TheSENIC Undergraduate Internship in Nanotechnology (SUIN) program is a major component of the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC), at the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech, that focuses on providing undergraduates in engineering the chance to spend a summer conducting research in a world-class collaborative lab with prominent Georgia Tech researchers. GT-IEN hosted 4 undergraduates from various U.S. colleges over the summer that engaged in hands-on research in a number of fields of nanotechnology.
This is our third installment of interviews with the students who spent their summer conducting research at Georgia Tech. Alexa Espinoza, a student at the University of Florida during the program period, worked with mentor Aaron Jiang in the laboratory of Professor Paul Kohl (ChBE).
What sparked your interest in engineering and what problems are you hoping to help solve as an engineer?
I have been interested in engineering since the time I was attending high school. I was involved in STEM activities in middle and high school, such as the Science Olympiad, and enjoyed my math and chemistry classes and I always wanted to learn more. I gravitated to hands-on activities, rather than calculations based ones, and I like how engineering involves a lot of problem solving and forces us to make use of all of our abilities to tackle issues. I feel studying engineering will allow me to apply my problem solving skills to many real-life issues and make a difference, little by little.
What research are you conducting at GT and what applications do you feel this research may have?
The lab team I am working with is researching acid diffusion in a type of photosensitive polymer. The control of decomposition and vaporization of polymers is useful in fabrication electronics and devices where the polymer serves as a temporary spatial placeholder. This controlled process is also useful in constructing components that have a fixed lifetime and do not require recovery, or in which recovery is impossible or undesirable. The decomposition process can be can be triggered by the sun, or another light source, however this fact make working with these materials problematic as their temperature range for material stability is limited. In order to stabilize the process, the team works with a bi-layer polymer film in which the first layer is non photosensitive (polymer only) and a second layer that contains the polymer and decomposing photo-catalyst. Upon the application of exposure trigger the second layer decomposes and the photo-catalyst diffuses into the first polymer layer resulting in its vaporization as well. I am currently working on mixing the polymers and conducting the light exposure testing of the different polymer recipes for data collection and comparison.
What has been your favorite lab activity/ tool training/ etc. thus far and why?
My favorite activity has been the orientation and training I received in the inorganic cleanroom. I had never been in a cleanroom before, and it is amazing to see all of the equipment they have. Learning to use the materials and processes was both interesting and a bit scary, and an experience I will never forget.
Do you feel this REU experience has helped prepare you for working in a collaborative laboratory environment and furthered your education goals?
I do! Before this experience, I had no idea how laboratory research was conducted, or what it was like to work in a collaborative environment along with other researchers. I have always wanted to explore hands-on research, and this REU was extremely helpful for getting this kind of introduction. I don’t think I could have had a better experience than what I did at GT.
What are your plans post-undergraduate?
This experience has opened my eyes to the possibility of graduate school. Currently I am undecided about my post-undergraduate plans, but I am applying for industry internships in pharmaceutical R&D next summer. I would like to compare the two summer research experiences and move forward based on my overall impression of both.
What is your favorite thing about/impression of GA Tech and ATL?
I love how green and quite this campus is. You don’t’ feel like you are in downtown Atlanta at all, and it is that contrast that I really enjoyed. Everyone at Georgia Tech has been so nice to us, and Atlanta is such a beautiful city. It was my first time here, and it will definitely not be the last.
Finding ways to improve the drug development process – which is currently costly, time-consuming and has an astronomically high failure rate – could have far-reaching benefits for health care and the economy. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a cellular interfacing array using low-cost electronics that measures multiple cellular properties and responses in real time. This could enable many more potential drugs to be comprehensively tested for efficacy and toxic effects much faster. That’s why Hua Wang, associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, describes it as “helping us find the golden needle in the haystack.”
STEM outreach events often include a combination of presentation style and hands-on activities, and perhaps a chance to look into a working lab, if the event includes a site visit. On October the 24th, sophomore level students from the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) got the rare chance to “gown up” and enter the research cleanrooms at the Marcus Nanotechnology Building, home of the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech. This “gowns-on” approach to outreach was planned by Professors Asif Khan and Azadeh Ansari, both of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and Ms. Nicole D’Antonio, Partnership & Internship Coordinator at GSMST.
Atlanta Public Schools' Springdale Park Elementary hosted it's annual SPARK family STEAM night, and the Materials Characterization Facility at Georgia Tech provided some real clouds, in the form of a very popular liquid nitrogen exploration station. Between 300 - 400 families spent an evening engaging with 30 community partner and teacher-led activities that covered topics ranging from bees and beekeeping to LED circuits to robotics.
Dr. David Tavakoli (right) with participants from the school at the liquid nitrogen station at the SPARK STEAM event.
The IEN Organic Cleanroom houses a variety of materials characterization tools including the Malvern Zetasizer NanoZS. The Zetasizer Nano ZS is a high performance two angle particle and molecular size analyzer for the enhanced detection of aggregates and measurement of small or dilute samples, and samples at very low or high concentration using dynamic light scattering with ‘NIBS’ optics. The ZSP also incorporates a zeta potential analyzer that uses electrophoretic light scattering for particles, molecules and surfaces, and a molecular weight analyzer using static light scattering.
The Zetasizer is capable of measuring the following parameters: Particle and molecule size, translational diffusion, electrophoretic mobility, zeta potential of particles at high and low concentrations, viscosity and viscoelasticity of protein and polymer solutions, concentration, MW, A2, kD. An optional accessory enables measurement of the zeta potential of solid surfaces.
The book is aimed at students and early- to mid-career technically trained individuals who are considering or have begun leadership or managerial roles in industry or academia. The content assists engineers and scientists in transitioning from a technical mindset to a technical leader mindset. It describes and analyzes numerous situations encountered when technical and "people" problems intersect and indicates ways that such complex circumstances can be addressed. Topics include leadership fundamentals, ethics and professionalism, time management, building trust and credibility, team building and teamwork, running an effective meeting, and conflict management.
Shyh-Chiang Shen has been elected to the class of 2019 OSA Fellows. Shen is a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).
Shen is among the 98 OSA members elected to its 2019 class of Fellows.He is being recognized “for the development and advancement of compound semiconductor optoelectronic devices and integrated circuits.”
Funding NewsPhD, Postdoc, and Jr. Faculty Mentored Training Programs Info. Session: Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 @ 11AM | Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
Are you interested in making a clinical impact with your research? The Georgia Clinical & Translation Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) offers highly competitive (funded) programs of formal coursework coupled with mentored clinical research experiences for trainees at Georgia CTSA partners (Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine, and University of Georgia). These programs are designed for PhD students, postdocs, and junior faculty. The information session will outline these programs and describe the application process.
Sebastien Lounis is the co-founder of Cyclotron Road, a fellowship program that supports entrepreneurial scientists as they start down the road of translating a scientific discovery into a commercially viable technology. On this episode of the Nanovation podcast, Sebastien overviews Cyclotron Road, what drove him and his co-founder to start it, how it works, and how it fits into the broader tech-translation landscape. Critically, Cyclotron Road helps to fill the earliest innovation stage gap, sometimes called the “valley of death”, that often prevents exciting “hard tech” breakthroughs from leaving the lab. Sebastien also shares the story of one fellow’s journey to success and how you know when you’re ready to apply to the program.