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The Nanoscope: Big News in Small Science
IEN News
Harsh Environments and Exposure: For Research
and REU Student   

The SENIC 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 10 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 fifth installment of interviews with the students who spent their summer conducting research at Georgia Tech. Shelly Phillips, majoring in Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University during the program period, worked with mentor Katie Young in the laboratory of Professor Eric Vogel (MSE).
What sparked your interest in engineering and what problems are you hoping to help solve as an engineer?
Although my father is a pilot, and studied aerospace engineering, I did not consider engineering until the summer before my senior year of high school. I was decent in math and physics classes and absolutely loved chemistry, so the more I looked into different STEM majors, the more appealing engineering became. I’m really passionate about improving the health of the planet, and I am hoping to be able to work on improving energy production and battery storage technology, or even designing materials to be more reusable and recyclable. This research is integral to the broad collective effort necessary for the future of environmentally sustainable design.

What research are you conducting at GT and what applications do you feel this research may have?
I’m studying the use of 2D materials as corrosive barriers. More specifically, my project is focused on how graphene quality affects its ability to protect copper against corrosion by inducing defects in large grain, non-defective graphene.  This research has the potential to better protect microelectronic devices from corrosion that can lead to damage or failure of the device. With thinner corrosion barriers, electronics for use in hostile environments (exposure to radiation, extreme temperatures, weathering, etc.) can be scaled down in footprint whilst still being protected.

What has been your favorite lab activity/ tool training/ etc. thus far and why?
I have really enjoyed using the scanning electron microscopes in the Materials Characterization Facility. This tool essentially allows me to take pictures of my samples under extremely high magnification. The resolution is amazing.

Do you feel this REU experience has helped prepare you for working in a collaborative laboratory environment and furthered your education goals?
Without a doubt.  Through this REU I was lucky enough to be placed in an amazing lab group and work under an excellent mentor, Katie Young.  I am getting exposure to more technology, techniques, and ideas that I could have ever anticipated. One of the most beneficial things was having access to so many individuals that are pursuing different careers in in materials science and engineering and getting input advice on my own educational path.

What are your plans post-undergraduate?
As of now, my only definitive plan is to obtain my undergraduate degree in materials science and engineering. Whether I pursue a master’s or doctorate, and if I will enter industry or remain in academia will be decided once I get through more of my undergraduate classes and gain more experience. Long term, I do like the idea of a career in R&D research at NASA or JPL.

What is your favorite thing about/impression of GA Tech and ATL?
I love how many trees the campus has! I was really nervous about spending the summer in a big city because I am used to spending the summer hiking and working in a farm environment, but all of the greenspace has helped me miss home little less. It was also fantastic to be around so many people following the same career path as myself, and get exposed to different possibilities within my field.

The SENIC REU program is funded by NSF award EEC-1757579.
Shape-Shifting Origami Could Help Antenna Systems Adapt On The Fly

Researchers in the lab of  Manos Tentzeris, Ken Byers Professor in Flexible Electronics in the  School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology have devised a method for using an origami-based structure to create radio frequency filters that have adjustable dimensions, enabling the devices to change which signals they block throughout a large range of frequencies.

The researchers used a special printer that scored paper to allow a sheet to be folded in the origami pattern. An inkjet-type printer was then used to apply lines of silver ink across those perforations, forming the dipole elements that gave the object its radio frequency filtering ability.

Read the full story here.

SENIC Outreach: Bringing the Nanoscale World to Smyrna GA
Middle School Students

The SENIC team visited Griffin Middle School in Smyrna, GA in December, for a full day of nanotechnology activities.  They instructed 125 students about the nanoscale, the unique properties at that size, and engaged them in several hands on activities.  IEN Techinal Staff Member Todd Walters ran their portable Scanning Electron Microscope which was especially interesting to the students. 


