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
Dr. Dennis Alexander
Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Effects of Femtosecond Laser Chirp on Producing Micro/Nanoscale Features on Metallic Surfaces
Femtosecond lasers can be used to produce micron/nanoscale features on metallic surfaces. The ability to produces these features, especially on noble metals depends on the operating parameters of the laser; especially the laser chirp. Laser chirp is associated with the femtosecond laser pulse and whether the red or blue wavelengths appear at the leading or trailing edge of the Gaussian pulse. As a summer research education student, you will be part of our research team trying to understand the relationship of chirp and how it plays a role in the focusing of the femtosecond pulse and the associated plasma dynamics. You will gain practical experience in actually operating the femtosecond laser and performing analysis of the surfaces created.
Dr. Christos Argyropoulos
Electrical & Computer Engineering
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 Dishari
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Unravel the biophysical alteration of antibiotic resistant bacteria through studying the interactions with synthetic nanostructured surfaces.
Continuous evolution of bacteria has been a huge concern for animals and human race. Bacterial strains often become resistant to antibiotic by altering their cell envelope. In this project, the interaction of bacteria (E.coli) after biophysical alteration (due to acquiring resistance after plasmid transfer and exposure to antibiotics) with an array of silane modified functional surfaces (cationic/anionic/hydrophilic/ hydrophobic) will be probed using fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy techniques. The study is of high importance for fields, like bioremediation, energy generation from waste water (microbial fuel cells) and other applications where the alteration of cell envelope and surface interactions can potentially alter the effectiveness of operations.
Dr. Peter A. Dowben
Physics and Astronomy
Organic heterostructures can be made that have similar functionality to oxide and semiconductor devices
This project will focus magneto-electric organic or hybrid organic & inorganic heterostructures. The hybrid nanostructures will be characterized by electron spectroscopies and luminescence. The goals are classes of devices suitable as reactive luminescence chemical sensors, or devices that could exhibit unusual behavior is an electro-magnetic field.
Dr. Srivatsan Kidambi
Biomimetic Cellular Tissue Models of Disease Progression
Engineering in vitro models that reproduce tissue microenvironment and mimic
functions and responses of tissues that is more physiologically relevant represents a
potential bridge to cover the gap between animal models and clinical studies. In this project we will engineer in vitro models of tissues including cancer, liver, and brain in an effort to understand the role of the tissue microenvironment (physical attributes, cell-cell communication, and ligand density) on the underlying biology of healthy and diseased tissues. These platforms provide an ideal model to delineate the critical but unexplored areas of tissue microenvironment in which the cells reside. Specifically, we have developed matrix-based platforms that recreate the various components of the tissue microenvironment. These components include controlling the cell-cell interactions using patterned co-cultures and recreating the mechanical properties of tissues to provide a snapshot of physiologically relevant stages of the tissues in healthy and disease state. Since tissue function is highly dependent on architecture, we have also used microfabrication methods, such as photolithography and molding, to regulate the architecture of these platforms. Using this strategy we have developed in situ models of breast cancer, liver, and brain. The technologies developed in in our lab will have tremendous potential applications in the treatment of various diseases including cancer, liver fibrosis, traumatic brain injury, and development of several classes of therapeutic compounds (drugs, biologics).
Dr. Seunghee Kim, Dr. Ashraf Aly Hassan
BioGeotechnology – Novel Approach of using Bacteria Encapsulated in Alginate Gels to Improve Soil Properties
This project aims to test the novel approach in which bacteria encapsulated in the alginate gels is utilized to improve the mechanical & hydraulic properties of soil materials. Sporosarcina pasteurii is a bacterial strain capable of precipitating solid calcite in the presence of calcium ions. The calcite hardness is an essential property that has been employed for healing concrete cracks biologically. Similarly, the calcite hardness can provide a necessary strength, stiffness, and/or hydraulic clogging to many geotechnical applications. In this project, Sporosarcina pasteurii will be grown immobilized in an alginate matrix that offers all macro- and micro- growth nutrients and abundant calcium ions. Alginate gel solidifies only when calcium ions are used for crosslinking. While bacteria are growing further and producing more calcite, the alginate gel will disappear since the calcium is not available and will be replaced by hard calcite, which will provide the necessary strength and stiffness to soils. In this project, the REU student will be primarily involved in growing the bacteria inside the alginate gels and conducting geotechnical lab tests using the mixture of encapsulated bacteria and soils.
Dr. Siamak Nejati
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Substrate dependent crystallinity of conducting polymers
During the course of our investigation on CVD growth of poly 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene we discovered a strong surface dependency for the growth and crystallinity of the films. We expect that the crystallinity of these materials influence their properties in oxygen reduction reaction. The overall goal of the current research is to develop polymer-based materials for ORR reaction in Air-batteries and explore the unique opportunity offered by conformal coatings of catalysts, polymer-CVD films. This project has four components, materials synthesis through CVD process, materials characterization, device fabrication, and first-principal mechanistic modeling of the systems.
Prof. Xiaoshan Xu
Physics and Astronomy
Surface morphology of organic thin films
Organic semiconductors have recently attracted much attention due to their application potentials in low-cost, flexible, and energy-efficient electronic devices. It is imperative to study the fabrication, stability, and physical properties for various organic thin films. This project focuses on organic ferroelectric materials of molecular crystals, which often exhibit large electric polarization above room temperature.
The morphological stability of organic thin film, which hinges on the interaction between organic materials and the substrates, is largely unknown. In this project, we will learn and carry out the scanning probe method (especially atomic force microscopy) to study the surface morphology of the organic thin films, which is critical for the application of organic materials in electronic devices.