IM-SURE Research Projects

 

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2006 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 2006 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) Animal Culture in Microfluidic Devices 

    2) Cell Encapsulation for Tissue Engineering 

    3) Cell Migration in Microfluidic Devices 

    4) Development of Computer/Instrument Interface and Control Software for Endoscopic Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Using MEMS Scanner 

    5) Development of Portable Optical Coherence Tomography System for Imaging and Diagnosing Cancer 

    6) Micro- and Nano-Technologies for Implantable Devices 

    7) Micro-Platform for Single Cell Assay 

    8) Tactile Sensor for Prosthetic Hand 

Electronics

    9) A Miniature Facility for Dynamic Measurement of Gas Damping 

    10) Demonstration of Semiconducting Polymers as Microsprings  

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

    12) MEMS Micro-Mirrors: From Design to Experimental 

    13) Micro-RFID for Sensor Antenna 

    14) Molecular Electronics 

    15) Using a Microplasma for Propulsion in Microdevices 

Materials

    16) Chemical Assembly of Metal Nanoparticle Arrays on Polymers for Integration Into Polymer Biosensor Microsystems 

    17) Dielectrophoretic Separation Systems 

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

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

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

    21) Optical Properties of Nanostructures 

    22) Polymer Nanowire Growth Using Electrochemical Step Edge 

    23) Preparation and Characterization of Single Polymer Nanopores as Analogues of Biological Channels 

    24) Properties of Thin Carbon Films 

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

Sensors

    26) A Fundamental Study of Sensitivity and Stability of DNA Sequence Specific Silicon Nanowire Sensors 

    27) All-fiber Acousto-optic Spectrometer 

    28) MEMS Angle Measuring Gyroscopes 

    29) MEMS-based Totally Implantable Semicircular Canal Prosthesis 

    30) Semiconducting Nanowires as Nanoelectronic Building Blocks 

    31) Single Molecule Sensors 





 Biomedical 


 Project #1:  Animal Culture in Microfluidic Devices

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  Compared to other microfluidic technologies for moving small amounts of fluid or suspended particles from site to site, a centrifuge-based system is well suited for various crucial microfluidic functions such as flow sequencing, mixing, capillary metering, and flow switching. Those functions can be implemented through the exploitation of the centrifugal and coriolis forces in combination with the capillary force and by relying on specific microfluidic designs. A polymer based - microfluidic Compact Disc (CD) platform is a highly promising approach, not only for the integration of several microfluidic functions for diagnostic applications but also as a platform enabling the automated, multiple parallel processing needs in high-throughput screening (HTS). The goal of this project is to develop automated platforms for genetic, molecular, behavioral, pharmacological analysis of organismal stress responses and antidepressants action. It will include the evaluation of gene expression changes in Caenorhabditis elegans upon exposure to altered gravity level. The student will learn to design and fabricate microfluidic devices and culture nematode C. elegans. You will get hands-on experience in microtechnology and biology tools.

Prerequisites:  Basic Engineering and Biological Sciences training



 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:  Development of Computer/Instrument Interface and Control Software for Endoscopic Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Using MEMS Scanner

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Zhongping ChenBiomedical Engineering

Description:  This project requires students apply their C++ programming language skill to programming the control of OCT imaging system and MEMS scanning device. OCT is a non-invasive technique that images tissue structure up to a depth of 2 mm with high spatial resolution (2~10) mm. Our new Fourier domain OCT increases imaging speed by a factor of 100. Consequently, new hardware and software design is needed to handle the high speed imaging device control and data acquisition. Student applicant must have experience in C++ programming. Students will be exposed to biomedical imaging and learn the art of instrument control, data acquisition, and image processing.



 Project #5:  Development of Portable Optical Coherence Tomography System for Imaging and Diagnosing Cancer

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Zhongping ChenBiomedical Engineering

Description:  The project involves the development of a portable optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging system for imaging and diagnosing cancer. 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 #6:  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 #7:  Micro-Platform for Single Cell Assay

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Description:  Develop an advanced micro-platform for performing single cell
assay—the electronic programmable single cell lysis on micro-fluidic chip. The technology may enable the rapid lysing of single cell for subsequent content analysis, leading to potential use in investigating the signal transduction inside cells. The project’s short-term goal is to explore the use of
advanced micro-fluidic technology for constructing a micro-platform, capable of performing single cell experiments of cell sorting, cell lysis, CE separation, and to explore the use of microelectronics for fluidic flow control. You will learn skills in nano-fabrication, micro-sensor, microelectronics, computer data acquisition and control, data analysis, and micro-fluidic.



