IM-SURE Research Projects

 

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2007 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 2007 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)  A Centrifugal Microfluidic System for Cell Disruption Using a Pulsed Near-Infrared Laser
  
 2)  Cell Migration in Microfluidic Devices
  
 3)  Design, Characterization, and Optimization of Microfluidic CD-Based Solid Phase Extraction
  
 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-Platform for Single Cell Assay
  
 7)  Micro-Technologies for Implantable Strain Gauge Arrays
  
 8)  Microbubble Generation for Medical Applications
  
 9)  Microfluidic Approach to Liposome Generation
  
 10)  Microfluidic Device for Serodiagnostic Antigen Discovery
  
Electronics
  
 11)  A Miniature Facility for Dynamic Measurement of Gas Damping
  
 12)  Carbon Nanotube Electronics
  
 13)  Demonstration of Semiconducting Polymers as Microsprings
  
 14)  Fabrication of Electrodes with Nano-Size Gap Using Electroless Nickel Plating
  
 15)  MEMS Micro-Mirrors: From Design to Experimental
  
 16)  Micro-RFID for Sensor Antenna
  
 17)  Molecular Electronics
  
 18)  Using a Microplasma for Propulsion in Microdevices
  
Materials
  
 19)  Anodic Bonding
  
 20)  Assembling Nanoparticles Into a Biological Sensing Platform
  
 21)  Nanofabrication of Ionic Diodes and Transistors
  
 22)  Nanoscale Electrode Development for Fundamental Studies of Mixed Ionic and Electronic Conductors as High Temperature Fuel Cell Components
  
 23)  Optical Properties of Nanostructures
  
 24)  Polymer Nanowire Growth Using Electrochemical Step Edge
  
 25)  Properties of Thin Carbon Films
  
 26)  Temperature-Varying Hall Effect Measurement
  
 27)  Thin Film Synthesis of Micro-Scale Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
  
Sensors
  
 28)  CMOS IC for Neural Interface
  
 29)  Electronic Design for All-fiber Acousto-optic Spectrometer
  
 30)  MEMS Angle Measuring Gyroscopes
  
 31)  MEMS-based Totally Implantable Semicircular Canal Prosthesis
  
 32)  Preparation of Nanopores for Application as Biomimetic Channels and Biosensors
  
 33)  Single Molecule Biosensors
  




 Biomedical 


 Project #1:  A Centrifugal Microfluidic System for Cell Disruption Using a Pulsed Near-Infrared Laser

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  The first step in any study involving genetic analysis is the extraction of the genetic material (DNA or RNA) from living cells. There are many techniques for the disruption (breaking apart) of cells in use today that are based on chemical, enzymatic, mechanical, and physical-chemical principles. The most commonly used methods in biotechnology laboratories rely on chemical and enzymatic principles. The main disadvantages of those procedures include labor intensiveness and the need for additional purification steps. In order to simplify the process of sample preparation, a robust, non-damaging and rapid cell disruption method would be very useful. In this study, the use of pulsed near-infrared (1000 to 1500nm) lasers will be explored for use in combination with a centrifugal microfluidic system for the automated, high throughput disruption of cells. The yield and quality of the released DNA compared to those yielded by reference methods will be used to gauge the relative effectiveness of the system.

The compact disk (CD) as a microfluidic platform offers unique advantages over manual sample preparation systems. They include automated operation and highly parallel processing making it optimal for reducing costs and increasing the precision of the results. Sample preparation systems – from cell disruption to purification for further downstream analyses– have been accomplished on CD-based devices.

The goal of this project is the development of a novel, simple and efficient high throughput, microfluidic cell disruption device utilizing near-IR pulsed laser technology. The student will learn how to design and fabricate microfluidic devices, grow yeast and E. coli cultures, and gain hands-on experience with laser optics.

Prerequisites:  Basic engineering and science training.



 Project #2:  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.The student 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 #3:  Design, Characterization, and Optimization of Microfluidic CD-Based Solid Phase Extraction

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  The capture of target DNA is essential to a large diversity of assay processes in biomedical engineering and there exist an assortment of capture techniques available. We would like to test a range of solutions to the problem including the use of:

* glass, silica and other types of functionalized beads,
* permeable membranes, and
* in-situ polymerization of porous hydrogels

as sample DNA capture mechanisms for further characterization experiments on our CD platform.

