IM-SURE Research Projects

 

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2005 IM-SURE Research Projects

The IM-SURE program is committed to offering students challenging and unique research opportunities that explore the diverse, interdisciplinary nature of micro/nano technology. Students will be fully immersed in the research laboratory, collaborating with their faculty mentors and teams and using state-of-the-art equipment. These projects will fully engage the student and provide the opportunity to see how biomedical, physical and engineering knowledge is applied in real life to produce significant and tangible final results. 

Each project is overseen by one of UCI’s faculty members. The faculty have broad and significant experience in multiple disciplines, and are nationally recognized for their contributions and publications in the fields of micro/nano technology. They are also exceptionally committed to developing the role of undergraduates in the research process and will be acting as mentors to their assigned students, coaching them through the research process. 

Students will select their top 5 project choices from over 25 available research initiatives, and every effort will be made to assign participants to one of their five project choices. Below are overviews of the exciting projects to choose from, including the faculty members involved, techniques used, project prerequisites, and related publications. 

The following faculty-mentored research projects are available during the 2005 IM-SURE Program. They are divided by general area of application of micro/nano technologies. Select a link for an overview of the project, associated faculty mentors, project prerequisites, and related publications.

Biomedical

    1) Axon Guidance Using Microfluidic Devices 

    2) Cell Encapsulation for Tissue Engineering 

    3) Cell Migration in Microfluidic Devices 

    4) Chemistry in Nanovolumes 

    5) Combinatorial Bioassays in Droplet Arrays for Monitoring Astronaut Health during Space Travel 

    6) Electrochemiluminescence Microscopy 

    7) Micro- and Nano-Technologies for Implantable Devices 

    8) Portable Optical Coherence Tomography Instruments for the Detection and Management of Thermal, Chemical and Biological Injury 

    9) Ultrasonic Atomization and Application to Nanoparticles 

Electronics

    10) A Miniature Facility for Dynamic Measurement of Gas Damping  

    11) Design of High-Speed Integrated Circuits for Broadband Communications Infrastructure 

    12) Fabrication of Electrodes with Nano-Size Gap Using Electroless Nickel Plating 

    13) MEMS Micro-Mirrors: From Design to Experimental  

    14) Micro-Platform for Protein Crystallization in Nanoliter Volume  

    15) Platform for Constructing DNA-Based Molecular Electronics 

    16) Spin Transport and Dynamics in One-Dimensional Nanostructures 

Materials

    17) Dielectrophoretic Separation Systems 

    18) Low-Cost Techniques and Tools for Building Nanostructures 

    19) Low-Resistance High-Transmittance Contact to p-GaN for High-Brightness LED 

    20) Mechanical Properties of Carbon MEMS 

    21) Molecular Electronics 

    22) Nanocrystalline Materials for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Electrolytes 

    23) Nanoscale Electrode Development for Fundamental Studies of Mixed Ionic and Electronic Conductors as High Temperature Fuel Cell Components 

    24) Polymer Nanowire Growth Using Electrochemical Step Edge 

    25) Thin Film Dielectrics by Pulsed Deposition CVD 

    26) Thin Film Synthesis of Micro-Scale Solid Oxide Fuel Cells 

Sensors

    27) All-fiber Acousto-optic Spectrometer 

    28) IrOx Derived Biosensors 

    29) MEMS Angle Measuring Gyroscopes 

    30) MEMS-based Totally Implantable Semicircular Canal Prosthesis 

    31) Semiconducting Nanowires as Nanoelectronic Building Blocks 

    32) Tailoring Nanocircuits for New Applications 




 Biomedical 

Project #1: Axon Guidance Using Microfluidic Devices
Faculty Mentor: Professor Noo Li JeonBiomedical Engineering
Description: The goal of this project is to develop a new microfluidic device to culture Xenopus neurons and use it to study the effect of various chemicals in guiding growth cone navigation. You will learn to fabricate microfluidic devices as well as isolate and culture Xenopus retinal ganglion cells.

