Paul R. Ohodnicki

  • Associate Professor
  • Director, Engineering Science Program
  • Faculty Lead, Advanced Magnetics for Power & Energy Development (AMPED) Consortium

Paul R. Ohodnicki is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008, after which he joined PPG Industries R&D working on thin-film coating materials and earned the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Innovation Award from Carnegie Science Center in 2012. Ohodnicki later continued his career at the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), where he eventually served as a technical portfolio lead guiding teams of materials scientists working on the development of optical and microwave sensors as well as magnetic materials and power electronics development for high frequency transformer based solar PV / energy storage inverters. He is the recipient of the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor the federal government can bestow on early-career scientists or engineers. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh as an Associate Professor, he received the 2019 R&D 100 Award owing to his work on cobalt-rich metal amorphous nanocrystalline alloys for permeability-engineering gapless inductors.

Currently, his research group focuses on the exploration of novel processing methods for emerging high frequency magnetic materials using applied electromagnetic fields spanning the frequency range from DC to optical. Successful pursuit of this research with scientific and technical rigor also requires a detailed understanding of the interplay between electromagnetic fields and emerging material systems under investigation, and so the characterization of material electromagnetic properties over a wide frequency range is also a core capability of the laboratory. Integration of novel quantum sensing materials with device platforms is also a core pursuit of the laboratory with applications including optical fiber-based sensors and passive wireless sensors capable of multiple parameters measuring for electrical assets health monitoring. Noble metal nanoparticles embedded thin films has been demonstrated as novel functional materials for enhanced optical response. Potential applications of interest includes transformer temperature sensing and dissolved gas analysis, as well as internal temperature measurement and vent gas detection for battery systems.

Education & Training

  • PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005 - 2008
  • MS, Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005 - 2008
  • B. Phil., Engineering Physics, University of Pittsburgh, 2000 - 2005
  • B. A., Economics, University of Pittsburgh, 2000 - 2005

Research Interests

  • Magnetic materials for large-scale, high frequency inductive components (transformers, inductors and motors); novel photonic and electronic materials for optic fiber-based sensors; applied electromagnetic and microwave materials; thermal energy conversion and management
  • Developed a Cobalt-based metal amorphous nanocrystalline alloys for gapless inductor with tuneable permeability and sensor applications, leading to winning the R&D 100 Award
  • Co-developed a thin film material strategy enabling an award winning, commercialized low-emissivity coating targeted at ~30% of the commercial architectural window market