NSF REU in Interdisciplinary Materials Topics Study and Characterization of Bismuth Selenide (Bi2Se3) William Serrano-García, Department of Physics Applied to Electronics, University of Puerto Rico at Humacao Joon Sue Lee, Anthony Richardella, Dr. Nitin Samarth, Department of Physics, Penn State University Bismuth Selenide has been shown to be a 3D topological “insulator” with novel electronic surface states. This project involves the characterization of Bi2Se3 thin films (grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy) via Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and X‐Ray Diffraction (XRD). The structural characteristics have been characterized with XRD (a non‐destructive analytical technique which reveals information about the crystal structure) to view the diffraction pattern from the layered Se‐Bi‐Se‐Bi‐Se structure of the crystal. This is called a quintuple layer that is ≈1nm. AFM, with a resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, gives an image of the sample roughness due to quintuple layer steps on the surface. We are looking forward to making better samples in the MBE that have lower carrier concentration and high mobility by improving the crystal structure and minimizing the surface roughness. This new material promises new applications in the fields of spintronics and quantum computation. From left to right: Dr. Nitin Samarth and William Serrano working with the AFM used in this project. Chemical Vapor Deposition Growth of High Quality Graphene with Suppressed Multilayers Anna Skinner, Department of Physics, Virginia Tech Junjie Wang and Jun Zhu, Department of Physics, Penn State University Graphene, a two-dimensional allotrope of carbon, displays unique opto-electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties that have great potential for use in electronics, both in industry and research. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) allows for production of larger sheets of graphene than the alternative exfoliation of graphite technique, as the size is only limited by the size of the CVD equipment. For applications in electronics, wafer-scale uniform sheets of monolayer graphene with few defects are needed. Our objective was to find a CVD formula that produces high quality pristine graphene, meaning pristine monolayer graphene with large domain sizes, small to zero defect densities, and less than 5% multilayer coverage. Over the course of the summer, I successfully grew graphene in a newly set up CVD furnace system and was able to transfer graphene sheets from the copper substrate on which they were grown to Si/SiO2 wafers. I used Raman spectroscopy to determine the quality of graphene, both before and after transfer. SEM enabled me to determine the percent of multilayer coverage. My summer REU at Penn State provided me with excellent research experience and hands-on lab skills, as well as opportunities to improve my presentation skills. I was able to apply skills I have learned in classes and greatly expand upon my knowledge of condensed matter physics and laboratory procedures and techniques. Fabrication of Effective SERS Substrates for Diagnostic Testing Brycen D. Kryzer, Department of Physics and Mathematics, St. Olaf College Dr. Shikuan Yang, Dr. Tony J. Huang, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mechanics, Penn State University Trace detections of chemical and biological species are critical in various fields involving diagnostics, drug smuggling, antiterrorism, and environmental pollution monitoring. Simple techniques that can synthesize sensitive and reliable trace detections at a low cost are highly desired. Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS), which dates back to the 1970s, has grown as one of the candidates in analytic and diagnostics applications because of its specificity and high sensitivity (single molecule probing). The major obstacle that hinders the SERS technique as a viable commercial product is SERS substrate design and its cost. Our research implements a simple wet chemical method for the fabrication silver octahedra as SERS substrates in a microfluidic channel. We have achieved preliminary results using the organic tracer dye Rhodamine 6g. In this study we found the SERS enhancement to be quite significant. I was responsible for the fabrication of the microfluidic channel as well as attaching the sliver octahedra to the surface. This presented unique challenges because the SERS substrate is so sensitive to the surface conditions. This remains the primary goal of this research: finding cost effective methods for fabrication of SERS/microfluidic platforms for diagnostic testing. