Nano Innovation Challenge Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Nano Innovation Challenge. We were impressed with the number of innovative nanotechnology solutions students created to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

And the winners are:

High School

1st place: Athens Drive High School
Biostill
Teacher: Shane Barry
Students: Martha, Drew, Evan Rashmi, and Will

2nd place: Rocky Mount High School
Bionic Brain Implant Innovation
Teacher: Emily Haggerty
Students: Cristal and Amahlah

3rd place: West Johnston High School
Water Filter
Teacher: Dorothy Holley
Students: Vanessa and Panalee

Middle School

1st place: WSFCS Virtual Academy
Nanotechnology Takes Flight!
Teacher: Leslie Russell
Students: Justin and Faythe

2nd place: Davis Drive
Mechanical Trees
Teacher: Elizabeth Crowell
Students: Hemanth, Avi, Aaron, and Genko

3rd place: Reedy Creek
UV Nano-Rays 500
Teacher: Chris Barth
Students: Dylan and Emily

RTNN faculty win REU Site Award focused on perovskites

Perovskite crystal structure

Congratulations to Professors Jim Cahoon (UNC), David Mitzi (Duke) and Aram Amassian (NC State) for receiving NSF funding to launch a new collaborative REU site focused on hybrid perovskite materials. Under this award, twelve students will conduct research in faculty labs across the three RTNN institutions. To strengthen inter-institutional relationships, each student will partner with a peer working on a complementary project at a different RTNN university. Team-building, professional development, and social activities will be interwoven into the program schedule. The first cohort of students will begin in summer 2022.

There are three objectives for this REU program: (1) To provide a hands-on research experience in hybrid perovskite materials that reinforces student knowledge of cutting-edge characterization techniques and analytical tools that can be used to evaluate the nanoscopic structure of hybrid perovskite systems; (2) to foster student interest in pursuing a career in STEM fields, especially those from underrepresented groups; and (3) to develop communication and networking skills in each of the participants.

More information for the program will be posted on the RTNN website in Fall 2021. If you are interested in receiving updates about this exciting new program, please contact Maude Cuchiara (mlrowlan@ncsu.edu).

Ekaterina Bogomoletc’s Work in Communicating Science Garners Accolades

Ekaterina Bogomoletc picture

Ekaterina Bogomoletc was recently honored with two awards for her work in communicating science. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at NC State and, under the direction of RTNN co-PI Prof. David Berube, conducts research in the Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology for the RTNN.

Ekaterina won the University of Miami School of Communication Top Student Paper Award at the 2021 International Public Relations Research Conference. Ekaterina’s winning project explored publics’ reactions to brands’ COVID-19 responses. More specifically, Ekaterina examined how YouTube users perceived attempts of several global brands to normalize the new, post-COVID, reality:

“The study demonstrated that when it comes to brands’ COVID-19 responses, publics seemed to be concerned with the political side of the brands’ communication. For companies, this might mean that publics are open to negotiating brands’ place in the new, post-COVID19, reality without viewing their actions as opportunistic. At the same time, the campaigns were accused of promoting a certain political agenda, i.e., they were perceived as brand activism. The perception of organizations’ COVID-19 communication as brand activism brings extra expectations in terms of authenticity of companies’ efforts.”

Ekaterina was also awarded a seed grant from the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations at San Diego State University. The grant is awarded to PhD candidates and pre-tenured faculty for research projects in the area of public relations.

Ekaterina won the award in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Lee, an assistant professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. They proposed a project that will examine possible factors behind publics’ trust towards scientific information as well as factors affecting publics’ willingness to share scientific information online. More specifically, they will test whether various communication strategies affect publics’ perception of take-at-home COVID-19 tests.

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).

Kun Luan’s Mosquito Captures “Most Unique Capability” Prize in National Image Competition

SEM image of a mosquito stylet

Thank you to everyone who voted for the RTNN images in the NNCI-wide image competition. Our hearty congratulations to Kun Luan for his winning image Elegant Mosquito Fascicle that reveals the micro-anatomy of a mosquito stylet. The image shows how the mosquito can bite through human skin by using its proboscis. Kun will receive $1,000 in travel support from the NNCI. Check out the other winners and honorable mentions here.