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 $6,000 stipend for ten weeks of research.
Competitive stipend: $6,000
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
Magnetic domains and their response to high frequency sound waves
We are looking at how magnetic domains respond to high frequency sound. Although at first sight this may seem pretty wild, sound is just a squeezing and stretching of atoms. As atoms alternate between moving further apart and closer together, their interactions between themselves and the surrounding change in unexpected and complicated ways. So looking at how sound waves change magnetic domains (and we already know that they DO!), helps us unravel this complex interplay.
First-principles studies of spin transport in magnetic nanostructures
This computational project is focused on the transport properties and magnetization dynamics in magnetic nanostructures. The student will be trained to perform first-principles electronic structure and transport calculations and apply them to a research problem of current interest. Knowledge of quantum mechanics and solid-state physics and some experience with the Linux operating system are desirable, but the training plan can be tailored to the background and interests of the specific student.
To enable high-temperature operations, new materials will be required with high strengths in a variety of extreme environments in advanced energy applications. A promising class of novel materials known as oxide-dispersion-strengthened (ODS) alloys have the potential to perform in these environments. Spark plasma sintering and laser additive manufacturing processes have emerged as the promising approaches that can produce outstanding ODS alloys with nanoparticle dispersions in microstructures.
Exploring ion-conducting polymeric nanomaterials for renewable energy technologies
Ion-conducting polymers play a critical role in the function of sustainable energy technologies, such as fuel cells and batteries. These polymers are used to selectively transport ions across the electrochemical cells. However, the current understanding of these polymers at nanoscale is still not up to mark. Understanding the routes to ion transport limitation within sub-micrometer thick polymer layers on electrodes is the key to design more efficient, next-generation fuel cells and batteries for electric cars and many portable/stationary applications.
This project aims to leverage a set of spectroscopy and microscopy-based techniques to understand the distribution of ion transport environment and chemical composition at electrode-mimicking interfaces which can possibly guide towards the key parameters needing to be addressed to design better energy materials.
Organic heterostructures can be made that have similar functionality to oxide and semiconductor devices
This project will focus on magneto-electric organic or hybrid organic & inorganic heterostructures. The hybrid nanostructures will be characterized by electron spectroscopies and luminescence. If possible, simple device structures will be fabricated and tested. The goals are new classes of devices suitable as reactive luminescence sensors, or devices that could exhibit unusual behavior in an electromagnetic field.
Characterizations of epitaxial complex oxide thin films and heterostructures
In this project, the student will participate in the characterization of epitaxial ferroelectric and magnetic oxide thin films and heterostructures using x-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and piezoresponse force microscopy.
Development of Carbon Nanotube Sensor Platform to Quantify Nitric Oxide and Hydrogen Peroxide Levels in Inflammatory Diseases
Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species have been shown to be important factors in the progression of many diseases, ranging from autoimmune disease to cancer, but until recently there has been a lack in the ability of researchers to study nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide (key reactive nitrogen and oxygen species) in real time. By wrapping carbon nanotubes with a specific DNA strand, a real time sensor for nitric oxide or hydrogen peroxide can be made. A carbon nanotube sensor platform has been developed by the Iverson Lab to allow for the quantification of extracellular nitric oxide concentrations. The development of a nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide platform might sound easy and straightforward, but there are a lot of design aspects that will be needed to successfully create a working platform.
This project will require the REU student to learn about the current sensor building process and then incorporate a second, hydrogen peroxide sensor, into the sensor platform. The student involved in this project will gain a lot of hands-on experience in biomedical engineering research, with a focus on nanotechnology, sensors, and the engineering design process. During the first week, the student will start building and characterizing carbon nanotube sensor platforms under the direction of Dr. Iverson and Iverson Lab members. As the student becomes more comfortable with the project, they will design experiments and interpret data independently, discussing their results and brainstorming about future work with Dr. Iverson and the other lab members. In parallel, the student will be introduced to primary literature searches, sterile culture technique, and the importance of nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide in cell survival and disease progression. The REU student will finish the summer with an understanding of experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation of results as well as having been exposed to cutting-edge research.
The field of nanomedicine offers the potential to improve the understanding and treatment of many disease processes by allowing researchers and clinicians the ability to deliver treatments to specific areas of the body, image where the treatments are going in real-time, and track responses. Therefore, the development of multifunctional nanoparticles has garnered significant attention especially for improving delivery into the brain for neurological diseases including traumatic brain injury, brain cancer, and dementia for which there is a significant lack of effective treatment options.
These nanoparticles typically consist of a small core that acts as a scaffold to carry imaging agents for tracking nanoparticle localization in the body through various imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging, therapeutic moieties for treatment, and targeting agents for binding cell surface receptors expressed in target tissue. However, the translation of nanomedicine into clinical use has been hindered by complicated nanoparticle designs that make reproducible synthesis and scale-up difficult. Therefore, a goal of the Kievit lab is to develop simplified synthesis strategies for multifunctional nanoparticles to improve their translatability.
