The Center for Nanoscale Systems hosted 4 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) students during the summer 2005 as part of the NSF's National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). The 2005 REU Program took place from June 12th - August 20th. The 2005 REU interns are:
Winnie J. Tsang – Johns Hopkins
Principal Investigator - Professor Jeff W. Lichtman
REU Mentor(s) – Dr. Richard Schalek
Project Title – Synaptic Ultrastructural Reconstruction using Serial Transmission Electron Microscopy
Read Winnie’s final report:
This project is a joint collaboration between Prof. Jeff Lichtman in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the Center for Imaging and Mesoscale Structures. Prof. Lichtman’s research interests include understanding the mechanisms and interactions that underlie synaptic competition between neurons that innervate the same target cell. These competitive interactions are responsible for sharpening the patterns of neural connections during development and may also be important in learning and memory formation. The structures of interest have a size range from 5 nm to several hundred nanometers. Synaptic imaging requires using a transmission electron microscope (TEM) for obtaining 2-dimensional information. Consequently, by imaging sequentially through the brain tissue 2-dimensional data are converted into 3-dimensional movies and volumes using sophisticated computer algorithms.
This Serial TEM project consists of three phases: (1) sample preparation, (2) TEM imaging, and (3) image alignment and reconstruction. The REU student will participate in all phases of the project, but will primarily be responsible for image alignment and reconstruction.
During this project, the student will acquire a variety of skills and techniques, including chemical fixative and staining, ultramicrotomy, transmission electron microscopy imaging, and finally image alignment and reconstruction using computer software to generate movies and 3-D reconstruction of the synaptic and neural connections.
For more general information concerning serial imaging please visit the following:
Winnie is a freshman at Johns Hopkins studying biomedical engineering and conducts research in Dr. James Harden’s laboratory performing expression and purification of recombinant proteins. She lists as her long range educational and career plan as becoming a MD,PhD and starting a corporation for world-cooperative research & healthcare. She won the Award for Independent Bio-molecular Research at the Philips Academy Andover where she graduated in June 2004. She writes in her NNIN REU Application, “Healthcare shouldn’t just be a profession, made up of MDs and PhDs with years of education to backup their diagnosis – it should be a way of life. The public should know on a fundamental level how to take care of themselves and the environment. Scientists, the men and women with the information, should create a vehicle to transfer knowledge about the latest healthcare to others.” CNS is very excited to have Winnie as part of the 2005 NNIN REU Program.
Abbie Tippie – Colorado State University
Principal Investigator – Dr. Erli Chen
REU Mentor(s) – Dr. Jiangdong Deng, Dr. Frank Vollmer
Project Title – Nanometer-Scale Optical Bio-sensors
Read Abbie’s final report:
As part of the study on nanometer-scale optical bio-sensors, the REU student will focus on exploring optical waveguide-based bio-sensors by designing and fabricating optical waveguides integrated with sensing elements capable of detecting biological signals. The student will have to learn advanced nanofabrication and analyzing skills, such as optical lithography, reactive ion etching (RIE), thin-film deposition, and scanning electron microscopic SEM) imaging.
Abbie is a junior at Colorado State University who is studying electrical engineering under Dr. Carmen Menoni. She plans to pursue graduate studies in either optics or electrical engineering. Abbie applied to the NNIN REU Program to help gain in-depth, hands-on knowledge in laser and optics research. She participated in an REU Program last year at the University of Rochester through their Institute of Optics. She performed research in Phase Retrieval and Image Reconstruction under the direction of Dr. J. R. Fienup. Her work dealt with alternatives to stagnation problems in phase retrieval methods developed for applications for soft x-ray image reconstruction. CNS is pleased that she chose to become part of the NNIN REU Program this summer and choosing to come to CNS.
Matthew Smith – Johns Hopkins
REU Principal Investigator – Dr. Erli Chen
REU Mentor(s) – Dr. Ling Xie
Project Title – Nanometer-Thick Dielectric Films Formed by Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD)
Read Matt’s final report:
Nanometer-thick dielectric films are key elements in nanometer-scale devices. The REU project will focus on:
- Using a state-of-the-art ECR-PECVD system to deposit ultra-thin, high-quality dielectric films.
- Appling advanced material and electrical characterization techniques to analyze physical and chemical properties of the films.