The compact disk (CD) as a microfluidic platform offers unique advantages over manual sample preparation systems. They include automated operation and highly parallel processing making it optimal for reducing costs and labor. Sample preparation systems – from cell disruption to purification for further downstream analyses– have been accomplished on CD-based devices.

The student will be fully integrated in the planning, fabrication and development and testing of the CD experiments using a variety of mechanisms for DNA capture in microfluidic systems.

Prerequisites:  Basic engineering and science training.



 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-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 a 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-fluidics.



 Project #7:  Micro-Technologies for Implantable Strain Gauge Arrays

Faculty Mentor:  Professor William C. TangBiomedical Engineering

Description:  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more visits to physicians' offices in the year 2000 were made for musculoskeletal conditions than for any other reason. Musculoskeletal conditions include injuries to the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments or tendons and conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis. The long-range goal of this project is to develop a micro implantable strain gauge array for studying strains on both hard and soft tissues. Future impacts include real-time health monitoring of load-bearing tissues including bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments for in-depth quantitative studies of biomechanics with micron-scale resolutions.

Students will be introduced to micro-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, 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:  Microbubble Generation for Medical Applications

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Description:  In techniques such as echocardiography, which is ultrasound of the heart, microbubble contrast agents are injected into the bloodstream to better visualize perfusion and organ function. Current methods of preparing these microbubbles have several limitations. Using microfluidic chip technologies, the microbubble size and composition can be easily tailored to produce optimally sized and stable contrast agents. This project will explore the use of these microbubbles for medical applications, offering hands-on experience in CAD, fabrication, and testing of various microfluidic chip platforms. It will also provide experience in lipid preparation and basic cell culture techniques.

Prerequisites:  One year of physics, biology, and chemistry.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Research Paper: JR Lindner, Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2004 Jun; 3(6):527-32



 Project #9:  Microfluidic Approach to Liposome Generation

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Description:  Liposomes are spherical capsules with a lipid bilayer membrane that enclose an aqueous volume. These nanometer to micron sized particles have been widely studied for applications from drug delivery to cell mimetics. Current liposome manufacturing techniques rely on methods such as sonication, filter extrusion, and reverse-phase extraction which result in polydisperse multi- and unilamellar preparations. This project has two focus areas:

1. The development of a microfluidic platform for producing uniform surface-modified liposomes.

2. The development and use of methods for bilayer membrane verification.

In this project, the IM-SUR Fellow will gain experience in designing and fabricating PDMS-based microfluidic devices, working with CAD programs such as Cobalt, and using fluorescence microscopy.

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



 Project #10:  Microfluidic Device for Serodiagnostic Antigen Discovery

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Description:  The serodiagnositc antigen discovery project at UCI aims to develop technologies that will enable rapid detection of diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and small pox. The project is currently being undertaken through collaboration with Dr. Phil Felgner in the Center for Virus Research. Using the proteomes of each microorganism provide through Dr. Felgner's lab, a flow-induced electrical admittance and optical detection platform are being developed. The flow induced electrical admittance sensor detects the admittance change in the double layer region as antigen/antibody binding occurs. The optical based platform uses novel colorimetric techniques to develop a detection system that is visible to the human eye. In the project, you will assist in the development of the serodiagnostic antigen discovery technologies and will have hands-on experience in device design, fabrication, and testing. You will also be exposed to LabView programming, electrical instrumentation, device simulation, and CAD tools.

Prerequisites:  One year of physics and chemistry.




 Electronics 


 Project #11:  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 #12:  Carbon Nanotube Electronics

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Philip CollinsPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  The Collins Research Group focuses on electronic circuits built from novel, nanometer-scale materials like carbon nanotubes. We currently investigate the electronic effects of slight chemical modifications to the nanotubes. In this project, a student researcher will work independently to help develop, build, and test equipment for nanocircuit measurements. A component of the project includes computer automation, so programming experience with LabVIEW is a plus. This project overlaps strongly with electrical engineering and may be particularly useful for future graduate study in either physics or engineering. Recent publications related to our work are noted on our group website at www.physics.uci.edu/~collinsp/.



