Research Breakthroughs

Engineering Professors Discover Fundamental Effect in Monolayer Catalysts
Two professors at the UH Cullen College of Engineering have discovered that size is critical to the performance of the monolayers of catalysts, the fundamental substance that speeds up reactions in all industries from…
Stanko Brankovic
Researchers Report Breakthrough in Magnesium Batteries
Nanostructured Cathode, Understanding of New Electrolyte Lead to Greater Efficiency Magnesium batteries offer promise for safely powering modern life – unlike traditional lithium ion batteries, they are not flammable or subject…
This schematic shows the structural evolution of titanium disulfide at different stages of intercalation. Interlayers are expanded or distorted as different amounts of pillaring molecules, complex cations and solvents are intercalated into the van der Waals gap of a host material at each stage.
Use of Brain-Computer Interface & Virtual Avatar Offers New Hope to Patients with Gait Disabilities
Researchers Demonstrate Non-Invasive Method Can Help People Re-Learn to Walk Researchers from the University of Houston have shown for the first time that the use of a brain-computer interface augmented with a virtual walking…
Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, Cullen College professor of electrical and computer engineering
Stanko Brankovic Wins Top Award in Field of Chemical Engineering
If there were Academy Awards in the field of electrochemical material science, Stanko Brankovic, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Cullen College and past chair of the materials science division of…
Stanko Brankovic's work in electrochemicals electrifies leading organization
Inexpensive Organic Material Gives Safe Batteries a Longer Life
Modern batteries power everything from cars to cell phones, but they are far from perfect – they catch fire, they perform poorly in cold weather and they have relatively short lifecycles, among other issues. Now researchers from…
Yan Yao's Discovery Could Benefit Renewable Energy, Transportation, Personal Electronics
Yan Yao Amps Up His Game: Becomes a Scialog Fellow
If there’s one thing Yan Yao gets a charge out of, it’s the idea of creating a better battery. The Cullen College assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering is known for being the most current in the battery…
 Yan Yao is making better batteries
For Stanko Brankovic, Life is Speeding Up
That exciting feeling you get when you've made a breakthrough discovery and you know that something that seemed impossible yesterday is now completely clear – that's the feeling that Stanko Brankovic, professor of electrical and…
Professor Stanko Brankovic, first to understand speed of forming catalysts
Rotating and Aligning Graphene Flakes – A UH Engineer's Discovery Opens Doors to Progress
In 2010 graphene took center stage when the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to two scientists in the UK "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene." At the UH Cullen College of Engineering…
Associate Professor Jiming Bao and screen filled with graphene flakes suspended in solvent between two layers of glass. Bao discovered that a magnet rotates and aligns the flakes.
UH Engineers Invent Glucose-Sensing Contact Lens
Blood testing is the standard option for checking glucose levels, but a new technology could allow non-invasive testing via a contact lens that samples glucose levels in tears. “There’s no noninvasive method to do this,” said Wei…
New Superconducting Coil Improves MRI Performance
A multidisciplinary research team led by University of Houston scientist Jarek Wosik has developed a high-temperature superconducting coil that allows magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to produce higher resolution images…
UH Researchers Discover Key Mechanism for Producing Solar Cells
Researchers from the University of Houston have reported the first explanation for how a class of materials changes during production to more efficiently absorb light, a critical step toward the large-scale manufacture of better…
UH Researcher Pursues New Applications for “Hot” Electrons
Three years after his discovery of porous gold nanoparticles – gold nanoparticles that offer a larger surface area because of their porous nature – a UH Cullen College of Engineering researcher is continuing to explore the…
UH Researchers Discover New Chemical Sensing Technique
UH engineers have reported a new technique to determine the chemical composition of materials using near-infrared light. The work could have a number of potential applications, including improving downhole drilling analysis in…
Engineering Researchers Develop Advanced Cell Screening Technology for Cancer Immunotherapy
Researchers have created a new method for screening cells used in immunotherapy cancer treatments, allowing high-performing immune system cells to be studied in isolation and potentially expanding  the number of patients for whom…
UH Engineers Discover Superior Metallic Monolayer Catalyst
Researchers at the UH Cullen College of Engineering have synthesized and characterized a novel metallic monolayer catalyst with far superior catalytic properties than those currently used in industry. Stanko Brankovic, professor…
UH Engineers Develop Optical Probes for Better Diagnosis and Treatment of Kidney Disease
Two UH engineering professors have developed novel optical probes with potential applications in improving diagnosis and treatment for patients with kidney disease. Exciting new results on the two probes were recently published…
Paper on Medical MRI-powered Millirobots Attracts Conference Attention
Hydrocephalus is a nightmarish medical condition. Accumulating fluid in the skull ratchets up pressure on the brain and can cause lifelong mental disabilities. Current treatment requires physicians to cut through the skull and…
UH Researchers Create Lens to Turn Smartphone into Microscope
Researchers at the University of Houston have created an optical lens that can be placed on an inexpensive smartphone to amplify images by a magnitude of 120, all for just 3 cents a lens. Wei-Chuan Shih, assistant professor of…
Top row shows human skin and hair follicle. a) through c) are imaged with an Olympus IX-70 microscope at a magnification of 40, 100 and 200. d) is imaged with a Nokia Lumia 520 smartphone with a PDMS lens. Bottom row shows magnified regions.
Engineering Alumnus Pioneers Large-area Graphene Film
Peng Peng, an electrical and computer engineering alumnus of the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston, is pioneering mass production of large-area graphene film based on groundbreaking research that started…
UH Researchers Discover N-Type Polymer for Fast Organic Battery
Researchers at the University of Houston have reported developing an efficient conductive electron-transporting polymer, a long-missing puzzle piece that will allow ultrafast battery applications. The discovery relies upon a “…

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