Born and Branded

Question: How do research scientists express school pride? Answer: Using high-tech tools to write their institution’s name.

High-tech Coloring

Inserting your institution’s logo into your work isn’t especially common, but it definitely happens, says UB chemist Jason Benedict. Before a recent scientific conference, he used ultraviolet light to scrawl the letters “U” and “B” on a color-changing crystal he synthesized.

When you’ve made something cool, says Benedict, “you want to write something on it.” Scribbling your name seems a little self-promoting, he adds, but if you use your institution, fellow scientists at a conference might remember that—and you.

Under ultraviolet light, this crystal blushes, going from colorless to red. Crystals like these could one day form the basis of sponges whose color, pore size and electronic properties shift on demand—qualities useful for sopping up spilled oil, greenhouse gases and other chemicals.

Mini Writing, Big Pride

Students of Albert Titus, chair of biomedical engineering, used a technique called electron beam lithography to draw a version of the UB seal smaller than the width of a human hair.

Students made this UB seal by using an intense beam of electrons like a pencil to draw on film. Called electron-beam lithography, the technique is ideal for fabricating microscopic structures. The seal is about 11.5 micrometers across. The finest human hair measures 17 micrometers across.

UB Salvo

UB engineer Jonathan Lovell created super-tiny balloons, then used a laser to pop them open in the shape of the interlocking UB.

Tiny capsules called nanoballoons “fire,” releasing whatever’s inside of them when they’re hit by light. Here, a laser pops a bunch of them open, UB-style. In mice, these nanoballoons have been used to transport anti-cancer drugs to tumors and then release the drugs on demand.