This year’s recipient of support through the AMIC Seed Program is Maryam Zahedian, a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Jennifer Choy’s lab in the University of Wisconsin Department of Engineering Physics. Her proposal, submitted in collaboration with NCD Technologies, outlined how she will investigate three aspects of the production process to affect the surface energy of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings and thereby the coatings’ performance characteristics in industrial applications.
As part of this proposal, Zahedian will also mentor an undergraduate to assist with material characterization work on the project.
The hosting company of this project, NCD Technologies, specializes in optimizing novel diamond and DLC coatings for innovative applications in industrial production. Previously, NCD Technologies has developed several varieties of diamond and DLC films which have been used for X-ray detection devices, implantable medical devices, cutting tools and drills, oil and gas valves and piping, optical windows, magnetic discs, and electrodes for chemical environments.
“From the start of my training as a postdoc, I have been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with a research and development team in the industrial sector,” said Zahedian. “This project is greatly aligned with what I have been looking for, and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”
AMIC Seed projects are conducted by a single or a small team of UW–Madison graduate students and/or postdocs who are advised by a faculty member. For these students and postdocs, the goal of the AMIC Seed program is to provide real-world experience in an industrial setting. Participants get an inside look at problems or challenges facing industry and they work to develop solutions. They also gain experience in the processes around funded research from proposal development to final reporting.
The AMIC Seed Program provides companies a rare opportunity to explore scientific questions while building collaborative relationships with promising young scientists and engineers. The proposal ideas originated with AMIC members, who submitted topics of interest to their companies. These ideas were then developed into proposals by students and postdocs working in collaboration with the companies’ own scientists and engineers.