Congrats to our 2020 Award winners!

Anna Fraser presents her work at Science in the Stacks.

A hearty round of applause for our 2020 Award Winners. We continue to be impressed by the terrific work of our awardees. These individuals were celebrated at the annual RTNN Awards and Appreciation Dinner last month, which was held virtually.

2020 RTNN Student Awards

The RTNN Student Outreach award recognizes a student for exemplary leadership, initiative, and ongoing commitment to the mission of expanding access to RTNN nanotechnology user facilities.

Headshot, Jessica Chestnut

Jessica Chestnut (NC State) – Jessica graduated from NC State University in May 2020 with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. She is now pursuing a PhD in Chemistry in Dr. Paul Maggard’s group at NC State. She volunteered with RTNN over the past year in numerous capacities including RTNN’s first two visits to more remote parts of North Carolina near Hickory and Asheville.


Headshot of Beatriz Medrano

Beatriz Medrano (Duke) – Beatriz is an undergraduate student at Duke majoring in electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Beatriz began volunteering at SMIF her first semester at Duke (2018) and has put in countless hours both at schools for science nights and at SMIF for summer camps and school visits. She goes out of her way to arrange her schedule to be able to help and is usually the first person we hear back from when we are looking for help with outreach events.


Anna Fraser (UNC) – Anna is currently a graduate student in Chemistry at UNC. She works in Dr. Theo Dingemans group. She has volunteered at many events over the past couple of years including those at the Chapel Hill Public Library. Anna also volunteers through the Student Chapter of the Materials Research Society at UNC. Anna provides a welcoming and friendly environment to all participants.


2020 RTNN Collaborative Research Award

This award seeks to identify outstanding research projects, papers, and/or presentations that leverage the resources, equipment, and/or expertise available through the RTNN. Awarded research projects are expected to demonstrate a high-level of research progress and achievement that was made possible only by the use of two or more university sites or collaborators within the RTNN.

Carrie Donley and Fred Stevie

Educational resources for X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

Recently, a few publications have illustrated that a large percentage of research papers that include XPS data have seriously flawed interpretation of the data. As a response to this crisis in the field, the American Vacuum Society (AVS) sponsored a collection of publications to improve the overall understanding of XPS. Carrie and Fred prepared two papers for the AVS collection: one which is an overall introduction to XPS and a second paper that offers guidance on sample handling and preparation. These papers will not only help the researchers at NCSU and UNC, but in the larger XPS community as well.

”Introduction to X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)”, Fred A. Stevie and Carrie L. Donley, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A38, 063204 (2020).

”Sample handling, preparation and mounting for XPS and other surface analytical techniques”, Fred A. Stevie, Roberto Garcia, Jeffrey Shallenberger, John G. Newman, and Carrie L. Donley, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A38, 063202 (2020).

Congrats to our 2020 Image Contest Winners

A big thank you to everyone who submitted an image in the 2020 Image Competition. We are excited to announce the winners. Thanks to all who voted for these amazing images in the NNCI Image Contest, There’s Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom. Congratulations to Kun Luan for winning the national competition!

Most Stunning

Scyphosphaera apsteinii

Erin Meyer, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

The coccolithophore (single-celled algae) S. apsteinii grown in seawater with elevated concentrations of Sr. The elevated Sr disrupted the calcification of their calcite structures (coccoliths), resulting in a malformed morphology.

Most Unique Capability

Elegant Mosquito Fascicle

Kun Luan, NC State University

Elegant Mosquito Fascicle reveals the micro-anatomy of mosquito stylet. It can explain how the mosquito bites through human skin by using proboscis. The information conveyed from the image were used to engineer non-insecticide barriers, which can mechanically prevent the mosquito bite.

Most Whimsical

Nanoscale Star Wars

Phil Barletta, NC State University

This image shows a Au nanoparticle on a SiC sample surface. It has a striking resemblance to the Death Star! The NNF staff, along with a colleague in CBE, took some liberties in Photoshop to add the appropriate details to the image. This sample was fabricated and imaged at NNF.

Take-out Science Relaunch on National Nanotechnology Day

SEM image

Join us for a special Take-out Science Session as we celebrate National Nanotechnology Day on October 9th. We will give a quick introduction to length scales and nanotechnology, find out more about a clean room, and observe various samples on our scanning electron microscope. We will go live at 1 pm (EDT). Submit your nano-inspired questions for our experts in the comments section below or email us at rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.

RTNN Celebrates 5 Years Supporting Nano with a Successful Renewal

We recently marked 5 years of programming focused on raising awareness of nanotechnology and the core facilities that support innovative nanoscience research. While celebrating these efforts, we learned that the RTNN is one of sixteen sites nationwide renewed for an additional five years of funding. NSF will invest a total of $84 million in the renewal of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). NSF established NNCI in 2015 with an $81 million investment.

More information about the award can be found on the NSF Award Website. News articles from the NSF, UNC, Duke, and NC State highlight the impact and success of the RTNN and broader NNCI.

Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom 2020 Image Contest

In honor of National Nanotechnology Day, the RTNN and NNCI are supporting the second annual “Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom” image contest. Do you have an image that you think could win most stunning, most unique, or most whimsical? If so, learn more and submit your image at the Image Contest Website. The deadline for image submission has been extended to September 18, 2020. Check out last year’s winners here.