Senior Abdul Mughis, a chemical engineering major working in Professor Wei Fan’s porous materials research group, was one of six outstanding undergraduate researchers honored by Research Next as the spring 2018 Rising Researchers on the UMass Amherst campus. As the Research Next website notes, “We honor six undergraduates this semester with the Rising Researcher award for their impressive achievements in key areas of science and art that are making a difference in our world.”
“The Rising Researcher student acknowledgement program is designed to raise the profile of our most promising undergraduate students and to publicly acknowledge their excellent work,” as Research Next explains. “This program is jointly supported by University Relations and Research & Engagement.”
Research Next says that Mughis is a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan whose older brother also attended UMass Amherst. Mughis has been investigating the development of zeolites (solid materials that have an open, cage-like structure good for trapping other molecules) for air-pollution control.
“I have been interested in this field since freshman year,” says Mughis. His main goal is to find a cheaper organic structure-directing agent, which is used to guide the formation of particular types of pores and channels during the synthesis of a type of zeolite called CHA. “This zeolite can be used as an efficient catalyst for methanol to olefin conversion reaction and catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxide compounds. I have been successful in synthesizing CHA zeolite with our proposed structure-directing agent,” says Mughis.
According to Professor Fan, Mughis’s work was recently published in the Angewandte Chemie international edition, one of the best journals in the field of chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering. “As the second author on the publication, he has significantly contributed to the work by running the designed experiments and providing key ideas for the synthesis. His research is under submission to another high-impact journal, and we are also filing a patent on the work,” notes Fan. (June 2018)