Prerequisites: This project is appropriate for students who have finished their sophomore level of an engineering curricula. Students should have completed general chemistry and physics through electromagnetics.

Project #2: Cell Encapsulation for Tissue Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering
Description: Using microfluidic chip technologies, it is possible to control the encapsulation of cells into polymer microcapsules. The technology also enables the control of the composition of nutrients and growth factors such that the cells are “happy” and able to multiply and form tissue engineering “scaffolds”. This project will offer you hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, and testing the chips for cell encapsulation. It will also provide experience in cell culture and cell biology techniques. You will also be exposed to Labview programming, CAD tools, and CNC machining.

Prerequisites: One year of physics and one year of chemistry.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Paper on Cell Encapsulation: http://biomint.eng.uci.edu

Project #3: Cell Migration in Microfluidic Devices
Faculty Mentor: Professor Noo Li JeonBiomedical Engineering
Description: The goal of this project is to use microfluidic chip technologies to study the behavior of cancer cells in various anti-cancer drugs. The student will learn to fabricate microfluidic devices and culture breast cancer cells. She will learn and use combination of microtechnology and biology tools such as cell culture. The student will perform time-lapse experiments and analyze the migration data.

Prerequisites: This project is appropriate for students who have finished their sophomore year engineering classes including a year equivalent of general chemistry and physics.

Project #4: Chemistry in Nanovolumes
Faculty Mentor: Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Nanovolume chemistry is an emerging area of interest in the life sciences. By performing chemistry experiments in small drops of less than 100 nanoliters each, one can increase the number of experiments performed, reduce the cost per experiment, and increase the speed of research. However, small volume systems have many problems that must be dealt with. Large surface to volume ratios make surface phenomena a dominant concern, from surface adsorption, surface contamination, surface tension, and evaporation. This project explores methods for designing and building small devices that can enable small volume chemistry to be performed.

Prerequisites: Students should have some aptitude and interest in mechanical construction, electrical circuits, and basic chemistry.

Project #5: Combinatorial Bioassays in Droplet Arrays for Monitoring Astronaut Health during Space Travel
Faculty Mentor: Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering
Description: In anticipation of the long duration space travel to put humans on Mars, it is critical to develop methods to monitor the health of the astronauts that travel for several years at a time. You will assist in the development of a microfluidic chip that consumes small quantities of reagents and requires minute sample sizes. This project focuses on a lab-on-a-chip platform that will generate an array of picoliter droplets each containing sample or reagent for multiple bioassays. You will develop control interfaces for a manipulation system to control droplet array generation, allowing splitting, and merging of droplets with a LabviewTM electronic interface. Control parameters include syringe pump flow rates, on-chip electrode voltages, and chip temperatures. You will be exposed to Labview programming, electrical instrumentation, and microfluidic device designs.

Prerequisites: One year of physics and one year of chemistry.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Papers in Special Issue on Droplets in Microfluidics (Lab on a Chip vol. 4, no. 4). : http://biomint.eng.uci.edu

Project #6: Electrochemiluminescence Microscopy
Faculty Mentor: Professor James P. BrodyBiomedical Engineering
Description: The goal of this project is to develop a high-resolution nano-scale imaging system using nano-fabricated electrodes, electrochemiluminescence, and sensitive optics. This will allow the construction of nanoscale biomolecular images. The resolution of this system is not limited by the optical wavelength, but rather by the size of the electrode exciting the electrochemiluminescent tag. Expected results are, in the short term, better understanding of electrochemiluminescence at the nano-scale and, in the long term, a new method of imaging biological samples. Students will learn skills in electrochemistry, nano fabrication, optics, computer data acquisition and control, and data analysis.

