it here.

March - Dr. Sparks travels to Zurich, Switzerland to go skiing present "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening with generative machine learning models" at ETH Zurich's materials seminar.

February - "Exploration of fluorapatite bio-ceramic thin film deposition by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis" accepted to Journal of Materials Research. Congrats Shadi! Read the article here.

February - Dr. Sparks presents "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening with generative machine learning models" at the Alan Cottrell Guest Lecture Series for the Material Advantage Student Chapter NIT-Trichy.

February - Dr. Sparks presents "Growing high-quality topological single crystals" at the Matthew Rosseinsky Group meeting.

 

February - Dr. Sparks presents "Inverse design through generative materials informatics" at the University of Liverpool Department Seminar.

 

February - Dr. Sparks presents "Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" at the Leonard-Jones Centre Discussion group at Cambridge University.

February - Dr. Sparks presents at the University of Utah "Unleashing the potential of ChatGPT: an information session on AI generative tools in higher education."

 

February - Dr. Sparks travels to Durham University to present a talk entitled "Can data save us?: exploring the role of informatics on materials research" to the Chemistry Department.

January - "Tales from sabbatical II: During your stay" accepted for publication in Matter.

January - Dr. Sparks delivers an invited talk entitled "Generative materials informatics: Going beyond screening" to Nanohubs Webinar Series on Nanotechnology.

January - Dr. Sparks travels to Sheffield University to present a talk entitled "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" to the Materials Science and Engineering Department.

January - "Structural Investigations of the Bi2–xSbxTe3–ySey Topological Insulator" accepted to Journal of Solid State Chemistry. Congrats Husain and Stacey!

January - Dr. Sparks travels to Lehigh University to host the SSMCDAT - Hackathon!

January - Dr. Sparks travels to Lehigh University to present a talk entitled "Generative materials informatics - Going beyond screening" to the Materials Department.

January - Dr. Sparks listed as one of a dozen industry leaders named as a key expert resource for technical audiences according to the 2023 Trew Marketing 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers Research Report

January - Dr. Sparks travels to University of Reading to present a talk entitled "Materials informatics: twice as fast at a fraction of the cost" to the Chemistry Department.

 

 
2022

December - Dr. Sparks presents "Revenge of the .cif: incorporating structural distance metrics into the DiSCoVeR algorithm" at the RSC Solid State Chemistry Group Christmas meeting.

December - "What is a minimal working example for a self-driving laboratory?" published in Matter. Congrats Sterling! Read the article here.

December - Dr. Sparks travels to Edinburgh to present a seminar for the Chemistry Department.

November - Dr. Sparks travels to Boston to teach a tutorial on Graph Neural Networks for Material Design and an invited talk entitled "Generative materials informatics - Going beyond screening" at the Fall MRS Meeting.

November - Dr. Sparks travels to Oxford to present a seminar for the Chemistry Department.

November - Dr. Sparks travels to London to present at the Data Driven Materials Design - with Taylor Sparks event at the Thomas Young Centre in hosted by Queen Mary University (Keith Butler), Imperial College (Aron Walsh), and University College London (David Scanlon).

November - Dr. Sparks co-presents with Dr. Celine Varvenne a module on Fundamental Theory and Computational Modelling as part of the TMS High Entropy Alloys: Fundamentals, Alloy Design, Properties, and Potential Applications! More info here.

November - Dr. Sparks travels to Coventry to give a Chemistry Department seminar at the University of Warwick hosted by Dr. Mark Senn.

 

November - Husain and Pooya both pass their dissertation defenses!! Congrats to both!

 

October - "Electrochemical and Degradation Studies on One-Dimensional Tunneled Sodium Zirconogallate (NZGO) + Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) Composite, Mixed Sodium and Oxygen Ion Conductor" accepted for publication in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Congrats Pooya and Jude! Read the article here.

October - "The Influence of Sintering Condition on Microstructure, Phase Composition, and Electrochemical Performance of the Scandia- Ceria- Co- Doped Zirconia for SOFCs" accepted for publication in International Journal of Science of Sintering. Congrats Pooya, Elizabeth, and Jude!

October - Dr. Sparks delivers an oral talk entitled "Synthesis and Electrochemical Studies of Multi-Phase Multi-Species Composite Ionic Conductor" and a poster entitled "The Materialism podcast: a new medium for materials science education" for the 7th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials in Genoa Italy.

October - Dr. Sparks delivers a Keynote talk entitled "Why does humanity need new materials, and where will we find them?" for the International Metallurgy and Materials Conference IMMC-2022 in Istanbul Turkey.

September - Dr. Sparks delivers an invited talk entitled "Materials informatics: Going beyond screening" at the Leverhulme Research Centre for Functional Materials Design 2nd Biennial Symposium at Anfield Stadium.

September - Dr. Sparks serves as guest editor for a special issue in Scientific Reports entitled "Machine Learning for Materials Chemistry". Read the special issue here!

August - "Emergent Helical Edge States in a Hybridized Three-Dimensional Topological Insulator" accepted to Nature Communications.

August - Dr. Sparks presents his talk entitled "Materials informatics: Twice as fast at a fraction of the cost" to the Rosseinsky group at the University of Liverpool.

 

August - Sterling wins 2022 Accelerate Conference Travel Award to travel to Toronto and present an invited talk! Congrats Sterling.

August - "Gate-tunable anomalous Hall effect in a 3D topological insulator/2D magnet van der Waals heterostructure" accepted to Nano Letters. Congrats Husain and Amit!

August - Dr. Sparks travels to the United Kingdom to begin his one-year sabbatical at the University of Liverpool hosted by Dr. Matthew Rosseinsky.

August - "xtal2png: A Python package for representing crystal structure as PNG files" published in the Journal of Open Source Software. Congrats Sterling, Hasan, and Michael! Read the article here.

July - Dr. Sparks travels to New London to present an invited talk entitled "Generative Materials Informatics: Going Beyond Screening" at the GRC for Solid State Chemistry.

July - Dr. Sparks teaches his course on "Machine Learning Best Practices and Fundamentals for Materials Science" at the 11th Computational Materials Science Summer School at Texas A&M University.

July - Dr. Sparks presents an invited virtual talk entitled "Making phosphorescent roadway markings a reality" at the National Workshop on Paint-Based Technologies held in Arlington VA.

July - Dr. Sparks travels to Vienna Austria to go hiking in the alps teach at the Machine Learning for Materials Hard and Soft.

July - Dr. Sparks presents his talk entitled "Investigating the gap between expectation and reality in materials informatics" at the Sandia National Laboratory Beyond Fingerprinting seminar series.

June - "Real-space visualization of short-range antiferromagnetic correlations in MnTe" published in Matter. Check it out here.

