REU: Nanohybrid Functional Materials

Join our summer program and participate in interdisciplinary research aimed at blending electronic, optical, biological and chemical materials at the nanoscale to generate a new class of functional materials and devices!

For information contact

Dr. Natale Ianno
Professor of Electrical  and Computer Engineering
Center for Nanohybrid Functional Materials

Glancing angle Deposition Chambers in the CNFM Facility.
Glancing angle Deposition Chambers in the CNFM Facility.

Application Dates

Nov 15 2017 App opens
February 1 Priority deadline
March 1 App closes
April 1 Decisions complete

Program Dates

June 3 2018 Arrival day
June 4 Program begins
August 7 Program ends
August 8 Departure day

Who should apply

Related fields

  • Biochemistry
  • Bioengineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Materials Science
  • Most engineering disciplines


Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree

See Eligibility for more information.

How to apply

Follow the application steps to submit the following materials.

About the Program

The Center for Nanohybrid Functional Materials (CNFM) offers a 10-week summer research fellowship which students will bring together students within multidisciplinary teams from electrical, and material science engineering, as well as chemistry to create intensive, multi-disciplinary research experiences in the design, fabrication, and application of transformative devices based on nano-engineered surface-enhanced materials with multifunctional properties.

The research activities are designed not only to develop skills germane to the student’s field of study, but also to demonstrate how one project fits into a larger, more complex system. Students will be able to complete their projects within the ten-week time frame of the summer program, and a see how their research results address questions within the larger team led by the collaborating CNFM mentors. Most importantly, the student but will have significant and independent responsibilities in the research project. The REU Site participants will undertake individual research projects that necessarily involve all aspects of research: formulation of a problem, development of a research plan to solve this problem, materials fabrication and processing, characterization, and data analysis and interpretation. After proper training, the REU participant will conduct experiments in the laboratory under supervision. Research results will be presented during individual and CNFM group meetings throughout the summer and at the end-of-summer Nebraska Summer Research Symposium.

2017 Nanohybrid REU students.
2017 Nanohybrid REU students.


  • Competitive stipend: $5,000
  • 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
  • Wireless internet access

Learn more about academic and financial benefits.


  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Canoe and camping trip
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Dr. Dennis Alexander Electrical & Computer Engineering

Femtosecond Laser Surface Processing (FLSP)

The REU student in the Alexander lab will focus on Femtosecond Laser surface processing (FLSP). This is a surface functionalization technique that alters the physical, chemical, mechanical, and electrical properties of a material in a single highly non-equilibrium processing step. It has been demonstrated that FLSP can be utilized to create a variety of unique self-organized surface micro/nanostructures on both metals and semiconductors. Due to their exotic surface properties, when compared to untreated surfaces, research efforts have been directed into further developing FLSP techniques. FLSP can be used to modify a wide range of surface properties, which include producing surfaces that exhibit wide-band optical absorption, enhanced heat transfer characteristics, and extreme wetting properties ranging from superhydrophilic to superhydrophobic.

Dr. Patrick Dussault Chemistry

Synthesis and Application of Novel Amphiphiles as Coatings and Linking Agents for Nanohybrid Materials

This undergraduate research experience will focus on the design and synthesis of new classes of amphiphiles, and their application in conjunction with collaborators in the Center for Nanohybrid Functional Material.The REU participants will gain experience in organic synthesis, isolation and purification of organic materials (extraction; chromatography, including thin-layer, column-, and high-performance liquid chromatography), characterization of organic products (1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, low- and high-resolution mass spectrometry), methods for characterization of the stability of organic materials (DSC/TGA) and, investigation of the structure and stability of derived films and coatings (characterization of passivated layers using a hybrid electrochemical/ellipsometric technique, AFM and STM of amphiphiles-coated materials.