Prerequisites: This project is appropriate for students who have finished their sophomore level of an engineering curricula. Students should have completed general chemistry and physics through electromagnetics.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Conference publication: http://brodylab.eng.uci.edu/~jpbrody/lee2004spie.pdf

Project #7: Micro- and Nano-Technologies for Implantable Devices
Faculty Mentor: Professor William C. TangBiomedical Engineering
Description: Examine and develop technologies based on micro- and nano-fabrication to achieve ultra-miniaturized and ultra-low-power devices for biomedical implant applications. Future impacts include real-time health monitoring, semi-automated or automated early diagnoses and therapeutic deployment, and adaptive human performance enhancement. Students will be introduced to micro- and nano-fabrication techniques in general, and will learn certain aspects of how the technology can be put to practical use through well-defined, hands-on research in understanding, designing, and analyzing novel device concepts. Research topics include novel approaches in designing micro implants, modeling and analysis techniques, material biocompatibility, ultra-low-power strategies in wireless communication links and overall system optimization. Fabrication and assembly research will be integral to students’ research experiences.

Prerequisites: Preferred Junior standing in Engineering, Biological Sciences, or Chemistry

Project #8: Portable Optical Coherence Tomography Instruments for the Detection and Management of Thermal, Chemical and Biological Injury
Faculty Mentor: Professor Zhongping ChenBiomedical Engineering
Description: Develop portable optical coherence tomography (OCT) instruments for imaging and to quantify burn injury. Skin wounds, inhalation/burn airway injury and toxic gas inhalation injury are major health hazards for military personnel. OCT is a non-invasive technique that images tissue structure up to a depth of 2 mm with high spatial resolution (2~10) mm; this project will combine biomedical imaging with MEMS technology to develop a lightweight, high-speed, high-resolution OCT device. Students will be exposed to basic optics and MEMS technology in the context of biomedical imaging and have hands-on experience of fiber optics systems.

Project #9: Ultrasonic Atomization and Application to Nanoparticles
Faculty Mentor: Professor Chen S. TsaiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Develop a novel advanced atomization technique capable of efficiently producing uniform precursor drops (<10 micron in diameter)through the use of a silicon-based ultrasound-modulated two-fluid (UMTF)atomization nozzle, and apply it to nanoparticles synthesis and processing of bio-nano dispersions. Such precursor drops can be processed at much lower temperatures and pressure, allowing efficient and inexpensive production of nanoparticles from heat-sensitive precursor materials such as proteins and DNA. The project will establish (1) the design methodology, fabrication, and testing techniques for silicon MEMS-based high-frequency (>1 MHz) ultrasonic nozzles, and (2) novelty, manufacturability, and commercial potential of their applications to nanoparticles synthesis and spray drying of colloidal bio-dispersions through UMTF atomization and ambient pressure processing. Students will benefit by acquiring and practicing high-tech knowledge through team research, and by gaining familiarity with MEMS-based microfabrication facilities and high-frequency electronic and ultrasonic equipment.

Prerequisites: Physics and Mechanics in particular.

 Electronics 

Project #10: A Miniature Facility for Dynamic Measurement of Gas Damping
Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrei M. ShkelMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: Design a facility to test nonlinear dynamics and coupled-physics phenomena using base excitation, a piezo-actuator providing stepped-sine excitation to the MEMS package and a laser Doppler velocimeter coupled to a microscope to sense velocity response. A thermally controlled vacuum enclosure will be constructed with a glass viewport for optical observation of the microsystems's response to a variety of ambient pressures and temperatures.

Prerequisites: At least junior-level Electrical or Mechanical Engineering major.

Project #11: Design of High-Speed Integrated Circuits for Broadband Communications Infrastructure
Faculty Mentor: Professor Michael M. GreenElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Use simulation and extraction tools to predict the behavior of high-speed CMOS and BiCMOS integrated circuits being designed. Once the physical layout is finished, the circuit is fabricated using a local foundry, and the chip is tested. This research has a direct impact on high-speed communications infrastructure (e.g., fiber-optic broadband) and is of interest to both academic researchers and local industry. Students will be trained in specific tasks, including physical layout and simulation of each circuit block.