June - Dr. Sparks presents an invited talk entitled "Twice as fast at a fraction of the cost: Accelerating materials innovation through informatics" at TechBlick's Machine Learning & Robotics in New Material Discovery: Innovations, Start-Ups, Applications webinar. Check it out here.

May - "Additive-Manufactured, Highly-Conductive Metasurfaces, with Application Enabling Secondary Properties, for Microwave Waveguide Components" accepted to IEEE Access. Congrats Isaac and Mark! Read the article here.

May - Dr. Sparks awarded the inaugural John G. Francis Prize for Undergraduate Student Mentoring!

May - Sparks group travels to the San Rafael Swell for an epic group canyoneering retreat!

May - "High-dimensional Bayesian Optimization of Hyperparameters for an Attention-based Network to Predict Materials Property: a Case Study on CrabNet using Ax and SAASBO" accepted to Computational Materials Science. Congratualtions Sterling and Marianne! Read the article here.

May - Dr. Sparks travels to Chicago to present his talk entitled "Challenges and opportunities with featurization and algorithms for materials informatics" at the DOD Heterogeneous Materials Workshop.

May - Dr. Sparks leads a discussion group on "Learning modules in Academic Courses" as part of the virtual "Materials Genome Initiative Workforce Development" meeting.

 

May - Dr. Sparks travels to Corvallis to present at the Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering Department Seminar.

April - Dr. Sparks travels to Denver to present his talk entitled
"Essential, but missing software and AI for autonomous materials research & development" for the Autonomous Materials Research & Development Workshop.

April - Andrew Falkowski wins the MSE Department Outstanding MS Thesis award and Ka'ai Kauwe wins the MSE Department Outstanding Dissertation Award!

 

April - Dr. Sparks presents his seminar "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" for the MateriALZ seminar series.

April - "Tales from Sabbatical I: Planning your leave" accepted for publication at Matter.

April - Dr. Sparks awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowship to support a sabbatical at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom!

April - Marcus successfully defends his PhD Dissertation! Congrats Marcus!

April - Dr. Sparks presents a keynote talk entitled "Revolutionary Materials: Their Role in Science and Society" at the University of Phillipines MSE Summit 2022.

April - Andrew successfully defends his MS Thesis! Congrats Andrew!

April - Dr. Sparks travels to Pittsburgh to serve as Chair of the TMS First World Congress on Artificial Intelligence in Materials and Manufacturing AIM 2022. While there he presents talks on binary red deer algorithm, GAN's for new materials, Nb alloy development, and style transfer for new materiaols.

March - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" to Apple.

March - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" to the Materials Project seminar series!

March - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" to the Mechanical Engineering Department at Brigham Young University!

March - Sparks group travels to TMS2022 to present "Ensemble of State-of-the-art Property Prediction Machine Learning Algorithms", "Topological Class Detection with Attention-based Neural Network", "DiSCoVeR Algorithm for Identifying Promising Unlikely Candidates for New Materials", "Optimizing Thermoelectric Compositions to Achieve Extraordinary Properties", "Synthesis and Electrochemical Studies of Sodium ß’’-Al2O3/10Sc1CeZr Composite as a Two Independent Phase Mixed Ion Conductor", "Application of Compositionally-restricted Attention-based Network (CrabNet) for Screening Candidate Dispersed Phases for Designing High Strength Alloys", "Comparing Transfer Learning to Feature Optimization in Microstructure Classification" and "Microstructure, Mechanical Properties, and Irradiation Response of Fe-Cr-Ni-based Multi-principal Element Alloys"

February - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Materials informatics: Moving beyond screening via generative machine learning models" for the Alabama Collaborative for Materials Exploration (ACME)!

February - "Trends in bulk compressibility of Mo2-xWxBC solid solutions" accepted to Chemistry of Materials! Congrats Jackson and Marcus!

February - "High-throughput Calculation of Atomic Planar Density for Compounds" accepted to Journal of Applied Crystallography! Congrats Sterling!

February - "DiSCoVeR: a Materials Discovery Screening Tool for High Performance, Unique Chemical Compositions" accepted to Digital Discovery! Congrats Sterling and Tran! Read article here.

February - Dr. Sparks joins Computational Materials Science as an Associate Editor.

January - "Data-Driven Materials Discovery and Synthesis using Machine Learning Methods” accepted to Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry III. Congrats Sterling, Marianne, and Hasan! Read the article here.

January - Dr. Sparks joins the Youth Editorial Board for the Journal of Materials Informatics.

 
2021

December - Dr. Sparks publishes "Inaugural Congress to Focus on Artificial Intelligence " in JOM in preparation for our AIM 2022 conference!

December - Dr. Sparks travels to Boston to present "Graph Attention Networks for Predicting Materials Properties" and "Discovery of Novel Inorganic Crystal Structures via Generative Adversarial Networks" at the 2021 Fall MRS Meeting.

November - Dr. Sparks virtually presents to Prof Stefano Sanvito's group at Trinity College Dublin!

 

November - "Optimizing Fractional Compositions to Achieve Extraordinary Properties" published in Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation. Congrats Andrew and Ka'ai! Read the article here.

November - our manuscript "Comparing Transfer Learning to Feature Optimization in Microstructure Classification" was accepted to iScience! Congrats Debanshu!

November - our manuscript "Assessing raw materials criticality" in the "2021 Sustainable Materials Roadmap" was accepted to JPhys Materials. Congrats Sterling!

November - Dr. Sparks attends the 8th Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and presents his work "Control of stoichiometry in BiSbTeSe2 through CALPHAD informed single crystal growth".

October - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Weibull failure analysis: Moving beyond safety factors to probabilistic design" to the American Society of Quality Saginaw Valley Chapter.

October - Dr. Sparks travels to Columbus, OH to present his invited talks "The Materialism Podcast: A New Medium for Materials Science Education" and "Discovery of Novel Inorganic Crystal Structures via GANs" at the MS&T21 meeting. Husain also presents his talk "Topological Insulator Design for Quantum Computers Targeting BSTS Single Crystal Fabrication."

October - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Why does humanity need new energy materials, and where will we find them?" to the Chemical Engineering department seminar at the University of Utah.

 

October - Dr. Sparks joins the Editorial Advisory Board for Chemistry of Materials

October - Dr. Sparks attends the AmeriMech symposium entitled "Machine Learning in Heterogeneous Porous Materials"

September - Dr. Sparks travels to Telluride, Colorado to present a talk entitled “Discovery of Novel Inorganic Crystal Structures via GANs” at the Telluride Science workshop on "Machine learning and informatics in chemistry and materials"

September - Husain travels to St. Louis to present his talk entitled "BSTS single crystal thermal modeling for growth improvement and optimization" at the ASM annual meeting (International Materials Applications and Technologies IMAT).

