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  • SRC-REU Projects for 2011

    Below is a brief description of possible research projects and mentors for the SRC-REU 2011 summer program. Applicants will be asked to rank the projects they are interested in as a summer project. Note that all projects will give participants the experience of doing scientific research.

    FTIR Microspectroscopy Studies in Cell Biology
    Mentor: Dr. Carol Hirschmugl, UW-Milwaukee - Physics

    The student will apply fourier transform infrared (micro) spectroscopy to a central problem in cell biology; the strategies adopted by cells (in this case algal cells) to allocate and partition their resource in response to changes in the environment. The student will learn how to prepare samples, measure spectra, analyze data, and learn how to search for the relevant reference material to understand where their results from the project fit with respect to other work in the field.


    Design and Fabrication of Nanoengineered Damage-Resistant Dielectric Materials
    Mentor: Dr. Leon Shohet, UW-Madison-Electrical Engineering

    The goal of this type of research is to produce damage-resistant dielectrics with minimal defect formation and with improved dielectric properties.  Key to this is the use of nanoparticles in the design and fabrication of dielectric materials with either inorganic or organic composites. The use of nanoparticles to augment the dielectric properties of materials has been an exciting new area of research.  It is anticipated that by using nanoparticles in the design of nanoengineered dielectric composites, we will be able to mitigate a serious problem for the fabrication of such dielectrics—charging and radiation damage.

    Students in this project will work at the SRC exposing dielectrics to synchrotron radiation and measuring the effects of the radiation damage with instruments on the UW-Campus.  Students will learn about the techniques involved with the modeling, prediction, and characterization of the properties of the optimized dielectrics, such as dielectric constant and interface trap states, include the effects of radiation, and compare them to those of other “conventional” dielectrics.


    Studies of the Physics of Free Electron Lasers and Superconducting Electron Guns
    Joe Bisognano, SRC Director

    Fundamental questions in particle beam and FEL physics will be explored using advanced computer simulation techniques. The student will work to understand numerically the fundamental physics. S/he will be asked to think critically about the computer results, including analytical and experimental benchmarking to ensure that what is being seen is physics and not numerical artifacts.  A special focus will be placed the beam dynamics of the superconducting RF electron gun that is currently under fabrication.

    Photoelectron Imaging of Biomineral Nanostructures using X-rays
    Narayan Appathurai, SRC Staff Scientist
    ; Rebecca Metzler, Colgate College

    Photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM) is an imaging technique that when combined with the X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES), provides an element specific spectroscopy on the micro- and nano- meter scale. Using this powerful spectromicroscopy technique, we investigate materials of different interest such as biominerals, semiconductor nanomaterials, antiwear tribology samples, etc. This opportunity offers the REU student exposure to X-ray absorption spectroscopy related materials research and  extensive hands-on experience in operating a state-of-the-art microscope, X-ray beamlines, ultra-high vacuum (UHV) systems, and particle detectors. In addition, the student will learn about the imaging and data processing techniques involved in X-PEEM experiments while examining the structure of barnacle exoskeletons, freshwater snails, and pearl oysters.