Prerequisites: General understanding of operation, design, and utilization of integrated circuit modules, including multi-stage amplifiers, operational amplifiers, and logic circuits.

Project #12: Fabrication of Electrodes with Nano-Size Gap Using Electroless Nickel Plating
Faculty Mentor: Professor Peter J. BurkeElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Electrodes with a separation of few nanometers are an effective, yet expensive, tool for studying electrical properties of single and multiple atoms. Electroless or autocatalytic nickel plating is a simple and inexpensive technique to make such electrodes through metal deposition on substrate without an external source. Two electrodes with a gap of 1-2 microns are patterned with conventional lithography, immersed in an electroless nickel plating bath, and plated with nickel until the gap narrows, monitored by a simple circuit. You will learn how to make a mask and wafer for the electrodes pattern using equipment such as 20:1 Reduction High Resolution Maskmaking, KarlSuss Aligner, E-beam evaporator, Lock-in-Amplifier, SEM, and Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition. You will learn how electroless plating works and how to control deposition rate.

Prerequisites: Prior electronics and chemistry coursework.

Project #13: MEMS Micro-Mirrors: From Design to Experimental
Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrei M. ShkelMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: Facing demand for increased speed and bandwidth, the Internet and other technologies are turning to fiber optics, which permit higher speed and data capacity. In fiber optic networks, data are carried by light, which is immensely faster than electrons, the carriers in electrical networks, and has much greater bandwidth since many frequencies can be transmitted at the same time along the same path. This research project will design, test, and implement MEMS optical actuators.

Prerequisites: At least junior level Electrical or Mechanical Engineering major.

Project #14: Micro-Platform for Protein Crystallization in Nanoliter Volume
Faculty Mentor: Professor Guann-Pyng "G.P." LiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Develop an advanced micro-platform for performing one of the most difficult assays in molecular biology—the crystallization of macro-molecular biomolecules. The technology may enable the rapid crystallization and structure determination of critically important proteins such as those responsible for the toxicity of anthrax or SARS. The project’s short-term goal is to explore the use of advanced micro-integration technology for constructing a micro-instrument capable of chemical experiments in miniscule droplets of solution. The engineering work represents a major challenge in micro-integration technology because the platform combines micro-fluidics, micro-optics, micro-sensors, and micro-electronics with conventional instrumentation and software. You will learn skills in nanofabrication, micro-optics, microelectronics, computer data acquisition and control, data analysis, and understanding of protein structures.

Project #15: Platform for Constructing DNA-Based Molecular Electronics
Faculty Mentor: Professor Guann-Pyng "G.P." LiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Develop an advanced micro-platform for performing DNA computing—the electronic programmable construction of DNA on silicon substrate with microelectronics. The technology may enable the rapid formation of millions of DNA sequences on demand with low volume consumption of base pairs. The project’s short-term goal is to explore the use of advanced micro-fluidic technology for constructing a DNA computing platform, which can perform chemical experiments in nano-droplets of solution, leading to dramatically faster DNA sequencing, reduced sample consumption, and integration with standard microelectronics. You will learn skills in nano-fabrication, micro-sensor, microelectronics, computer data acquisition and control, data analysis, DNA computing and DNA construction at the nano-scale.

Project #16: Spin Transport and Dynamics in One-Dimensional Nanostructures
Faculty Mentor: Professor Jia "Grace" LuChemical Engineering & Materials Science
Description: Research on new physical aspects of the quantum states and dynamic behavior of single-electron spins in one-dimensional (1D) systems using a 1D nanowire/nanotube weakly coupled to ferromagnetic electrodes to inject and detect polarized spins. These nanoscale hybrid structures will be used to test various theoretically predicted phenomena, such as spin injection, diffusion, and accumulation, with the ultimate goal of applying single-electron spin as a binary state in applications for magnetic field sensing, data storage, quantum computing, and sensitive directional infrared detector arrays. You will learn device design, low temperature transport measurements, and nanofabrication, including photolithography, ebeam lithography, and other cleanroom processing techniques.

