Research Projects

This is a list of research projects that may have opportunities for undergraduate students. You can browse all the projects, or view only projects in the following categories:



Mobile molecular diagnostics for global health

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Electronics
School/Dept.: Biomedical Engineering
Professor: Jacqueline Linnes
Desired experience:   Experience with basic electrical engineering courses as well as microcontrollers such as Arduino is preferred.
Number of positions: 1

We are utilizing cell-phone powered valves and resistive heating to develop portable, instrument-free, molecular diagnostics that are as easy to use as a digital pregnancy test. With mobile molecular diagnostics, users can perform tests anywhere in the world and then be connected to centralized healthcare settings for immediate referral and counseling. Students on this project will perform mentored, independent research focused on reverse engineering modern digital pregnancy tests (lateral flow tests) as well as developing optimizing in-house built cell phone-powered LED-based lateral flow test readers.


3D Printed Nanostructures: Thermal and Thermoelectric Applications

Research categories:  Chemical, Electronics, Innovative Technology/Design, Material Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology
School/Dept.: Mechanical Engineering
Professor: Amy Marconnet
Preferred major(s): Mechanical, Chemical, Materials, or Electrical Engineering
Desired experience:   Courses in chemistry, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. Experience with programming arduino or raspberry pi type systems. Familiarity with CAD software and general computer programming skills.
Number of positions: 1 or 2

Nanostructured materials are enabling technological advances, but fabrication costs can mitigate performance improvements. Solution synthesis of nanoparticles is a low-cost, high-throughput method for generating nanostructures. Combined with inkjet and\or 3d printing technology these nanoinks can be formed into on demand devices. In this project, students will develop a technique for printing thermoelectric devices and metallic heater/electrode lines for thermal analyses.


Assembly and Test of Ocean Winds Remote Sensing Instrument for the Hurricane Hunter Aircraft

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Electronics, Mechanical Systems, Physical Science
School/Dept.: AAE
Professor: James Garrison
Preferred major(s): AAE, ECE
Desired experience:   Good programming skills are essential to this project. Embedded programming and FPGA experience are strongly desired, though not required. Experience with electronic hardware, either academically or through extracurricular activities (e.g. amateur radio, robotic competitions, etc.) is also strongly desired. The project will require precise documentation, so good English writing skills are also a necessity.
Number of positions: 3

This project will involve the development and testing of improved software for an experimental remote sensing instrument designed to measure ocean wind speed and roughness in tropical cyclones. This instrument has flown on the NOAA “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft during the last season. It will be returned to Purdue to be updated, and improved based upon our experience with its performance during these flights. Using a fraction of the power, and requiring a far simple calibration process than the existing airborne radar systems, this new technology has the potential to contribute to our understanding of tropical storm development and to improve our hurricane forecast capabilities. In addition, the data may be used to calibrate a NASA satellite mission, CYGNSS, scheduled for a 2016 launch, that will utilize a similar measurement principle.


Design and development of a low pressure drop and low flow rate airflow sensor

Research categories:  Agricultural, Electronics, Environmental Science, Industrial Engineering, Innovative Technology/Design, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Professor: Jiqin (Jee-Chin) Ni
Preferred major(s): Agricultural, mechanical, or electronic engineering
Desired experience:   Laboratory and hands-on experience on mechanical and basic electronic work.
Number of positions: 1

Measuring low rate of airflow with low pressure drop is important for some high quality research projects. However, commercially available sensors for these measurements are either expensive or not highly accurate. This project will involve designing an innovative airflow sensor that is suitable for low pressure drop (e.g., <50 Pa) and low flow rate (e.g., <50 mL per hour) airflow sensor. The principle of the sensor can be mechanical, electronic, or combination of the both. A workable prototype sensor based on the new design will also be built. The sensor will provide output signals that can be acquired to a computer for on-line and continuous airflow monitoring. The successful design can be disclosed as an invention to Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.


Developing Brain Computer Interface for Hands-Free Movement Control

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Electronics
School/Dept.: Biomedical Engineering
Professor: Zhongming Liu
Preferred major(s): Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science
Desired experience:   Signal and System, Digital Signal Processing, Pattern Analysis, Machine Learning
Number of positions: 2

The student will be involved in developing a real-time brain computer interface system. Through this system, a human subject's brain signal will be acquired and analyzed in realtime to decode the subject's intention to move an object in a 2-D plane without involving his/her hands. The system will serve as a prototype for a new-generation medical device to facilitate disabled patients in motor control by only using their minds.


P-Band Satellite Remote Sensing Antenna

Research categories:  Agricultural, Aerospace Engineering, Electronics, Environmental Science, Mechanical Systems, Physical Science
School/Dept.: AAE
Professor: James Garrison
Preferred major(s): AAE,ECE,ME,Physics
Desired experience:   Basic understanding of electromagnetism is desired, but not required. Experience with electronic hardware, either academically or through extracurricular activities (e.g. amateur radio, robotic competitions, etc … ), is strongly desired. Experience with metal fabrication is also strongly required.
Number of positions: 2

This project will build an antenna for receiving satellite transmissions in P-band (225-390 MHz). We are using these signals as a source of illumination in a “bistatic” radar configuration, comparing the direct signal observed along a line-of-sight to the satellite, with the scattered signal reflected from the land surface. Theory suggests that we can use this comparison to estimate the water content within the top 1 m of the soil (called the Root-Zone Soil Moisture, RZSM). This is a very important quantity for understanding the transportation of water from the soil into plant roots, and this measurement has applications to monitoring agricultural production and climate change. The project will require the design of an antenna for a specific satellite frequency, based upon an amateur radio handbook. Mechanical design and fabrication is also very important as the antenna will be installed outdoors and must withstand extreme weather (rain, snow, ice), large temperature ranges, and exposure to wildlife.


nanoHUB Research in Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Research categories:  Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Electronics, Material Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology, Other
Professor: NCN Faculty
Preferred major(s): Electrical, Computer, Materials, or Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Computer Science
Desired experience:   Serious interest in and enjoyment of programming, programming skills in any language, physics coursework.
Number of positions: 15-20

Join the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) team and help build the growing set of resources being used in all Top 50 Colleges of Engineering (US News & World Report rankings) and by over 300,000 annual users in 172 countries. nanoHUB provides over 340 simulation tools that users run from a web browser in a scientific computing cloud. You will work with one of the NCN collaborative investigators, such as Professors Gerhard Klimeck, Ale Strachan, or Peter Bermel.

SURF students learn the Rappture ( toolkit that makes it quick and easy to develop powerful, interactive, web-based applications. These skills are utilized by working with nanotechnologists to put their applications and supporting information on As part of our team, you will be engaged in the National Science Foundation-funded effort that is connecting theory, experiment and computation in a way that makes a difference for the future of nanotechnology and the future of scientific communities. Other undergraduate researchers before you have each been able to literally impact thousands of nanoHUB users (for an example, see; join their legacy and create something that will build your own skills and will help others.