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and look plan on continuing research at the graduate level. Enzyme-powered micropumps Jessica Soto, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Samudra Sengupta, Ayuman Sen, Department of Chemistry, Penn State University An enzyme that moves by generating a continuous surface force in a fluid should, when fixed in place, function as a micropump. In this work we fabricated four different enzyme‐powered pumps by immobilizing enzymes on a gold surface patterned on a PEG‐coated glass surface. The patterned surface was functionalized with a quaternary ammonium thiol, which forms a self‐assembled monolayer (SAM) on the Au surface in which the enzyme binds selectively. Fluid flow after substrate addition was monitored by functionalized polystyrene microspheres as tracers using an optical microscope. This project will have many applications in the future, such as drug delivery, self‐assembly of superstructures, roving sensors among others. Besides the applications of this project to the world of science, it will have an impact in my future development, because I will be learning how to use important techniques, that can be useful for my future plans to obtain a Ph.D. Micropatterning of Conducting Polymer by Agarose Stamping and Electrodeposition Samantha R. Corber1,2 1Department of Chemistry, 2Department of Physics, Washburn University Kelly N. Layton3, Erin Richards3, Prof. Mohammad Reza Abidian3,4,5 3Department of Bioengineering, 4Department of Chemical Engineering, 5Department of Material Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University Organic conducting polymers (CP) such as poly(pyrrole) (PPy) are of particular interest in neural engineering due to their semiconductor-like electrical properties, polymeric mechanical properties, and biocompatibility. Further, these polymers have the capability to act as tunable drug delivery systems to neural tissue by incorporation of a drug during electrodeposition of the polymer on a conductive substrate and release by actuation of the drug-loaded film. Recently, new methods have been developed to micropattern CP on a substrate using a two-step process that consists of complete coverage of the substrate with the CP followed by selective oxidation of the polymer to limit the area capable of conducting a current. Because these methods limit the applications to those only needing a single type of polymer, dopant and drug, the aim of this project is to develop and characterize a simple one-step method of electropolymerization using patterned agarose stamping. During my project this summer, I began characterizing this method by impedance spectroscopy, optical imaging and Scanning Electron Microscopy. I was able to experience applied materials research first hand at a large university. This project not only helped me decide that this is the field of science I wish to pursue, but also gave me experience that will be invaluable in my future career. Highly Accelerated Lifetime Testing (HALT) and Reliability Analysis of Niobium Doped Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) Thin Films Casey Newell, Department of Physics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Lauren Garten, Dr. Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University The lifetime and reliability of piezoelectric thin films is critical to developing a wide variety of piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), such as: actuators, sensors, and millimeter size robotics. The purpose of this study was to understand the factors affecting reliability of 1% by mole niobium doped lead zirconate titanate Pb(Zr,Ti)O3 (PZT) thin films. To determine reliability, the thin films were subjected to a highly accelerated lifetime test (HALT) which consists of applying voltage, beyond what the material would see in application, across the film under increased temperatures, and measuring leakage current as a function of time. Failure of the films occurs when the leakage current increases to a point that is set based on the specific application. The time to failure is then used to determine the electric field and temperature dependence of the degradation in the material. By fitting this data to known conduction models the likely carrier type, and the conduction and failure mechanisms can be extracted. My role in the project was to prepare the PZT samples, do electrical characterization, run the HALT, and perform data analysis. The research project this summer gave me a breadth of experience. Working in materials science, a field I had never even considered, exposed to me to a combination of physics and chemistry that I was previously unaware of. Overall this project was a positive learning experience that will help me achieve my future goals. MOKE Imaging of Magnetic Domains in Thin Multilayer Pt/Co Films Kerry Ryan1, Robbie Fraleigh2 and Nitin Samarth2 1Department of Physics, The College of New Jersey; 2Department of Physics, Penn State University Understanding magnetic domain switching behavior is essential for applications in nanomagnetic logic and memory devices. Magneto‐optical Kerr effect (MOKE) reflectometry is a well‐known noninvasive technique to observe the magnetic switching behavior with resolution restricted to the length scale of the beam spot size. With the addition of a CCD camera and objective lens to the experimental setup, our study extended MOKE reflectometry to an imaging setup that spatio‐temporally resolved the dynamic behavior of magnetic domains in thin multilayer films. By interfacing the MOKE setup with LabView , we investigated the effects of changing the polarization angle, electronic manipulation of images, and averaging of images to produce sharp, clear images of domain structures. We also analyzed the relationship between ramp rate and coercive field. As my first research experience, this project was extremely beneficial to me. I learned new research techniques and programming languages. Most importantly, I realized I enjoy working in a laboratory