Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Program

Apply now for the Scalable Nanomanufacturing of Complex Materials REU program!

The Scalable Nanomanufacturing of Complex Materials REU program provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to work on next generation materials and devices that will underpin the future of microelectronics research and also participate in a focused professional development and mentoring program. As industry projects the end of Moore’s law in terms of device scaling, “More than Moore” approaches which utilize new materials to enable new functionalities will become increasingly critical. This National Science Foundation funded REU site enables students to work in the field of advanced nanomanufacturing. Building on Penn State expertise in the areas of two-dimensional chalcogenides for applications in next generation electronics as well as integrated piezoelectrics and pyroelectrics, research projects emphasize developing processes and models for deposition and patterning of emerging materials with complex chemistries that change the available palette of functions for semiconductors, sensors, and actuators. While the materials described above are interesting in and of themselves, combinations of these two classes of materials: the 2D chalcogenides and high strain piezoelectrics based on complex oxides should enable low power computation for wearable devices and the Internet of Things, CMOS-compatible actuation voltages for miniaturized medical ultrasound transducers, adjustable optics, self-powered sensors, conformable electronics, and RF electronics. 

During the summer of 2020, the REU program was virtually co-hosted by the Penn State Nanofabrication facility and the 2D Crystal Consortium – Materials Innovation Platform facility. The eleven student cohort meet online every weekday from 10 am to 1 pm for ten weeks with the co-directors of the program. During the afternoons the students participated remotely with their teams or virtually went into our clean room to produce a transistor. Mornings were filled with professional development activities common to most summer programs, plus lectures regarding making a transistor in the clean room, basic materials science (as most of our participants were not materials science majors), and instruction on how to successfully perform their team research project. The team research projects were modeled on the Penn State Department of Materials Science and Engineering PhD candidacy exam, in which cutting edge materials research questions are asked of PhD candidates and they are given three weeks to formulate their answers and recommendations. For our program, the questions were of similar difficulty, but the students worked in a team consisting of three students, a Professor, and a moderator, and had six weeks to work on the question (which grew quickly to several questions, which needed to be triaged and prioritized). The moderators met almost daily with their students to provide guidance while the professors interacted to provide feedback and help reformulate developed questions/areas of inquiry. At the end of the program, teams presented their question, background, prior work, answers to their research question, and recommendations for open questions or future research work that came out of their literature searches and discussions. 

If you would like to join us this summer as part of the second cohort of undergraduate students, please fill out our application form. This program is open to all U.S. citizens or permanent residents and applicants from academic institutions where research programs are limited, female students, students with disabilities, students who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and underrepresented minority students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Summer 2021 Program Dates: June 1 - August 6, 2021

Applications are due March 15, 2021. Completed applications will be reviewed as early as March 1, 2021. Late applications will be considered as space allows.