John M. Guerra, P.E., President and C.E.O., (B.S. Honors Physics, UMass. Amherst ’76) founded Nanoptek in 2002, subsequently winning competitive funding awards from N.A.S.A., U.S. Dept. of Energy, and Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund. Series A funding at the end of 2007 produced this year’s roll out of Solar Hydrogen Generator platforms and Visible Light Titania photocatalyst. The Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition recognized him in 2008 with an Outstanding Achievement Award for his “work toward a hydrogen economy.” Prior to founding Nanoptek, Guerra was V.P. of Technology at Calimetrics Inc. in Alameda CA and Bedford MA, completing a N.I.S.T. Advanced Technology Program in high density optical data storage, as part of an industrial and academic consortium, in part with nano-optical technology he developed at Polaroid as Program Manager of Near-Field Optics Core Technology. Over 23 years at Polaroid Optical Engineering Dept., he developed products for medical, consumer, architectural, and computer imaging, including the award-winning Photon Tunneling Microscope. He also managed the Optical Fabrication and Optical Thin Film Labs. Guerra has 46 U.S. and international patents issued and pending, his second in 1981 for using zeolites to store solar energy, and 22 publications in journals including Science. He has given over 20 presentations, with invited talks in U.S., Sweden, Germany, Taiwan, and Japan. He was the Optical Society of America’s George Eastman Lecturer in 1991. His work is often cited in texts and patents in nano-optics and near field optics. Guerra has an R&D 100 Award, Photonics’ Circle of Excellence Award, and the Optical Society of America’s Engineering Excellence Award, as well as awards from Polaroid and Cambridge School Volunteers. He is a biographee in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science, 3rd Edition, (1996-97), and Bowker’s American Men and Women of Science (1998).
Luke Thulin, Chief Technical Officer, joined Nanoptek in 2004, and has been key in the development of Nanoptek and its technology. His most recent accomplishments are our Enhanced Sunblock™ and Nanoptek Yellow™ titania pigments and our Visible Light Titania™ photocatalyst that is over twenty times faster in degrading dye-class pollutants than the industry standard. Prior to Nanoptek, Thulin joined Guerra at Calimetrics, where for over two years he developed several inventions in the field of nano-structured optical data storage, and subsequently has two patents and additional patents pending in the U.S. as well as international, and several peer-reviewed publications in this field as well as in photocatalysis. He subsequently obtained his Masters in Photonics Engineering from Boston University. In addition to his many generalist skills that are so critical to a small company, Thulin possesses that rare combination of excellent experimental skills and superb theoretical analysis.
Amol Chandekar, Ph.D., V.P. and Fellow, R&D, joined Nanoptek in 2007 after completing a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where he was also awarded his PhD. in chemistry with honors. For his undergraduate work, he attended Laxminarayan Institute of Technology, University of Nagpur, India, where he earned his B. Technology in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Chandekar is responsible for the development of Nanoptek’s UV-Blue™ photoanode used in our solar hydrogen generators that is unique in its ability to absorb over the entire ultraviolet spectrum and into visible blue light as well, and with we believe to be a record-breaking conversion efficiency. Dr. Chandekar has eleven publications to his credit, many in the area of nano-scale patterning of materials, as well as patents issued and pending, both U.S. and international.
Andrei Ursache, Ph.D., Senior Staff and Senior Principal Scientist, joined Nanoptek in 2007. As Post Doctoral Researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he obtained his Ph.D. in physics, Dr. Ursache developed capability for in situ EQCM (Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance), cyclic voltametry, and impedance spectroscopy of electrochemical cells. His expertise includes fabrication of nanostructured materials and devices by both lithographic nanofabrication and electrochemical processes, as well as advanced electrochemical characterization techniques. Andrei has seven publications and a patent in this field. At Nanoptek, he is a valued “switch hitter” from researcher par excellance to product development engineer. He has been key in our completion of product development for the concentrating solar hydrogen generators, specifically in designing and implementing the “command and control” system, as well as the SHG300™ Solar Hydrogen Generator. Andrei designed and supervised construction of his solar surplus net energy home that features both a 6kW PV array and a solar thermal hot water system.
Dmitri Vezenov, Ph.D. Professor Vezenov is in the Chemistry Dept. at Lehigh University. He received his PhD degree in chemistry from Harvard University while working on the development of a new scanning microscopy technique – chemical force microscopy – to study intermolecular interactions between organic, biological and polymer surfaces at nanometer scale. This work was recognized by the Adhesion Society with the Peebles Award for research in adhesion science. He joined Polaroid Corporation’s media research department to work on optical near field storage systems. He later continued this effort at Calimetrics, and participated in the establishment of Calimetrics’ East Coast facility. He was responsible for the design and testing of the integral near field optics media (INFO), development of new microscopy techniques for characterization of the masters and substrates for the nano-optics, and oversaw the modeling effort in the design of the nano-optical media. As first employee at Nanoptek, Dr. Vezenov was a Principal Investigator on the Phase I NASA SBIR photolysis project, successful completion of which led to the Phase II grant. Dr. Vezenov is a co-author of 14 publications in scientific journals and several patents on nano-optics fabrication and tracking schemes for near-field media.