Matt also is a student of Johns Hopkins. He is a sophomore studying materials science and performing work in the lab of Professor Peter Searson. Matt’s current work in the Searson Lab involve creating P-N junction semiconducting nanowires through electrodeposition. Matt plans to go on to graduate school to obtain a PhD and ultimately work in a research oriented career. He mentions in his application that he recently narrowed his field of interest from materials science to nanotechnology. Matt looks forward to being exposed to various aspects of the growing field of nanotechnology to refine his interests and ultimately lead to a career of research. CNS is looking forward to providing the opportunity to explore nanotechnology for enthusiastic, young scientists like Matt.
Matthew McGrath – Vanderbilt
Principal Investigator - Professor Michael Aziz
REU Mentor(s) – Bola George
Project Title – Nanoscale Materials Morphology Control using a Focused Ion Beam
Read Matthew’s final report:
This project consists of using a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) to study the evolution of materials morphologies under Focused Ion Beam irradiation, and for the fabrication and evolution of morphologies that permit the development of a basic understanding of the ways in which the FIB stimulates mass transport resulting in morphology changes.
Because the future of nanotechnology ultimately rests on the controllable and cost-effective fabrication, integration, and mass production of nanoscale structures, various fabrication and assembly techniques are being investigated. Photolithography permits excellent throughput and morphology control but is approaching fundamental limitations to the further reduction of feature sizes. Single-particle manipulation techniques permit exquisite control but are challenged by throughput considerations. Self-organization processes are more readily adapted to high throughput but are challenged by limitations in control.
Solid surfaces sputter-eroded by uniform ion irradiation are known to undergo a morphological instability termed "sputter-rippling". This phenomenon has also been observed under ion milling conditions with a FIB, even in situations where the raster pattern is designed for uniform etching of a large area. In many cases the morphological instability is considered a nuisance. However, the observations that the ripple wavelength is a controllable function of the irradiation conditions and that sub-lithographic feature sizes can be created have stimulated interest in the investigation of this phenomenon as a possible nanofabrication technique. Additionally, ion irradiation of some materials has been shown to result in three-dimensional structures with feature sizes as small as 15 nm and very large aspect ratios.
Although fabrication with the FIB itself is not envisaged as a mass production technique, unfocused ion irradiation is already in mass production in CMOS processing, and it is anticipated that the rapid feedback possible with in-situ real-space imaging in a FIB instrument will accelerate the understanding of the phenomena believed to be common to both focused and unfocused ion irradiation.
Matthew McGrath comes to Harvard from the undergraduate physics program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. As a rising senior there, he is interested in all areas of science in engineering, but his most in-depth work has been in condensed matter and optical physics.
Matthew is an avid sailor both at Vanderbilt and in his hometown of Coral Gables, Florida. He also enjoys photography, writing, and travel with his long-time girlfriend Sarah.
There were REU interns mentored by (or otherwise linked to) CNS staff members as part of other REU programs at Harvard. They are:
Alin Cosmanescu - Cooper Union
Project: "Quantum Computation and Artificial Atoms: Calculation and Experiment"
Harvard REU PI: Dr. Mike Stopa of CNS and NNIN/C
Christina Lu - Brandeis
Project: "Fabrication and Characterization of Metallic Nanodisks"
Harvard REU PI: Prof. George M. Whitesides
Mentors: Qiaobing Xu, Dr. Mikhail Lahav
(Christina is the daughter of CNS' Yuan Lu)
Edwin Macomber - Bristol Community College
Project: "Micro Engineering Design of Two-Dimensional Cardiac Tissue"
Harvard REU PI: Prof. Kevin (Kit) Parker
Mentors: Dr. Adam Feinberg, Dr. Mark Bray, Dr. Nick Geisse
(Ed is now a CNS Nanofabrication Facility staff member)
Waseem Ansar Malik - U. of Maryland-College Park
Project: "Building Metal Bridges with Nanometer-Scale Air Gaps by Nanofabrication"
HU REU PI/Mentor: Dr. Jiangdong (JD) Deng of CNS Nanofabrication Facility
For more information regarding the NNIN REU Program, please click here.
Also, for information regarding other REU programs at Harvard (MRSEC, NSEC and others), please see the following URL: