Hitachi Fellowship

Hitachi Fellowship Recipients

The Hitachi High-Tech Electron Microscopy Annual Fellowship provides $25,000 each year to support a graduate student using the Clemson University Electron Microscopy Facility to conduct research as part of their doctoral studies. Hitachi has been a long-time supporter of the Electron Microscopy Facility, helping to create the high-tech lab in the mid-1990s and establishing the fellowship in 2014. Nominations for the Fellowship are accepted each Fall.

Hitachi Ceremony Video - 2020



2020 Hitachi Fellowship Recipient

Saheem Absar
Saheem at left with faculty advisor Hongseok

2020 Recipient: Saheem Absar
Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Hongseok Choi
Ph.D. student Saheem Absar is using advanced electron microscopy techniques to analyze the effect of nanoparticles on the behavior of gas bubbles during the solidification of molten metal. Nanoparticles could not only influence the shape and size of the bubbles, but also the way these bubbles interact with each other.
To support his dissertation research, Absar is performing experimental investigations to study the physical mechanisms of pore formation in the presence of nanoparticles in a metal-casting process. He is also investigating the use of polymer nanocomposite nanofibers (PNNs) as a source for localized release of nanoparticles during molten metal solidification. In-depth microstructural analysis using electron microscopy will firstly enable him to study the structure and composition of PNNs, and also provide important knowledge to the understanding of how nanoparticles affect the formation of gas-liquid interfaces in pores during molten metal solidification. The knowledge gained from these studies will ultimately provide a pathway to control the pore formation during manufacturing of metal foams in a way that can mimic the natural functionally graded porous structure of lightweight materials such as bones. Researchers and manufacturers can adapt this knowledge to create customized metal foams for different use cases where it is desirable to maintain a good balance between weight savings and high performance.
Absar began studying at Clemson in 2015 after receiving his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Southern University and his bachelor’s degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. At Clemson, he has co-authored and published four peer-reviewed journal articles and five conference-proceeding articles. He received the National Science Foundation student travel award for presenting his research at the annual North American Manufacturing Research Conference for three consecutive years. He also received the 2018 Eastman Chemical Award for Excellence after placing first in the annual Mechanical Engineering graduate poster competition.

Past Hitachi Fellowship Recipients

  • Allison Domhoff 2019 Recipient: Allison Domhoff
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Advisor: Eric Davis
    Domhoff, a chemical and biomolecular engineering student, is working to develop nanocomposite materials for batteries that support energy generation at large wind and solar farms. The technology could reduce the cost of renewable energies, thus making them more prevalent in utility portfolios. Electron microscopy allows Domhoff to research nanometer-sized particles in the battery’s membrane so she can manipulate its surface chemistries to improve battery life and performance. 
  • Kathryn Peruski2018 Recipient: Kathryn Peruski
    Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
    Advisor: Brian Powell

    Using Hitachi’s super-magnifying microscopes, Peruski has captured the miniscule fragmenting of neptunium, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear power generation that is stored underground. Through her research, Peruski hopes to better understand what causes neptunium to break so engineers can design effective storage methods for nuclear waste. She analyzed several neptunium samples exposed to environmental variables and documented their changes over time.

  • Brandt Ruszkiewicz2017 Recipient: Brandt Ruszkiewicz
    Automotive Engineering
    Advisor: Laine Mears
    Ruszkiewicz used Hitachi electron microscopes at Clemson to examine how a super-strong type of aluminum reacts to electricity. His research could lead to new ways of forming and joining together automotive parts. This work could help make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.
  • Monsur Islam2016 Recipient: Monsur Islam
    Mechanical Engineering
    Advisor: Rodrigo Martinez
    Islam was using renewable resources instead of coal and petroleum to create carbides that are important for products ranging from surgical tools and jewelry to hot-gas filters and shock absorbers. Using the Hitachi microscopes. Islam was able to examine the properties of the carbides he creates. He can see critical elements that are invisible to the naked eye, such as porosity, composition and grain size. Islam can then make adjustments to the mix of raw materials that go into the carbide.
  • Zhaoxi Chen2015 Recipient: Zhaoxi Chen
    Materials Science and Engineering
    Advisor: Fei Peng
    Chen's research was based on the development of coatings for high-speed jets and protection for electrical equipment in harsh environments. The lab’s electron beam microscopes allow researchers to magnify specimens at a much higher resolution than optical light microscopes. One of the lab’s microscopes - the H-9500 Transmission Electron Microscope - is so powerful it can make individual atoms visible.
  • Yunsong Zhao2014 Recipient: Yunsong Zhao
    Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Advisor: Lin Zhu
    Zhao’s work was focused on making semiconductor lasers powerful while maintaining good beam quality for use in research and industry. The microscopes use electrons to magnify specimens at a much higher resolution than optical microscopes. The super-magnification has a wide range of uses in research and industry. For example, electron microscopes are used for quality control, computer-chip manufacturing and analyzing viruses.