 Project #13:  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 #14:  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 #15:  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 #16:  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 #17:  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 project makes use of a low temperature scanning tunneling microscope (STM). 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 2007.



 Project #18:  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 has been fabricated as a prototype in order to learn about creating a micorplasma, the compatibility of various materials, corona creation, and the creation of unidirectional motion. It has been demonstrated that fluid motion can be induced and that the microplasma can be used to control the flow. The focus of the project this summer is to demonstrate the use of a microplasma for flow control in a MEMS device. Thus, the specific tasks will be to fabricate a set of sub-millimeter size branching channels with micro-electrodes and using a laser velocimeter system determine the flow velocity as a function of position both in directions normal to and downstream of the electrodes. The effect of the frequency of the plasma generator on the flow will be investigated.




 Materials 


 Project #19:  Anodic Bonding

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

Description:  MEMS devices as well as larger scale devices involve bonding of glass to another material to provide a hermetic seal. One might first consider using an epoxy or other bonding agent. However, due to the corrosive nature of some of the environments or the small size of the space being sealed, epoxy will not work. One method which does not use a sealant is called anodic bonding. In this technique a high voltage is applied across the two material to be bonded. This high voltage field induces a diffusion of ions which can cause bonding to take place. The diffusion rate of the ions is quite slow at room temeperature so this process is carried out at an elevated temperature. An anodic bonder has been fabricated and tested. The next step in the development is to demonstrate the applicability of anodic bonding to various materials of engineering interest and determine the bond strength.

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



 Project #20:  Assembling Nanoparticles Into a Biological Sensing Platform

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Regina RaganChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Description:  A student will learn to make nanoparticles in solution and assembly them into a hexagonal nanopattern. The student will also learn to use scanning probe microscopy techniques to measure the nanostructures formed.

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



 Project #21:  Nanofabrication of Ionic Diodes and Transistors

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Zuzanna S. SiwyPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  There has been an enormous interest in building devices for controlling flow of ions in water solutions. In contrast to many available devices for electron current, possibilities to control of ionic currents are very limited. There is a big need and still very little understanding in building electrolyte circuits rather than electron circuits. The project will focus on building of ionic nanodiodes and nanotransistors. A transistor revolutionized electronic industry, the way we store and process information. Building an ionic transistor has a potential to revolutionize chemical circuits, sensing devices and building logic systems with the same degree of precision as it is done with electrons. Design of these devices will be based on single nanopores in polymer films with controlled diameter, shape and surface charge. The project will give a unique opportunity to learn (i) techniques for nanopore preparation, (ii) modification of surface chemistry, and (iii) characterizing transport properties of single nanopores by means of current-voltage curves and signals of ion current in time.

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

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. http://www.physics.uci.edu/~zsiwy/
2. I. Vlassiouk, Z. Siwy. Nanofluidic diode, Nano Letters - in press.
3. Z. Siwy. Ion Current Rectification in Nanopores and Nanotubes with Broken Symmetry – Revisited, Advanced Functional Materials, 16, 735-746 (2006).:



 Project #22:  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 #23:  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 explosive advancement in nanoscience and nanotechnology over the last 20 years. This project seeks to combine the unique capabilities of lasers and a low temperature scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to characterize materials at the optimal spatial, temporal, and spectral resolutions. The student will have the opportunity to be involved with a newly set up and comprehensive apparatus combining a new femtosecond laser system with a low temperature STM. 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 and test out the parts. Opportunities exist to learn and work with femtosecond lasers, optics, and the interface to the scanning tunneling microscope. The project will investigate the unique and unusual optical properties associated with nanostructures such as metallic nanoparticles and nanorods, as well as probing the optical properties and phenomena that are related to solar cells and futuristic light induced devices. 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 2007.



 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:  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. Of specific interest are the electrical and mechanical properties of the carbon. A test fixture has been developed to determine the resistance as a function of temperature. More fundamentally, physical effects such as electron scattering length and percolation of electron conduction will be considered. 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, a research engineer and the two faculty mentors.



