Sep 12, 2023

Physics Department garners 3 NSF research grants

UNI Physics faculty have been awarded three National Science Foundation (NSF) research
grants so far this year. Physics faculty member Tim Kidd is a Principal Investigator (PI) of a five-
year, $20 million grant to enhance research capacity and infrastructure for Iowa’s bioscience
and advanced manufacturing industries while also supporting the development of a diverse,
skilled, advanced biomanufacturing workforce. Physics faculty member Ali Tabei will also be
supported by this grant. The project, dubbed Chemurgy 2.0, is a large collaborative effort
involving Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, UNI, Central College, and Dordt
University. Several other UNI faculty members from other departments are being supported
by the grant as well. Kidd will serve as leader for the project’s Fibers for Flexible and Rigid
materials component.

The second grant is a 3-year, $550,000 NSF grant to study the incorporation of carbon atoms
into layered materials with highly two-dimensional crystal structures in collaboration with
Texas Tech University. Andy Stollenwerk leads this project, and Tim Kidd and Rui He (Texas
Tech) are co-PI’s. This research is important given the intense interest in and technological
potential of layered materials such as graphite and its single layer derivative, graphene. This
grant is the successor of earlier NSF and U.S. Department of Energy grants in which Stollenwerk
and Kidd studied thin metal films deposited on layered materials such as molybdenum disulfide.

Tim Kidd is PI for the third grant – a 3-year, $800,000 NSF grant to study materials that can used
for quantum information storage and processing. In addition, the Physics Department will
develop coursework and outreach activities centered on quantum information science and
engineering. This grant is also collaborative, involving Iowa State University. Physics faculty
members Pavel Lukashev and Paul Shand will also be supported by this grant. Kidd and his
collaborators will investigate atomic centers in layered materials that have magnetic properties
that will enable them to serve as qubits, the basic elements of quantum computing.