Research Experience for Teachers
Each summer, two or more high school or middle school teachers are invited to participate in a MRSEC program “Research Experience for Teachers” (RET). Teachers work on a research program during the summer, gaining first-hand experience with cutting–edge research and modern technologies. A summer stipend is provided. The relationships between the teachers and the researchers expand to include the teacher’s students during the following school year. MRSEC members visit the high or middle school at monthly intervals, bringing hands–on science activities and showing examples of how materials research affects their lives.
In the summer of 2012, the following teachers joined the MRSEC team:
"Research has hit home this year. In the past I have credited the MRSEC and the knowledge I have gained and shared with bringing many of my students at Raymond Central to post secondary programs in science. This year I have evidence closer to home. My Son, a High School Senior, is planning to major in Engineering and chose to spend a day in the research labs with me this summer. As much as I enjoy the chance to do research, it is most rewarding to know it really has an impact with my students."
"This summer I continued the research project with Professor Ducharmes' group that involves creating polymer coated Barium Titanate nanoparticles. We have expanded this project to include different Carbon length chains of Phosphonic Acids and other Oligomers as the coating for the Barium Titanate. It is hoped that this process of treating the Barium Titanate will lead to higher Permittivity and Dielectric Strength.
Besides this, I continue to assistance in the educational outreach of Nanotechnology and MRSEC research to Nebraska Science Teachers. Examples this summer were a teacher workshop in cooperation with NCMN and also a Nanotechnology camp through Bright Lights for middle school students."
"This summer I had the opportunity of working with Dr. Jinsong Huang in his organic electronics lab. During my time there I had the privilege of assisting Yunzhang Lu with his research on graphene and Bin Yang with his research on organic photovoltaic devices (OPVs). With Yunzhang's project, we worked together to create a method to make larger area graphene. With Bin's, we worked to discern the difference between OPVs based on p-n junctions or Schottky junctions. I had the honor of working with many post doctorate, graduate, and undergraduate students from around the world and learned a great deal about the process of research in a collegiate setting. The two key things I learned in this summer are the diligence and thoughtfulness needed for quality research and the constant collaboration necessary for a lab team to work together in a productive manner. I am eager to take the lessons I learned this summer and apply them at Lincoln High next fall!"
"This summer I focused on applying the knowledge I have gained from thin film dielectric research to modify and creating inquiry based curriculum for high school physics courses dealing with electricity. Some of the created labs are used for future teacher workshops, student summer camp workshops, and general use by other high school science teachers. Topics include building simple circuits, exploring LEDs, and capacitors.
"During the summer of 2012 I have continued investigating the physical properties of engineered magneto-electric thin films. The films are composed of a layer made from a ferroelectric material, barium titanate - BTO (BaTiO3), deposited on LSMO (Lanthanum Strontium Manganese Oxide LaxSr1-xMnO3).
In my experimental research I have been focusing on developing a technique for the measurement of tunneling and ballistic currents in the above-mentioned films using the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) in Professor Sokolovâs lab. The technique has been tested and proven to work on samples of Silicon made with deposition of SiO2. The samples were also lithographically processed for creating a very small area of Silicon that has been tested in the STM for the presence of tunneling and ballistic currents.
I have also been developing educational presentations, demonstrating the differences between the classical and quantum approach in physics, using the results from the scanning tunneling microscopy and from my previous research in the area of mechanically controlled break junction."
"This summer I was involved in a research project with Dr. Adenwalla's group that employs an effect called, Tunneling electroresistance (TER). This effect involves the change in the electrical resistance of a ferroelectric tunnel junction (FTJ) associated with polarization reversal in the ferroelectric (polymer) barrier layer. To study this effect I assisted in preparing samples with four layers. Using a glass slide substrate, a thin layer of Platinum (approximately 50 nm) is deposited on the glass, and a Cobalt layer (approx 1.3 nm) on top of the Platinum using a sputtering chamber. The third layer is PVDF (poly-vinylidene fluoride) using a LB (Langmuir/Blodgett) deposition method and finally evaporating another metal (Aluminum) on top of the PVDF. I was able to check the magnetic domain direction of the Cobalt layer by utilizing a method known as MOKE (The Magneto-Optic Kerr Effect). MOKE uses reflected polarized light from a sample subjected to a magnetic field allowing us to determine direction changes in the magnetic domains. Also, I helped with a newer, more quantitative method of polymer deposition, by assembling an evaporator that will attach to our existing sputtering chamber. With this addition, we would eventually have the capability to deposit all four layers in situ."