environment and would be interested Domains in a thin multilayer Pt/Co film in doing so in the future. Synthesis of Superconducting-Ferromagnetic Segmented Sn/Co/Sn Nanowires Jaylissa Torres Robles, Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico-Cayey Dr. Weiwei Zhao, Dr Meenakshi Singh, Dr. Moses Hung-Wai Chan, Department of Physics, Penn State University Many types of nanowires have been synthesized to study basic science in low-dimensional systems. Earlier experiments on electrodeposited ferromagnetic Co and Ni nanowires have shown an unexpectedly induced long range superconducting proximity effect on a ferromagnet. The goal of this project is to synthesize and characterize segmented superconducting/ferromagnetic (S/F) nanowires to see if the long range proximity effect persists in these geometry. In this project I grew segmented superconducting- ferromagnetic nanowires. I used a technique named template based electrodeposition to grow the nanowires using ther electrolyte salts. The structure and morphology of the nanowires was studied using transmission electron microscopy. Electrical transport measurements will be made on these nanowires to attempt to see the long range proximity effect. The electrical transport results will shed light on the role of the interface in the long range proximity effect in ferromagnetic nanowires. This Project has given me the real perspective of being a researcher and scientist. It is also been an opportunity to discover new topics that I may be interested in to continue on grad school. Synthesis and Characterization of Boron‐Doped Carbon Nanotube Sponges Platte Gruber, Department of Physics, Nebraska Wesleyan University Lakshmy Pulickal Rajukumar, Dr. Ana Laura Elías, Prof. Mauricio Terrones, Department of Physics, Penn State University Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) provide a foundation upon which new, unique materials are able to be developed. CNT sponges consist of tridimensional structures that are highly porous (360 m2/g), light weight (10‐30 mg/cm3), hydrophobic and oleophilic. These sponges have particularly interesting application potentials in oil spill cleanup and as polymer additives. For their synthesis, an aerosol‐assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (AA‐CVD) method was used, in which a hydrocarbon, iron catalyst and a boron source in solution is vaporized and directed inside a quartz tube located in a furnace operating at high temperatures (800‐900 °C). Here, we sought to optimize and improve upon this process of synthesizing boron‐doped multi‐walled CNT (CBx MWNTs) sponges. My research this summer focused on the development of a novel material rooted in the new morphologies of carbon, in this case carbon nanotubes. The opportunity to work with and learn from such an accomplished group this summer afforded me an invaluable experience. It took me beyond the classroom, and has had a profound impact on me as student and developing scientist. Electron transport under soft confinement in organic semiconductor mixtures Omar Padilla Vélez, Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico - Cayey Enrique D. Gomez, Department of Chemical Engeneering, Penn State University Organic semiconductors have the potential of being used in the development of new flexible electronics at a lower cost than conventional transistors. One drawback of organic materials, however, is the low electron mobility when compared to silicon-based devices. In an effort to enhance our understanding of the basic processes which govern transport in organic materials, this project is focused on measuring charge transport through mixtures of organic semiconductors. In particular, I studied electron transport under soft confinement in mixtures of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and phenylC60-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). By fabricating and testing organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) I obtained estimates of the charge mobility and my results suggested that transport is confined to two dimensions following the concepts of percolation theory. This project has given me the overall experience of graduate research and helped me develop my skills as a future scientist. Transparent Schottky Barriers for Light Emitting Diodes Morgen Patterson, Department of Physics, Mount Holyoke College Michael Abraham, Won Choi, Dr. Suzanne Mohney, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University White light emitting diodes (LEDs) have enormous potential to become the next source of general illumination. By utilizing Schottky barriers we would also have the added advantage of fast switching. Fast switching times would allow these LEDs to be used for wireless transmission, in addition to general illumination. This study was conducted to create an optimized Schottky contact, between n-GaN and Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), by increasing the Schottky barrier height for a better performance LED, while still retaining the ITO’s transparent properties. This summer, I created a number of samples using an e-beam evaporation system. I tested these samples for their current-voltage (I-V) relations and used this data to determine the ideality factor and barrier height. To improve the as-deposited samples, I tried annealing and adding and interfacial