Prerequisites: Modern Physics is required. Knowledge of Solid State Physics can be learned along the way.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Paper on Nano-junction -- Spin-dependent tunneling and Coulomb blockade by Nicolas Feltin : http://www.nano-tek.org/articles/art007.html
   Homepage of Magnetoelectronics: http://www.magnetoelectronics.com/

 Materials 

Project #17: Dielectrophoretic Separation Systems
Faculty Mentor: Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: You will get hands-on practical experience in designing and implementing a dielectrophoretic separation system. Dielectrophoretic force is applied to particles within a fluid through application of nonuniform AC or DC electric fields. Dielectrophoresis is one of the few methods of exerting a significant force onto uncharged microscale and submicron particles without moving the fluid medium. There is a great need for high-throughput separation systems,especially for separation of micro and nanoscale particles. Possible uses for this technology include separation of carbon nanotubes (All current methods of creating carbon nanotubes create a mixture of semiconducting and metallic nanotubes.), separation of cells for improved assay performance, and separation of contaminants from fluids.

Prerequisites: Basic engineering and science training.

Project #18: Low-Cost Techniques and Tools for Building Nanostructures
Faculty Mentor: Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: By controlling the shapes of materials at sizes comparable to molecules, one can affect huge changes on the material’s bulk physical, chemical and electrical properties. This project will focus on developing MEMS-enabled micro-tools for nanotechnology fabrication, specifically (1) a microfurnace capable of growing carbon nanotubes, and (2) a soft-lithography system for imprinting nanometer imprints on surfaces. The students will learn about nanofabrication techniques and develop skills in designing and building tools for nanotechnology.

Prerequisites: Students should have some aptitude and interest in mechanical construction, electrical circuits, and computer programming.

Project #19: Low-Resistance High-Transmittance Contact to p-GaN for High-Brightness LED
Faculty Mentor: Professor Henry P. LeeElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: High-power, green to UV, GaN LED shows promise for new functions, from illumination to biomedical diagnosis and treatment. Project goals include: 1) Develop contact technology for high-power GaN LED for both regular-size front-emitting LED and large-area LED (mm by mm back-side flip-chip bonding), and 2) Develop electrically-based thermal measurement to evaluate temperature-related LED performance, particularly those related to high current operation, at both chip and packaged levels. A low-resistance, high-reflectance contact design for a high-power flip-chip LED will be fabricated at the INRF, with device characterization in the Fiber-Optics and Compound Semiconductor Laboratory. You will practice device fabrication using process tools such as photolithography; reactive ion etching and electron-beam deposition of metals; and electrical and optical measurement, such as I-V, light versus current, and spectral measurement, using a semiconductor parameter analyzer, optical spectrometer, high current pulse source transient measurement and a probe station. Data acquisition and analysis will use Labview, Origin, and Metlab.

Project #20: Mechanical Properties of Carbon MEMS
Faculty Mentor: Professor John LaRue & Professor Richard NelsonMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: Measure the mechanical properties of glassy carbon for use in MEMS and NEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems and Nanoelectromechanical Systems) applications, characterizing properties including thermal and elasticity coefficients, density, morphology, bonding strength to other materials, and electrical conductivity. Glassy carbon can provide a lower spring constant for micro-springs, improved conformality, and chemical resistance, lower voltages for portable devices such as microspectrometers for hyperspectral imaging and RF switches for radios. These have major military, consumer, and industrial applications. You will learn: 1)Material characterization techniques for micro and nano-sized samples, 2) Methods for glassy carbon formation and two-dimensional patterning, 3)Structural and mechanical applications of glassy carbon in MEMS and NEMS devices, and 4) How to work collaboratively with faculty, post-docs, and other students.

Prerequisites: An introductory physics or materials science course would be helpful. Otherwise, a short introduction to the relevant materials science will be provided, as needed.

