Surface & Thin Film Research Experience for Undergraduates (STF-REU)

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STF-REU Faculty and Research Projects
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Robert Davis (Chemical Engineering): Students will participate in research projects relevant to the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, an NSF Engineering Research Center dedicated to the conversion of renewable carbon resources to useful chemicals. Topics of study include: the decarboxylation and decarbonylation of fatty acids over supported metal nanoparticle catalysts as well as the conversion of pyrones. (>More)

Jerrold Floro (Materials Science and Engineering): Students will use thermomechanical processing to create binary metal alloys in attempt to produce novel magnetic behaviors relevant to permanent magnets and magnetic storage. The materials will be analyzed using x-ray diffraction, vibrating sample magnetometry, and magnetic force microscopy. Samples will also be prepared for transmission electron microscopy to gain an atomic-level view of the internal structure of the alloys. (>More)

David Green (Chemical Engineering): Students will study the formulation of advanced nanocomposite materials to elucidate and quantify how polymers at interfaces control the actions of hard nanoparticles and soft polymer droplets in polymer solutions, melts, and blends. (>More)

Patrick Hopkins (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Students will investigate how surface and interface structures affect thermal transport on the nanoscale. Modification of semiconductor and metallic surfaces will employ chemical etching and physical ion and plasma processing methods. Surface characterization via atomic force microscopy will quantify the roughness of the surfaces. Samples will then be characterized with time domain thermoreflectance (TDTR) to examine the heat flow across interfaces. (>More)

Robert Kelly (Materials Science and Engineering): Student projects will include studies of metallic corrosion with an emphasis on structural materials. The students will have the opportunity to participate in computational modeling, experimental work, or both. Students will use co focal microscopy to measure corrosion rates of high-performance structural materials under atmospheric exposure conditions. (>More)

Eric Loth (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Students will develop coating techniques suitable for testing in a state-of-the-art research water tunnel. To improve flow efficiency (which drives most of the energy consumption for surface ships), nana-texturing can be applied on matrix surfaces to yield extremely low liquid friction surfaces. We hope to extend our highly durable spray cast nanocomposite coatings to underwater surfaces to demonstrate robust drag reduction. (>More)

Pamela Norris (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Students will study the fundamental physics of heat transfer at the atomic scale and link this knowledge to design demands of industry devices. Students will be trained in synthesis techniques that are common to many device design processes and learn how to thermally characterize thin film samples using both a third harmonic electrical experiment and the advanced femtosecond pump-probe laser apparatus (time domain thermal reflectance, TDTR). Students will be tasked with the design, development, and fabrication of an experimental setup that allows for TDTR to be conducted on an active circuit. (>More)

Beth Opila (Materials Science and Engineering): Students will characterize surface stability of high-temperature materials for aerospace applications. Structural materials will be heated in controlled gaseous environments relevant for propulsion or space re-entry. Material reaction kinetics will be monitored by weight change or reaction layer thickness measurements. Surface reaction products will be characterized after exposure by x-ray diffraction, optical, and electron optical techniques. The surface stability of rare earth oxides will be evaluated for use as environmental barrier coatings in turbine engine applications. (>More)

Petra Reinke (Materials Science and Engineering): Students will focus on all aspects of nanomaterials, from synthesis to analysis with scanning probe and select other techniques. Reinke's group focuses on materials science on the atomic scale, using surface science techniques to investigate the relation between structure and electronic properties. These projects include study of semiconductors and magnetism, switching of oxides, morphology of organic materials for solar cells, and the development of carbide-based catalysts for fuel cells. Scanning probe microscopy is used to study growth and electronic structure, and relate structural information to properties. (>More)

John Scully (Materials Science and Engineering): Students will study the corrosion of metallic materials to understand the scientific mechanisms of corrosion, corrosion prevention, the discovery of novel corrosion protection mechanisms, and lifetime prediction of time-dependent degradation phenomena. The properties of focused interest include hydrogen embrittlement, stress corrosion cracking, localized corrosion, and passivity of advanced metal alloys and intermetallic compounds. A recent focus has been on nano-engineered materials including multifunctional metallic glasses that deliver novel properties. (>More)

Giovanni Zangari (Materials Science and Engineering): Students interested in chemical and electrochemical approaches to material synthesis will find projects that include the electrochemical growth of metallic alloys for magnetic and electrocatalysis applications, the growth of metal oxides on metallic or semiconducting substrates for photoelectrochemical or spintronic applications, or the production of nanoporous metals by selective dissolution of a binary alloy film. Students will perform electrochemical synthesis and will be directly tasked to investigate the effect of various synthesis variables on the structure (using x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy or atomic force microscopy) and properties of the materials thus obtained. (>More)

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