September - Dr. Sparks presents his talk entitled "Accuracy, Uncertainty, Inspectability: The Benefits of Compositionally-Restricted Attention-Based Networks" to the SUNY Chemistry Department.

August - "Sequential machine learning applications of particle packing with large size variations" accepted to IMMI! Congrats Jason and Ka'ai! Read the article here.

August - Dr. Sparks teaches a course entitled "Machine learning best practices and fundamentals for materials science" for the CMS3 Summer School on Computational Materials Science Across Scales event hosted by Texas A&M University.

July - Dr. Sparks takes NSF ReUSE REU students to visit the DOE FORGE geothermal research site in Milford Utah!

June - Konrad defends his MS Thesis! Congrats Konrad (co-advised by Dr. Shetty)

June - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "Discovery of novel crystal structures via GANs" at the 2021 Telluride Workshop on Computational Materials Chemistry, June 27- July 1 2021.

June - Michael presents his talk entitled "Discovery of novel crystal structures via GANs" at the Electronic Materials Conference, virtual June 23-25 2021.

June - "Benchmark Datasets Incorporating Diverse Tasks, Sample Sizes, Material Systems, and Data Heterogeneity for Materials Informatics" published in Data in Brief. Congrats Ashley and Ka'ai! Read the article here.

June - "Environmentally friendly thermoelectric sulfide Cu2ZnSnS4 single crystals with dimensionless figure of merit achieving 1.6" accepted to Journal of Materials Chemistry A. Read the article here.

Update! Article selected as the rear cover art!

May - Clark Nielson graduates with his MS.

May - Andrew Falkowski delivers an oral talk entitled "Optimizing Fractional Compositions Through Gradient Ascent" at the SIAM-MS21: SIAM Conference on Mathematical Aspects of Materials Science, May 17-28, 2021, virtual talk.

May - Dr. Sparks and former group member Jason Nance featured on Fox13 News for their luminescent roadway paint technology! Read the article here!

May - Dr. Sparks presents a virtual talk entitled "Accuracy, Uncertainty, Inspectability: The benefits of compositionally-restricted attention-based networks" to the Accelerated Materials Development for Manufacturing (AMDM) colloquium series at Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore.

May - Dr. Sparks selected for the Honorary Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award of 2020-2021 for the College of Mines & Earth Sciences.

May - Ka'ai selected as the Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher Award of 2020-2021 for the Materials Science & Engineering Department! Congrats Ka'ai!

 

 

April - "Compositionally-Restricted Attention-Based Network for Materials Property Prediction" accepted to npj Computational Materials! Congrats Anthony, Ka'ai, and Ryan! Read the article here.

April - Our preview entitled "Materials Informatics and Polymer Science: Pushing the Frontiers of our Understanding" accepted to Matter. Read the article here!

April - Dr. Sparks teaches a short course entitled "Tools for Visualizing and Understanding the Structure of Crystalline Ceramics" for the American Ceramic Society. Read more here.

April - Trupti Mohanty, Ramsey Issa, and Zahra Gholami join the Sparks Research Group as PhD candidates, Captain Mark Halling joins as a MS candidate! Amit Vashist joins as a postdoctoral researcher.

March - our publication "Lifetime of electrochromic optical transition cycling of ethyl viologen diperchlorate-based electrochromic devices" accepted for publication in SN Applied Sciences. Congrats Logan and Christian! Read article here!

March - Dr. Sparks presents at the TMS 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. His talk is entitled "Accuracy, uncertainty, inspectability: The benefits of compositionally-restricted attention-based networks." Check it out here! Marcus presents at the TMS 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. His talk is entitled "Accelerated Study of Thermal and Irradiation Creep in Fe-based Multi-principal Element Alloys."

March - Dr. Ka'ai Kauwe presents at the North American Materials Colloquium Series. Check it out here!

February - Dr. Sparks selected for the Acta Materialia Outstanding Reviewer Award for 2020!

February - Dr. Sparks awarded funding for the project entitled "Literature review of superhard materials and testing for drilling applications" by China National Petroleum Corporation.

February - Dr. Sparks presents his talk "How can materials informatics revolutionize materials science?" at General Electric as part of their Machine Learning for Materials (ML4M) initiative.

January - Ka'ai successfully defends his PhD! Congrats Ka'ai!!
You can watch a recording here.

 

January - Our paper was listed in the top 20 downloaded papers in 2020 for the journal Chemistry of Materials! Congrats team! Check it out!

and here is our original paper

 

January - Sterling Baird, Hasan Sayeed, Wade Smallwood, Ziyang Jiang, and B.D. Hauth join the Sparks Research Group! Welcome!

 

December - Dr. Sparks teaches two workshop sessions for the TMS Learning Pathways: Advanced Materials Manufacturing. The sessions are "Overview of ML, tools, frameworks, application to materials science" and "Knowledge extraction, feature engineering, best practices." Register here!

November - Dr. Ravi Chandran (PI, UofU MSE) along with co-PIs Dr. Sparks (UofU MSE), Dr. Tan (UofU ME), and Dr. Zhang (Computherm) awarded funding from arpa-e ULTIMATE program for "Designing Novel Multicomponent Niobium Alloys for High Temperature: Integrated Design, Rapid Processing & Validation Approach." Read the press release here.

November - Ka'ai presents at the 2020 Virtual MRS Spring/Fall Meeting a talk entitled "Accuracy, Uncertainty, Inspectability:
The benefits of compositionally-restricted attention-based networks." Check it out here.

October - Husain had his proposal "Quantum Computer Topological Insulator Single Crystal Material" awarded by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science.

October - "A Data Science Approach for Advanced Solid Polymer Electrolyte Design" accepted for publication in Computational Materials Science. Congrats Marianne, Kathy, and Conrad! Read article here.

September -a few brave members of the Sparks Research Group brave the COVID-ridden streets of SLC to celebrate Dr. Jake Graser's successful PhD defense.

September - Marcus presents at the INL Virtual Meeting on Accelerated Irradiation for Reactor Structural Materials. His talk was entitled "In-situ experiments: microstructure, creep, and corrosion." September 14-18, 2020

August - Sparks Research Group awarded a research contract by L3Harris along with Co-PIs Shelley Minteer and David Schurig for advanced manufacturing of RF antennas.

August - Jake successfully defends his PhD (remotely)! Congrats Jake!!

July - "Is domain knowledge necessary for machine learning materials properties?" accepted for publication in Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation! Congrats Ryan, Anthony, and Ka'ai! Read the article here.