 Project #26:  Temperature-Varying Hall Effect Measurement

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Henry P. LeeElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Description:  The project is to build a temperature varying Hall Effect measurement setup for temperature between 77K to 300K and to use this to assess the electrical properties of novel InAsP heteroepitaxial films grown by MOVPE. The information obtained here will enable us to assess the energy level of defects contained in these films. The student will be involved with design, testing of a temperature varying sample holder based on liquid nitrogen cooling. The student will also set up an automated Hall effect programmable electrical measurement controlled by Labview program. The student will also prepare simple Hall sample using chemical etching and e-beam evaporation.



 Project #27:  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 #28:  CMOS IC for Neural Interface

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

Description:  A CMOS IC is being designed to interface with neurons. Specifically, the device will time sample the action potential
for subsequent analysis. A prior system was constructed using several ICs. This version will integrate the prior system into one IC and add additional functionality. The functions include: an array of planar microelectrodes, electrophysiology sensors, filters, data buffers, variable gain amplifiers, and control circuits.

The tasks undertaken by the candidate will depend upon his/her prior course work and experience. The contributions could include: (1) circuit simulation, (2) VHDL design, (3)Developing a test bench using Matlab/Simulink and microcontrollers, or (4) circuit layout using an EDA tool.

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



 Project #29:  Electronic Design for All-fiber Acousto-optic Spectrometer

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Henry P. LeeElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Description:  We are currently developing 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 setup is currently driven by general-purpose signal generator and power amplifier. The student will design and test efficient signal generator and power amplifier from discrete and integrated electronic component. The signal generator/power amplifier will be assembled on a PCB board to drive the piezoelectric transducer that launches the acoustic wave onto the filer. The student will also be exposed to fiber processing techniques such as cleaving, splicing, and gluing, as well as fiber-optic measurement techniques.



 Project #30:  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 #31:  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 #32:  Preparation of Nanopores for Application as Biomimetic Channels and Biosensors

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. Nanopores also play a very important role in biotechnology and nanotechnology, being the basis for single molecule biosensors. The project will involve preparation of single polymeric nanopores of various geometries (e.g. conical, double-conical, cylindrical) and diameters down to 2 nm, with application as biomimetic pores and sensors. The project will give a unique opportunity to learn (i) techniques for nanopores preparation, (ii) electrophysiological and electrochemical methods of characterizing transport properties of nanopores (iii) basis of Biophysics, and (iv) nanofabrication of biosensors. Students will work with electronic equipment suitable for measuring very small ionic currents (down to 10-12 pico A) with kHz time resolution.

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

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. http://www.physics.uci.edu/~zsiwy/
2. Z. Siwy, P. Apel, D. Baur, D.D. Dobrev, Y.E. Korchev, R. Neumann, R. Spohr, C. Trautmann, K.O. Voss, Preparation of Synthetic Nanopores with Transport Properties Analogous to Biological Channels, Surface Science 532-535, 1061-1066 (2003).
3. Z. Siwy. Ion Current Rectification in Nanopores and Nanotubes with Broken Symmetry – Revisited, Advanced Functional Materials, 16, 735-746 (2006).
4. Z. Siwy, A. Fulinski. A Nanodevice for Rectifying and Pumping ions, The American Journal of Physics 72, 567-574 (2004).:



 Project #33:  Single Molecule Biosensors

Faculty Mentor:  Professor Philip CollinsPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  The Collins Research Group focuses on electronic circuits built from novel, nanometer-scale materials like carbon nanotubes. We currently investigate the electronic effects of slight chemical modifications to the nanotubes. In this project, a student researcher will join a team which is attaching single protein molecules to carbon nanotube transistors. The resulting hybrid circuits are exquisitely sensitive to the protein’s dynamics and allow us to do biosensing with single molecule precision. The student will learn various techniques including atomic force microscopy and circuit measurement and characterization. This project overlaps strongly with biophysics and biochemistry, and may be particularly useful for future graduate study in these areas. Recent publications related to this project are noted on our group website at www.physics.uci.edu/~collinsp/.