Register now for Carolina Science Symposium 2023

The Carolina Science Symposium is expected to draw about 100 participants, both locally and from the surrounding Research Triangle region. The symposium will be held at the McKimmon Center at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. A student poster session will be held and 9 student contributed papers will be selected for oral presentations. When registering, you will be asked to indicate whether the abstract should be considered for a poster or for a talk. Over $1000 will be awarded in prizes and drawings. The registration deadline is November 7.  RSVP here.

See flyers below for more infortmation on the event itself and information on image competitions. Please feel free to download and post at your own facilities.


RTNN Staff Selected as 2023 NNCI Award Winners

Our congratulations go out to Amar Kumbhar and Emily Moreno-Hernandez for winning national awards from the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) in these award categories: User Support (Kumbhar, T and Education and Outreach (Moreno-Hernandez).

Amar, currently a Research Associate in the Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL), he has provided exceptional technical support for 15 years. This support includes training and maintenance on SEM, TEM, FIB and AFM, as well as preparing samples for electron microscopy analysis. Despite being the only staff member in CHANL that manages these tools, Amar is able to provide exceptional services to a broad range of users. His broad knowledge of characterization techniques, material types, and specimen preparation techniques has enables him to interface with and provide exceptional support to a wide range of institutions and departments, thereby facilitating convergence in the RTNN. For instance, he has worked with 11 departments at UNC, including some unconventional departments such as anthropology, dentistry, geology, and dentistry. In the last four years, he has provided technical support to 16 other universities and 25 companies. In this time frame, he has supported 384 users, including 295 internal, 50 external academic, and 39 industry. In many cases, his support for users has led to co-authorship in research collaborations where he has used his expertise in electron microscopy techniques to study unique materials systems.

Emily is a Program Coordinator at Duke University’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility. Using her lived experience as a former science teacher, Emily has significantly enhanced our communication with and outreach to local schools. Emily’s exceptional leadership and contributions to the Duke and RTNN Outreach team over this past year has led to significant growth in the number of outreach activities and participating students, educators, and researchers. This past year Emily coordinated and participated in 62 outreach events that served over 3600 students and educators, including 26 group visits to the Duke SMIF facility, 24 visits of the SMIF Outreach team to regional schools, libraries and community centers, and 12 live virtual events. Emily manages and operates our portable SEM, used for both in-house demonstrations and off-site, to bring nanotechnology equipment directly to the public, particularly aimed at serving underrepresented, low income, and rural populations.

Keep up the good work!

Congratulations to our 2023 RTNN Image Contest Winners!

A big thank you to everyone who submitted an image in the 2023 RTNN Image Competition. We are excited to announce the winners. These images were submitted as part of the annual  NNCI Image Contest, There’s Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom

These images will be submitted to the next level to compete at the national level of submissions across all of the NNCI. Please make sure to go to the NNCI website and vote for your favorites! Voting closes October 17, 2023.

Vote here:

Most Stunning

Perovskite Crop Circles
Alicia Bryan, UNC-Chapel Hill

Methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskite deposited on a mica substrate via chemical vapor deposition, demonstrating epitaxial rod-like structures and pyramidal crystallites. Image taken on FEI Helios 600 Nanolab Dual Beam System with a surface tilt of 45 degrees.


Most Whimsical

Giant Cabbage
Jack Almeter and James Loveless, NC State University

This image depicts an overhead view of an attempt to epitaxially coalesce AlGaN over GaN ridges. Coalescence was not complete, resulting in trenches reminiscent of furrowed farmland. Rogue nucleation has occurred at one point, perhaps due to contamination or an irregularity in the pattern. This large crystallite has an organic shape, here imagined as a giant cabbage worthy of the NC State Fair. A pair of farmers, taken from “Farmer with a Pitchfork” and “Song of the Lark” by 19th century American painter Winslow Homer, marvel at the vegetable in the foreground.

Most Unique Capability

A Witness of Evolution
Kyle Pan, Duke University

This plastic sheet, with its futuristic look, is now a living canvas of our soft morphing robots’ evolution. Its journey commenced as a mere glass cover sheet in the electron beam evaporation process, during the fabrication of our soft robot’s sensing functionalities. As the design progressed, we embraced an air-pocket design, and this sheet transformed into a photolithography mask, resulting in its various patterns on the sheet. Now, as we further improved in the soft robot fabrication, this resilient sheet stands as a laser-cut mask for oxidized liquid metal, capturing the essence of progress in our research.

Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom 2023 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 1, 2023. Check out last year’s winners here.

Join SMIF for a High Precision Capillary Printing Demonstration!

The Duke University SMIF Facility is hosting a demonstration of the Hummink high precision capillary printing “NAZCA” system on September 27 and 28.   NAZCA allows you to directly print any material (metals, polymers, etc) onto any surface with 0.3um to 50um linewidths without the need for photomasks or etching.  Additional information about this system can be found in the attached overview and data sheet. 


For the demonstration, the NAZCA system will have 1um and 5um pipette sizes and silver ink.   If you are interested in seeing this system in person, and/or trying it out on your own sample, please sign up for one or two 30-minute slots on September 27 or 28.  The demonstration will be in SMIF, Room 1577 of the Fitzpatrick CIEMAS building.   Directions and parking instructions for the SMIF facility can be found at   


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