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CCI Technical Projects

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING INTERN: Terry Herrman
Intern candidate would assist with the design, fabrication, testing, and assembly of research equipment and systems for scientific staff at the Ames Laboratory. Duties might also include incorporating as-built changes into original shop drawings and archiving drawings into database. Individual will learn to work with computer aided design software and participate in the conceptual design phase of project development and provide feedback on system design.

MACHINIST/WELDER INTERN:  Terry Herrman
Intern candidate would learn current machining (lathe and mill) technique from a Senior Engineering Research & Development (ERD) Machinist. Individual would work in a machine shop environment and assist with machining projects in order to fabricate parts for scientific staff at the Ames Laboratory. Individual would also learn welding techniques from a certified welder with almost 50 years of experience.

METALLURGICAL ENGINEERING-MATERIALS SYNTHESIS INTERN:  Larry Jones
Intern candidate would assist senior research technicians with the assembly and operation of equipment for the melting and casting of metal alloys. Under general supervision individual will learn to work with vacuum systems; arc, induction and plasma melting furnaces. Work involves the operation and maintenance of specialized scientific research equipment.

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION ANALYSIS INTERN:  Wenyu Huang
The student in this CCI internship will majorly focus on identifying the composition of chemicals from catalytic reactions. The student will be highly involved with analytical instrumentations, such as gas chromatograph, liquid chromatograph, mass spectrometer, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The student will also learn how to identify the chemical formula and structure from the spectra using standards and structure database.

MATERIALS STRUCTURE CHARACTERIZATION INTERN:  Wenyu Huang
The student in this CCI internship will focus on identifying the elemental composition and structure of nanomaterials synthesized for catalytic reactions. The student will be highly involved with instrumentations for composition and structure analysis, such as Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The student will also learn how to identify the structure of the nanomaterial from the spectra using standards and structure database.

MICROFIBER FABRICATION PROCESSING:  Nastaran Hashemi
Engineering 3D biomimetic scaffolds that incorporate both biochemical and mechanical properties required for cell culturing is critical for many biotechnology applications. Hydrogel-based scaffolds are widely used due to their biocompatibility, tunable biochemical properties, and tissue-like water content. In contrast to hydrogels, microfibers have high mechanical strength and are used as the building blocks to create highly porous scaffolds. We are interested in exploring different fabrication processes for the development of the microfibers and will study the effect of fabrication parameters such as ejection rate, temperature, and time of pre-fixation on microfiber properties. The resulting scaffold morphology will be characterized using scanning electron microscopy and compression test.

MASS SPECTROMETRIC IMAGING OF PLANT METABOLITES:  Young-Jin Lee
The multicellular nature of higher plants presents many challenges to deciphering how biological processes are distributed among different organs and tissues.  Mass spectrometry imaging technology is a rapidly growing research filed with a promise to provide high-spatial resolution information about their localization information and how these multicellular species interact each other to achieve complex molecular functions.

We are developing and applying mass spectrometry imaging technique to understand plant metabolic biology down to cellular and eventually subcellular level high-spatial resolution. SULI students will work with a graduate student to learn about topnotch mass spectrometry technology and how it could be used to understand plant metabolic biology in fine resolution.

Research area:  Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation

MASS SPECTROMETRIC BIO-RENEWABLE FUELS:  Young-Jin Lee
In the Lee group, i) SULI students will learn topnotch mass spectrometry technology, chemical processes involved in the production of bio-oils, and how analytical chemistry can help in developing sustainable technology. ii) They will study the effects of processing conditions or biomass impurities on the pyrolysis kinetics.  For example, alkaline and alkaline earth metals (e.g. potassium and magnesium) are present in biomass and known to greatly affect the yields of final end products. Currently, there is no molecular understanding on its catalytic mechanism.  Time dependent evolution on their product distributions will lead to molecular understanding in chemical kinetics and designing better reactors and processes.

Fast pyrolysis of biomass is a promising technology for producing renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. Current efforts in designing better reactors and processes are hampered by insufficient fundamental knowledge about the molecular mechanisms. The Lee group is developing analytical technology to understand biomass pyrolysis and the complexity in bio-oils. The group has successfully adapted high-resolution mass spectrometry to characterize non-volatile lignin oligomers1, over 800 carbohydrate and lignin pyrolysis products2, extractable sorbents on biochar3, and nitrogen species in swtichgrass bio-oils4. Recently, the group developed a novel technology that can monitor pyrolysis products in real time. This instrumentation allows us to analyze hundreds of pyrolysis compounds in sub-second temporal resolution, and provides insights on chemical kinetics involved in biomass pyrolysis.

Research area:  Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation

MICROSTRUCTURE CRYSTAL ORIENTATION BASIS FOR MECHANICAL PROPERTIES:  Barbara Lograsso
The goal of this project is to examine the impact of crystal orientations populations in metals on the stochastic fracture process. The crystal orientation distributions provide a spatial basis for understanding mechanics material damage modeling.  The project will work with characterizing microstructures and determine a class of distributions using metallographic examination and crystallographic data.   The project will involve sample preparation, measurements and examination of stochastic processes in microstructure.

NEUROGENERATIVE AND NEUROREPAIR STRATEGIES:  Donald Sakaguchi
This highly interdisciplinary project seeks to develop approaches to facilitate repair and regeneration of the damaged nervous system. We will use a combination of biomaterials in the form of polymer conduits and/or scaffolds, adult stem cells seeded on the biomaterials, and use of physical, chemical, biological and/or electrical cues to orient cell growth, control stem cell differentiation and facilitate neuroregeneration using in vitro models. Interns will have the opportunity to observe and learn the following techniques: general laboratory procedures, data collection and analysis, mammalian cell culture, immunocytochemical procedures, fluorescence microscopy, image analysis, and tissue engineering strategies.

ELECTRONIC-STRUCTURE CODE DEVELOPMENT:  Durga Paudyal
Intern candidates would assist with the development of electronic-structure code suitable for rare-earth materials. Individual would learn about program development and implementation.   Some knowledge of FORTRAN and general programming techniques is preferred. Individual would work with theoretical and computational materials scientist.

ADVANCED MATERIALS BY DESIGN: Reza Montazami
Transient materials is an emerging area of materials design with the key attribute being the ability to physically dissolve into the surrounding environment at a well-controlled rate, with minimum or non-traceable remains, after a period of stable operation. The main distinction between transient materials and conventional degradable materials is that unlike degradable materials, transient materials maintain their full characteristics and functionality until transiency is prescribed; and the dissolution rate is very often designed to be very fast. Transient materials have potential applications in zero-waste environment, bioelectronics, military and defense data security, hardware-secure memory modules, and sensors, to name few examples.

Our research team is exploring feasibility of polymer-based platforms for transient electronics. An important aspect of such technology is programmability of the transiency rate and behavior. We aim to design platforms consisting of independently programable areas. This is to be achieve by manipulating chemical structure of the polymer composites.

The student will be responsible to fabricate and characterize programable transient polymer-based membranes with and without electronic components. Transiency rate and mechanism studies, mechanical characterization and composition characterization will be conducted.