 Project #8:  Tactile Sensor for Prosthetic Hand

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Description:  The advanced prosthetic hand research project at UCI aims to develop technologies that will greatly benefit those unfortunate that have lost an upper extremity. The sensor system on the skin of the prosthetic limbs plays an important role on the prosthetic limb feeling system similar to the human somatic system. The somatic sensory of our human body includes pain, pressure, touch and temperature and these different feelings depend on sensory receptors which react to the specific type of stimuli. In current stage, we focus on mimicking the cutaneous sensory receptors such as Pacinian Corpuscles, Meissner Corpuscles and Merkel disks in order to develop a brand new microfluidic based tactile sensing device for prosthetic limb. In the project, you will assist in the development of the tactile sensor and have the experience on the device testing. It will also offer you the experience on the multilayer polymer fabrication and integration of the mechanical components with electrical circuit in device fabrication. You will be exposed to Labview programming, electrical instrumentation, and device simulation as well.

Prerequisites:  One year of physics, biology and chemistry




 Electronics 


 Project #9:  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 #10:  Demonstration of Semiconducting Polymers as Microsprings

Faculty Mentor:  Professor John LaRue & Professor Richard NelsonMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  Various forces scale differently as microsystems shrink to smaller dimensions. In particular, electrical forces in shrinking two-dimensional systems decrease more quickly than mechanical forces. This effect limits the ability to make smaller devices. This project will explore the use of conducting polymers as microsprings. Using polymers rather than the traditional inorganic materials, which have much higher Young's modulus, will compensate for the smaller electrical forces.

While not a part of this project, these semiconducting polymers are also used to build semiconductor devices and LEDs. It may be possible to use a low cost printing process for fabricating these devices in the future.

The IM-SURE Fellow will work as part of a group of graduate students and the two faculty mentors.



 Project #11:  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 #12:  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 #13:  Micro-RFID for Sensor Antenna

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Guann-Pyng "G.P." LiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Description:  Develop an advanced micro-RFID system for performing one of the
most challenging tasks in sensor network applications performing sensing and data communication functions with low or no power. The micro-RFID technology may enable the implementation of sensor network without the current limitation imposed by battery life. The project’s short-term goal is to explore the use of advanced micro-electromechanical system (MEMS)technology for constructing a sensor antenna capable of detecting the environmental conditions changes without consuming power and to explore the use of RFID technology with sensor antenna for data read out. The engineering work
represents a major challenge in MEMES technology because the
sensor platform combines micro-sensors, microwave antenna, and
micro-electronics with conventional instrumentation and software. You will learn skills in nanofabrication, microwave circuits, antenna, microelectronics, computer data acquisition and control, data analysis, and understanding of RFID technology.



 Project #14:  Molecular Electronics

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Wilson HoPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  Nanoscience is currently one of the most active fields of research. Within nanoscience, the study of the electrical conductivity of molecules has attracted a great deal of attention due not only to the possibility of a new technology but also a new way to probe molecular properties. This project is concerned with the measurement of the flow of electrons through single organometallic molecules using a low temperature scanning tunneling microscope. The student will be exposed to a range of experimental techniques and take a machine shop course. Since we design and make many of the parts for our experiments, there are opportunities to design with AutoCAD, make parts in the machine shop, build electronics on printed circuit boards, handle vacuum components, programming in C++ or C Sharp. The student will work closely with a graduate student and a postdoctoral associate in the group and experience the methodology of scientific research and data taking.

Prerequisites:  The most important criteria we seek in students are the desire to learn, be highly motivated, and to possess excellent work ethics. Secondary criteria include some experience and knowledge in programming and the completion of the junior year by the Summer 2006.



 Project #15:  Using a Microplasma for Propulsion in Microdevices

Faculty Mentor:  Professor John LaRue & Professor Richard NelsonMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  The use of a microplasma will be investigated as a method of causing propulsion of liquid and gaseous materials in microchannels. A macroscale (large millimeter scale) device will be fabricated as a prototype in order to learn about creating a plasma, the compatibility of various materials, corona creation, and the creation of unidirectional motion. Creation of motion alone is not sufficient for applications; A method for creating a force in one direction is also needed. Several techniques for creating a unidirectional force will be investigated. The effect of the frequency of the plasma generator will be investigated. A model for the macroscale device will be created and used to design the device to be scaled to smaller dimensions. If time permits, the smaller device will be fabricated using integrated circuit processing techniques.




 Materials 


 Project #16:  Chemical Assembly of Metal Nanoparticle Arrays on Polymers for Integration Into Polymer Biosensor Microsystems

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Regina RaganChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Description:  Fabrication of metal nanocrystals, chemical assembly on
polymer substrates and optical characterization

Prerequisites:  Basic physics and chemistry --Some in or out of class lab experience is preferred.