June - "Commercial Marine-degradable Polymers for Flexible Packaging" accepted for publication in iScience! Congrats Amber! Read the article here.

June - Dr. Sparks and Dr. Oliynyk interviewed as Materials Science Section Editors for Data In Brief. Read interview here.

June - "Extracting Knowledge from DFT: Experimental Band Gap Predictions Through Ensemble Learning" accepted for publication in Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation! Congrats Ka'ai and Taylor! Read the article here!

May - "Machine Learning for Materials Scientists: An introductory guide towards best practices" accepted to Chemistry of Materials. Read the article here.

May - "From Streetlights to Phosphors: a Review on the Visibility of Roadway Markings" accepted to Progress in Organic Coatings. Congrats Jason! Read the article here.

 

April - "Benchmark AFLOW Data Sets for Machine Learning" accepted for publication in Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation! Congrats Conrad and Ka'ai! Read the article here.

April - Amber successfully defends her MS thesis and starts working at Procter & Gamble!

April - Dr. Sparks presents as a panelist for the TMS Webinar "Transitioning to Online Instruction: Tips, Tools and Techniques."

March - Dani receives an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

 

March - Sparks Research Group featured on Fox 13 News. “UDOT testing new way to make road markings easier to see” https://www.fox13now.com/udot-testing-new-way-to-make-road-markings-easier-to-see

March - "Comparison of Coatings for SrAl2O4:Eu2+,Dy3+ powder in Waterborne Road Striping Paint under Wet Conditions" accepted to Progress in Organic Coatings. Congrats Jason! Read the article here.

 

March - Dani successfully defends her MS thesis! She carried out an indepth analysis of dozens of HEA samples in order to build up an HEA data library for future ML model construction.

March - Jason successfully defends his MS project! His work on phosphorescent roadway markings which resist degradation from water exposure has made great strides!

February - Ryan presents "New algorithms, descriptors, and machine learning techniques tailored to the challenges of materials informatics" at the Utah Data Science Seminar series.

February - Ka'ai travels to San Diego to present an invited talk "Gaps & Gotchas in Materials Informatics" at the TMS 2020 Meeting.

February - Most of the Sparks Research Group at Red Iguana sending Anthony off as he returns home to TU Berlin. We'll miss you Anthony!

February - "Materials abundance, price, and availability data from the years 1998 to 2015" accepted for publication in Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation! Congrats Brennan and Ka'ai!. Read the article here.

February - Co-PI Dr. Sparks along with PI Tallie Cassucci and Co-PI Abigail Pulsipher awarded 1U4U funding for "An investigation of pathogens on rock climbing mat materials."

February - Dr. Sparks along with co-PIs Bates and Carlson awarded NSF funding "Research experience in Utah for Sustainable Materials Engineering (ReUSE)" to establish the first ever REU Site for the Materials Science & Engineering Department at the University of Utah.

January - Dr. Sparks receives funding from Procter & Gamble to support Amber Barron's MS Thesis on hot wax-sealable sustainable packaging materials.

January - Dr. Sparks makes an appearance on the popular Discovery Channel Show "Diesel Brothers" to help them design a diesel powered ultimate wake surf boat.

January - "The Materialism podcast: Exploring new avenues for materials science education" accepted to Matter as a Matter of Opinion Article. Read the article here!

 

December - "Can machine learning find extraordinary materials?" accepted to Computational Materials Science. Read the article here.

December - "Landau Levels of Topologically-Protected Surface States Probed by Dual-Gated Quantum Capacitance" accepted to ACS Nano. Read the article here!

December - About half of the Sparks group braved the bitter cold to visit the SLC Christkindlmarkt and eat tasty german food.

November - Dani, Marcus, and Ryan all present at IMECE19.

Dani takes first place in her section!

November - "A review of machine learning for structural materials" accepted for publication in Annual Reviews of Materials Research.

November - Dr. Sparks presents at the Utah Energy Symposium.

October - Dr. Sparks travel to Doha Qatar to present an invited talk at the ICSEC19 conference.

October - Dani, Marcus, and Dr. Sparks travel to Idaho Falls to present at the Nuclear Materials Discovery and Qualification Initiative at Idaho National Laboratory.

October - Dr. Sparks appointed Section Editor of Materials Informatics for the journal Data In Brief.

October - Dr. Sparks travels to Boston to enjoy the fall leaves speak at the Applied Mechanics Colloquium at Harvard University and catch up with PhD advisor David Clarke!

September - Dr. Sparks travels to Portland to admire Mount Hood represent the newly merged MSE department at the University Materials Council held at MS&T2019

September - Dr. Sparks presents at TEDxSaltLakeCity. His talk was entitled "Materials Informatics: Reducing Trial & Error from the Discovery of New Materials." Watch the video here!

September - "Viewpoint: Atomic-scale design protocols towards energy, electronic, catalysis and sensing applications" accepted to the journal Inorganic Chemistry. Read it here!

August - Marcus' paper "Lattice strain and texture analysis of superhard Mo0.9W1.1BC and ReWC0.8 via diamond anvil cell deformation" accepted to Journal of Materials Chemistry A on August 30 2019 as part of the Emerging Investigators Special Issue. Read it here!

August - Husain Alnaser joins the Sparks Research Group as a PhD student working on growing single crystals of quantum materials. Welcome Husain!

August - Dr. Sparks travels to Cancun, Mexico to present an invited talk "Augmenting chemical intuition with machine learning for the discovery of new materials" at the XXVIII International Materials Research Congress.

August - "Atomic substitution to balance hardness ductility and sustainability in molybdenum tungsten borocabide" accepted to Chemistry of Materials. Read the article here.

August - Anthony Wang from TU Berlin (Aleksander Gurlo's group) joins the Sparks Research Group for an extended research exchange.

August - Dani, Marcus, Travis, and Dr. Sparks all travel to Golden Colorado to present at the North American Solid-State Chemistry Conference (NASSCC).

August - A research team led by Dr. Vikram Deshpande with Co-PI's Kang Wang, Feng Liu, and Dr. Sparks awarded $1,635,591 from the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research to investigate "QII - TAQS: Quantum Device Engineering with Majorana Fermions in High-Quality Three-Dimensional Topological Insulator Heterostructures."

August - Dr. Sparks receives National Science Foundation funding from the Division of Materials Research along with co-PIs Nicole Benedek, Frank E. Curtis, and Daniel Fredrickson to host an upcoming workshop entitled "SSMCDAT2020: Solid-State and Materials Chemistry Data Science Hackathon."

July - Dr. Sparks serves as Chief Guest Editor for the journal Computational Materials Science special issue on "Machine learning and data-driven design of materials" along with co-guest editors Dr. Anton Oliynyk and Dr. Vitaliy Romaka. Read our preface here!

