Public Release:  Rensselaer professor Jie Lian receives NSF CAREER Award

Nuclear engineering expert seeks to develop new advanced materials for use in nuclear power production

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, N.Y. - Jie Lian, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Lian will use the five-year, $500,000 award to further his research into the design of nanomaterials for use in nuclear energy systems. The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF's most competitive awards, placing emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

"It is a tremendous honor for Dr. Lian to be selected as a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, which recognizes his potential to become a leading scholar in nuclear engineering and advanced materials," said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. "Jie joins an ever-expanding list of NSF CAREER Award recipients at Rensselaer. We congratulate him on this important achievement."

Lian's research program is focused on better understanding advanced materials and nanomaterials to help further nuclear energy production. Looking forward to the design of future generations of nuclear reactors and other nuclear technologies, it will be necessary to develop materials with enhanced performance that are able to sustain exposure to radiation, high temperatures, and corrosion. Such radiation-tolerant materials may be able to extend the lifetime of components, and could contribute to the safer, more reliable operation of nuclear systems. This study of "nuclear materials" bridges together the fields of advanced materials, nanotechnology, and nuclear engineering.

With his CAREER project, titled "Radiation Interaction with Nanostructured Ceramics--Integrating Materials Solutions into Nuclear Education," Lian will study the behavior of certain nanostructured ceramics when they are exposed to environments with extreme levels of radiation. To do this, he will combine physical experiments with multiscale computations to help determine how radiation impacts nanostructured ceramics. As part of this endeavor, he will investigate the atomistic mechanisms of mitigating radiation damage by nanoscale features. Lian's vision is a science-based approach of developing advanced materials for better control of radiation through the nanoscale materials design concept.

Lian joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2008, and is a member of the Nuclear Engineering Program at Rensselaer.

A prolific researcher, Lian is the author or co-author of more than 140 studies in peer-reviewed journals with upwards of 2,200 citations, along with three book chapters. He holds two provisional patents for graphene-based supercapacitors for electrochemical energy storage, and is known as a pioneer in exploring graphene synthesis on metals by chemical vapor deposition. Lian's research is funded by the NSF, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

He is a recipient of the 2002 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Microbeam Analysis Society, and a 2009 Faculty Development Award from the NRC.

Lian received his bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering from Yanshan University in China, his master's degree in materials science and engineering from Tsinghua University in China, and his doctoral degree in nuclear engineering and radiological science from the University of Michigan.

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