 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-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 #19:  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 #20:  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: 
   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 #21:  Optical Properties of Nanostructures

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Wilson HoPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  Lasers are one of the most important and versatile tools over the last 50 years. The invention of the scanning probes as an analytical tool and for materials characterization 25 years ago has largely been responsible for the advancement in nanoscience and nanotechnology over the last 20 years. This project seeks to combine the unique capabilities of lasers and the scanning probes (in particular the scanning tunneling microscope and the atomic force microscope) to characterize materials at the optimal spatial, temporal, and spectral resolutions. The student will have the opportunity to witness and be involved with the setting up of a comprehensive apparatus combining a new femtosecond laser system with a low temperature scanning tunneling microscope. As part of this project, the student will take a machine shop course in order to make parts in the machine shop, design using AutoCAD, and assemble an apparatus by connecting components to vacuum pumps. Opportunities exist to learn and work with femtosecond lasers, optics, and the interface to the scanning tunneling microscope. The student will work closely with a graduate student and a postdoctoral associate and experience first hand the process of experimental research.

Prerequisites:  The most important criteria we seek in students are the desire to learn, be highly motivated, and to possess excellent work ethics. Secondary criteria include some experience and knowledge in programming and the completion of the junior year by the Summer 2006.



 Project #22:  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 #23:  Preparation and Characterization of Single Polymer Nanopores as Analogues of Biological Channels

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Zuzanna S. SiwyPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  Nanopores and mass transport through nanopores have attracted a great deal of scientific interest because of the importance of nanometric channels in functioning of living organisms. The project will involve preparation of single polymeric nanopores with various geometries (e.g. conical, double-conical, cylindrical) and diameters down to 2 nm. The geometry and chemistry of the pores will be chosen so that their transport properties are similar to these of biological channels. We will focus on preparation of abiotic analogues of voltage-gated channels. The project will provide information on basic physical and chemical phenomena underlying functioning of these biological channels. The project will give a unique opportunity to learn (i) techniques for nanopore preparation, (ii) electrophysiological and electrochemical methods of characterizing transport properties of nanopores as well as (iii) basis of Biophysics. Students will work with electronic equipment suitable for measuring very small ionic currents (down to 10-12 A) with kHz time resolution.

Prerequisites:  Students should have interest in electrical circuits and basic electrochemistry; basic information will be provided if needed.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Z. Siwy, P. Apel, D. Baur, D.D. Dobrev, Y.E. Korchev, R. Neumann, R. Spohr, C. Trautmann, K.O. Voss (2003): Preparation of Synthetic Nanopores with Transport Properties Analogous to Biological Channels, Surface Science 532-535, 1061-1066. Z. Siwy, A. Fulinski (2004): A Nanodevice for Rectifying and Pumping ions, The American Journal of Physics 72, 567-574. :



 Project #24:  Properties of Thin Carbon Films

Faculty Mentor:  Professor John LaRue & Professor Richard NelsonMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  Carbon films are recently finding use as structural and electro-chemical elements in micro-devices. This project investigates the use of carbon films in nano-devices. The project content includes fabrication methods, testing, and analysis of data. Physical effects such as electron scattering length and percolation of electron conduction will be observed. The major challenge in fabrication will be making continuous films when the thickness is less than 100 Angstroms. Possible fabrication methods include evaporation from a carbon source, microplasmas, and pyrolysis of polymers.

The IM-SURE Fellow will work with a group of graduate students and the two faculty mentors.



 Project #25:  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: 
   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 #26:  A Fundamental Study of Sensitivity and Stability of DNA Sequence Specific Silicon Nanowire Sensors

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Regina RaganChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Description:  Study response of nanowire sensors as they interact with DNA. Perform analysis of molecular images of DNA on nanowire surfaces.

Prerequisites:  Basic physics and chemistry -- Some in or out of class lab experience is preferred -- Knowledge of circuits is a plus.



 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:  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 #29:  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 #30:  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 #31:  Single Molecule Sensors

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Philip CollinsPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  The Collins Research Group focuses on electronic circuits built from novel, nanometer scale materials like carbon nanotubes. In this project, students will assist in the fabrication and testing of devices used as single-molecule biosensors. By biochemically linking receptors to the wall of the nanotube conductor, we produce hybrid circuits which can electronically read out the presence of different proteins. The student
will be exposed to all aspects of the project, including growth
and synthesis of nanotubes, fabrication of devices in the UCI cleanrooms, atomic force microscopy, and circuit measurement and characterization.