NA (LUNA) LU
Associate Professor, Purdue University
Dr. Lu’s research focuses on the discovery and synthesis of functional nanomaterials with tunable (mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical) properties. By exploring novel materials’ properties, Dr. Lu’s group is advancing a wide range of technologies including thermoelectric power generation, piezoelectric energy conversation, sensing, non-destructive testing and multi-functional materials in civil infrastructure.
Dr. Lu is one of the early investigators in discovery of wide bandgap materials (oxides and nitrides) for high temperature thermoelectric energy conversion. This opens up an exciting new research direction in thermoelectric, since it has been primarily focusing on narrow bandgap materials which suffer from low operational temperatures and use toxic elements (eg. Te in BiTe and PbTe). Fundamentally, her research group has advanced the understanding of multi-length (atomic-, nano- and micro-) scale structure effects on materials’ electron and phonon transport (in Ref. JEM, 40(5), 2011; AIP Advances, 6, 2016). This knowledge has led to the development of effective strategies in achieving high electrical conductivity with low thermal conductivity in a same material. Dr. Lu and her collaborators have recently developed computational models to enable a broad search of novel oxides as cost-effective and high performance thermoelectric materials using first-principle based calculations (in Ref. PRB, 93, 2016). Her work has resulted in many publications on high impact journals including Applied Physics Letters, Physical Review B, and Scientific Reports etc.
In addition to her contribution in thermoelectric materials, Dr. Lu’s group has also advanced the field of composites materials by discovering effective chemical processing mechanisms that enable a strong adhesion between cellulose fibers and the polymeric matrix (in Ref. Comp. B, 44(1), 2013). Using this knowledge, Dr. Lu has invented an effective chemical processing technology (US patent 201246394 A1) for lightweight composites. Dr. Lu has transferred this technology and co-founded a start-up company “CetoTech Inc.” which has successfully attracted NSF SBIR funding.
Dr. Lu’s scientific contribution has gained national and international recognition, which is evident by her 2014 NSF CAREER award, multiple keynote, and multiple invited talks at top material conferences, such as 2013 Material Research Society, 2013 TMS Spring Conference, 2016 SPIE Photonic West, 2016 International Conference on Composites and Nano-Engineering etc. She has also giving invited research seminars at our nation’s top research institutions including: Princeton University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Argonne National Lab, and Chinese Academy of Science etc.
Dr. Lu has published over 70 technical articles, one book, four book chapters, 1 patent and 4 provisional patents. She has also delivered many keynote/invited talks all over the world. Her research work has been featured in national and regional media. She has won several scientific awards, including 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.
Dr. Lu is also an entrepreneur who has founded several spin-off companies with the technologies invented at her research lab. One of the company is currently negotiating a vendor agreement with the largest building materials supplier in the United States for technology commercialization.
Research focuses on the discovery and synthesis of functional nanomaterials with tunable (mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical) properties.