Outreach, Education & Training

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K-12 Teachers & Students Undergraduate and Graduate Students New and Non-Traditional Researchers
Community College Educators & Students Professional Researchers

For K-12 Teachers & Students

Classroom Learning & Field Trips

Bring university research facilities into your classrooms via remote connection (as free complement to your K-12 curriculum!) or bring your students to an RTNN facility for in-person, interactive demonstrations.

A major focus of the RTNN is to bring nanotechnology awareness and experiences into middle schools and high schools.  Through the RTNN, we will be able to offer you FREE access to equipment such as scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) that can image objects at the nanoscale.

There are numerous ways to interact with us for FREE:

Monster Under the Bed: Send a sample to us (e.g. dust from under your bed – there will be mite monsters), and we will image the sample in the SEM in a real time Skype link with your class.

Seat Belts Everyone! Field Trip: Visit our RTNN labs and observe our equipment in action.  Maybe your class collects a few bugs, rocks, or plants they are interested in looking at.

School Days: Use scotch tape to collect samples from around your school by sticking it to surfaces and seeing what it collects.

Send your samples to us in advance. On the day of your virtual skype or in-person visit, a graduate student staff member at one of our universities will connect with your class via Skype or in-person.  They will talk with your class about the equipment being used, what it’s typically used for, and then will image the sample(s) that your class sent to us.  Your students will see the equipment, how the imaging SEM system works, get to see their samples up close, and start making discoveries of their own.

If you’re interested in bringing this technology into your classroom, contact us at rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu. Click for a print advertisement of our K-12 opportunities.

Microscopic image of typical velcro

Microscopic image of typical velcro

Close up of a bug eye

Close up of a bug eye

View a video recording of one of our web-based demonstrations, courtesy of teacher Andrew Gatt of Orange Charter School in Hillsborough, NC.

LeSSon Plans

RTNN has also worked with educators to develop nano-themed lesson plans aimed at K-12 students. Please contact rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu with any questions or concerns.

Mystery Molecules: Identifying Materials with Nanoscale Characterization Tools (High School)
Novel materials are currently being developed for numerous applications. To test and characterize these materials, scientists use a number of different analytical tools. In this lesson plan, students will be given several similar looking materials and be asked to identify them by observing them at the macro-, micro-, and nano- scales.

Achoo! Pollen Does More than Make Us Sneeze (Middle School)
Harness the power of a scanning electron microscope to let students see that pollen is more than just the yellow dust that makes us sneeze sometimes! Students will collect their own pollen samples and sending them to our labs where we will take images of them with the scanning electron microscope.

Photolithography: Patterning with Light (High School)
Photolithography is a key technology that brought cell phones and computers into our daily lives. This lesson plan will use Sunprint® paper to demonstrate photolithography. Students will learn about the adsorption and emission of light and photolithography utilizing Ultraviolet (UV) light induced chemical reactions. Note: This lesson plan has an associated kit available for free! Visit the SciREN website to order yours.

The Petnapping of Maya – A Forensic Lesson Plan (Elementary School)
This is a forensic lesson plan for grades 2-4. It is designed as a fun activity while developing observational and reasoning skills.

Visit one of our partners, SciREN, to find these and other exciting lesson plans.

RTNN Kickstarter program

In order to further our mission to serve as a hub of cutting-edge nanotechnology innovation and education, the RTNN has established the Kickstarter Program to allow members of the nanotechnology and greater scientific communities, who would otherwise not have the financial resources, to use RTNN facilities. Among the targeted audiences for this funding are high school and community college science and engineering students and educators.

Examples of relevant educational programming include:

  • Individual or group class projects that utilize RTNN capabilities.
  • Lesson plan development featuring examples from experiments run at RTNN.
  • Innovative field trip experiences.

Visit our Kickstarter Program page for more information. Click to view the application.


 

For Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU+)

The inaugural summer of our Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU+) program will be in 2016. Students will participate in nanotechnology-related research at one of the RTNN partner universities with follow-on at students’ home institutions in the year following the summer program. Visit our REU page for more information and applications.

