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Abolhasani Receives AIChE NSEF Young Investigator Award

Milad Abolhasani, associate professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, received the AIChE Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum (NSEF) Young Investigator Award for his contributions to modern nanoscience and nanotechnology to accelerate discovery and end-to-end manufacturing of clean energy nanomaterials using autonomous flow reactors. The honor, which recognizes outstanding scholarship, commercialization, education, or service in nanoscience and nanotechnology by engineers or scientists in the early stages of their professional careers, was awarded at the AIChE Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, on November 14, 2022.

As part of the award ceremony, Prof. Abolhasani gave a plenary talk entitled, “Research Acceleration in Nanoscience by Self-Driving Fluidic Labs.” In the talk, he discussed his pioneering work which integrates flow chemistry, materials synthesis, in-situ characterization, and machine learning (ML) to discover new nanomaterials for next-generation energy and chemical technologies. The self-driving lab uses modular synthesis and processing stages in tandem with a constantly evolving ML modeling and decision-making to efficiently explore high dimensional experimental design spaces of emerging functional nanomaterials (>1020 possible experimental conditions). In one example, Abolhasani’s self-driving fluidic lab reduced the development time of a semiconductor nanomaterial for LED displays from 12 years to less than 1 month. Abolhasani’s findings have been highlighted by multiple news outlets, with Advanced Science News writing that, “Clearly a new paradigm is emerging in the way materials are discovered on a computer and made in the laboratory.” C&EN similarly noted that the work “underscores the potential of flow reactors to accelerate the discovery of novel nanomaterials and to manufacture them on a large scale.

In addition to the AIChE NSEF Young Investigator Award, Prof. Abolhasani has received numerous awards, recognitions, and fellowships, including NSF CAREER Award, Machine Learning in Chemical Sciences & Engineering Award from The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, AIChE 35 Under 35, I &EC Research 2021 Class of Influential Researchers, ACS-PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, AIChE Futures Scholar, The AIChE John C. Chen Young Professional Leadership Scholarship, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Emerging Investigator recognition from Lab on a Chip, Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, and Journal of Flow Chemistry. He has also been honored with numerous awards from NC State, including the University Faculty Scholar, Goodnight Early Career Innovator Award, and Chancellor’s Innovation Fund Award.