Student Internships/REU at Other Locations
I spent this past summer working at the National High Magnetic Field Lab in a materials testing lab with my mentor Robert Walsh. Specifically, I worked on the material properties and characterization of an epoxy that was invented at the lab for use in vacuum impregnating large superconducting magnets. I did extensive testing on the epoxy at cryogenic temperatures and submitted a report that will later be published. A summary of my work can be found online at nationalmaglab.org on the REU class of 2018 page.
I spent my summer as a research student at Auburn university where I worked on computational magnetospheric physics with Dr. J. D. Perez. My work included studying the interaction of solar storms with the earth’s magnetosphere through the analysis of data obtained from NASA’s TWINS (Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers) mission. All the work I did is submitted to the TWINS geomagnetic Storm Catalog and can be accessed here.
My summer project was to analyze photogrammetry data of the Baryon Mapping Experiment radio telescope. The telescope has been built to gather data for spectral lines emitted from 21 cm neutral hydrogen for the purposes of intensity mapping. Since the universe was primarly comprised of neutral hydrogen during the Dark Ages, looking at these wavelengths at high redshifts will give a good map of the large scale structure of the universe during that period. I analyzed pictures of the telescope's dish surface using a photo-processing software. This involved writing code to find position of targets laid on the parabolic dish surface and producing a "best-fit" curve. This would help to confirm the orientation of the telescope; namely the translation, rotation, and focal length. Click here for more information.
Her project focused on the source of electrical resistance in tin oxide single crystals. Tin oxide crystals are being studied for use in transparent electronic components, and the aim of the project was to find the source of resistance and hopefully reverse its effects on the crystals. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) were two of the main methods used to test for the source of resistance. Victoria earned second place in the poster presentation competition for the Physical and Applied Sciences division.
Elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) are a class of biopolymers that undergo a reversible phase transition occurring at a transition temperature. Recently, six-armed star polymers have been synthesized with arms composed of ELPs. My goal this summer was to characterize the solution properties of two six-armed ELP star polymers, the G10 and G19. Above their transition temperatures, these proteins aggregate into nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes which have potential for drug delivery. The transition temperatures of the proteins were measured using spectrophotometry for various protein concentrations, salt concentrations, and pH values. The samples were also investigated using light scattering. In particular, dynamic light scattering was used to probe the size of the aggregates above and below the transition temperature.
Physics major Chandler Bernard spent his summer at a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the microelectronics-photonics department at the University of Arkansas. His research involved colloidal CdSe quantum dot nanocrystals, which are nanoparticles with their electrons confined quantum mechanically. These quantum dots also exhibit photoluminescence, which is the emission of light through absorption of photons. Due to their tightly controlled emission spectrum, quantum dot devices are in demand for industry for applications in photovoltaics and solar cells, as well as in medicine for imaging. Chandler's research aimed to use photoluminescence spectroscopy to characterize the dependence of photobleaching (the drop in intensity of emitted light due to exposure to laser radiation) as it depends on time and incident laser power density.
As a participant in UAB’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Troy University physics major Chandler Bernard spent the summer characterizing the spectroscopic properties of Transition Metal and Rare-Earth Metal doped ZnSe crystals for use in middle-infrared lasers. Mid-IR lasers are in high demand for medical diagnostics, industry process monitoring, and defense countermeasures. His most notable contribution was his characterization of absorption and transmission of Cr:ZnSe and Fe:ZnSe crystals with respect to increasing temperatures, with applications in tunable mid-IR lasers and the minimization of thermal losses in mid-IR laser cavities.