Project #21: Molecular Electronics
Faculty Mentor: Professor Wilson HoPhysics & Astronomy
Description: Molecular electronics holds great potential for communication and sensing, including modern warfare applications. Materials such as C60 have the potential to replace silicon in reduced-size electronic circuits. Students will fabricate and measure organic monolayers and thin films with lateral dimensions as small as 20 nm, using STM to measure their field effect transistor (FET) geometry and effects of a discrete number of dopants and impurities on nanostructure conductivity. You will be exposed to a range of nanoscience experimental techniques, including high-vacuum equipment, sub-micron and nanofabrication techniques, as well as electrical measurement methods, programming in C++, two-dimensional Autocad, and interfacing instruments with a PC.

Project #22: Nanocrystalline Materials for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Electrolytes
Faculty Mentor: Professor Martha L. MecartneyChemical Engineering & Materials Science
Description: Nanocrystalline oxides can display anomalously enhanced ionic conductivity at very fine grain sizes. This summer research project will focus on fabricating electrolyte materials with a range of grain sizes down to the nanometer scale, assessing the microstructure using scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, and analyzing the ionic conductivity. The goal is to develop materials for solid oxide fuel cell electrolytes that are more efficient than current oxides.

Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in an Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering course. An added plus is scanning electron microscopy experience and an undergraduate course in ceramics, but these are not required as we will train you over the summer.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Materials Science Paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/sdarticle.pdf
   Materials Science Paper: http://www.ipme.ru/e-journals/RAMS/no_1604/brossmann/brossmann.pdf

Project #23: Nanoscale Electrode Development for Fundamental Studies of Mixed Ionic and Electronic Conductors as High Temperature Fuel Cell Components
Faculty Mentor: Professor Daniel MummChemical Engineering & Materials Science
Description: Fuel cell systems have enormous potential for revolutionizing power production and utilization, and promise dramatic improvements relative to existing power production systems in energy efficiency and environmental impact. Despite the macroscopic scale of these systems, the performance is dictated by processes occurring on the nanoscale. Emerging solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems incorporate a class of ceramics with mixed ionic and electronic conduction (MIEC) as electrodes, but our understanding of ionic transport in these materials is incomplete. This project is aimed at developing a platform for studying these transport mechanisms, through patterning nanoscale electrodes on MIEC surfaces. By varying distances between electrodes, and measuring the effects on conductivity, a detailed understanding of the mixed ionic and electronic conduction may emerge. You will make use of photolithography and electron-beam lithography instruments to define electrode patterns at appropriate length scales, and will subsequently use high-temperature furnace systems interfaced with electronic probes to measure conduction behavior under conditions relevant to SOFC technology. This project would be fairly unique in that it provides a bridge between nano-fabrication approaches and electrochemical power systems that operate at very high temperature (up to 1000°C).

Prerequisites: Students should have taken an introductory Materials Science course; additional instruction in electrochemistry is highly desired.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Recommended Publications: 1) H.L. Tuller (2000), "Ionic Conduction in Nanocrystalline Materials," Solid State Ionics 131, 143-157. 2) P. Heitjans and S. Indris (2003), “Diffusion and Ionic Conduction in Nanocrystalline Ceramics,” Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 15, R1257R1289. 3) P. Knauth (2002), “Defect and Transport Properties of Nanocrystalline Ceramics and Thin Films,” Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry 6, 165-171. [Erratum: Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry 6, 290.] 4) M. de Ridder, A.G.J. Vervoort, R.G. van Welzenis and H.H. Brongersma (2003), “The Limiting Factor for Oxygen Exchange at the Surface of Fuel Cell Electrolytes,” Solid State Ionics 156, 255-262.:

