National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

Serving Nanoscale Science, Engineering & Technology

NNIN REU Final Report Instructions

Official Rules for Your NNIN REU Final Report




Please follow these rules explicitly!


To complete the NNIN REU Program, each intern must submit a two-page report of their research. These reports will be published in a nice bound volume, the NNIN REU Research Accomplishments.


Your Principal Investigator* MUST approve your report before you submit it, so try to hand them a first draft before you even leave your REU site. Then the two of you have time to make corrections, etc., before the deadline.


When you submit your report, also forward or include the email you received from your Principal Investigator (PI), approving your report for submission. Send your FINAL REPORT to your PI, REU Site Coordinator, AND Melanie-Claire by the deadline! ALL THREE OF US! Even though you have already sent it to your PI, send it again to ALL THREE of US! If you are in the iREG or iREU program, send your final report to your PI, Lynn Rathbun, and Melanie-Claire.


Melanie-Claire must have proof that the report she received is the same report that your PI and site coordinator received, so please email all three people, by Wednesday, September 2nd!


NOTE #1: As you read over the following, keep in mind -- the American Chemical Society requires authors to read a 448-page document before even submitting an article! So our instructions and requirements are pretty tame in comparison.


NOTE #2: Please understand, in no way is the NNIN REU Research Accomplishments considered a refereed or peer-reviewed journal, so reports are NOT considered “pre-published” results. If you and your PI intend to submit an article to a REAL journal, our research accomplishments and web site will not prohibit you from doing so!  (And… if you do submit your research to a journal, please let us know if it is accepted.)


NOTE #3: AFM images, SEM images, etc., must be taken at the highest resolution possible!  You can always reduce an image’s size, but once created, pixels cannot be added!  Also, graphs must be created with large bold lines that have identifiers and text must be bold.


NOTE #4: Please read and follow these instructions carefully. The maximums really are the maximum. Use your "Word Count" tool! And look at last year's book to see how the rules work. Note that each report is two pages long, the columns are typically ~ 3 ½ inches wide and the text is typically 10 point Times. Your figures must be legible at ONLY 3 ½ inches wide — print them out and check! (But, please do not submit your report with the text in columns or formatted like last year's reports!)


NOTE #5: As noted in the NNIN REU Intern Expectations, sit down with your mentor and/or PI through-out the program to set an outline for your report. They will know what you can leave out and what you need to put in, in order to submit an accurate and compelling report of your research. For instance, most everyone has to spin resist, pattern it and get rid of it, so do not spend a lot of time and words explaining the exact process — cover all that in a sentence or two. Instead tell us how the device worked — or didn't, as the case may be. That is what makes your research unique and interesting.


Your principal investigator may request a more in-depth report, something MUCH longer than the report the NNIN is requesting, or you yourself may want to write a more detailed report. These options are fine, but are not to be confused with this request for an NNIN REU report!


by Melanie-Claire Mallison



!!! THERE IS A 1000-WORD MAXIMUM !!! (The word count does NOT include the summary report info, but DOES include everything else -- abstract, references, captions.)

!!! THERE IS A FOUR-GRAPHICS MAXIMUM !!! (The term "graphic" includes photos, graphs, tables, and equations/formulas.)

PUT YOUR LAST NAME FIRST IN ALL EMAIL SUBJECT LINES, i.e. "Yourlastname / Final REU Report" or just paste in the name of your document, YourlastnameYourREUsite.pdf

You’ll have the option to request a PDF file of your formatted report, to ensure that I caught all sub/super script, symbols, etc.

I will mail the NNIN REU Research Accomplishments to you at your home street address in late November or early December. If your home address has changed since you applied at the beginning of the year, please be sure to include your new and complete home address when you submit your report.


Please stick to the 1000-word, FOUR graphic maximums. If you are over and can't figure out what to cut, ask your mentor for assistance — combining the abstract and introduction can save you hundreds of words, for instance. (BTW: The abstract in your report does not have to be the same abstract from your convocation presentation.)




ASU = Arizona State University                                       UCO = University of Colorado Boulder

CNF = Cornell University                                                 UMI = University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

GIT = Georgia Institute of Technology                             UMN = University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

HAR = Harvard University                                               UTX = The University of Texas at Austin

HOW = Howard University                                               UWA = University of Washington

PSU = The Pennsylvania State University                      WUS = Washington University in St. Louis

SNF = Stanford University                                               iREG or iREU; Use Those Four Letters!

