01 Aug UW-La Crosse professor earns state innovation honor
A UW-La Crosse physics professor will receive a top award from a state nonprofit organization that works with the University of Wisconsin System.
Seth King, who has taught at UWL since 2009, has been named the Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year by WiSys. The award is given to UW System faculty, staff or students who make exemplary contributions as a WiSys innovator.
WiSys works with UW System faculty, staff, students and alumni to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries, and foster innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.
King embodies the ideals of a WiSys innovator – he is an inventor, scholar and educator. He has worked on two inventions with WiSys.
One of the inventions, developed in collaboration with former UWL Chemistry Department Faculty Member Daniel Little, is an “extremely simple way,” says King, to functionalize graphene platelets with transition metal oxides. While initial applications for this work were focused on solar energy, batteries, and consumer electronics, the work has transformed into looking at the antimicrobial properties of these materials. King is currently working on a new project with UWL Associate Professor of Microbiology Xinhui Li.
King is a collaborator on the second invention led by UWL Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sujat Sen. That work focuses on a unique electrochemical technique to deposit zinc films onto steel with controlled crystallographic texture. This controls the crystal structure and can be utilized to improve the galvanization process to protect steel from corrosion.