Ni layer. All of these methods showed varying levels of success, giving this project the potential to move forward into actual LED creation. This project has been very beneficial to my understanding of electromagnetic properties and vastly increased my research abilities. I can now confidently say that I will be following a career to physics research and move forward with research at school with more confidence and skill. Low Temperature Elastic and Piezoelectric Properties of Lithium Niobate Kellan Euerle, Department of Physics, Gustavus Adolphus College Dr. J. D. Maynard, Department of Physics, Penn State University Professor J.D. Maynard is working on compiling full temperature range material property data on a selection of engineering materials. This data will go into a computer program which would expedite the selection process of materials being used to create energy recycling devices. This study was conducted to measure the elastic and piezoelectric properties of LiNbO3 at a range from room temperature to liquid helium temperature. The elastic properties of LiNbO3 are measured using RUS (resonant ultrasound spectroscopy). In this method, one measures the natural frequencies of vibration for a sample’s normal modes. By processing these frequencies with the shape and mass of the sample in a computer, it is possible to determine all of the elastic constants of a material. Due to the piezoelectric properties of LiNbO3, the effects of piezoelectric‐elastic coupling must be included in these calculations. A RUS apparatus was constructed and was proven to function at room temperature. The apparatus was then fitted to a low temperature set‐up. Frequencies for the LiNbO3 sample’s normal modes were successfully recorded at temperatures down to liquid nitrogen temperature levels. I worked specifically on designing and building the RUS apparatus. I also tested and made adjustments to the apparatus in order so that it functioned properly. Once the apparatus was functioning, I ran trials at a range of temperatures for a Lithium Niobate sample, and recorded its resonant frequencies. This research gave me the opportunity to gain a great deal of experience in the lab and working with a professor, which I would not have had coming from a small liberal arts school. It also exposed me to many areas of research and interesting projects which will aid me in making a decision about the kind of research I want to go into. Oxidation of Bismuth Selenide Thin Films Malia L. Kawamura1, Joseph E. Brom2 and Dr. Joan M. Redwing2,3 1Department of Physics and Mathematics, Colby College; 2Department of Materials Science, Penn State University; 3Materials Research Institute, Penn State University Bi2Se3 displays characteristics of a topological insulator (TI) with a relatively large band gap (0.3 eV) compared to other TI materials. To study the protected surface states of Bi2Se3 high quality crystals with low carrier concentrations are required so the surface states can be studied independently of bulk conductivity. Bi2Se3 is important for future applications in electronic devices, quantum computing, spintronics, optics, along with other possibilities. I performed Hall Effect system measurements on Bi2Se3 thin films grown on (001) Al2O3 by the hybrid physical chemical vapor deposition (HPCVD) technique. I studied the changes in electrical properties as functions of time and different ambient environments (air, H2O, N2) to determine the mechanism responsible for the degradation of electrical properties. Additionally, I investigated whether annealing in a Se-rich environment could reverse the loss of quality by filling Se vacancies. I gained direct experience working in a laboratory, conducting research, and participating as a member of a research group. I now have a much more comprehensive idea what graduate school is like and the breadth of interesting interdisciplinary research projects. Ferroelectric Polarization Switching in a Multiferroic Tunnel Junction Joseph H. Kwasizur, Department of Physics, Lafayette College Gregory J. Harkay, Dr. Qi Li, Department of Physics, Penn State University Multiferroic tunnel junctions are thin films consisting of two ferromagnetic (FM) conducting layers with a thin ferroelectric (FE) insulating layer in between. Such a junction has four possible resistance states, two from the relative FM polarization of the conductors and two from the FE polarization of the insulator. Multiferroics have potential applications in computing because of these multiple resistances. The purpose of this project was to study the two resistance states of the insulator in a junction made of FM LaSrMnO3 (LSMO) and FE BaTiO3 (BTO). This project required me to use a closed‐cycle helium cryostat to cool the samples to around 4 K, the temperature at which the measurements of the BTO layer were taken. In addition, my mentor and I used pulsed laser deposition and sputter deposition to fabricate the samples. Participation in this project has given me invaluable experience with various measurement and sample testing techniques, as well as the confidence to carry out experiments on my own. The research methods that I have learned can be applied to other areas of study, especially in solid state physics. Adsorption of Hydrophobic Anions into Polymer‐Intercalated Fluoromica: Understanding the Mechanism of