July - "Three and Four-Electrode Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy Studies using Embedded Composite Thin Film Pseudo-Reference Electrodes in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells" accepted to the Fuel Cells, Electrolyzers, and Energy Conversion section of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. Congrats Alex! Read the paper here!

July - "Electrochemical Studies on Na-b"-Alumina + Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) Mixed Na+-Ion-O2-Ion Conductors" accepted to the Fuel Cells, Electrolyzers, and Energy Conversion section of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. Congrats Leila! Read paper here!

July - Jake travels to Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo Japan for a research exchange in the Superconducting Materials Laboratory led by Dr. Muralidhar Miryala.

July - Marcus awarded an INL graduate fellowship. Congrats Marcus! He will be spending his last year of his PhD at INL working on HEA alloys for nuclear applications. Congrats Marcus!

July - Dr. Sparks awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Materials Science & Engineering!!!! He will also be serving as Associate Chair of the newly merged department!

July - The University of Utah Materials Science & Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering departments merged to form the new Materials Science & Engineering Department in both the College of Engineering as well as the College of Mines and Earth Sciences.

June - "Tunable coupling between surface states of a three-dimensional topological insulator in the quantum Hall regime" accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters. Read the article here.

University of Utah Unews provides a press release you can read here.

May - "Pore-graded and conductor and binder-free FeS2 films deposited by spray pyrolysis for high-performance lithium-ion batteries" accepted for publication in Journal of Materials Research. Congrats Shadi! Read the article here.

May - Dr. Sparks appears on the Discovery Channel show Diesel Brothers to help his brother, Heavy D, jump a monster truck over a flying airplane.

May- Sparks Research Group travels to southern Utah for a canyoneering trip!

May- Dr. Sparks joins the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports (Nature publishing group).

May- Ashley and Logan both successfully defend their MS theses! Congrats! Ashley is headed to the University of Utah Law School! Alex successfully defends his PhD thesis!

April- Amber Barron joins the Sparks Research Group to work on her Master's degree sponsored by Proctor and Gamble on sustainable packaging materials.

April- Dr. Sparks co-organizes the 2nd annual Workshop on Machine Learning in Materials Science. The workshop was held this year at the University of Houston with co-organizer Jakoah Brgoch. Sparks Research Group members Jake, Ka'ai, and Jason travel to present at the workshop.

April- Dr. Sparks receives INL LDRD funding along with collaborators from Idaho National Laboratory, California Nanotechnologies, and Sandia National Laboratories to investigate "Early Demonstration of Combinatorial Alloy Fabrication and FAST Irradiation Testing."

April- Marcus travels to Argonne National Laboratory to perform DAC experiments at 16-ID-B.

March- Sparks group performs outreach to the State of Utah Science Olympiad as event coordinators, as well as giving talks to ACCESS program, the Boy Scouts of America, and as the keynote for the University of Utah College of Engineering "Meet an Inventor" night.

March- Dani presents her work on cobalt availability for electric vehicles at the TMS2019 Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Her work was done as part of an NSF MRSEC REU hosted by Dr. Olivetti at MIT.

March- "High-temperature structure of Co3O4: Understanding spinel inversion using in situ and ex situ measurements" accepted to Physical Review B. Read the article here.

February- Dr. Sparks travels to Winnipeg Canada to the University of Manitoba to go ice skating present a seminar for the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Manitoba Institute for Materials (MIM).

February- "Comparison of fatigue in fiber-backed PVDF and PFA fluoropolymer linings" accepted to Polymer Degradation and Stability. Congrats Ben! Read the article here.

February- Dr. Sparks and Kaai travel to UCSB to teach a 2-day machine learning bootcamp for the Materials Department.

February- Dr. Sparks travels to Caltech to present the Materials Science Colloquium.

January- Chong Lei travels to Daytona Beach FL to present at ICACC.

January- "Data-driven studies of lithium-ion-battery materials" accepted to Crystals as an invited article. Read the article here.

January- Sparks group outing to watch two members of the Sparks Research Group perform at the Urban Lounge.

January- Dr. Sparks travels to the University of Florida, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, and North Carolina State University to present at various materials and chemistry department seminars.

 

January- Dr. Sparks and Andrew Falkowski launch a new Materials Science podcast entitled "Materialism." Check it out on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or TuneIn.

 

December- "Freeze-Casting of Surface-Magnetized Iron(II,III) Oxide Particles in a Uniform Static Magnetic Field Generated by a Helmholtz Coil" published in Advanced Engineering Materials! Read the article here!

November- "Enhancement in surface mobility and quantum transport of Bi2-xSbxTe3-ySey topological insulator by controlling the crystal growth conditions" published in Scientific Reports! Read the article here!

November- Dr. Sparks travels to Las Cruces, New Mexico to present at the Physics dept seminar for NMSU.

 

November- "Topological Insulator-Based van der Waals Heterostructures for Effective Control of Massless and Massive Dirac Fermions" published in Nano Letters! Read the article here!

November- Dr. Sparks travels to Kuwait City, Kuwait to present at the Sixth Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium.

October- our paper "Spray pyrolysis of conductor and binder free porous FeS2 films for high performance lithium ion batteries" was accepted to Journal of Materials Science. Read the article here.

October- our collaborative work with Arthur Mar's group entitled "Not Just Par for the Course: 73 Quaternary Germanides RE4M2XGe4 (RE = La–Nd, Sm, Gd–Tm, Lu; M = Mn–Ni; X = Ag, Cd) and the Search for Intermetallics with Low Thermal Conductivity" was accepted to Inorganic Chemistry. Read article here.

October- Dr. Sparks travels to southern California to present the Chemistry Department Colloquium at USC and Materials Department Colloquium at UCSB.

October- Dr. Sparks travels to NYU Abu Dhabi for graduate program recruitment weekend.

September- Dr. Sparks travels to BYU to present the Physics Department colloquium.

September- Dr. Sparks travels to Warsaw, Poland to present 4 talks (1 invited) at the European Materials Research Society Fall 2018 Meeting.

September- Dr. Sparks presents at the workshop on "Advancing the Development Cycle Through Intelligent Materials Design, Informatics, and Characterization" held at Colorado School of Mines.

 

August- Dr. Sparks receives INL LDRD funding along with collaborators from Idaho National Laboratory, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Utah to investigate "Accelerated Nuclear Materials and Fuel Qualification by Adopting a First to Failure Approach."

August- Dr. Sparks travels to Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital ATK) to deliver the Lunch & Learn seminar. Northrop Grumman will be sponsoring Sparks Research Group research for PhD student Jason Hall!

