Education

  • Ph.D., Purdue University, 2008
  • M.S., Vanderbilt University, 2004
  • B.E., Vanderbilt University, 2002

Background

Dr. Cola seeks to develop new science and technology exploiting energy transport processes at the nanoscale to excite, educate, and employ the world.  After spending 6 years at Vanderbilt University as an engaged student and a starting fullback on the football team, he conducted research on thermal applications of carbon nanotubes at Purdue University.  He interned as a Test Research and Development Engineer at Intel Corporation in 2007.  He had a brief stay as a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Dallas before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech in April 2009 as an Assistant Professor. 

Research Areas and Descriptors

Research

Dr. Cola's research is focused on fabricating and exploring the properties of nanostructured surfaces and interfaces to enhanced energy transport and conversion, improve heat transfer characteristics, and enable MEMS and nanotechnology devices. He is particularly interested in investigating energy transport through interfaces and nanosized contacts, which are ubiquitous in nanostructured devices.

Dr. Cola's research involves theoretical and experimental components, and he seeks to solve problems with high importance to applications in clean energy (e.g., direct conversion) and the efficient utilization of energy (e.g., more efficient heat exchangers), and in major industrial segments such as microelectronics and sensors.

Current research directions include: scalable and controlled plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) synthesis of carbon-based nanomaterials (e.g., carbon nanotubes, graphene, and morphological variations of thin-film diamond) on flexible and temperature sensitive substrates; energy transport through interfaces and nanosized contacts - highlighted by precise measurements of thermal interface conductance and thermal conductivity from cryogenic temperatures up to about 1000 K using laser-based techniques such as thermoreflectance and photoacoustic; nanotube and nanotube composite interface and energy conversion materials; and nanostructured surfaces for enhanced two-phase heat transfer.

Students who work with Dr. Cola will learn to conduct research as part of an interdisciplinary team, and to apply fundamental principles from science and engineering to solve problems that enable technologies supporting clean energy solutions, smaller and more affordable electronics, and general improvements to global living standards. Students will have opportunities to participate in hands-on work (e.g., building new experiments or tools) and theoretical modeling; and learn to operate several tools used to synthesize and characterize nanomaterials. There are also opportunities to publish in journals, present at international conferences, and patent technologies that could develop into startup companies.

 

 illustration 
 
Caption: Carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays utilized for enhanced electronics cooling. (a) Highly compliant CNT arrays compressed in the interface between a representative computer chip and a heat sink. Such structures improve device performance and reliability by mitigating thermal stresses and enhancing heat removal.
(b) Thermal resistances of a Velcro™-like interface with CNT arrays directly synthesized on both sides. Such interfaces produce lower resistances than bonded soldered joints.
For more details see Cola et al., J. Appl. Phys. 101, 054313.

 

Distinctions

  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2012
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2011
  • ASME IPACK2011 Thermal Management Outstanding Paper Award, 2011
  • DARPA Young Investigator Award, 2009
  • Intel Foundation Fellow, 2006-2008
  • Purdue University
    • College of Engineering Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2007
    • Doctoral Fellow, 2006-2008
  • NASA Institute for Nanoelectronics and Computing (INaC) Fellow, 2005-2006
  • Vanderbilt University
    • Football Program Dedication Award, 2002
    • School of Engineering Stein Stone Memorial Award, 2002

Patents

Baratunde A. Cola and Timothy S. Fisher. Electrothermal Interface Material Enhancer. U.S. Patent 8,220,530. July 17, 2012.

Representative Publications

P.P.S.S. Adabi, S. Hutchens, J.R. Greer, B.A. Cola and S. Graham. Effects of Morphology on the Micro-compression Response of Carbon Nanotube Forests. Nanoscale, 4:3373-3380, 2012.

H.T. Santoso, V. Singh, K. Kalaitizdou, and B.A. Cola. Enhanced Molecular Order in Polythiophene Films Electropolymerized in a Mixed Electrolyte of Anionic Surfactants and Boron Trifluoride Diethyl Etherate. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 4(3):1697-1703, 2012.

R. Hu, B.A. Cola, N. Haram, J.N. Barisci, S. Lee, S. Stoughton, G. Wallace, C. Too, M. Thomas, A. Gestos, M.E. dela Cruz, J.P. Ferraris, A. Zakhidov, and R.H. Baughman. Harvesting Waste Thermal Energy Using a Carbon-Nanotube-Based Thermo-Electrochemical Cell. Nano Letters, 10:838-846, 2010.

B.A. Cola, J. Xu, and T.S. Fisher. Contact Mechanics and Thermal Conductance of Carbon Nanotube Array Thermal Interfaces. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 52:3490-3503, 2009.

B.A. Cola, J. Xu, C. Cheng, H. Hu, X. Xu, and T.S. Fisher. Photoacoustic Characterization of Carbon Nanotube Array Thermal Interfaces. Journal of Applied Physics, 101:054313, 2007.