This three year REU Site program will provide research experiences for undergraduates at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU), a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The goal of this REU project is to engage the students in research activities in the area of nanoscale device fabrication and characterization. It allows state-of-the-art research opportunities in the clean room environment associating fabrication, evaluation, and degradation of the semiconductor-based structural and conduction issues for the nanodevices and nanocomposites. The faculty members involved in nanoscale device research and graduate students will provide hands-on activities in the engineering research laboratories involving experimental and computational areas. The primary objective of the program is to enhance research abilities of students and creative factors. The participants will: (1) identify research problems and conduct related literature reviews; (2) conduct research, design, and implement plans via timeline and deadline; (3) develop and learn new methods, analyze and evaluate procedures; and (4) disseminate research findings through written and verbal presentations. In addition to the research students will participate in a seminar series. Topics of the seminar series include communication and presentation skills, the latest developments in nanoscale devices and engineering ethics issues. During the final week of the program, students will participate in a half-day symposium. Each participant will provide a twenty five minute oral presentation to the engineering and other STEM faculty members and students. The best research work for a single participant will be acknowledged with a prize. Also three best presenters and three best report writers will be judged for a prize. A certificate will be presented to each participant in this REU program.

Broader Impacts Recruitment efforts will be directed toward students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions. A special emphasis will be placed on including minorities, women, and students with disabilities in the program. Students will gain technical abilities necessary to conduct research in nanodevices and nanocomposites in conjunction with ethical conduct and practices in the work place. The participants in this REU program will be encouraged to pursue higher academic degrees and eventual careers in STEM disciplines.

"The site is co-funded by the Department of Defense in partnership with the NSF REU program."

Project Report

REU Site: Fabrication and Characterization of Nanoscale Devices The highlighted items below are noted for the REU Site after completing three years. - Funded Award Amount: $274,341 for 2012-2014 periods. - P.I.: Dr. Mohammad A. Alim, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. - Co-I: Dr. Sudip Bhattacharjee, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical & Civil Engineering. - Co-I: Dr. Satilmis Budak, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. - Co-I: Dr. Zhigang Xiao, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. - A total of 23 STEM undergraduate participants from various U.S. academic institutions successfully completed hands-on research training with the nanoscale devices during the past three years (2012, 2013, and 2014). - Concept of nanoscale devices conveyed to each REU participant using hands-on instruments. - Both junction devices using multilayers and carbon nanotube based field effect transistors (CNTFET) were fabricated. - Progressive variation in experiments via dimensional changes of the nanoscale devices was accommodated. - The number of layers in the Multilayer Devices gradually increased to avert inductive behavior. - The source-to-drain contact was introduced with Sb2Te3 apart from Au (gold) contact. - Each REU participant was trained with writing skill, power point presentation, final report writing, one-page ABSTRACT writing, and the cosmetic aspects of using MS-WORD and MS-PPT. - Each REU participant was trained with MATLAB usage via curve fitting procedures and measured Data Analysis. - Each REU participant was trained with the use of Gauss-Newton Algorithm and also given the flavor of Marquardt-Levenberg Algorithm for the Complex Nonlinear Least Squares (CNLS) curve fitting procedure. Major Outcomes: Innovative methods of fabricating nanoscale semiconductor devices have been used in the projects. Multilayered thermoelectric devices and carbon nanotube based field effect transistors have been fabricated and tested. These devices have potential for applications. Advanced numerical Gauss-Newton Algorithm has been used in analyzing admittance data acquired using the HP4192A Impedance Analyzer. The REU participants developed MATLAB codes for Complex Nonlinear Least Squares (CNLS) of the curve-fitting analysis. The Analysis of the Data indicates distinctive behavior between the unbombarded and the ion-bombarded samples via the nature of the semicircular relaxation in the impedance plane. Emphasis was given in the REU project to enhance participants’ technical background. Aspects of nanoscale device behavior and subsequent numerical analysis techniques were discussed and practiced in detail to each REU participant. Each REU participant comprehended the entire activities as evidenced via their written report. Each REU participant exhibited skills in writing via final report. In addition each REU participant also prepared power point presentation for interim progress and final deliveries. One-page professional ABSTRACT writing skill was also developed for every REU participant. These tasks were accomplished via close tutoring-like supervision of each REU participant. Each participant was exposed to ethical conduct and several case studies. Assignments aided in developing understanding ethics situation. Searching literature and surveying papers related to appropriate research was demonstrated. Intellectual Merit: The research problems addressed within the periphery of the ‘nano-scale devices’ will advance the state of the students’ knowledge in nano-education via exposure in nanoscale engineering and science. The participants will fabricate/process nano-scale devices to make advancement in the state-of-the-art nanotechnology. Necessary characterization and evaluation facilities will be exploited for this purpose. These participants will be in touch with the mentors as well as the concerned Graduate students to learn the subject very closely. Since the mentors are conducting globally competitive research at AAMU, the participants will be elevated to the competitive edge of nanotechnology. Broader Impact: This REU provides opportunities for the under-represented minority students at AAMU, a land grant HBCU institution. The enrolled students in this program will be retained by the STEM disciplines. Exposure in the research areas will increase diversity of the Undergraduates toward the Graduate School in a STEM discipline. Students will gain technical abilities necessary to conduct research in nano-devices and nano-composites in conjunction with ethical conduct practiced in the work places throughout the world. These students will become aware of nanoscale education that enhances social horizon in terms of miniaturization of the electronic products.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
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Mary Poats
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Alabama A&M University
United States
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