Computer memory, MRI technology benefit from student research at UH


Three grad students win honors, prize money at recent competition

HOUSTON, Jan. 28, 2005 Furthering research in computer memory storage devices, magnetic resonance imaging technology and advanced electronics, University of Houston students in science and engineering showcased their original research in a recent campus competition.

Three UH graduate students won top honors and prize money at the biannual UH Texas Center for Superconductivity and Advanced Materials (TcSAM) Student Symposium. The symposium series highlights the original research efforts of undergraduate and graduate students working in TcSAM, which is a NASA Research Partnership Center located on the UH campus. It is the largest multidisciplinary university superconductivity and related materials research effort in the United States.

Ten students competed, each giving a 15-minute presentation, followed by a brief question and answer period. A faculty panel judged each presenter on originality and quality of research, quality of presentation and skillful use of visual aids.

"The symposium provides an opportunity for TcSAM students to hone their presentation skills and highlight their hard work and research results to an audience of their peers and mentors," said Alex Ignatiev, director of TcSAM and professor of physics, chemistry and electrical and computer engineering. "Successfully communicating your research to the public and your colleagues is an important step in developing as a scientist."

The winners included two students from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and one student from the Cullen College of Engineering. First place and $200 went to Clarina R. de la Cruz, a graduate student in physics; second place and $100 went to Chong Wang, also a graduate student in physics; and third place and $50 went to Lian Xue, a graduate student in electrical engineering.

"The work I presented contributes to the understanding of the magnetodielectric effect that has potential technological applications in the development of novel memory storage devices," said de la Cruz, whose project leader was Paul C.W. Chu, the TLL Temple Chair of Science, physics professor and founding director of TcSAM.

Led by Wei-Kan Chu, the Robert A. Welch professor of physics at UH, Wang said, "My work involved growth and characterization of high temperature superconductor thin films that have applications in advanced electronics and high sensitivity sensors."

Xue, whose project leader was Jarek Wosik, a research professor in the electrical and computer engineering department, presented research that focused on improvement of the signal-to-noise ratio in parallel imaging obtained by implementation of high-temperature superconductors in the design of MRI receiving probes. While it is known that this application has great potential, her research holds promise to improve MRI sensitivity.

TcSAM has more than 260 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students. The mission of TcSAM's members is to create and develop high-temperature superconducting and advanced materials, as well as further their fundamental understanding of the field, advance new terrestrial and space applications based on these materials, and disseminate fundamental and applied knowledge through extensive education and outreach programs.

Strong collaborations with industry and national laboratories promote the commercialization of TcSAM research results through the TcSAM Industrial Consortium, offering intellectual property review and licensing, collaborative and contract research activities, a resident professional program, access to equipment and facilities, consulting services and graduate student access for future employment opportunities.

For more information about TcSAM, visit

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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