Project #24: Polymer Nanowire Growth Using Electrochemical Step Edge
Faculty Mentor: Professor Reginald "Reg" M. PennerChemistry
Description: Step edges present on a graphite surface will be exploited to template the growth by electrodeposition of electronically conductive polymer nanowires composed of poly(thiophene) and poly(pyrrole). These polymer nanowires are expected to possess interesting and useful properties, including an ultra-fast switching time and a redox state-dependent volume. Consequently, they have the potential to function as nano-actuators, and as gates in transistors. Because of their intrinsic porosity, polymer nanowires may also be useful for chemical sensing. Initial work will focus on understanding the relationship between the growth conditions and properties of the resulting nanowires, including their diameter, diameter uniformity, conductivity, and mechanical properties. This work will depend on the following experimental techniques: 1) electrochemistry, 2) scanning electron microscopy, and 3) basic, two-terminal electrical measurements.

Project #25: Thin Film Dielectrics by Pulsed Deposition CVD
Faculty Mentor: Professor Martha L. MecartneyChemical Engineering & Materials Science
Description: You will study CVD deposited nanoscale ZrO2 thin films for dielectric applications. You will learn principles and applications of Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), the use of microstructural analysis tools, such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), and how to conduct thin film dielectric measurements. The project's goal is to determine the effectiveness of pulsed deposition CVD for obtaining uniform thin films of ZrO2 for dielectric applications. This project is in collaboration with Professor Susan Krumdieck at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in an Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering course. An added plus is scanning electron microscopy experience and an undergraduate course in ceramics, but these are not required as we will train you over the summer.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Recommended Readings: 1. Krumdieck SP, Sbaizero O, Bullert A, and Raj R. Solid yttria-stabilized zirconia films by pulsed chemical vapor deposition from metal-organic precursors JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CERAMIC SOCIETY 85 (11): 2873-2875 NOV 2002 2. Krumdieck S, Raj R Growth rate and morphology for ceramic films by pulsed-MOCVD SURFACE & COATINGS TECHNOLOGY 141 (1): 7-14 JUN 4 2001 :

Project #26: Thin Film Synthesis of Micro-Scale Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Faculty Mentor: Professor Daniel MummChemical Engineering & Materials Science
Description: A number of technologically important systems, including electrolyzers, oxygen sensors and fuel cell based portable power devices make use of thin film multi-layers of electrode and electrolyte materials. In these systems, the resistance of the electrolyte is the primary performance-limiting issue. Fabricating systems with ultra-thin film electrolytes offers the potential for greatly enhancing conductivity by reducing ohmic loss. However, as thicknesses decreases, conduction mechanisms may change – such that there is an optimal thickness that is dependent upon the intrinsic properties of the material. This project is focused on developing thin film fuel cell structures that allow us to evaluate different materials as thin film electrolytes. You will make use of thin film deposition systems combined with advanced lithography techniques to define thin film fuel cell structures. These systems will be tested using high-temperature test stands at the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC), co-located at UCI.

Prerequisites: Students should have taken an Introductory Materials Science course; additional instruction in electrochemistry is highly desired.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Recommended Publications: 1) C.D. Baertsch, K.F. Jensen, J.L. Hertz, H.L. Tuller, S.T. Vengallatore, S.M. Spearing, and M.A. Schmidt (2004), "Fabrication and Structural Characterization of Self-Supporting Electrolyte Membranes for a Micro Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell," Journal of Materials Research 19, 2604-2615. 2) S. Kim and J. Maier (2004), "Partial Electronic and Ionic Conduction in Nanocrystalline Ceria: Role of Space Charge," Journal of the European Ceramic Society 24, 1919-1923. :

 Sensors 

Project #27: All-fiber Acousto-optic Spectrometer
Faculty Mentor: Professor Henry P. LeeElectrical Engineering & Computer Science
Description: Develop an Ultra-Compact Spectrometer for environmental and biochemical sensing through acousto-optic mode coupling in a single-mode optical fiber incorporating an acousto-optic tunable filter and a semiconductor photodetector. The student will fabricate a Si fixture using photolithographic techniques and a combination of wet and dry etching techniques. Spectrometer performance will be characterized in the Fiber-Optics and Compound Semiconductor Laboratory. You be trained in mask design, photolithography, reactive ion etching, and anisotropic chemical etching, and will be exposed to fiber processing techniques such as cleaving, splicing, and gluing, as well as fiber-optic measurement techniques.

