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Electron Microscopy Analysis of Nanoparticles

Electron microscopy is the primary analytical tool when working with materials at the nanometer to sub-angstrom length scales. Nanometer-sized specimens are normally prepared by placing a drop of nanoparticles suspension on a suitable electron microscopy (EM) grid and allowing it to dry to accommodate the high vacuum environment inside the TEM, required for electron imaging. At these conditions, solvent evaporation can induce unwanted aggregation of suspended nanoparticles.

Polymer Nanocomposites

Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are candidate fillers in multifunctional polymer composites due to their high aspect ratios, high tensile strength and stiffness, tunable electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity, and low coefficient of thermal expansion. Development of effective functionalization strategies that facilitate dispersion and also enhance the interface between the polymer matrix and MWCNTs is crucial for realizing the full potential of MWCNT based composites. 

Experimental Nanomagnetism

A project is available in the field of experimental nanomagnetism.  The project involves advanced characterization and modeling of various types of magnetic nanoparticles and ferrofluids, including biological (magneto – tactic bacteria) and bio-inspired nanomaterials. The focus will be on the mechanisms of nano-particle formation, bio-mineralization, magnetic dynamics (relaxation), quantum tunneling, metal – insulator transition, collective vs. single – particle behavior, self – organization and pattern formation.

Materials Discovery and Design

Quantum-based codes are used to design or characterize alloyed materials (metals, superconductors, magnets) on the computer, such as their structural, electronic, thermodynamic and/or magnetic properties, so that theory and experiment can provide useful feedback in  making new or better materials.

Rare-earth Metals Theory

The rare earth metals are becoming increasingly applicable in our everyday life. The enormous importance of rare earths in the technology, environment, and economy is attracting scientists all over the world to investigate them starting from the extraction to the physical and chemical properties measurements.  Although a lot of works have been done on the experimentation of rare earths, the true understanding from theory and modeling on these materials is lagging behind.

Microstructure Crystal Orientation Basis for Mechanical Properties

The research 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.

Microfiber Fabrication Processes

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.

Biodegradable Electronics

We are interested in design, construction and characterization of flexible biodegradable materials. Flexible biodegradable materials can be used to make smart devices that disintegrate at a specific rate, under specific conditions. Smart devices utilizing this technology can be the platform for implantable electronics, drug-delivery systems, and biological sensors. There are numerous applications in medicine and biomedical device, one of them main advantages is that the need for surgical removal is eliminated.

High-Performance Computing

High performance computing (HPC) is rapidly changing the way most scientific disciplines pursue science. The DMSE program of The Ames Laboratory is seeking a student with a background/ coursework in computer programming to modify and rewrite scientific code for use on High Performance Computers. 

Synthesis of Nanostructured Materials

Interns will work on developing a radically different approach to the synthesis of nanostructured materials. We design materials for energy applications (e.g., wear resistance, light harvesting) from nanoscale building blocks, which we self-assemble and consolidate to form an extended solid. In essence, the interns will learn to use nanoscale “LEGO†to create solid state materials that solve problems in energy applications or answer fundamental questions in materials science.

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