August- Sparks group publishes 6 Engineering Education videos in JoVE's Materials Science & Engineering collection: "Hydrogel Synthesis", "Differential Scanning Calorimetry", "Thermal diffusivity and the Laser Flash Method", "Electroplating of Thin Films", "Analysis of Thermal Expansion via Dilatometry", "Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy."

July- Dr. Sparks travels to TU Berlin to give the Ceramics group seminar.

July- "Machine learning directed search for ultraincompressible, superhard materials" published in JACS. Congrats Marcus! Read article here.

July- "A revised model for thermopower and site inversion in Co3O4 spinel" accepted for publication in Physical Review B. Read article here.

July- "Calcium alginate polymer encapsulation of proppant with time-release delivery of microbial consortia for methanogenesis" published in Hydraulic Fracturing Journal.

July- Jason, Hallie, and Pooya join the Sparks research group as PhD students. Jason is sponsored by Orbital ATK and will work on mechanical properties of phenolics, Hallie and Pooya will both work on electrochemical devices.

June - Leila graduates as the first PhD from the Sparks group! Congrats to her as well as Colton and Christian who also graduated this semester with their MS degrees.

June - Sparks Group BBQ.

May - "Machine learning and energy minimization approaches for crystal structure predictions: A review and new horizons" accepted at Chemistry of Materials. Congrats Jake and Ka'ai! Read article here.

 

May - Leila and Alex travel to Seattle to present at the ECS Meeting 2018.

May - Dr. Sparks travels to Northwestern University to teach a class on Machine Learning for MAT 390 and to give a seminar for CHiMaD.

May - "Machine learning predictions of heat capacity for solid inorganics" accepted for publication in Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation. Nice work Ka'ai, Jake, and Antonio! Read article here!

May - Congratulations to Christian and Colton who both successfully defended their MS Theses!

April - Shane and Logan both travel to Phoenix AZ to present their work at the 2018 Spring MRS Meeting.

April - Dr. Sparks travels to Colorado School of Mines to present at the Citrine MIDDMI center.

April - Inaugural "Machine Learning in Materials Science Workshop" held at the University of Utah co-hosted by Dr. Sparks and Dr. Brgoch.

April - "Cold temperature performance of phase change material based battery thermal management systems" accepted for publication in Energy Reports. Read article here.

April - "A practical field guide to thermoelectrics: fundamentals, synthesis, and characterization" accepted for publication in Applied Physics Reviews. Read article here.

April - A startup from the Sparks group, ElectroChrome reached the finalist stage of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and won both the People's Choice Award and the Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Nice job Logan, Christian, and Carl!

Learn more about their electrochromic films at e-chrome.com

March - Dr. Sparks travels to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada to give the Chemistry Department Colloquium.

March - "Synthesis and microstructural evolution in iron oxide kaolinite based proppant as a function of reducing atmosphere, sintering conditions, and composition" published in Ceramics International. Read article here.

February - Logan presents work on low temperature electrochromic films to Utah State legislators at Utah's Research on Capitol Hill event. Read article here.

February - Jake's work "Stable, Heat Conducting Phosphor Composites for High-Power Laser Lighting" published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Read article here.

February - John's work "Potential application of developed methanogenic microbial consortia for coal biogasification" published in International Journal of Coal Geology. Read article here.

February - Logan and Zach travel to Cedar City to present at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research.

 

January - Dr. Sparks travels to TMS headquarters to discuss MDI recommendations as a member of the Materials Data Infrastructure Task Force. Read the MDI here!

January - Chong Lei joins the Sparks Research Group as a PhD student to work on mechanical fracture of electrochemical devices.

January - Dr. Maged Bekheet joins the Sparks Research Group. Dr. Bekheet receives the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst fellowship.

January - Leila and Alex attend the American Ceramic Society annual meeting in Daytona Beach Florida.
January - Dr. Sparks awarded REU supplement for undergraduates Konrad and Rosa to work on superhard materials. .
 
November - "Measurement of Ionic Conductivity and Electrode Polarization at Low Temperatures on 8YSZ by a DC Techniques" accepted to the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Read the article here.

November - Dr. Sparks travels to Rabat Morocco to present "Spray pyrolysis of FeS2 for high performance lithium ion batteries" at the fifth Arab-American Frontiers Symposium of Science Engineering & Medicine.

October - "Anisotropic properties of Na-β”-Alumina+ YSZ composite synthesized by vapor phase method" accepted to Journal of Materials Research and will be published in the Annual Issue on Early Career Scholars in Materials Science. Read article here.

October - Dr. Sparks gives invited talk on machine learning in energy materials at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science meeting SACNAS 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT Oct 19 2017.

October - Nasik travels to San Antonio, TX, to present to the Young Professionals for the Society of Petroleum Engineers International.

September - Kyu and John's work "Optimization of biogenic methane production from coal" published in International Journal of Coal Geology. Read it here!

September - Dr. Sparks awarded research award from Fisher Company to study struvite formation on fluoropolymers from wastewater.

September - Dr. Sparks gives the Computer Science Department seminar at the University of Utah.

 

August - Dr. Sparks awarded Co-PI subcontract for "Bio ceramics with Veterinary Affairs - Fluoroapatite compound samples for percutaneous implants and osseointegration" sponsored by the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

August - Kyu's work "Developing methanogenic microbial consortia from diverse coal sources and environments" published in Journal of Natural Gas Science & Engineering. Read it here.

August - Marcus travels to the ALS to perform diamond anvil cell synchrotron diffraction on superhard materials

July - Konrad selected as 1 of 4 undergrads in Citrine Informatic's very first NextGen Fellowship program where he will participate in machine learning in the Sparks Research Group
June - Marcus travels to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Modern Methods in Rietveld Refinement for Structural Analysis workshop, June 18-23 2017.
June - Sparks Group research was highlighted in the Deseret News as part of an article on USTAR. Read more here.
June - Summer interns Alicia, Shane, and Rishabh join the Sparks Group along with new PhD student Kaai Kauwe. Welcome! Summer kickoff begins with BBQ up Millcreek Canyon.
May - Dr. Sparks travels to Arlington, VA to NSF headquarters for Advancing and Accelerating Materials Innovation through the Synergistic Interaction among Computation, Experiment, and Theory: Opening New Frontiers Workshop May 18-19 2017.
May - Marcus travels to Florida for a machine learning workshop hosted by UCF.  
April - Ben Gilmore wins first place and Christian Robert and Tom Folke win second place in the MSE Senior Design Competition. See Ben's poster here and Christian and Tom's poster here. Three years in a row that Sparks Group members win 1st place with either 2nd or 3rd as well!
March - Dr. Sparks travels to Pittsburgh to present at the 2017 NETL Project Review Meeting.  
March - Dr. Sparks appears on the Discovery Channel show Diesel Brothers to help his brother, Heavy D, build a somersaulting truck. Watch episode here.