Cleanroom Corner

Femtosecond IR Laser Micromachining System Installation Brings IR Laser Micromachining Capabilities to Georgia Tech’s Cleanroom Tool-Set

In November of 2018, IEN’s Laser Micro Machining Center (LMMC) took delivery of Optec’s WS-FLEX-USP femtosecond, direct-write laser system configured to support the Institute’s diverse research interests as applied to texturing and surface modification of metals, ceramics, composites, polymers and glasses in the fields of biocompatible materials, microfluidics, flexible electronics, MEMS/NEMS microsystems, photovoltaics and energy storage. The Optec system resides in one of the Pettit shared laboratories open to Georgia Tech academic users, small and large companies, and external academic and government research institutions. IEN’s shared laboratories are part of the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), a network of 16 academic nanofabrication and -characterization sites and their partners in the U.S., formed to advance research in nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

The WS-FLEX IR  femtosecond laser with sub-500 fs pulse length IR femtosecond laser will be equipped with 300 x 300 mm XY stages, a 2-D scan head, including synchronized infinite-field-of-view motion control, plus a fixed-beam cutting head with coaxial gas shielding for maximum versatility and a high definition, zoom inspection microscope under the control of the onboard ProcessPower and OptecCAD laser micro-machining software. 

The addition of femtosecond capability compliments IEN’s selection of laser processing equipment , covering deep UV through far IR wavelengths, including an Optec excimer-based MicroMaster mask-projection system, and now ultrashort pulse output through continuous wave (CW) output.

For more information contact Richard Shafer at:

Optec Laser System - A Made-to-Measure System per GT
Specifications Overview
  • Ultra-fast femtosecond laser @ 1028 nm
  • High speed scan head for rapid processing with Infinite Field Of View (IFOV)
  • 6 µm spot fixed-beam processing head with coax gas shielding & fume extraction
  • Sub-micron resolution, precision XYZ stages
  • Feed-thru rotary stage for tube / catheter machining
  • High resolution, color, zoom video microscope
  • Ultra-flat, ceramic vacuum chuck
MCF Update: December Image Contest Winner

EDS map of hydrated pure alkali activated fly ash system (geopolymer) - showing both unreacted fly ash particles and reaction products with each color representing different composition. Collected on the Hitachi 8230 by Prasanth Alapati.

The January Image Contest is live and you can
submit your images here!


Did you know that the MCF hosts a running image contest that resets each month?  In addition to displaying some of the imaging and analysis capabilities of our labs, it gives our users a chance to display their creative side.

Each of up to 4 monthly winners receives 5 free hours of usage on any MCF tool(s) that they are authorized to use.  Twice a year, the best submission of the previous 6 months receives $100 and two runners up receive $50 each.

If you have questions about the submission guidelines for the contest, those can be found on our website here.

And if you would like to see our previous winners, those images can be found here.


Ferroelectrics to enable unsupervised learning for
machine learning/AI applications 

Prof. Khan’s (GT-ECE) group presented the first experimental demonstration of an artificial neuron based on ferroelectrics at the IEDM, Dec ’18. In neurobiology, neuronal inhibition is as critical as excitation—without healthy inhibition, the neuronal circuits lose self-regulation and proper brain activities. The key feature of the ferroelectric neuron we report is that it handles both neuronal inhibition and excitation in an integrated fashion.

Read more here.
Analog Synaptic Cell Based on Ferroelectric FET for DNNs

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are used in machine learning for tasks such as image and speech recognition. A team of university researchers from Georgia Tech, Arizona State University and University Notre Dame participating in the SRC/DARPA-sponsored ASCENT program developed an in-memory computing architecture in which computing is done at the location of the data storage to accelerate training. This approach also trades unnecessarily high levels of parameter precision during inference for greater speed and energy efficiency.

Read more here.
Nanotechnology Events

Full Abstract and Bio Available Here

Tuesday February 12, 2019 | 12PM - Nano@Tech: Toward Systems Biophotonics: Imaging Biology across High Spatio-Temporal Dimensions and Scales

Tuesday February 26, 2019 | 12PM - Nano@Tech: Celebrating Silicon’s Success, its Hidden History, and its Next Act

Tuesday March 12, 2019 | 12PM - Nano@Tech: Bernard Kippelen

Nanovation Podcast with Professor Michael Filler

Special Edition: North Avenue Lounge -
Nanovation in Practice

On this special episode of Nanovation, Mike and Andrew are interviewed on WREK’s North Avenue Lounge. They spoke with host Charlie Bennett about the origin of Nanovation, why they started it, why they keep working on it, where they hope to go, and more. Nanovation will be back with a regular episode in a few weeks.

(Recorded at WREK in Atlanta, GA on December 17, 2018. Hosted by Charlie Bennett. Podcast version edited by Andrew Cannon)  
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All rights reserved.

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