Project #28: IrOx Derived Biosensors
Faculty Mentor: Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: Using melt-oxidized Ir wires, a series of sensors will be demonstrated: pH, CO2, and urea. The first two will be combined in one sensor for use in fermentors and intended to perform as well or better than commercial devices while being much smaller and more durable. The urea sensor will be used in dialysis to stop the treatment once all urea has been washed from a patient¹s blood. The students will be exposed to the science of miniaturization as applied to a series of simple electrochemical sensors. They will learn how to fabricate and test their own sensors.

Prerequisites: Basic engineering and science training.

Project #29: MEMS Angle Measuring Gyroscopes
Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrei M. ShkelMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: You will develop a MEMS-based rate-integrating gyroscope, a very tiny mass on a very tiny suspension system, made to oscillate. As a gyroscope-equipped object (airplane, satellite, etc.) rotates, the gyroscope’s stable oscillation line remains fixed, allowing measurement of the object’s rotation angle. MEMS-based gyros’ small size enables things not previously possible, such as totally implantable vestibular prostheses, interactive pointing devices for consumer electronics, security systems, highly interactive personal transportation systems, or smart munitions.

Prerequisites: At least junior level Electrical or Mechanical Engineering major.

Project #30: MEMS-based Totally Implantable Semicircular Canal Prosthesis
Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrei M. ShkelMechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Description: Using micro-accelerometers and micro-gyroscopes as an electrostimulatory prosthesis capable of sensing head acceleration forces for individuals who suffer from vestibular disorders. The project combines two advanced inertial MEMS technologies, micro-gyroscopes and micro-accelerometers, in a cochlear implant.

Prerequisites: At least junior-level Electrical or Mechanical Engineering major.

Project #31: Semiconducting Nanowires as Nanoelectronic Building Blocks
Faculty Mentor: Professor Jia "Grace" LuChemical Engineering & Materials Science
Description: This project studies the electrical, optical, and chemical sensing properties of individual single-crystal semiconducting nanowires, configured as field effect transistors. For example, ZnO is a II-VI compound semiconductor with a wide and direct band gap of 3.37 eV. They demonstrate (i) high sensitivity to toxic gases such as NO2, NH3, and CO, and (ii) strong polarization dependent photoconductivity. Work involves obtaining n-type and p-type nanowires with uniform electrical property, and fabricating vertically aligned field effect transistors and logic gates in order to fully utilize the scaling advantage of these nanomaterials. In addition, magnetic doping in ZnO nanowires is being explored to study low-dimension ferromagnetic ordering, with the goal to develop efficient spin injector and spin transistor. You will experience chemical vapor deposition synthesis of nanowires and nanotubes, device fabrication and characterization, transport measurements, and scanning probe techniques.

Prerequisites: Modern Physics is required. Knowledge of Solid State Physics can be learned along the way.

Project #32: Tailoring Nanocircuits for New Applications
Faculty Mentor: Professor Philip CollinsPhysics & Astronomy
Description: The Collins Research Group focuses on electronic circuits built out of novel, nanometer scale materials. At the nanometer scale, properties tend to differ significantly than those for bulk materials because of quantum effects and the confinement of conduction electrons. This permits very unusual electronic devices useful for practical applications such as sensors, or research applications in physics at the nanoscale. Many of our current projects involve chemical modification of nanowires connected into circuits. You will pursue an independent project in which you will measure circuit behavior before, during, and after exposure to reactive gases or liquids, and will be exposed to all aspects of the project, including growth and synthesis of nanowires, fabrication of chips in UCI cleanrooms, atomic force microscopy, and circuit measurement and characterization.