Peer-to-Peer Networking Distance Use Program

Our peer-to-peer network enables undergraduate and graduate students from other locations to access facilities in the RTNN remotely. Graduate student staff at all of our facilities are ready to help you with fabricating or characterizing your samples. Staff will interact with you via video-based communications (Skype, WebEx, etc.), and samples will be exchanged via mail. While we strongly encourage you to visit our facilities for the first usage (you can learn a lot on-site!), we understand that travel costs and time are often huge challenges to accomplishing research. Let us help! Get started by emailing rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.

Scientific Art Competition

RTNN partners with Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL), an RTNN member facility, and the UNC Art Department for their annual Scientific Art Competition!  The Scientific Art Competition provides an opportunity to showcase scientific data with artistic appeal.  Submissions will be displayed at an awards reception, and cash prizes will be awarded to the winning submissions.  Details for the 2018 competition will be posted here. Contact Carrie Donley for more information.


 

For New and Non-Traditional Researchers

The RTNN offers many resources for researchers who are new to nanotechnology facilities or who are coming from non-traditional research areas. We would be happy to talk about your needs via email or telephone – just send us a quick note at rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu to get started!

Kickstarter program

In order to further our mission to serve as a hub of cutting-edge nanotechnology innovation and education, the RTNN has established a Kickstarter Program to allow members of the nanotechnology and greater scientific communities, who would otherwise not have the financial resources, to use RTNN facilities.

The RTNN encourages applications from high school and community college science and engineering students and educators, non-traditional users (those from disciplines that have not historically used NNCI programs, including Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Textile Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Agriculture, Soil Science, Forest Biomaterials, and Plant & Microbial Biology), users from underrepresented groups (as defined by NSF), academic users who are at a non-Research-1 university and may have limited access to facilities and/or research funding, and industrial users who for some reason do not have funds or have start-up projects with highly innovative potential.

Examples of relevant research and development activities include:

  • Preliminary data collection, prototyping, or proof-of-principle studies with prospects of leading to future outside funding or investment.
  • Activity that expands the scope of the applicant’s existing research programs.
  • Specialized characterization or fabrication not currently funded within the scope of the applicant’s existing programs.

Visit our Kickstarter page for more information.

Nanotechnology, A Maker’s course

The RTNN developed a free online course to give an overview of nanotechnology tools and techniques and demonstrate equipment within RTNN facilities. The goal of the course is to introduce nanotechnology concepts to students and give them a better sense of the nanotechnology tools’ capabilities. The course targets learners who have a high school or higher science background and limited exposure to nanotechnology facilities. The course is hosted on Coursera and is open to students from around the globe. To learn more or enroll visit the course homepage.


 

For Community College Educators & Students

Summer Nanotechnology Workshop

The RTNN is hosting a 2-day summer nanotechnology workshop for Community College educators August 8-9, 2017. Participant support funds are available to defray the costs of travel and daycare. Visit the workshop website to learn more about this exciting event.

RTNN Free-Use Facilities Access Fund

In order to further our mission to serve as a hub of cutting-edge nanotechnology innovation and education, the RTNN has established a “Free-Use” Fund to allow members of the nanotechnology and greater scientific communities, who would otherwise not have the financial resources, to use RTNN facilities. Among the targeted audiences for this funding are high school and community college science and engineering students and educators.

Examples of relevant educational programming include:

  • Individual or group class projects that utilize RTNN capabilities.
  • Lesson plan development featuring examples from experiments run at RTNN.
  • Innovative field trip experiences.

Visit our Free-Use Fund page for more information. Click to view the application.


Professional Researchers

Technique Training Workshops

The RTNN offers regular training and specialized process workshops that target professionals. For a listing of upcoming workshops hosted by RTNN and our member facilities, visit our Events page.

Have an idea for a workshop topic? Email us at rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu! Let us help!

Nanotech Commercialization Conference

The RTNN will team with the NC Department of Commerce to lead this annual, flagship nanotechnology networking meeting.

The conference will include international/national-level keynote speakers, technical research sessions (highlighting key advances by faculty research groups), workshops/tutorials, and exhibits showcasing the latest advances in the field. We will also focus on interfacing across sectors, i.e. business development (financing, licensing) workshops for the nanotech researcher/entrepreneur and industry-community college panel discussions to guide workforce development initiatives.

Dates and location are to be determined.  For more information on the Nanotech Commercialization Conference and how you can be involved, email rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.