RTNN Honors 2018 Award Recipients

The RTNN is pleased to announce its outstanding 2018 award recipients. The awardees were all honored at a dinner reception.

Collaborative Research Award

Dr. Khara Grieger and Maryam Khazaee were co-recipients of the Collaborative Research Award. The collaborative research award seeks to identify outstanding research projects, papers, and/or presentations that leverage the resources, equipment, and/or expertise available through the RTNN. Khara is an environmental scientist at RTI, International and won for her collaborative work, “Ensuring Sustainable Innovation of Water Treatment Technologies using Engineered Nanomaterials.” This project, a collaboration with Duke and NC State, supports the development of safe and sustainable water treatment systems that rely on engineered nanomaterials. This was performed through the selection, application, and testing of risk screening tools for a select group of nanomaterials proposed for use in water treatment technologies. Maryam is a Visiting Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. (Home Institution: University of Duisburg-Essen). Her project, “Fabrication and Characterization of Multidimensional Semiconducting Bismuth Halides for Electronic Applications,” was accomplished through the collaboration and communication among five teams of scientists from Duke, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, Dalhousie (Canada), and Duisburg-Essen (Germany). The work utilized Duke University’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF), the Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL) (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)), and NC State’s Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF).

Student Outreach Awards

Justin Norkett (NC State), Nicole Smiddy (UNC), and Maxine Gorelick (Duke) have been awarded student outreach awards to recognize their exemplary leadership, initiative, and ongoing commitment to the mission of expanding access to RTNN nanotechnology user facilities. Justin has been involved in STEM outreach through the NCSU Department of Materials Science and Engineering for eight years. During this time, he has independently developed and documented over 100 experiments suitable for K-12 students. On average, he is interacting with over 100 students per month. For the Summer 2018 camp, he integrated his PhD research project into the student experiments, preparing a simulated failure analysis activity based on his dissertation topic, liquid metal embrittlement. He used AIF at NC State to demonstrate the power of electron microscopy for examining the nanoscale structure of materials and how that relates to their macroscopic behavior. Nicole participates in a number of activities for CHANL including doing an in lab demo for the Coursera course and helping to coordinate and execute remote SEM sessions for schools and outreach partners.  Nicole has also become an expert in taking and interpreting force measurements on cells with the CHANL AFM.  She has developed material for and led workshop sessions in the Forces in Biology workshop run by the Superfine lab at UNC.  Nicole has made a positive impact on CHANL’s outreach activities, and has done an amazing job in this role! Maxine has been an exceptionally important resource for SMIF’s K-12 outreach efforts. She has worked numerous hours with many different school groups. Maxine has a unique and valuable ability to engage and connect with students. She can explain complex scientific information is a way anyone could understand. Students loved getting the chance to talk with Maxine about what it is like to be an undergraduate at Duke. More information about the awards can be found on the RTNN Awards page.

Phillip Strader Wins NNCI User Support Award

Our congratulations go out to Phillip Strader for winning an inaugural national award from the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) in the category of User Support! Phillip is an RTNN project scientist through NC State’s Department of MSE and a lab manager at AIF. His nomination was particularly noteworthy because of his leadership in securing and commissioning new instruments and his thoughtful execution of the RTNN Kickstarter program. Keep up the good work!

Researchers meet at the Carolina Science Symposium

On November 10, the Carolina Science Symposium (CSS) was held at NC State’s McKimmon Center. This event brought together over one hundred people from universities, non-profits, and industry. Attendees learned about ongoing work in diverse scientific disciplines in a series of talks and a student poster session. Dr. Yong Zhang from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte opened the symposium. He discussed his work in light effect transistors for high speed and low energy switching. Dr. Jacqueline Cole (UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering) highlighted her research in the role of vascular structure and perfusion in bone mechanics and health. Ian Haehnlein from Starfire Industries described the technique of high power impulse magnetron sputtering and its capabilities. Dr. Michael Daniele (NC State Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) talked about his work in wearable biosensors and bioelectronic systems. These invited speakers were joined by students from across North Carolina: Islam Sayed (NC State), Michael Dryzer (Elon University), Ryan Fox (UNC), and Manish Sharma (North Carolina A&T State University). Over $2,000 was awarded in prizes. Winners for best student oral presentations were  Ryan Fox and Islam Sayed. Awardees for best poster included Michael Spencer, Zhihui Cheng, Tasso von Windheim, and Ashish Kapoor. Hanhan Zhou took home the Hans Stadelmaier Award. The AIF Best Paper awards went to Kate Marusak and Nathalia Ortiz. A photo contest was held in honor of Mike Rigsbee. Tasso von Windheim won for the black and white image, “Happy Accidents,” depicting molybdenum oxide crystals formed using a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition process (left). Sahil Tahiliani won in the color competition with the image, “Blood Trapped in a Vessel,” showing blood cells (false colored red) in a vessel within a lung tissue section from a mouse exposed to ceria nanoparticles (right). This annual event occurs each November. If you are interested in learning more or hearing about upcoming events, please contact rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.

Professor Jim LeBeau Awarded NSF MRI for new $2M TEM

Professor Jim LeBeau, Associate Director of the Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) and Associate Professor in NC State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering has been awarded funds from NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program to acquire a new TEM. The instrument will be available to users starting in the summer of 2018. More information about the instrument and its capabilities can be found here.

RTNN Faculty Team Wins GRIP Award!

Led by RTNN director Dr. Jacob Jones, a team of researchers from NC State, UNC-CH, Duke, and RTI has been announced as a GRIP (Game-Changing Research Initiative Program) awardee for their project “Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology: Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the Solid-Water Interface.” Water is a fundamental requirement for life. However, universal access to clean water has become a crisis facing society, evidenced by continuing droughts and contaminated water supplies in major population centers. There is an emergent need for innovative, sustainable technologies to improve and maintain worldwide availability and quality of clean water. Development of new materials, membranes, and separation processes are essential to more efficiently create drinking water from salt water (desalination), reclaim clean water from waste and local streams (wastewater and point-of-use treatment), and to recover contaminants of value from water (resource recovery). Engineered nanotechnologies and nanomaterials can be used to uniquely address many emerging challenges in water sustainability due to their high surface area, reactivity, and surface and interfacial phenomena. Empowered by a multi-agency Nanotechnology Signature Initiative released in March 2016, the team will launch an ambitious effort to catalyze several interrelated, game-changing research activities for substantially increasing water availability at lower cost. The effort will position NC State, RTI, and partnering institutions including Duke and UNC-CH as a leading team at the water-nano nexus. More information about the GRIP and other awardees can be found in the NC State press release and on the GRIP website.