Senior Mechanical Engineering student
Louisiana Tech University
Expected graduation: 2015
Research experience: graphene, nanotechnology, micro/nanofluidics
Imaging Processes in Liquids with Nanoscale Resolution Using Graphene*
Imaging dynamic processes in their native liquid states in real time at the nanoscale has been a significant challenge in electron microscopy. Observing these processes in real time, particularly biological processes, could provide essential information and insight to structural details. Typically, to capture dynamic events in real time, one must freeze a sample at a specific time during a process and take snapshots at each time. Each static image shows a single stage in the dynamic process and are later merged together to create a dynamic video, much like a flipbook makes a series of pictures appear to be animated when flipped through rapidly. Although this method has been responsible for many advances in fields such as biology, chemistry, materials science, and physics, it still does not guarantee that images are taken at the most significant moments. The nanoaquarium, developed by Joseph Grogan and Haim Bau at UPenn, allows for samples to be observed in their native liquid environments in real time using two silicon nitride membranes sandwiched together. We investigate the effects of using two graphene membranes in the fabrication of the nanoaquarium instead of the silicon nitride membranes to increase imaging resolution and contrast, leading to a better understanding of important dynamical processes.
*Presented as part of theUndergraduate Research at the Nano-Bio Interface Center (http://www.nanotech.upenn.edu/reu.html)
The Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC) at the University of Pennsylvania hosts a 10-week research program designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to work with scientists on the cutting-edge of nanoscale research. NBIC capitalizes on Penn’s recognized strengths in design of molecular function and quantification of individual molecules. NBIC has led interdisciplinary, internationally recognized research around the themes of biomolecular optoelectronic function and molecular motions. Students in the NBIC summer research program work with mentors in NBIC investigators’ laboratories on projects appropriate for the duration of the program. Students gain experience with substantial aspects of doing science: experimental design, data collection and communication of results.