 

March - "Growth and characterization of Arsenic doped CdTe single crystals grown by Cd-solvent traveling-heater method" published in Journal of Crystal Growth. Read article here.
March - Benjamin Gilmore awarded the 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for the College of Engineering! This is the second year in a row an undergrad from the Sparks Research Group has won this award! Read more here.

update: Ben also awarded the 2017 ASUU Individual Dedication to Research Award! Congrats Ben!
February - Dr. Sparks joins the Editorial Board of Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation (IMMI) as well as the Scientific Advisory Board for Citrine Informatics.

February - Dr. Sparks travels to the University of Florida to eat aligator tacos give the Materials Science & Engineering Department Seminar. (2/21/17)
February - Citrine Informatics comes to visit the Sparks Research Group for the first ever "Powered by Citrine" hackathon!
February - Our article "Perspective: Web–based machine learning models for real–time screening of thermoelectric materials properties" was one of the top 10 most read from 2016 in APL Materials!
January - Dr. Sparks travels to Daytona Beach, FL to present an invited talk on "A recommendation engine for suggestion unexpected thermoelectric chemistries: Prediction and validation" at the International Conference and Exposition on Advanced Ceramics and Composites, American Ceramic Society.
January - Dr. Sparks presents for the Undergraduate Research Education Series as well as the Engineering Scholars Program "How to Create an Effective Scientific Research Poster" (Jan 17th and Jan 19th)  
 
November - Dr. Sparks awarded a $580,000 NSF CAREER award for "CAREER: SusChEM: Data Mining to Reduce the Risk in Discovering New Sustainable Thermoelectric Materials" in the Solid State Materials Chemistry Program.
October - "Teaching Innovation in Materials Science & Engineering" published in the conference proceedings from the American Society for Engineering Education 2016 meeting in Cedar City, UT. Read article here.
October - Sparks Group presents at MS&T conference in Salt Lake City. Talks given on dialysis biomaterials, new materials discovery, PEMFC fuel cell electrode polarization measurement, fluoropolymer fatigue, biogasifcation, and batteries. Leila's poster wins 3rd place in the Graduate Poster Contest! Congratulations Leila! See poster here and read about it here.
September - "High-Throughput Machine-Learning-Driven Synthesis of Full-Heusler Compounds" published in Chemistry of Materials. Read article here.
September - "Balancing mechanical properties and sustainability in the search for superhard materials" accepted to Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation. Read article here.
August - "Enhancement of Thermoelectric Properties in the Nb--Co--Sn Half-Heusler/Heusler System Through Spontaneous Inclusion of a Coherent Second Phase" published in Journal of Applied Physics. Read article here.
August - Suzie wins the University of Utah MRSEC REU poster competition. Great job Suzie!
July - Dr. Sparks attends Gordon Research Conference on Solid State Chemistry and he and Jake both attend Summer School for Thermoelectrics. (photo credit Ram and Birgit.)
June - Dr. Sparks and Leila Ghadbeigi along with team members Anton Oliynyk, Arthur Mar, Bryce Meredig, Michael Gaultois, and Erin Antono receive $5,000 award as runners up in AFRL Materials Science and Engineering Data Challenge! Read more here.
June - PhD student Marcus Parry joins the Sparks Research Group to work on superhard materials.
June - "Gd12Co5.3Bi1 and Gd12Co5Bi1 Crystalline Dopplegänger with Low Thermal Conductivites" published in Inorganic Chemistry. Read article here.
May - Sparks group presents talks and posters at the 2016 Governor's Energy Summit.
May - "Synthesis of Ion Conducting Sodium Zirconium Gallate + Yttria- Stabilized Zirconia by a Vapor Phase Process” published to Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Read article here.
May - "High thermopower with metallic conductivity in p type Li-substituted PbPdO2" published in Chemistry of Materials. Read article here.
May - "Web-based machine learning models for real-time screening of thermoelectric materials properties" accepted to APL Materials. Read more here. Selected as cover article!

May - "Synthesis of iron-doped Na-β-alumina + yttria-stabilized zirconia composite electrolytes by a vapor phase process" published in Solid State Ionics. Great job Leila and Alex! Read the article here.
May - Dr. Shadi Al Khateeb wins Arab Research Fund to join the Sparks group as a postdoc for a year. He will be doing research on spray pyrolosis of battery electrodes.
April - Ben travels to New Orleans to present at the International Conference on Plastic Welding and Joining Apr 25-27 2016.
April - Garrett Meeks and Jason Dalton win first place and Brandon Day and Kristina Lundgren win third place in MSE Senior Design competition. See Brandon and Kristina's poster here. Two years in a row we take 1st and 3rd!
April - Prof. Sparks awarded $25,000 for academia-industry partnership with Ceramatec, Inc. for development of "Flexible and Laminable Adjustable Tint Films."
April - Collaborative research awards of $270,000 and $250,000 are awarded to Prof. Brgoch (Univ. Houston) and Prof. Sparks, respectively through the National Science Foundation CMMI Division, MEP program for research on "Collaborative Research: Guided Discovery of Sustainable Superhard Materials via Bond Optimization."
March - Patrick travels to Phoenix to present his paper "Exploration of Polytetrafluoroethylene as a Potential Material Replacement for Hemodialysis Applications" at the 2016 MRS Spring Meeting.
March - Kristina Lundgren awarded the 2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for the College of Engineering! Congrats Kristina! Read more here.
March - Dr. Sparks among 20 faculty to receive the 2016 Career Services Faculty Recognition Award for "faculty members who are contributing to students career development and exploration." Read more here and here.
March - "Perspective: Interactive materials properties databases through aggregation of literature data" published in APL Materials.
February - Brandon and Kristina present at UCUR
February - "A Functionally-Graded Carbide in the Ta-C System" selected as featured article for February 2016 issue in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.
January - Leila travels to Daytona Beach, FL to present her talk "Synthesis of sodium zirconium gallate + yttria-stabilized zirconia by a vapor phase process" at the International Conference and Exposition on Advanced Ceramics and Composites, American Ceramic Society.
January - "Use of Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia for Potentiometric Measurements at Low Temperatures" accepted for publication in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society in the Fuel Cells, Electrolyzers, and Energy Conversion section. Available here.
January - Dr. Sparks presents for the Undergraduate Research Education Series "How to Create an Effective Scientific Research Poster" (Sill Center Conference Room, Jan 21 1:30-2:30)  
 
December - Brandon and Kristina travel with Prof. Sparks to the Boston 2015 MRS Fall Meeting where they gave talks on phase change materials and thermoelectrics. Prof. Sparks also gave the Chemical Engineering Department seminar at Northeastern University and then the College of Engineering seminar at Montana State University at Bozeman.
December - Electrochromic windows research media coverage on KSL.com and the Deseret News. Congrats Max, Carina, Nic, and Jeffrey!