Anion Exchange Matthew A. Koc, Department of Chemistry, Westminster College, Salt Lake City Camden N. Henderson and Thomas E. Mallouk , Department of Chemistry, Penn State University Anionic contaminates such as perchlorate and chromate are toxic at low concentrations and may be contaminating drinking water sources. The cationic polymer‐intercalated clays synthesized in this lab have the potential to detoxify water sources, however they are not well understood on a fundamental level. These studies will aid in the design of better materials for adsorption and subsequent release of environmentally hazardous anions. I synthesized the anion‐exchanging clays with various amine polymers and investigated how the structure and energetics of the polymer/clay composite affected the binding of perchlorate. I characterized the composites with X‐ray powder diffraction, ion chromatography, and solution calorimetry. This summer I learned several different laboratory techniques and learned to operate the various instruments. Perhaps the most important thing I learned was that I want to be involved in a similar type of research when I go to graduate school. REU Topics from Penn State Students Characterizing Correlated Noise in IceCube Nick Stanisha, Department of Physics, Penn State University Jason Koskinen, Dr. Tyce DeYoung, Department of Physics, Penn State University Currently, research at a 300-million-dollar neutrino telescope known as IceCube is being impeded by the presence of a strange noise. This project is designed to eliminate the noise as soon as possible so that research of low-energy neutrinos can continue. Currently we are working on a suitable simulation for this noise. This simulation will help us confirm one of the hypotheses we have that attempt to explain the observed noise. The projects I'm working on now will eventually be used to eliminate this noise from all future experiments. Event Reconstruction in a Large Volume Atmospheric Neutrino Detector Ryan Eagan, Dept. of Physics, Penn State University Tyce DeYoung, Department of Physics, Penn State University The IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory collaboration has begun R&D on a new upgrade for IceCube, named the Precision IceCube Next Generation Upgrade, or PINGU for short. PINGU will ideally extend the energy threshold of IceCube from 10 GeV down to a few GeV, providing greater resolution for neutrino oscillation studies. To be able to perform neutrino physics with PINGU, the first step is to transform the raw signal data from the detector’s hardware back into an event described by physical quantities such as energy, position, speed, etc. This process is called event reconstruction. A very widely used method of event reconstruction throughout the experimental particle physics community is the maximum likelihood method, also the method used in our reconstruction software Hybrid‐reco. The main focus for part one of my project will be to analyze Hybrid‐reco to find opportunities for improving overall performance and efficiency. Optimization of the quality of the reconstructions performed by Hybrid‐reco will be achieved through exploring alternative numerical minimization and first guess algorithms. The improved performance of Hybrid‐reco will in turn provide a means to compile a large sample of event reconstructions from the PINGU simulations. Varying the parameters of both the simulations and reconstructions provides valuable insight regarding the design of PINGU, including key factors such as geometric configuration of the optical sensors within the ice and necessary timing resolution of the optical sensor’s electronics. The effect of time transformation on quantum evolution He Jiang, Department of Physics, Penn State University Prof. Martin BojowaldDepartment of Physics, Penn State University Loop quantum gravity and cosmology are crucial on the process of finding agreement of quantum mechanics and quantum relativity. There are two tasks in general: to read through references on quantum gravity and cosmology, and learn the significant methods mentioned through those readings; and try to apply those methods together with equations to harmonic cosmology where time is not fixed and exists no Hamiltonian, and thus be able to get some new equations in the end. This experience I have gained through this summer project will provide me a good example about how theoretical physics work can be done in a researching environment. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to learn significant things before applying a graduate program related to quantum cosmology. In conclusion, this experience taught me a lot in advance and give me guide to the future path. Analysis of Field Inhomogeneity and Geometric Distortion in 3T MRI David Little, M. Wasil Wahi-Anwar and Dr. Susan K. Lemieux Department of Physics, Penn State University; Department of Physics, Penn State University; Social, Life & Engineering Sciences Imaging Center, Penn State University One problem that affects MRI is geometrical image distortion. The objective of our research was to compare the accuracy and precision of three methods of field inhomogeneity measurement: the Spectral Peak method, the Delta Phi method and the Bandwidth Difference method. Spectra and images were obtained of a newly designed phantom modeled after the ACR phantom. These