Student chemistry project wins prize for contribution to 3D printing
Among the scientific revolutions transforming the modern world, one in particular is getting a boost from Andrew Fernandes, a student researcher in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Creighton University’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Working under the guidance of Joel Destino, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, Fernandes took second place at the 2023 undergraduate student poster competition in the Glass & Optical Materials Division of the American Ceramic Society’s annual gathering held June 4-8 in New Orleans.
His project focused on stabilizing small germania nano particles so that glass used in 3D printing will possess proper refractive capabilities unhindered by opaqueness.
Germania is a well-known glass former with higher refractive capabilities than silica. Unfortunately, use of germania in 3D printed glass optics has been limited in part due to certain chemical challenges that Fernandes’s research is designed to address.
“We research heavily the properties of 3D printed glass,” Fernandes says. “The glass we make is geared towards optics in sensors and other pieces of technology that require specific characteristics in the glass. My colleagues and I grow nano particles to use in inks for 3D printing.
“I had the opportunity to present my findings at the GOMD conference. They showed the size-capping properties of mannitol — a sugar alcohol — on germania nano particles.”
Fernandes's research is in part of a series of projects being conducted under the terms of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award granted to Destino. These prestigious five-year awards are granted to junior university faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research and education and incorporate those qualities into their teaching.
He is also a certified nursing assistant, president of the chess club, a member of Creighton’s Honors Program, and a member of MEDLIFE, a Creighton campus mission that aims to help families achieve healthier lives using mobile clinics.
He will graduate in 2025.