Dr. Theodorian (Theo) Borca-Tasciuc has a B.S. in Physics from Bucharest University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA. He started his academic career in 2001 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and since 2013 he is a full professor. He is the director of the Nanoscale Thermophysics and Energy Conversion Laboratory (NanoTEC) on the Rensselaer campus. His research interests include fundamental and multiscale investigations of thermal transport and energy conversion particularly in solid-state and development of innovative materials, devices, and systems with applications ranging from sustainable buildings to medical devices. He received the NSF CAREER award, School of Engineering Outstanding Team award, is a member of the ASME’s K8 committee on Fundamentals of Heat Transfer, and a member of the ASME's K-9 committee on Nanoscale Thermal Transport. He organized and chaired multiple symposia and sessions on nanoscale thermal transport and energy conversion with ASME, MRS, and CIMTEC International Conferences.
Since January 2015, Dr. T. Borca-Tasciuc serves as the Associate Department Head for Graduate Affairs and the Mechanical Engineering Program Director for the MANE Dept. He is the director of a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship program, a US Dept. of Education grant which supports MANE’s new interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering.
As of 2023 Dr. T. Borca-Tasciuc graduated (as main advisor or co-advisor) 20 PhD students and 46 Master students. He advised >140 undergraduate students on research projects. He authored >100 journal articles and book chapters, has >8350 citations, and h-index of 44. Two Rensselaer student start-up companies are linked to NanoTEC lab research: ThermoAura Inc. and MIMiC Systems Inc.
NanoTEC Lab research focuses on:
- Development of advanced metrology techniques for fast, accurate, and high spatial resolution characterization of thermal and thermoelectric properties
- Investigations of heat conduction and energy conversion in nanomaterials, including carbon nanotube arrays, metallic nanoparticle-polymer and nanowire-polymer composites, thermoelectrics
- Investigations of thermal transport across interfaces
- Nanofluids heat transfer
- Development of manufacturing and testing strategies for solid-state energy conversion devices and systems
- Prototyping and testing advanced refrigeration/heat pump and thermal management systems
Research opportunities for students: NanoTEC lab offers opportunities for a variety of hands-on, experimental, manufacturing, and simulation & design projects for Master, PhD, and undergraduate students. More than 20 PhD students, 46 Master, and 140 undergraduate students have participated in research advised by Dr. T. Borca-Tasciuc. Email about research interest to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background: Non-Fourier heat conduction has critical implications for the thermal management of nanodevices, nanointerconnects, optoelectronics, or the design of nanocomposites and nanomaterials. On another hand, nanostructures and nanostructured materials enable novel ways to independently control the thermoelectric properties (Seebeck coefficient and electrical and thermal conductivities) that define the thermoelectric figure of merit Z, a metric important for thermoelectric energy conversion applications (such as solid state refrigeration and power generation).
Description: NanoTEC lab develops experimental techniques able to probe thermal and thermoelectric properties at nanoscale, in nanomaterials, across-nanointerfaces, or to test the operation of nanoscale electronic, optoelectronic, and thermoelectric devices. These techniques are employed to perform studies of property-structure relationship to understand and optimize thermal and thermoelectric transport as required by specific applications. Selected examples of techniques developed include: 1) a scanning thermal probe techniques for accurate temperature and thermal conductivity measurements; 2) a transient method for measurement of all thermoelectric properties as well as electrical and thermal contact resistances in films; 3) a photothermoelectric method to determine the anisotropic thermal conductivity and the interface thermal resistance in thin film on-substrate systems; 4) a Joule heating thermometry method for characterization of thermal transport from nanoscale heat sources. In many projects novel nanomaterials studied in the NanoTEC lab are obtained or synthesized through national and international collaborations with world experts in nanomaterials synthesis and material structure characterization.
Selected research outcomes include:
- discovery of a new class of highly scalable, high figure of merit, nanostructured bulk thermoelectric materials (patent)
- implementation of a novel mechanism for formation of high thermal conductivity networks in polymer composites filled with nanoparticles (patent)
- characterization of anisotropic thermal properties in aligned carbon nanotube arrays and aligned carbon-nanotube polymer composites
- characterization of the interface thermal resistance at the native interface between carbon nanotube arrays and the silicon substrate
- characterization of effective thermal conductivity of Si/Ge and Si/SiC multilayers
- development of high accuracy Scanning Thermal Microscopy techniques for temperature and thermal conductivity measurements
- discovering the importance of doping, topological effects, and pressure on enhancing the thermoelectric figure of merit
Applications of NanoTEC research:
- CHIPS (memory and logic)
- Thermal Management
- Sustainable Buildings Thermal Systems
- Scanning Thermal Microscopy
- Surgery and Medical Devices
- Temperature and Thermal Properties Metrology
- Thermoelectric Device Design and Characterization
- Thermal Interface Materials
- Thermoelectric Materials
- Thermal Energy Conversion Systems
Selected research articles
- Sensitivity and Spatial Resolution for Thermal Conductivity Measurements using Non-contact Scanning Thermal Microscopy with Thermoresistive Probes under Ambient Conditions (link):https://academic.oup.com/ooms/advance-article/doi/10.1093/oxfmat/itab011...
Thermal Conductivity Measurements of Thin films by Non-Contact Scanning Thermal Microscopy Under Ambient Conditions
- Quantitative Temperature Distribution Measurements by a Non-contact Scanning Thermal Microscopy Using Wollaston Probes Under Ambient Conditions (link):https://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.2034079
- Anisotropic thermal diffusivity of aligned multiwall carbon nanotube arrays (link):https://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.2034079
- Thermal resistance of the native interface between vertically aligned multiwalled carbon nanotube arrays and their SiO2/Si substrate (link):https://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.2832405
- Theoretical modeling of a thermal wave technique to determine the extent of the freezing region surrounding a cryoprobe (link):https://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.5140445
- A new class of doped nanobulk high-figure-of-merit thermoelectrics by scalable bottom-up assembly (link):https://www.nature.com/articles/nmat3213
- Self-constructed tree-shape high thermal conductivity nanosilver networks in epoxy (link):https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2014/nr/c3nr06494h
Gating heat transport by manipulating convection in a magnetic nanofluid
Liquid-gas surface tension voltage dependence during electrowetting on dielectric testing of water and 5-90 nm gold nanofluids
For more on Google Scholar (link): https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=lenhofkAAAAJ&hl=en
The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Theo Borca-Tasciuc has 156 indexed publications in the subjects of Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, Materials Science.