Recent MMD Master's Thesis presentations

Recent Master's Thesis presentations by the members of the Multifunctional Materials Design research group
Illustration of three students presenting a chart

In May, June and July 2021 four Master's Thesis presentations were delivered online via Zoom by the members of the Multifunctional Materials Design research group. More information about the theses:

MSc thesis by Candela Torres Romero “Light activated TiO2-based microswimmers: synthesis and characterization”

Description: (abstract) Microswimmers, also known as micromotors, are extremely small devices able to move and perform complex tasks in different liquid media. They are heavily inspired by natural microorganisms and intended for applications in the environmental remediation and biomedical fields. They can be made out of a wide variety of materials and be activated by a light source or by an electrical or magnetic field, as well as by other methods. They also might or might not use fuel and show different swimming behaviors and propulsion mechanisms. This Thesis project focuses on those that are made out of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a material with surprising photocatalytic abilities, and irradiated by a light source to initiate their movement, which will be typically either NIR or UV, although visible-light activated microswimmers are gaining popularity and becoming a hot topic in the field.

Master's thesis, Candela Torres Romero, Figure 9. Image by Candela Torres Romero / Aalto University
SEM images of the five types of particles produced: A) TiO2/Au Janus Spheres, B) TiO2/PPy, C) Rockets (TiO2 with polyelectrolyte layers and iron oxide and Pt NPs, D) TiO2/PPy/Au Janus spheres, and E) TiO2/AuNPs microswimmers (Fig.9, P.40)

Five different types of TiO2-based microswimmers – of which only one has been previously reported in literature – are produced and characterized, each procedure being described step by step. The goal is to make particles that move, can be controllable by either tuning the intensity of the light source or directly turning it on and off, and that show rapid movement, therefore overcoming the three problematic areas that currently exist in this field of science.

Image (on the left): Candela Torres Romero / Aalto University

Keywords: light-activated micromotors, UV, NIR, TiO2

Degree Programme / Major: Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering / Functional Materials
Thesis supervisor(s): Yazan Al Haj, Fevzihan Basarir
Thesis advisor(s) / Thesis examiner(s): Jaana Vapaavuori
The Master’s Thesis presentation was held on May 18th, 2021 remotely via Zoom

MSc thesis by Katarzyna Wojdalska "Fabrication of wearable pressure and strain sensors"

Master's thesis, Katarzyna Wojdalska, Figure 87. Image by Katarzyna Wojdalska / Aalto University
POC prototype of a wearable textile-sandwiched strain sensor (Fig.87, P.134) || Image: Katarzyna Wojdalska / Aalto University

Description: "The aim of the thesis is to develop 3 pressure sensors and present proof-of-concept of 2 complementary strain sensors. The first sensor category (1 pressure and 1 strain sensor) is called yarn-based sensors, the second (1 pressure and 1 strain sensor) - textile-sandwiched sensors, and the last one (only 1 pressure sensor) - AgNW-based and uses a bio-based substrate. The developed sensors can be used to create smart textiles and wearable sensors for health monitoring in real time. There are many possible applications, and the created sensor is multifunctional as it could possibly inform about the type of body movement."

Keywords: multifunctional capacitive sensors, wearable pressure sensor, wearable strain sensor, textile-integrable sensor, yarn-based sensor, sandwich-type sensor, AgNW-based sensor, cellulose hydrogel, nanocellulose film, Spandex, PDMS, silver-coated nylon yarns, weaving

Contact information: [email protected]
Degree Programme / Major: Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering / Functional Materials
Thesis supervisor(s): Jaana Vapaavuori
Thesis advisor(s) / Thesis examiner(s): Fevzihan Basarir
The Master’s Thesis presentation was held on June 15th, 2021 remotely via Zoom

MSc thesis by Derya Dilara Atas “Fabrication of cellulose-elastomer films for optoelectronics”

Description: "The main goal of the project was to build a transparent and flexible film structure to replace the glass (and PET) substrate in solar cells and create a more sustainable mechanism with high transmittance, high haze and good mechanical properties. Cellulosic materials (cellulose nanofibers, cellulose acetate) and PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) were applied to obtain a film structure where CNF:PDMS composite film was produced by immersing and vacuum infiltration methods and CA:PDMS layered structure was produced by spin coating method.

Master's thesis, Derya Dilara Atas, Morphology of CNF:PDMS films. Image by Derya Dilara Atas / Aalto University
Image: Derya Dilara Atas / Aalto University

With the vacuum infiltration method, transparent and flexible CNF:PDMS composite films with high transmittance and high haze (T: 73%, H:82%) were successfully achieved."

Keywords: optoelectronics, cellulose-elastomer films, solar cells, PDMS, immersing, vacuum infiltration, spin coating

Contact information: LinkedIn
Degree Programme / Major: Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering / Functional Materials
Thesis supervisor(s): Jaana Vapaavuori
Thesis advisor(s) / Thesis examiner(s): Joice Jaqueline Kaschuk, Hamidreza Daghigh Shirazi
The Master’s Thesis presentation was held on June 22nd, 2021 remotely via Zoom

MSc thesis by Jenni Ahlstedt “Exploring the potential of the dip-coating process to control assembly of virus-based nanomaterials thin films on the substrate surfaces” 

Description: "The purpose of the work was to fabricate PVA (potato virus A) ordered thin film structures by dip-coating that could be utilized in engineering applications such as sensors, solar cells and antireflective windows.​ In addition, the intention was to learn how different parameters affect the order and structures of PVA particles in order to understand the full potential of dip-coating.​
No previous information on dip-coated PVA thin films can be found in the literature.​ The work provided a lot of new and useful information about dip-coated PVA structures which can be considered as very potential biotemplates for different applications."

Master's thesis, Jenni Ahlstedt, Figure 21. Image by Jenni Ahlstedt / Aalto University
Morphologies of water solution, piranha-treated samples at different withdrawing speeds (Fig.21, P.47) || Image: Jenni Ahlstedt / Aalto University

The image illustrates the results that were obtained with different withdrawal speeds on piranha-treated substrates (a water solution with a PVA concentration of 3 mg/ml).

Keywords: plant-viruses as nanomaterials, plant-viruses, liquid crystals, dip-coating

Degree Programme / Major: Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering / Functional Materials 
Thesis supervisor(s): Jaana Vapaavuori 
Thesis advisor(s) / Thesis examiner(s): Swarnalok De, Hoang M. Nguyen 
The Master’s Thesis presentation was held on July 27th, 2021 remotely via Zoom 

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