measurements were applied to the phantom data to determine how accurate they could be if applied to human brain data. This was my first time being able to truly work in collaboration with other students in an actual research “group”. It was a very eye opening experience as well as a refreshing contrast from the stereotypical idea that “scientists work in labs by themselves all day”. I know I’ve taken a lot away from this program as a whole and I can see now that doing scientific research is indeed a team effort. hBN/Graphene/hBN Dual Local Gates Structure Fabrication DJ Seiwell Jing Li, Jun Zhu, Department of Physics, Penn State University Using a previously developed technique for the transfer of graphene to other substrates, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN)‐graphene stacks are being constructed to study the transport properties of such devices as p‐i‐n junctions. These devices will provide a window to the viability of using graphene transistors for the next generation of electronics. My role in completing the project was the fabrication of the devices. While the devices were not completed, many problems were overcome that will allow for the completion of them in the future. t‐G t‐hBN b‐hBN b‐G quartz G N D D C The goal of this project is to acquire a deeper understanding of the electron‐electron interactions in bilayer graphene. It introduced me to many of the other projects that are being conducted allowing me a better grasp of what I would like to be doing in graduate school and beyond. I also helped expand my problem solving and critical thinking skills as well. Superconducting Proximity Effect in Magnetically Doped Topological Insulators David A. Hopper, Thomas C. Flanagan, Duming Zhang, Professor Nitin Samarth Department of Physics, Penn State University Interfacing topological insulators and superconductors has been predicted to create Majorana fermions, quasiparticles that could be used to build a condensed matter quantum computer. Recent research on the superconducting proximity effect has been completed only on topological insulators such as Bi2Se3. We wanted to explore the phenomena in a slightly different material such as Mn doped Bi2Te3. Our goal was to systematically study a magnetically doped topological insulator through magneto‐ electric transport measurements. I studied both a Mn doped and undoped Bi2Te3 sample by connecting Indium superconducting contacts to the thin films and then cooling the samples down in a He‐3 cryostat. From there I took Resistance vs Temperature measurements, I‐V curves and Resistance vs Magnetic field measurements. Our results did not show the proximity effect in the Mn doped sample, in fact the opposite was observed; an increase in resistance at the Tc . This project has been a great opportunity for me because it gave me exposure to working as a graduate student in a university laboratory as well as solidify my interest in the field of Condensed Matter Physics. Determining Time-Dependent Proportionality Constants for Data Obtained by the Forward Meson Spectrometer Daniel Marshall, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University Prof. Steven F. Heppelmann, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University My project involves the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Lab (BNL). Specifically, I am running computer programs on data collected by the Forward Meson Spectrometer (FMS). The FMS is composed of an array of cells that detect high‐energy photons. Ultimately, the electronics of each cell produces a certain numerical value for each photon it detects. There is a time‐dependent proportionality constant that relates the numerical value produced by the electronics and the energy of the detected photon. To help determine this time‐dependent proportionality constant, each cell receives a uniform pulse of light from an LED every second. I analyzed the resulting signals produced by the cells as a result of these LED flashes to determine the calibration coefficients. Completing this project taught me how to use computers in a research environment. I learned how to interact with files and data by using terminals (with tcsh) on Linux based operating systems. I also became fluent in C++ and its applications in ROOT (a program developed by CERN and used by almost all particle physicists). Determining Time-Dependent Proportionality Constants for Data Obtained by the Forward Meson Spectrometer Daniel Marshall, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University Prof. Steven F. Heppelmann, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University My project involves the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Lab (BNL). Specifically, I am running computer programs on data collected by the Forward Meson Spectrometer (FMS). The FMS is composed of an array of cells that detect high‐energy photons. Ultimately, the electronics of each cell produces a certain numerical value for each photon it detects. There is a time‐dependent proportionality constant that relates the numerical value produced by the electronics and the energy of the detected photon. To help determine this time‐dependent proportionality constant, each cell receives a uniform pulse of light from an LED every second. I analyzed the resulting signals produced by the cells as a result of these LED flashes to