Dr. David Hage and Dr. Mathias Schubert Electrical Engineering, Chemistry

Highly-Ordered 3-Dimensional Nanostructures for Polarization Discriminating Optical Detection

The REU student in our lab will participate in a research project which is focused on the development of optical instrumentation that combines transmission birefringence imaging detection schemes based on ellipsometric measurement principles with ultra-thin layer liquid chromatography where highly-oriented 3-dimensional nanostructures are used as supports. The goal of this research is to develop and evaluate instrumentation that allows for label-free and rapid ultrathin-layer imaging chromatography with sub-pg/μm2 detection limits.

Dr. David Hage, Dr. Eva Schubert, and Dr. Mathias Schubert Chemistry, Electrical Engineering

Nanomaterial-based Supports for Rapid Chromatographic Separations

REU students in this project will participate in research that focuses on the creation and use of novel supports for chromatographic-based separations that employ nanomaterials in their construction. Through this research, REU students will be introduced to the areas of liquid chromatography (LC) and chemical separations and will be trained by and work with graduate students or postdoctoral fellows to learn about methods for the creation of these novel supports and for their characterization (e.g., by chromatographic or optical methods).

Dr. Rebecca Lai Chemistry

Immobilization of Redox Proteins on Gold-modified GLAD Structures for Enhanced Bioelectrocatalysis

The REU student in the Lai lab will participate in a research project that focuses on the use of gold-modified titanium GLAD structures for immobilization of redox proteins such as myoglobin and cytochrome c (Cyt c). In the 10-week REU period, the student will (a) learn to prepare gold-modified GLAD structures via electrodeposition (week 1-3), (b) study the effect of different parameters on protein immobilization (week 4-6), and (c) investigate the bioelectrocatalytic ability of the optimized sensor (week 7-10). Through these studies, the student will receive training on basic electrochemistry, biosensor design and fabrication, in addition to learning about the various approaches used to modify and functionalize GLAD structures.

Dr. Angela K. Pannier Biological Systems Engineering

Nanostructured thin films as biomaterial interfaces for enhanced substrate-mediated gene delivery

Gene expression within a cell population can be directly altered through gene delivery approaches, which have tremendous potential for therapeutic use, such as gene therapy or tissue engineering, or in research and diagnostic applications. Substrate-mediated gene delivery refers to the delivery of plasmid DNA or DNA complexed with nonviral vectors from a surface or biomaterial that supports cell adhesion. DNA complexes are immobilized to the surface through specific or nonspecific interactions and cells are then plated directly on top of the immobilized DNA, which increases its local concentration in the cell microenvironment. However, for substrate-mediated delivery on traditional two-dimensional surfaces, the amount of DNA that can be loaded is limited and direct contact of cells with immobilized complexes can prove toxic to some cell types, thereby decreasing transfection efficiencies.

Dr. Eva Schubert, Dr. N.J. Ianno Electrical Engineering

Hybrid Nanoscale Materials for Applications in Highly Efficient Organic Photovoltaic Devices

This project's research is in the field of hybrid nanostructure fabrication, surface modification and in-situ thin film growth characterization using optical methods. The research efforts will be embedded into existing research programs with focus on nanohybrid functional materials for applications in photovoltaic devices. REU students working in our lab will receive training in modern techniques of hybrid material fabrication combining glancing angle deposition (GLAD) for highly porous nanostructured thin film fabrication and spin coating for polymer infiltration.

Dr. Alexander Sinitskii Chemistry

Electronic properties of exfoliated titanium trisulfide (TiS3)

The REU student in the Sinitskii lab will participate in a research project which is focused on the development of new chemical approaches for synthesis and isolation of one-dimensional (1D) chains of titanium trisulfide (TiS3), an emerging semiconductor material. The goal of this research is to develop a scalable method for synthesis and processing of TiS3 nanocrystals, characterize them by microscopic and spectroscopic techniques and demonstrate their utility for electronic applications, such as field-effect transistors and highly sensitive gas sensors.