Research Projects by Subject

Note: Each research project will involve background reading for the interns provided by their mentors. Each research project will involve a final presentation by the interns.

Interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set. This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition.


Code Research Project Descriptions
PHY-01 Title: Function from Structure in Quasicrystal Nanomagnets
Primary mentor: Michael Saccone
Faculty advisor: Prof. Onuttom Narayan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: From the natural wonders of aurora borealis and solar flares to technology such as medical imaging and data storage, magnetic interactions underly many wild and weird phenomena. A new way we can harness these phenomena is through custom designed nanomagnets. Scientists can print these magnets in virtually any configuration, drawing out complex behaviors through the structure of their interaction. A candidate for these functions are quasicrystals, patterns that do not repeat but are completely non-random. This project will focus on guiding these scientists as to what patterns to print.

Tasks: The SIP Interns will generate and simulate patterns of nanomagnets in a computer program. The crux of this project will be the interns' creative tenacity to imagine magnetic patterns, hypothesize their physics, and learn what's needed to test their predictions. The SIP interns will begin with a crash course in magnetism, thermodynamics, mathematics, and Matlab programming. They will simultaneously work on a personalized practice project. Once ready, they will modify an existing code for simulating magnetic systems to simulate their own structures. This project requires the SIP interns to have a strong math background.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Strong math background
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Code Research Project Descriptions
PHY-02 Title: Deposition and Characterization of Ultra Thin Oxide Film
Primary mentor: Brian Giraldo
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobby Kobayashi
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave Laboratory
Number of interns: 3

Project description: This research project will consist of growing ultra-thin metal (zinc, aluminium) oxide films on silicon, sapphire, and glass substrates by atomic layer deposition. These thin films will be investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM), ellipsometry, and photoluminescense spectroscopy. AFM will be used to image the surface features of these ultra-thin films and analyze their surface charateristics. Ellipsometry will provide information about the optical properties of the thin films. Finally, photoluminescence spectroscopy will allow the mentor and interns to understand the bandgap type and energy of the material. Low dimensional films are very interesting to study due to the likelihood of finding structures small enough (nanometer scale) to show quantum mechanical effects. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn about atomic layer deposition and will help to clean and prepare substrates that they will use to grow thin films. The interns will learn about the working principles of atomic force microscopy, ellipsometry, and photoluminescence spectroscopy. They will learn to properly operate the various systems and use them to carry out the proposed investigation. The SIP interns will periodically report on their findings and will discuss what they are seeing with the mentor. This project is best suited to interns who have (or wish to develop) one or more of the following technical skills: computer programming, lab work, and/or statistical data analysis.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM OFF REM ON ON ON ON