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Electrical and Computer Engineering


 Mittleman Receives Funding from Welch Foundation


Daniel Mittleman (photo) Daniel Mittleman, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Interim Faculty Director of the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale and Technology, received funding from two separate organizations last week.

The Welch Foundation is awarding Mittleman $180,000 over the next three years. The grant will fund a study of materials known as clathrates, which are ice-like crystalline cages of water that contain a molecule of a different species, one molecule inside each cage. He and his team plan to study the terahertz vibrational modes of these cage structures, and how they change when the caged molecule is swapped. For example, they will start with methane in the cages, and then replace it with CO2. Since most of the world's fossil fuel reserve is stored in the form of methane clathrates, this work could have important implications for future energy needs and also for climate change: methane released from clathrates would be a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

“There is a real concern that warming permafrost in the arctic will cause the clathrates in the ground there to destabilize and release their methane, so understanding their stability is pretty important,” Mittleman said.


-Jennifer Hunter