The Nebraska Nanoscale Facility (NNF) is a member of the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) program which includes 16 major research centers in nanomaterials throughout the US. NNF, with support from the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience (NCMN) provides researchers from academia, government, and industry access to facilities with leading-edge instrumentation which enables innovations, discoveries, and contributions to education and commerce.
NNF offers a 10-week summer fellowship that provides undergraduate students with an opportunity for interdisciplinary research in a nanoscale science or engineering laboratory on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. The Nebraska Nanoscale Facility summer research REU includes faculty mentors from the following university departments: Physics, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering. The fellowships will carry a $4,500 stipend for ten weeks of research.
Competitive stipend: $4,500
Suite-style room and meal plan
Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
Campus parking and/or bus pass
Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
Modeling the electromagnetic response of new nanomaterials and novel nanophotonic devices
During this project, you will be able to theoretically explore how new nanomaterials and nanophotonic devices interact with light, which is an electromagnetic wave. You will learn the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory and apply your knowledge using an in-house computer-based electromagnetic simulation software.
The proposed work will lead to improved understanding of light-matter interaction at nanoscale regions. New nanomaterials are envisioned to be the building blocks of exciting new nanophotonic devices and their modeling and optimization will lead one step closer to their practical realization.
Dr. Shudipto Konika Dishari
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Nanoscale Understanding of Transport Limitations in Polymer Thin Films
Nanoscale polymer thin films have potential applications in semiconductor, biomedical and energy applications. Water-polymer confinement and complex interfacial interactions govern the physical, mechanical and transport properties of many nanoscale materials. The structure of such nanoscale films can be distinctly different from bulk micron scale membranes and therefore, one cannot predict the properties of thin films by knowing the bulk membrane properties.
Although there have been a lot of efforts to understand structure-property relationships of bulk membranes, thin polymer films are still poorly understood. Spin coating and layer-by-layer (LBL) self-assembly are two very popular techniques used to deposit ultrathin ion containing polymer films. We expect that by tuning the deposition conditions, nature of polymers, film thickness and substrate, we will be able to develop interesting architectures capable of facilitating selective diffusion of one molecule over the other. Through NCMN’s 2017 Summer REU program, 1 to 2 REU students will be given opportunities to perform research work on nanoscale polymer thin films in Dr. Shudipto Dishari’s lab. The REU students will make metal deposited substrates using NCMN’s “Nanomaterials and Thin Films” facilities and deposit 50-500 nm thick ion containing polymer films on those substrates in Dr. Dishari’s lab using spin coating and LBL self-assembly techniques. The water uptake and transport properties of the prepared films will be measured at Dr. Dishari’s lab. Students will be able to learn how the fluorescence based techniques can provide important information about phase segregation and water domain characteristics. The nanomechanical properties will be probed by material mapping using NCMN’s “Surface and Material Characterization” facilities. The structure-property relationships developed through these work will help to strengthen the understanding of transport limitations in nanoscale thin ion containing polymer thin films.
Nanomechanics to Identify and Model Interphase in Cementitious Materials
Effective properties and performance of cementitious mixtures are substantially governed by the quality of the interphase region, because it acts as a bridge transferring forces between particles and a binding matrix and is generally susceptible to damage/deterioration over time due to mechanical and environmental loads. In spite of advancements made over the last several decades, understanding and modeling the interfacial region of cementitious mixtures still presents important challenges. As non-traditional additives such as recycled aggregates and alternative binding agents are more often used today, there is a growing need of fundamental knowledge to uncover interphase formation mechanisms and a resulting model to predict interphase properties.
The goal of this research is to develop a nanomechanics-based experimental-computational method to identify and model interphase region of cementitious materials. This project will improve education and training opportunities of ungraduated research assistants by having them involved in various experimental activities to measure nanomechanical properties of interphase/interface zone in conventional and new cementitious materials toward sustainable/resilient materials engineering.
Dr. Siamak Nejati
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Nanostructured Stimuli-responsive Polymers for Nanofiltration
In this project we aim to develop a new platform for creating bio-responsive nanostructured materials, using our unique Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) approach. By creating various topography over structured assemblies and manipulating the chemical environment of these surfaces through CVD polymerization, we create organic interfaces that are suitable for biological separation. Our bottom-up polymerization method is a solvent-free process, making our approach compatible with a variety of applications.
Dr. Sangjin Ryu
Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Two-dimensional microfluidics devices for biomolecule detection
The objective of this project is to develop two-dimensional (2D) microfluidic devices, which does not have any walls, for controlled microscale fluid motions and biomolecule detection. The participating REU student will design and fabricate such 2D fluidic devices using controlled surface wettability and porous materials and then characterize their functionality using various experimental techniques. Outcomes from this project will help developing cheap and disposable diagnostic tools.
Formation of Hybrid Nanomaterials Combining Semiconductor Nanowires with Two-Dimensional Layered Materials
This summer project will focus on establishing the synthesis of hybrid materials combining Ge nanowires (NWs) and two-dimensional layered crystals of transition metal di-chalcogenides. The growth will be carried out in a dedicated chemical vapor deposition reactor. The grown hybrid nanostructures will be characterized by optical, scanning electron microscopy and luminescence spectroscopy with nanometer resolution. The project will provide hands-on experience with the synthesis of these novel hybrid nanomaterials and characterization of their properties, as well as valuable opportunities to participate in state-of-the-art research.
Organic thin films for next-generation information technology
In the quest for devices of desirable functions demanded by the modern technology and low cost required by the economy, structures containing organic thin films stand out for their flexibility, environment friendliness, light weight and energy efficiency. In particular, organic light-emitting diode, organic spin valves, and organic photovoltaics have attracted much attention lately. In this project, we focus on growth of organic thin films with controllable interface with inorganic materials.
The task will be to assist the graduate students in the thin film growth and to characterize the fundamental properties of the film samples. We aim for the control of thin film growth down to the precision of mono layers. The characterization includes: surface morphology using atomic force microscopy, crystal structure using x-ray diffraction, and transport measurements.
Sun et al. “Active control of magnetoresistance of organic spin valves using ferroelectricity”
Nature Communications, 3, 4396 (2014).
Jiang, et al. "Room temperature ferroelectricity in continuous croconic acid thin films" Applied Physics Letters, 109, 102902 (2016).
Dr. Qin Zhou
Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Making graphene based acoustic transducers
The student will learn to use methods such as chemical vapor deposition, vacuum filtration, and spin casting to make graphene membranes or graphene based composite membrane. Later he/she will use micro fabrication facilities to make flat perforated electrodes and assemble a loudspeaker/microphone. Electronic circuit design will also be investigated for the driving/detection of the membrane.