UCA = University of California, Santa Barbara





Send your 1000-word WRITTEN REPORT as a PDF file named "LastnameREUsite.pdf" i.e., MallisonCNF.pdf. Sending a PDF file means that your italicized words, symbols, and sub/super scripts remain intact. If you cannot create a PDF, send the report as a properly named Word file (.doc or .docx) and be sure to accept all edits before you send it.  Send your FIGURES in a POWERPOINT file named "LastnameREUsite_Figures.ppt" i.e., MallisonCNF_Figures.ppt. NOTE: Figure captions must be included at the end of your written report, not in the PPT!





Please, NO ABBREVIATIONS in the summary info. Please spell out Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, etc. It only takes you a moment to do this, but it takes me HOURS to correct if you don't! So take pity on me, and spell things out. Thank you!


Please do not combine or forget any of these items! For instance, email addresses must be listed separately as requested. As I say above, it only takes you moments to write seven separate lines of information -- it takes me HOURS to separate them all out, if you don't.


1. NNIN REU Report Title:
 (Note that this may be different from your original PROJECT title)

2. NNIN REU Intern, Major, Home Institution:

3. NNIN REU Principal Investigator(s), Dept, Institution:
 (Full Name, i.e. "Katherine" not "Kate")
 (Please note that many PIs appreciate the use of their professional title, i.e., Prof. or Dr.)

4. NNIN REU Mentor(s) Dept, Institution:
 (Full Name, i.e. "Robert" not "Bob")
 (Again, many mentors appreciate the use of their professional title, i.e., Prof. or Dr.)

5. Email Addresses for Intern, Principal Investigator, & Mentor:
 (In that order please, and enter actual email addresses; @ symbol not "at" etc.!)

 (Excluding summary info and including abstract, references, captions)

7. Report Category [please choose only ONE and delete the rest]:

a. Biological Applications

b. Chemistry

d. Electronics

e. Materials

f. Mechanical Devices

g. Optics & Opto-Electronics

h. Physics & Nanostructure Physics

i. Process & Characterization


IMPORTANT! If your mentor is a previous NNIN (or NNUN) intern, please list their year and internship site after their name -- i.e., Melanie-Claire Mallison (1997 NNUN REU at Cornell).





Abstract:, Introduction:, Experimental Procedure:, Results and Conclusions:, Future Work:, Acknowledgments:, References: (No footnotes please, only references!!)





Obviously, if your report ends up to be 1005 words, just send it. Don't try to figure out which five words to cut.



IMPORTANT NOTES ON YOUR TEXT CHOICES – A selection of proper writing styles:


A. NO abbreviations the first time! Spell out scanning electron microscopy (SEM), gallium nitride (GaN), deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), etc., the first time you use them. Then use the acronyms for the rest of the report. This is especially important when you are writing about a little-known process. I mean, even I rarely spell out nanometer, since "nm" is everywhere! But not everyone is going to know what GRIN stands for or NSSP. So spell out gradient refractive index (GRIN) or nanostructured semipolar (NSSP) and then your audience stays with you!


B. All research is a team effort, so it is inappropriate to say "I" "my" in your report — except perhaps in your acknowledgments. (I will change "I" "my" to “we” “our”)


C. Since you are reporting on research that has been completed, the report must be in the past tense — was and were — except if you have a "Future Work" section, of course.


D. For your written report, "@" is not a word — "at" is a word! "&" is not a word — "and" is a word! No IM or twitter abbreviations either! LOL!!


E. "Utilize" is grossly over-utilized and it is really alright to use "use" or break out of the pack and use "employ"!! "We employed photolithography methods to..."


F. "A" and "the" and commas are your friends, and do not need to be left out. If an "a" or "the" puts you over the 1000 word limit, throw caution to the wind and include the "the."


G. In proper English writing, we spell out numbers ten and under, except in measurements. So — you performed a process for six hours on six wafers to grow 6 microns of oxide (made up process!). Few researchers do this properly, but they should serve as a bad example, not a good one! So spell out the five in — We repeated our process five times. Also, when referencing .x of something (like .9 microns), always put a zero first — 0.9 microns.


H. Reference numbers should be bracketed — [1] — as opposed to superscripted1. I'm sure that if you think about it, you can imagine the possibilities for confusion in a research paper where many items already include superscripted numbers. To clearly differentiate between superscripts and references, put reference numbers in brackets — [1].


I. References MUST include the first author (at least), publication title, journal name, volume #, issue #, page #s, and publication year. If you need to lower your overall word count, you can delete all the authors but the first and put “et al.” instead, and you can delete the publication title, but leave all the rest of the reference information!





[1] Refrain from formatting! DO NOT USE COLUMNS! Avoid bold, styles, hypertext, indenting, tabs, etc. Place an empty paragraph between paragraphs of text, for instance, instead of indenting. KEEP IT SIMPLE.