November - Kristina Lundgren and Brandon Day awarded $1600 from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute Get Seeded event to purchase a Flir E5 Thermal Imaging Camera for their phase change materials research. Congrats!

Update: They won a second round for 440$ to purchase PCM materials. Congrats!

October - PhD student Jake Graser join the Sparks Research Group.
October - "A Functionally-Graded Carbide in the Ta-C System" published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. See article here.
October - The Electrochrome LLC team (Jeffrey Copeland, Max Gallant, Carina Hahn, and Nic Flinner) wins a $15,000 Governor's Energy Leadership Scholars grant from the Utah Energy Research Triangle to do research in the Sparks Group on "Scalable deposition method of electrochromic coatings for energy efficient windows."
October - Prof. Sparks presents at the 2015 Pittsburgh Coal Conference.  
September - "Single-step preparation and consolidation of reduced early-transition-metal oxide/metal n-type thermoelectric composites" published in AIP Advances. See article here.
August - Prof. Sparks along with co-PIs Prof. Nick Roberts of USU and Prof. Jones of BYU are awarded the Utah's Principle Energy Initiative Program ($125,000) as part of the Energy Research Triangle for "Optimized power harvesting with tunable thermoelectric generators."
August - Prof. Sparks and Kyu present at the DOE C/CBTL Workshop held in Morgantown, WV and Leila presents "Data mining approach for battery materials" at IEEE SusTech in Ogden, UT on Aug 1
August - MRSEC REU intern, Katie Sautter, presents her summer research at the MRSEC REU symposium.
July - Profs Shetty and Sparks awarded grant on "Characterization of SiC and Si3N4 for Honeywell International," from Honeywell International, from 07/15/2015 - 10/15/2015
July - the Sparks group (minus a few) enjoying a summer BBQ.
June - Prof. Sparks partcipates in the NSF Future of Graduate Education in Materials Workshop held at UCSB.
May - Dr. Kyu Han graduates with his PhD! Congrats! Summer interns join the sparks group from San Jose State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Sao Paulo University! Welcome!  
May - "Datamining our way to the next generation of thermoelectrics" published as invited Viewpoint Set article in Scripta Materialia online on May 15 2015.

April - Sparks group undergrads win first place and third place at the MSE Senior Project banquet! Congrats to Colton Fox, Max Gallant, and Nic Flinner.

click here for Colton's poster, and here for Nic and Max's poster.


April - Leila presents the results of her Governor's Energy Scholars research at the UCAP announcement on capitol hill.

March - "Performance and resource considerations of Li-ion battery electrode materials" published in Energy and Environmental Science! Great job Leila! Update: selected as rear cover article!

ees

March - Leila presents at the ACS meeting in Denver (Materials & Interfaces in Lithium Batteries & Beyond). Prof. Sparks presents at the TMS meeting in Orlando (Integrative Materials Design II: Performance and Sustainability).
March - Professor Sparks awarded Fisher Company research grant to investigate mechanical properties of fluoropolymer vessel liners. Fisher Company
February - Professor Sparks traveled to Argonne National Laboratory to use the Advanced Photon Source 11-BM beamline with collaborator Anton Oliynyk from U Alberta. chicago
January - Professor Sparks awarded grant on "Characterization of steel blanks for copper refining," from Rio Tinto Group, Kennecott Utah Copper, from 01/10/2015 - 03/10/2015
January - Professor Sparks awarded DARPA SIMPLEX grant on "Data-driven discovery of novel thermoelectric materials," Department of Defense, from 04/01/2015 - 06/30/2018
 
December - Professors Sparks and Deshpande awarded the MRSEC seed on "Layered Topological Insulators in the 2D Limit," $35,000 from 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015.
November - Postdoctoral researcher Kyu Bum Han joins the Sparks group. Kyu specializes in biomaterials and carbon based nanomaterials. He will be working on ceramic proppant design for microbially enhanced methane recovery.
October - Professor Sparks publishes Op-Ed "Energy leadership scholars program provides unique research opportunities" on KSL.com, Utahpolicy.com and Utahpulse.com  
September - Professor Sparks awarded DOE project "Ceramic proppant design for in-situ microbial enhanced methane recovery," National Energy Technology Laboratory, Department of Energy, $464,390 from 10/1/2014 - 09/30/2016
June - Professor Sparks appointed new Director of the Materials Characterization Lab replacing Dr. Sygnatowicz.  
June - Leila and Matt presented posters at the Governor's Energy Summit and collected their giant checks for $15,000 each!

matt judge award
leila ghadbeigi award

June - Matt, Carl, Ian, Mikal and Garrett all won UROP funding!  
May - Sparks Group awarded University of Utah Seed Grant funding to research "Evaluation of cold temperature performance of PCM based thermal management system in hybrid electric vehicles"
May - Alexander Szendrei joins the Sparks Research Group as a PhD candidate researching non-equilibrium thermodynamics in electrochemical and thermoelectric systems. Alex also received the ARCS Fellowship!
April - Dr. Jeff Bates joins the Sparks Research Group as a postdoctoral reseacher. Colton fox also joins as a BS/MS student sponsored by US Synthetic. Welcome Jeff and Colton!

March - "How much improvement in thermoelectric performance can come from reducing thermal conductivity?" published in Applied Physics Letters
January - Leila Ghadbeigi and Mattew Judge both win the Governor's Energy Leadership Scholars Program receiving $15,000 each to do research in the Sparks research group! Leila's project is entitled "Evaluation of cold temperature of PCM based TMS in hybrid electric vehicles" and Matt's project is entitled "High-performance Mg2Si nanostructured thermoelectric materials"
January - Emily Timmons and Ian Robinson join the Sparks research group as undergraduate researchers. Emily's research is funded by a College of Engineering Scholarship.

December - Group Holiday lunch at Red Iguana with TA's from MSE 2010 red iguana
December - "Magnetocapacitance as a sensitive probe of magnetostructural changes in NiCr2O4" published in Physical Review B.
September - Leila Ghadbeigi joins the Sparks research group as the first graduate student! Leila has an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran, Iran and will be working on functional oxide materials and datamining for the same. gaultois sparks chem mat cover
August - "Data-driven review of thermoelectric materials: Performance and resource considerations" selected as the cover article of the August 2013 issue of Chemistry of Materials. gaultois sparks chem mat cover
July - Prof. Sparks appointed Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Utah