Summer Research Experience for Teachers

In the summer of 2005, the following teachers joined the MRSEC team:
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Michael Liebl, Elkhorn Mount Michael High School
worked with Stephen Ducharme, Physics.

“The project is a study of the pyroelectric response (charge generated on heating or cooling) of two dimensional ferroelectric polymers. Certian polymers (long chains of molecules with a carbon backbone) like polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and its copolymers like trifluoroethylene and tetrafluoroethylene exhibit the property of having strong, inherent electric dipole moments. Negative fluorines reside on one side of the carbon chain, with positive hydrogens on the other. The strong dipole moment means the chains can be manipulated by electric fields, making them suitable for possible applications such as nonvolatile random access data storage. Thin films of the polymer are sandwiched between aluminum electrodes vapor deposited on a glass substrate. A laser beam is focused onto the film producing localized heating. The heating and cooling cycles generate charge which can be measured, indicating the orientation of the polymer chains.”

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Steven Wignall, Seward High School
worked with Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, Physics.

“Our project is the preparation of iron nanoparticles through the process of sputtering an iron target in the presence of Argon gas in an air tight chamber. The particles are collected on a rotating drum that is coated with an oil and surfactant mixture. Our main emphasis this summer has been the trial of different surfactants that will form a protective coating around the iron nanoparticles and keep them from oxidizing when exposed to the air. These iron particles could eventually be used for many applications in science, such as magnetic imaging, sorting, targeting, and hyperthermia.”

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Pamela Rasmussen, Raymond Central High School
worked with Jeff Shield, Mechanical Engineering.

“This summer I have fabricated a sputtering target and will analyze the Iron alloy that results. I will also analyze the effects of various annealing conditions on MnAu thin films.”