Nanomaterial Synthesis and Imaging

Project Tags: 
Condensed Matter
Time Critical: 
Monday, December 31, 2018
Research Project Description: 

     The Collins laboratory investigates the underlying physics of single-molecule electronics.  We create and test single-molecule sensors and transducers that have a wide range of potential applications.  Read more about this work at

     The synthesis of nanowires and the creation of transistor devices out of nanowires are critical initial steps for all of our research efforts.  We synthesize carbon nanotubes in a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that controls many different process variables.  Each variable (temperature, time, gas composition, etc.) changes the properties of the nanomaterials, which we study by imaging and electronic measurement.

Undergraduate Student Participation: 

     Students joining the team learn to use sophisticated modern tools for nanometer scale science. The student on this project will learn how to synthesize nanomaterials using chemical vapor deposition.  Along with proper sample handling techniques, the student will learn to use scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and/or atomic force microscopy (AFM), two important tools for nanometer scale imaging.

     Over time, successful students become qualified to run laboratory equipment independently.  As students become productive and confident with a variety of tools, they are assigned independent research projects.  Successful students will complete year-long projects that can result in a senior thesis, publication, or presentation at a conference or UROP Symposium.

Time Commitment: 

Applicants must plan to commit at least 10 hours per week.  Student availability must include large blocks of time (3-4 continuous hours) for productive laboratory work.  Training and practice must be completed during normal daytime hours to ensure proper oversight and guidance.  We expect successful students to continue working for multiple quarters, including Summer.  Qualified students working independently on research projects usually receive financial support during Summer.

Minimum GPA: 
Other Requirements to Participate: 

Students must enroll in Physics 195 during each quarter of their laboratory work.

Contact Info: 

Prof. P.G. Collins, 222 Rowland Hall

Contact at


How many hours per week will you be able to work on the project? Will you be available to work outside of the academic year (particularly during the Summer)?
List any formal or informal computer programming experience you have. You may also list programming courses you are currently taking or which you have completed (with grades received).
Briefly describe any previous research experience (less than 300 words). If you have previously received course credit for student research, list those courses here (with grades received) and the name(s) of your supervisor(s).
Give a brief statement (less than 300 words) summarizing what qualities you will bring to the research program and explaining what you hope to achieve through your participation. (Is there something essential that you want to get out of the project? Paid position? Senior thesis? Co-author a journal publication?)
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