Research and Development

Ashwin Usgaocar, Ph.D.

Senior Electrochemical Research Engineer

Ashwin Usgaocar Dr. Ashwin Usgaocar (Ph.D.) is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor John Madden at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He has joined the Mantra team supported by a Mitacs grant designed to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Dr. Usgaocar’s research experience is well suited to Mantra’s work, and includes the fabrication and characterization of lithium-ion battery electrodes, the development of electrodeposited Schottky barrier hydrogen sensors, and the initiation of a project on innovative photogalvanic solar cell designs. He is also a talented software developer, and has worked for three years as a software engineer leading projects such as the development of a SIM application toolkit for Fortuna Technologies Ltd.

Piotr Forysinski, Ph.D.

Product Development Engineer

Dr. Piotr Forysinski, who obtained his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from UBC and his MChem from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, brings to Mantra an impressive breadth of engineering experience. This includes the construction and commissioning of a custom molecular beam epitaxy system and a 30 mK scanning tunneling microscope, and the design, construction and operation of a novel mass spectrometer with a tune-able XUV laser light source and custom-built ion optics. For the latter project, Dr. Forysinski, then a graduate student, led the team in the technical design and construction of the apparatus. At Mantra he is leading the design, prototyping and scale-up of the MRFC technology.

Tirdad Nickchi, Ph.D.

Senior Electrochemical Research Engineer

Dr. Tirdad Nickchi is an electrochemical corrosion expert. Dr. Nickchi received his Ph.D. from UBC in Materials Engineering after obtaining Bachelor's and Master's degree from institutions in Iran. In addition to his education, he has performed research engineering work with companies in Iran and as a post-doctoral fellow at UBC. His extensive experience includes electrochemical engineering, physical vapor deposition, high-temperature and high-pressure corrosion, and scanning electrochemical microscopy. With Mantra, Dr. Nickchi focuses on catalyst development and characterization.