Finalists announced for undergraduate nanoscience and nanoengineering competition

Author: Heidi Deethart



The Center for Nano Science and Technology at the University of Notre Dame today announced the finalists for the fifth annual NDConnect undergraduate nanotechnology research competition.

The 14 finalists are:

Sara Boukdad, who is a senior in environmental engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Sara’s project, advised by Prof. Peter C. Burns, is “Solubility of uranyl phosphates in nanocluster forming environments.”

Elizabeth Dresselhaus, a junior studying physics at the University of Pennsylvania. The title of her project is “Trap state measurement in quantum dot photovoltaic cells.” Prof. Cherie R. Kagan is Elizabeth’s adviser.

Emily Eikey, a senior at Allegheny College studying chemistry. Her project is “Determining the apparent equilibrium dissociation constant between DOIDA and Cu (II),” which she completed at Pennsylvania State University under the advisement of Prof. Paul Cremer.

Mark Hartwig, a chemistry major in his senior year at the University of Michigan. His project, advised by Prof. Kerri Pratt, is “The effect of changing sea ice features on arctic snow composition.”

David Heydari, who is a senior studying electrical engineering at Northwestern University. David’s project is “High-power quantum cascade lasers with angled cavities.” He is advised by Prof. Manijeh Razeghi.

Trey Lee, a senior in materials science at the University of Virginia. His project is “Characterization and optimization of 2D transitional metal dichalcogenides synthesized by atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition,” and his adviser is Prof. Petra Reinke.

Monica Ohnsorg, who is a senior studying chemistry at Hope College. Her project is “Understanding fundamental metal-organic thin film growth to further integration into applied devices." Prof. Mary Anderson his Monica’s adviser.

Aleksander Piasecki, a junior in chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Alek’s project is “The effect of ionic solution composition and concentration on the stability of titanium dioxide nanoparticles.” He is advised by Prof. Mark Wiesner of Duke University.

Joana Sipe, a senior in chemical engineering at Arizona State University. Joana is advised by Prof. Paul Westerhoff and Prof. Pierre Herckes. The title of her project is “Synthesis and lifecycle analysis of layer-by-layer silver nanoparticle coated fabrics.”

Jiechen Wang, a senior in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois. Jiechen’s project is “Kirigami-inspired, 3D assembly of silicon nanomembranes by compressive buckling.” She is advised by Prof. John A. Rogers.

Thomas Werkmeister, a junior in engineering physics at the University of Pittsburgh. Thomas is advised by Prof. Paul Leu, and his project is “Fabrication of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) atomic layers via chemical vapor deposition.”

Ethiyal Raj Wilson, a junior electrical engineering major at the University of Nebraska. His project is “Boron carbide for neutron voltaics in deep space missions and other applications.” His adviser is Prof. Peter Dowben.

Jacob Wisser, who is a senior majoring in physics at Pennsylvania State University. His project, advised by Prof. Nitin Samarth, is “Electric and thermoelectric transport in Bi2Te3/Sb2Te3 short-period superlattices.”

Yi Zhang, a senior studying materials science and engineering at the University of Wisconsin. His project is “Direct and reliable CVD/PVD synthesis of WSe2, and heterostructure nanoplates." Yi’s advisor is Prof. Song Jin.

The finalists were selected from applicants who submitted research proposals in the spring, followed by a report in August to recap their research and findings. Finalists will be provided travel support to Notre Dame for the event on October 23 and compete for first-, second-, and third-place prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

“We are thrilled that NDConnect has become one of the premier undergraduate nanoscience research competitions in the U.S.,” said Dr. David Balkin, managing director, Notre Dame Center for Nano Science & Technology. “This year our outstanding finalists will be representing more than a dozen of the best research universities in the country.”

Sponsors for NDConnect are Altera, Coherent, HRL Laboratories, International Rectifier, MicroLink Devices, Murata, Ocean Optics, Olympus, Raytheon, Serim Research, Texas Instruments, and ThorLabs. Representatives from some of these companies will serve as judges for the event.

Originally published by Heidi Deethart at on October 07, 2015.