Graduate Student Research

Featured Student Publications

Researchers at the U of A Faculty of Engineering publish about 1,000 research papers annually. Graduate students play a major role in research and in reporting new discoveries.

Here’s our current favourite, by graduate students Chelsea Morin (a very recent graduate), and James Ivy, working under mechanical engineering professors Warren Finlay and Reinhard Vehring, finding decreased effectiveness of “puffers” at cold temperatures.

Performance of Pressurized Metered-Dose Inhalers at Extreme Temperature Conditions

By: Morin, Chelsea M. D.; Ivey, James W.; Titosky, Jordan T. F.; et al.
JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES Volume: 103 Issue: 11 Pages: 3553-3559 Published: NOV 2014M


The performance of pressurized metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) under a variety of temperature conditions was investigated. The effects of both inhaler temperature and ambient temperature were considered. The inhaler temperature ranged from -13.0 degrees C to 41.7 degrees C and the ambient temperature ranged from -12.0 degrees C to 41.7 degrees C. The in vitro lung dose was measured for four widely available pMDIs: Airomir(TM), QVAR(TM), Symbicort((R)), and Ventolin((R)). The in vitro lung dose through an Alberta Idealized Throat was measured by gravimetric assay, which was verified by UV spectroscopic assay. A decrease in the in vitro lung dose was observed for all evaluated pMDIs when ambient temperature and device temperature were simultaneously reduced, decreasing on average by 70% at the coldest temperatures, whereas increasing on average by 25% at the elevated temperature condition. In vitro lung dose is strongly dependent on both inhaler temperature and ambient temperature with the tested pMDIs. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci 103:3553-3559, 2014

Which U of A Engineering graduate student research paper do you think we should feature next? Send us a brief email at, telling us why the paper is important and novel, and how it will make an impact. Remember to include complete publication details!

Previously featured:

PhD student Saman Jahani and electrical engineering professor Zubin Jacob report on a new non-metallic metamaterial they’ve invented that brings us closer to developing photonic circuits.

S. Jahani and Z. Jacob, "Transparent subdiffraction optics: nanoscale light confinement without metal," Optica 1, 96-100 (2014).


The integration of nanoscale electronics with conventional optical devices is restricted by the diffraction limit of light. Metals can confine light at the subwavelength scales needed, but they are lossy, while dielectric materials do not confine evanescent waves outside a waveguide or resonator, leading to cross talk between components. We show that light can be confined below the diffraction limit using completely transparent artificial media (metamaterials with ε>1, μ=1). Our approach relies on controlling the optical momentum of evanescent waves—an important electromagnetic property overlooked in photonic devices. For practical applications, we propose a class of waveguides using this approach that outperforms the cross-talk performance by 1 order of magnitude as compared to any existing photonic structure. Our work overcomes a critical stumbling block for nanophotonics by completely averting the use of metals and can impact electromagnetic devices from the visible to microwave frequency ranges.

© 2014 Optical Society of America