determine the calibration coefficients. Completing this project taught me how to use computers in a research environment. I learned how to interact with files and data by using terminals (with tcsh) on Linux based operating systems. I also became fluent in C++ and its applications in ROOT (a program developed by CERN and used by almost all particle physicists). One Dimensional Behavior of Superfluid Helium Samhita Banavar, Department of Physics, Penn State University Dr. Duk Young Kim, Prof. Moses Chan, Department of Physics, Penn State University The experiment studies the behavior of helium flow in a pseudo 1-d geometry. Theorists believe that in a strictly one-dimensional system, there ought to be no superfluidity. The flow of liquid helium through a glass fiber at temperatures below 4 K is measured with a quartz crystal microbalance and a mass spectrometer. The experiment probes the fundamentals of physics. I had the opportunity of seeing this project develop from the beginning. I therefore learned how to design an experiment and critically think about how to reach a goal. I built cells to house the fiber and microbalance and installed it on the cryostat. I then helped run the experiment and analyze the data. The experiment is especially exciting because it is novel and builds on but goes beyond material from class. Nitrogen‐Doped Carbon Nanotubes and their Application in Liquid Fuel Aaron Long, Néstor Perea‐López, Ana Laura Elías, Florentino López‐Urías and Mauricio Terrones Department of Physics, Penn State University Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) possess outstanding physico-chemical properties with a wide range of potential applications in various technological areas. This research project sought to explore the use of Nitrogen-doped MWNTs as catalysts in liquid fuel generation. This summer, I synthesized and characterized CNx MWNTs. Furthermore, I performed calculations related to the electrical properties of nanotubes in the theoretical framework of density functional Prof. H. Terrones, Aaron Long, Prof. F. López‐Urías theory. I used aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition to synthesize the nanotubes. Characterization techniques included scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Theoretical work was performed in a Mac OSX environment with Quantum ESPRESSO. Any future research I do will be greatly aided by my familiarity with these experimental techniques. Additionally, the introduction to ab initio theoretical calculations will be particularly helpful, as I had no prior experience with these kinds of calculations and they were something I really enjoyed doing. Loop Quantum Gravity and Cosmology: Dynamical Exploration Zhiyan Wang, Department of Physics, Penn State University Martin Bojowald, Department of Physics, Penn State University In the case of harmonic cosmology of discrete dynamics, the simulation of harmonic oscillator could be applied from quantum mechanics to cosmology. I am trying to find the corresponding features of harmonic oscillator in cosmology as much as possible, and solve for the wave functions of coherent states in cosmology. I simulate the traditional methods used in quantum mechanics to find the characteristics of harmonic oscillators, applying them to the case of cosmology and solve differential equations with minimum uncertainty for the wave functions. Through my summer project, I studied loop quantum gravity and cosmology, one of the most potential candidates for the unified theory, and worked with Professor Marin Bojowald to understand his work on loop quantum cosmology. Simulation of the CREAM Boronated Scintillator Detector using GEANT4 Suk Yee Yong Tyler Anderson, Matthew Geske, and Dr. Stéphane Coutu Department of Physics, Penn State University The Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (CREAM) project provides key information in understanding cosmic ray acceleration and propagation. In order to study the cosmic-ray electrons via their neutron signals in CREAM’s calorimeter, the properties of a new instrument that will be used in CREAM, the boronated scintillator detector (BSD) are analyzed. Using a toolkit called GEANT4, I built a simulation of the current BSD prototype calibrated with Californium-252 neutron source. The results obtained were compared to understand the effect of the BSD enclosure on calibration signal. This project has enabled me to acquire new experiences working as a computational researcher and thus stimulates my interest in this field. Cosmic Ray Air Shower Detection Ryan Chesakis, Department of Physics, Penn State University Dr. Paul Sommers, Department of Physics, Penn State University Cosmic rays are extremely high‐energy particles from space. When they interact with the atmosphere, they produce an air shower cascade of more particles. One goal of this project was to find a cost‐effective way of producing air shower detectors, allowing the creation of large arrays to gather data and help us better understand cosmic rays. The two main types of detectors we used are scintillator paddles and water Cherenkov detectors. I constructed additional scintillator paddles and tested photomultiplier tubes used to detect the light produced when a charged particle passes through the scintillator. This summer project has given me valuable experience as a researcher.