RTNN Celebrates Nano Day in Chapel Hill

On October 13th, RTNN honored National Nanotechnology Day at the Chapel Hill Public Library. Visitors were invited to explore science at the nanoscale by participating in a variety of hands-on activities. Library patrons tried on clean room suits, made “nano” ice cream, designed photomasks, examined samples with light microscopes, and more! Participants and volunteers had a blast celebrating the nanometer and learning from each other. The RTNN will return to the library in April 2019 with a scanning electron microscope in tow during the North Carolina Science Festival.

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.

AIF now home to compact microCT system

The Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) is now home to a Bruker SkyScan 1174 microCT system. This compact microCT can be used to image a variety of samples in three-dimensions with down to 10 micron spatial resolution. A suite of software tools is  included with the system for complex image reconstruction, processing, and analysis. Several example images can be found here, and the specs are listed below. The instrument will be available for both research and outreach activities by early October. For more information on training and access, please contact Maude Cuchiara.

X-ray source 20-50kV, 40W maximum power, filter holder for energy selection
X-ray detector 1.3Mp CCD coupled to scintillator by lens with 1:6 zoom range
Spatial Resolution 6…30 µm pixel size, approximately 10 µm low-contract resolution
Object Size 5 – 30mm in diameter, 50mm in length (50mm vertical travel)
Radiation safety <1 µSv/h at 10cm from the instrument surface

 

Girls STEM Day @ Duke Fuels the STEM Pipeline

On Saturday, May 19th, Girl Scouts and their families traveled to Duke University to learn from and work with over 100 women in STEM careers across the Triangle. Girl Scouts earned badges in digital photography, forensics, and robotics through a variety of different activities including use of SMIF’s scanning electron microscope. In a parallel parents forum, female STEM professionals, high school college counselors and university admissions counselors engaged parents and troop leaders in interactive panel discussions. To learn more about the event and see more photos, read Duke’s News Release.

Participants earning the digital photography badge were charged with imaging samples that they collected with both light and electron microscopes. These ranged from a flower petal (below image top) to a bagel (below image bottom).

 

 

RTNN acquires portable Scanning Electron Microscope

Through collaboration with the Parsons Research Group at NC State, the RTNN now has available a PhenomWorld Desktop SEM. The Phenom SEM allows for very fast microscopic imaging of samples in a compact, portable package – about the size of a desktop computer. The RTNN will use the Desktop SEM in outreach programs, such as bringing instruments to classrooms for demonstrations of instruments used in nanoscience. If you are interested in having the RTNN bring the desktop SEM to your event or school, please contact Phillip Strader (phillip_strader@ncsu.edu) or Maude Cuchiara (maude_cuchiara@ncsu.edu)