The project is concerned with studies of spin currents in magnetic insulators. Student will learn how to perform micromagnetic simulations using Holland Computing Center or other sources of high performance computing, collaborating with other group members. In addition, we also study how magnetic textures such as skyrmions can be controlled in nanosctructures by sound waves.
Nanoscale imaging of magnetic phenomena in solid-state materials using diamond quantum sensors
Understanding the behavior of spins in materials is at the heart of condensed matter physics. In the past few decades, a wide range of new materials showing exciting new magnetic phenomena has been discovered and explored. Current characterization techniques do not provide the combined spatial resolution and sensitivity required to map their properties at the nanometer scale. Recently, a new technique has emerged for measuring physical properties (magnetic, optical, electrical…) at the nanoscale based on optical detection of the electron spin magnetic resonance of nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers in diamond [Nat. Rev. Mater. (January 2018)].
Using the NV microscopes, we seek to study chiral spin textures and magnetic dynamics excitations in wide range of solid-state magnetic materials including antiferromagnet Cr2O3, magnetic insulators TmIG and YIG, and ferromagnetic multilayers Co/Pt. Tasks include characterizing samples using magnetic force microscopy (MFM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), in combination with NV microscopy. Students will also learn new skills in quantum optics, microwave electronics, and device nanofabrication.
Flexible and precise micromachining of ultrathin glasses by dual-wavelength, pulse tunable, high-power femtosecond laser
Ultrathin glasses have great supplication for electronics, displays, and sensing devices. There has been an increased interest from both industry and academia to develop techniques for micromachining ultrathin glasses (< 500 µm) with high quality and efficiency. Glass is a brittle material; however ultrathin glasses have a greater flexibility to them. Because of these properties any micro cracks or edge property changes post processing can cause the samples to break more easily. We believe femtosecond laser machining can solve the issue of cutting and drilling ultrathin glasses in a fast and cost efficient manner without the potential post process damages.
Femtosecond (fs) lasers are in the category of ultra-short pulse lasers. The pulse length of an fs laser causes the energy to be transferred to the material in a shorter time than the thermal conversation of photons. This causes electron detachment and coulomb explosion to remove material without the thermal affects that can be caused by other methods (scoring, breaking, long pulse laser breaking).
Functional emulsions are an emerging material architecture for creating highly functional elastomer composites that are soft and elastically deformable . However, techniques to control local composition and microstructure of the composite material in emulsions, which ultimately govern material properties and performance of the cured elastomer composite, are lacking. For this project, the REU student will work closely with a graduate student to develop an additive manufacturing technique to control liquid inclusion microstructure in emulsions to achieve unprecedented combinations of thermal, electrical, and mechanical functionalities in elastomer composites.
By developing the material and manufacturing knowledge to program inclusion microstructure, new paradigms in composite architecture for next generation functional materials are enabled leading to new applications in electronics and robotics.
Fabrication of microfluidic devices mimicking insect wing vein network
The objective of this project is to fabricate microfluidic devices that mimic the vein network of insect wings for purposes of studying the blood flow or circulation through insect wings and for inventing biomimetic devices. A participating student will learn about basic fabrication methods for microfluidics, flow measurement methods such as flow visualization, and analysis methods such image processing.
Design and Fabrication of Photonic Devices Based on Two-Dimensional Materials
As the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of graphene, the family of two-dimensional (2D) materials has flourished and demonstrated their technological importance in various research fields. This project will employ the peculiar properties of 2D materials, including graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, and hexagonal boron nitride, and explore their applications in nanophotonics. The REU student will work closely with a postdoctoral researcher or a graduate student and acquire a set of skills in device design and nanofabrication.
Complex oxides exhibit various properties, such as ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity, superconductivity, magnetoresistance, etc. These properties owe to their complex crystal structure and electronic structures. Despite decades of research on complex oxides, which include at least two metal elements, the majority of these materials haven’t been thoroughly investigated, due to large number of metal elements, various compositions, and a plethora of crystal structures.
In this project, the undergraduate student will learn and carry out synthesis of novel complex oxide using solid state reaction and characterize their structural and magnetic properties using x-ray diffraction and magnetometry. The objective is to establish structural phase diagram of transition metal complex oxides. The current focus is on their ferroelectric and magnetic properties. [see J. Appl. Phys. 125, 244101 (2019); doi: 10.1063/1.5098488]
Figure 1. Structural phase diagram of Sc-substituted rare earth ferrites. The two dimensions are Sc/rare earth ratio x and the rare earth species R.
The project aims to use 3D bioprinting to fabricate in vitro tissue models. Specifically, the ongoing work is to recreate a 3D layered skin tissue. The research work will take advantage of the different types of state-of-the-art 3D tissue printing platforms to contribute to the broad literature of biotechnology. In addition, the students will learn tissue culture and regeneration, biological characterization, advanced microscopy as well as engineering design.