This site is supported by the Department of Defense in partnership with the NSF REU program. NSF support for this REU Site comes from the Division of Engineering Education & Centers (Directorate for Engineering) and the Division of Materials Research (Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences).

NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site in Materials Research provides undergraduate students nationwide with an opportunity to learn about X-ray science and technology and explore their broad applications by participating in a number of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research projects in materials science, physics, chemistry, biology, chemical and biomedical engineering. The main objectives of this REU are (1) to introduce undergraduates from across the nation to the field of X-ray, and its powerful impact on modern science and technology, (2) to provide, through a series of lectures, discussions, and demonstrations, a basic working knowledge of the subject, including history, generation, and utilization of X-rays, (3) to engage students with faculty and graduate students in hands-on X-ray research projects on campus at the Illinois Tech and off campus at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source, the largest X-ray facility in the US, (4) to conduct regular group meetings for students to report on and discuss their research results and findings, and (5) to organize seminars, mentorship sessions, and lectures aimed at enhancing students’ professional skills including technical writing, technical communication, professional ethics, team work, etc. as well exploring graduate study and career opportunities in area of national needs including the field of X-ray. Since its discovery, X-ray has had an outsized, broad, and significant impact on our understanding of the physical world and has led to the creation and development of many new fields in science with huge technical and economic impact. This REU provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate students, particularly those from the underrepresented groups, to learn about X-ray, experience X-ray research first hand, appreciate its immense impact, and potentially explore graduate studies and future careers in this field where there is a national need for trained personnel.

TECHNICAL DETAILS: The REU student participants are engaged to join the summer research activities at Illinois Tech working with one of 12 participating faculty mentors. The REU Site is designed to introduce REU students to the generation and use of X-rays in science and engineering research, providing them with firsthand experience in using X-rays. Research projects include: (1) Development of an X-ray system for characterization of defects during 3D printing, (2) Machine learning approaches to processing X-ray data, (3) Development of X-ray lenses, (4) X-ray spectroscopy technique, (5) X-ray tomography, (6) X-ray tomography in additive manufacturing, (7) X-ray study of nano-scale precipitates in superalloys, (8) Photochemistry of crystalline 2-Dimensional Covalent Organic Framework using X-ray, (9) Evolution of crystal structure and defects during plastic deformation of a ductile semiconductor, (10) In-situ characterization of battery and fuel cell materials using X-ray absorption spectroscopy, (11) Investigation of pancreatic cancer chemotherapy using X-ray diffraction, and (12) Operando characterization of heteroatomic transition metal-based electrocatalysts for conversion of carbon dioxide to alcohols. The key technical objective of the REU activities is to provide the participating students with a basic understanding of X-rays and how they are used, exposure to various X-ray techniques, appreciation of the broad range of their applications, and knowledge about the immense and exciting opportunities that an education and career in this field can provide.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Lynnette Madsen
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Illinois Institute of Technology
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