Chemistry: Nanophotonics and Nanoelectronics Projects for High-School Students

Mentor: Yat Li

Assistant Professor
Dept of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Univ of California Santa Cruz
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Email: yli at chemistry dot ucsc dot edu ; Office: (831)459-1952

General Research Description:

Li's lab's research interests

Research Internships for Summer 2010:

Project #1 title:
"Synthesis and Characterization of Semiconductor Metal Oxide Nanowires for Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Generation"

Project #1 description:
The primary goal of this project is to develop and validate a new type of nanostructured photoelectrodes for solar hydrogen generation, with radical improvements in efficiency, cost and scalability. This is an interdisciplinary project. The high-school student interns will work with graduate students on the synthesis and characterization of metal oxide nanowires and nanowire heterostructures. Photoelectrodes will be fabricated using these nanomaterials. Photoelectrochemical studies would be carried out to measure the efficiency of hydrogen generation, and more importantly, to understand the fundamental correlation between photoelectrochemical properties and the structure of nanomaterials. Students will have a unique chance to get hands-on experience on material synthesis (hydrothermal synthesis, chemical vapor deposition) and characterization techniques (electron microscopy, UV-visible and Raman spectroscopy, fabrication and measurement of photoelectrochemical cells).

Project #2 title:
"Interfacing Microbiology with Micro/Nanotechnology"

Project #2 description:
Energy crisis and environmental pollution are emerging as two major global problems. Microbial fuel cell (MFC) techniques allow production of clean bioelectricity based on microbial catalysis of organic waste, and represent a promising appraoch to address both problems simultaneously. We plan to develop on-chip microfluidic devices, as a versatile platform for addressing the fundamental issues and potentials of MFC studies. The typical micro-MFC consists of a 1.5-mL anode chamber (SU-8) and a 4-mL cathode chamber (PDMS). /Shewanella Oneidensis /strain/ MR-1/ will be used to colonize a carbon or gold anode. We will measure the electron transfer, power density, and sustainability of the devices.

One or at most two interns will be selected, based on the teachers' recommendation letters and student statement. The summer internship is expected to last 10 weeks. The start date is flexible - it can be any time after June 13, 2010.

To apply, submit the following materials to your school's summer project coordinator. Applications received by Wednesday, March 31, 2010 are guaranteed to receive full consideration (*** NOTE - THE ORIGINAL DEADLINE WAS MARCH 1 BUT IT HAS BEEN EXTENDED BY A MONTH ***):
(1) Current school transcript
(2) A single-paragraph recommendation from each of your chemistry teachers
(3) A short statement explaining your interest in this internship