Focusing on Lasers and Nanomanufacturing to Improve the Quality of Life
Coming all the way from Waterloo, Canada—a city in southern Ontario—Dr. Anming Hu joined the MABE department in the Fall 2013 semester. It’s as if Dr. Hu could foresee the unusual, frigid temperatures that blanketed the northeast of the United States and Canada this past winter, and decided to move to the southern United States to a city that he describes as “warm, friendly and exciting.” Compared to Waterloo, Dr. Hu views Knoxville and the University of Tennessee as an area with great potential for higher academic achievements for his career success.
Dr. Hu began his studies at Shandong University. After receiving his B.S. degree, he continued his education at the Institute of Solid State Physics, Chinese Academy of Science where he gained his M.S. degree. He then furthered his academic progress by obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in 2008. From there, he made a natural progression in becoming a research assistant professor at the University of Waterloo, where he supervised a relatively independent research team that initially developed from one student working under Dr. Hu and limited research fund support. By having the freedom to apply for grants, determining the research direction and activities, and recruiting students—with joint efforts of his colleagues and students—Dr. Hu developed an energetic research team. Dr. Hu said the team was composed of eight research assistants (5 Ph.D. and 3 M.S. students) and attracted about $2 million in research grants in the past five years.
Maybe Dr. Hu’s attraction to country music is what brought him to Knoxville, but most likely he accepted his position as an assistant professor within the department because of his interest in the research and development of additive manufacturing based on laser technology and nanomaterials happening in MABE. He stated this interest also includes laser exfoliation, laser nanosintering, and laser induced front transfer technology for nanodevice fabrication.
Dr. Hu’s current goal for his new position in MABE is to build a nanomanufacturing lab by integrating nanomaterial synthesis, nanopaste development and laser processing. To do this, Dr. Hu said he needs to obtain external research grants to support his research and lure the most talented students to join his group. “I am an enthusiastic and accessible person and care about the success of each member in my group. I respect different opinions and build skills for different levels,” he said.
Looking to the future, Dr. Hu wants to play a role in probing the nature of ultrafast laser interaction with nanomaterials, specifically at the shortest temporal limit (femtosecond) and the tiniest spatial resolution (a few nanometers). “I want to be a pioneer in developing the most advanced nanomanufacturing technology for nanodevice fabrications to contribute to a higher life quality and sustainable development in our society,” he said.