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:



Atomistic Simulations of Gold-Silicon Interface

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Chemical, Civil and Construction, Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Systems, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
School/Dept.: School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Professor: Michael Sangid
Desired experience:   Junior standing and ability to develop computer codes.
Number of positions: 1

The size of electronic devices has been decreasing steadily over the years and it is expected to continue that trend, as there is significant interest in the development to microelectronics and nanoelectronics for applications in the biomedical, sensing, data storage and high-performance computing fields, among others. With the increasing miniaturization of electronics, it is important to consider any effects that might happen in the interfaces at the nanometer scale, as the behavior of materials at this length scales may differ markedly from the behavior at the macroscopic scale. This project studies the interactions occurring in the interface between gold and silicon, materials selected due to their excellent properties as conductor and semiconductor, respectively, and their popularity in electronic circuits. The behavior of gold and silicon is expected to differ from the properties observed in the bulk and at larger scales, so it is crucial to analyze and understand the mechanisms of this behavior for the design and manufacture of microelectronic devices utilizing these materials. The research will involve Molecular Dynamics modeling of the gold-silicon interface. Additionally, this project will be complemented by other research opportunities in our lab.


Center for Materials Under Extreme Environment (CMUXE) - Undergraduate research opportunities

Research categories:  Computational/Mathematical, Material Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
School/Dept.: NE and Center for Materials Under Extreme Environment
Professor: Sivanandan Harilal
Desired experience:   Minimum GPA 3.5
Number of positions: 3-5

The Center for Materials Under Extreme Environment (CMUXE) is looking for undergraduate research students for the following areas:

1. Ion beam and ultrafast laser beam nanostructuring
2. Characterization of ultrafast laser ablation plumes
3. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy
4. Computational modeling of laser and discharge produced plasma and fusion devices

Position is open to undergraduates in all engineering and science disciplines. High level commitments and participation in group meeting are compulsory. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the center website below for further information.


Development of Theranostic Drug Delivery Systems for Cancer Treatment

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Material Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology
School/Dept.: Industrial & Physical Pharmacy
Professor: Tonglei Li
Preferred major(s): chemistry, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, biological engineering
Number of positions: 1

Drug delivery for cancer therapy is far from being satisfactory. A significant portion of potential drug compounds fail to enter the clinic because they cannot be formulated and delivered by existing approaches. Many clinically used formulations are poorly designed, bearing significant adverse effects and limiting treatment efficacy. Over the last few years, nanotechnology has been embraced for developing novel drug delivery systems to combat diseases such as cancer and infection. In our laboratory, we have been developing multicomponent nanocrystals to deliver cytotoxic agents along with bioimaging probes to treat and detect tumors. In this project, the delivery system will be fully tested in vitro and in vivo in order to understand the pharmacokinetic and biodistribution properties and to further improve the formulation design. In particular, the student will be learning and conducting cellular uptake experiment and help graduate students in their animal studies. It is expected that the student will gain a basic understanding of drug delivery for cancer and comprehend the current challenges in cancer therapy. The student will also learn the underlying design principles of our delivery system and, hopefully, provide meaningful suggestions for improvement.


Development of a Nanomanufacturing Process

Research categories:  Electronics, Material Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
School/Dept.: Mechanical Engineering, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Professor: Xianfan Xu
Preferred major(s): Mechanical, Electrical Engineering or Physics.
Desired experience:   Senior standing (in Fall 14); Interested in experimental work; GPA > 3.5; US citizen/permanent resident preferred.
Number of positions: 2

This project is to participate research in the development of a laser-based nanomanufacturing technique. The SURF students will work with graduate students to investigate using laser processes to fabricate nanoscale patterns and nanoscale semiconductor materials such as nanowires. These materials will then be used for developing highly sensitive chemical and biological sensors.


Tumor-Microenvironment-On-Chip To Mimic Tumor Heterogeneity

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Mechanical Systems, Nanotechnology
School/Dept.: Mechanical Engineering
Professor: Bumsoo Han
Preferred major(s): Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
Desired experience:   Fluid Mechanics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Biology
Number of positions: 1

This project is to develop and validate a new in vitro tumor model to study tumor heterogeneity. Tumor heterogeneity is one of the most significant and unmet challenges of oncology. Existing tumor models including animal models are not adequate to systematically study and understand its implication on the treatment outcome. In order to address this, my laboratory is developing a new tumor model using tissue engineering and microfluidic technologies which can mimic in vivo tumors of breast cancer. The SURF fellow will participate in this project to characterize the response of various breast cancers to chemotherapeutic drugs and their nanoparticle formulations.


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; Chemistry
Desired experience:   Programming skills in any language are a plus.
Number of positions: 12

Join the team and help build the growing set of resources being used in all Top 50 Colleges of Engineering (US News & World Report rankings) and over 240,000 annual users in 172 countries. nanoHUB provides over 260 simulation tools that users run from a web browser in a scientific computing cloud. The Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) operates nanoHUB.

You will work with one of the nanoHUB investigators, including Professors Klimeck, Lundstrom, Alam, Datta, and Strachan and others.

You will learn the Rappture ( toolkit that makes it quick and easy to develop powerful, interactive, web-based applications. You will work with nanotechnologists to put their applications and supporting information on You will test new capabilities in nanoHUB cyberinfrastructure. And you will be part of a 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 over a thousand nanoHUB users (for an example, see; join their legacy and create something that will help your own skills and will help others.

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