[2] Do not refer to the placement of a figure in your paper or caption, i.e. "In Figure 3 below, we see..." Just say, "In Figure 3, we see..." The actual page layout I use may not allow figures to be placed where you would like them to be, however I will try to put them as close to the text where they are mentioned. So mention the figure, just not where to find it.


[3] Include captions at the end of your report as TEXT in the Word document (which you will then send to me as a PDF) -- do not make captions part of the photo files. Also, captions should be short, ~ 10-20 words each. Critical information on the figure better be in the report, and therefore need not be repeated in the caption.


[4] For your "Acknowledgements:" section, researchers typically thank their principal investigator, mentor, research group members, and site coordinators / staff for their assistance, and both the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (or iREG or iREU) and the National Science Foundation for funding (please say something like, "This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ECCS-0335765." Or just, "National Science Foundation, Grant No. ECCS-0335765."). Of course, you can thank whomever you want, but I will go thru all reports and make sure that the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Research Experience for Undergraduates Program is thanked! (Or iREG or iREU)


[5] In general, references should read: Author Last Name, First Initial; "Title"; Journal, Volume, Pages (Year). As noted in “I” above, if you need to cut down on your word count, delete the title. Also, the first reference you refer to MUST be [1], and the second reference you refer to MUST be [2]. This seems obvious, but I often get papers where the very first time there is a reference, it is [2], which will make the reader think they've missed a reference somewhere. So put the reference numbers in order with [1] first. (Similarly, graphics should start with Figure 1 and travel numerically thru to Figure 4!)






            I do not have the time to search out permission for copyrighted works!


Remember from the NNIN REU Intern Expectations:

It is CRITICAL that you learn how to save SEM and AFM images at the HIGHEST DPI / Contrast possible! (Assuming you are taking SEM and AFM images as part of your research.) ASK YOUR MENTOR HOW!!!


[1] It is great practice to figure out NOW how to deal with jpeg files, gathering and storing the original SEMs, AFMs, etc., you'll take over the summer. You may need to learn how to use Photoshop, for resolution and contrast corrections. And just about every program out there has a "Save As" option that includes jpeg. As you continue in research, learning to work with AFMs, SEMs and Photoshop will stand you in good stead forever!


[2] I AM TRYING SOMETHING NEW THIS YEAR!  Send me your figures in a PowerPoint file — named "YourlastnameYourREUSite_Figures.ppt" — with each of your four figures filling its own slide.  Actually, send your images any width or height you want, but just keep one per slide, in order of figure number, of course. I'll resize your images to fit the formatting requirements of the book.


Essentially, I want to receive your images with the highest resolution possible.  PowerPoint does a pretty good job of holding onto resolution, but if you prefer to send .xls or .tif or .png, fine!  Just send your graphics at the highest resolution possible.


[3] Please keep in mind that equations and formulas count as graphics! (Obviously, equations and formulas will NOT be original work….)


[4] Again — four graphics maximum. DO NOT put twelve photos in a figure and call that one graphic. By the time such an item is resized for the book, it is almost completely incomprehensible. ONE graphic per figure! (Process outlines and small inserts may work in one graphic, but print them out at three inches wide and see if you can read them without a magnifying glass!)


[5] All graphs and photos will be printed in greyscale. If color is critical to the understanding of your diagram, I'm sorry — but it won't be understood! Rework graphs to include markers on the lines. If you refer to colors in your graph description / caption, refer to the marker instead.



PLEASE: Read carefully and do not "forget" any of these rules. It is much easier for you to gather the info now and spell out all your acronyms than for me to fix it all later. Thank you !!



Melanie-Claire Mallison • NNIN REU Program Assistant • Email




PS: Once the 2015 NNIN REU Research Accomplishments are complete, here is how you cite the publication for graduate school applications and etc:


YourLastName, YourFirstName. "Your report title as published"; 2015 NNIN REU Research Accomplishments, your page #s, November 2015., Past Years.




*  A Few Words on “Principal Investigator”


Every year, someone changes the spelling of "Principal Investigator" in the final report template to "Principle Investigator" — so let’s work this out now.


Principle: 1 a : a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption b (1) : a rule or code of conduct (2) : habitual devotion to right principles <a man of principle> c : the laws or facts of nature underlying the working of an artificial device


Principal: 1 : most important, consequential, or influential : chief <the principal ingredient>
<the region's principal city>


Given these definitions, you worked for a Principal Investigator (the number one person in your research group) - not a principle investigator (a person with scruples). I mean, your PI may have scruples too, but that is not their title apropos of their project or your final report!  Even more important than definitions, the National Science Foundation funds Principal Investigators, not Principle Investigators.  So I follow the lead of the folks who pay for our program — I figure they know better than anyone!



I will correct any "Principle Investigator" to "Principal Investigator"