Seminar of Rodrigo Martinez, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, from the School of Health Research, entitled “Architecting Carbonaceous Electrodes” – on June 26th, 2024, at noon, in the Seminar Room


Carbonaceous electrodes are a cornerstone of multiple applications ranging from sensors to energy components. There are multiple ways to derive carbonaceous electrodes, including a myriad of precursor materials and processing techniques. In this talk, I will first give a quick overview of the use of carbon microelectrodes for bioparticle sorting in microfluidic systems and then emphasize 3 major techniques under development in the Multiscale Manufacturing Laboratory ( at Clemson University to fabricate architected precursors from renewable resources than can be heat treated to derive carbonaceous structures. The focus is on innovating sustainable processes that allow for control of material shape and structure across multiple length scales. In the first technique, robocasting, we are employing mixtures of biopolymers, and nanoparticles as necessary, to 3D print lattices. The second technique relates to the use of folding to shape a cellulose film, which can be printed using metallic salts, using origami patterns. The last technique attempts to use microbial factories as tiny 3D printers of cellulose towards creating an engineered film from the bottom up. The overarching goal in all these efforts is understanding the impact of the materials and processing on the mechanical and electrochemical properties of architected electrodes.

About the speaker

Rodrigo Martinez-Duarte is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University (CU) in the US and Head of the Multiscale Manufacturing Laboratory His group’s expertise lies in the interface between micro/nanofabrication, carbonaceous materials, electrokinetics and microfluidics. Rodrigo is known as the pioneer of carbon-electrode Dielectrophoresis (carbonDEP), a technique for bioparticle manipulation using carbon electrodes and microfluidics devices with application to diagnostics and therapeutics. He is also known for advancing the use of renewable materials and non-traditional techniques such as origami and robocasting to manufacture shaped geometries that serve as precursors to architected carbon and carbide structures. At the nanoscale, his group is innovating ways to use microbial factories as nanoweavers of biofibers. A recurrent theme in his lab is assessing the effect of processing on the properties of carbonaceous materials and structures at multiple length scales, towards tailoring their performance. At Clemson University he teaches manufacturing processes and their application, as well as fundamentals of micro/nanofabrication, a course he introduced to the university curricula. His pedagogical approach emphasizes teamwork, critical thinking, and project-based learning that emphasizes sustainability.
Besides the US, Rodrigo has lived and worked in Switzerland, Spain, India, Mexico and South Korea and has an extensive track record of service and leadership to different constituencies. He is the recipient of the Public Impact fellowship at UC Irvine in 2010; in 2019 both Junior Faculty Eastman Award for Excellence in Mechanical Engineering, and the Esin Gulari Leadership and Service Award in CECAS at CU; in 2021, the Impact Award from the Hispanic Latinx Heritage Month; in 2022, the Murray Stokely Award for Excellence in Teaching at CU; and in 2023, the Provost Senior Tenured Outstanding Teaching Award and the Phil Prince Innovation in Teaching Award at CU, and the Distinguished Service Award from the AES Electrophoresis Society.