Yamil Colón receives NSF CAREER Award to advance understanding of gas adsorption in porous materials

Yamil Colón, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, has received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award. The prestigious CAREER award supports young faculty who have demonstrated their potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

Colón’s CAREER project makes use of powerful computational modeling tools and machine learning to examine the interactions among different types of gases and the materials onto which they adhere or are “adsorbed.”

Adsorption is a ubiquitous process in our everyday lives and in many industrial and biological settings (drug delivery, power production, water harvesting, to name a few). Colon’s research will lead to a better understanding of the adsorption process and the identification of new adsorbents that are critical to technological advancements in health care, climate change, and water scarcity.

In particular, this project aims to create a universal gas adsorption model that accurately predicts the amount of gas that is adsorbed within material. Such a model will be an important engineering design tool to advance work in drug delivery, power production, energy storage, atmospheric water harvesting and carbon capture technologies.

Colon’s project also includes outreach and education components, including increasing literacy of machine learning through course design; hosting middle school STEM teachers on campus to create course materials on probability and statistics; and translating middle school course material into Spanish for dissemination in the local community and in Puerto Rico.

Colón joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2018 after completing his Ph.D. at Northwestern University. He directs the Colón Group.

— Karla Cruise, College of Engineering