National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

Serving Nanoscale Science, Engineering & Technology

NNIN REU Site Descriptions 2015

(2014 version....update to 2015 in progress)


With your application you will be required to choose FIVE of the eleven NNIN REU sites in which you are primarily interested. (You may, however, be considered by other sites as well). Each site has particular technical and non-technical attractions. The short descriptions below of each site may assist you in choosing your site preferences.

Arizona State University

The NNIN REU experience at Arizona State University will allow students to be immersed in high impact research projects focused on renewable energies, environmental sensing, nanoelectronics and engineered biotechnologies. Under the guidance of faculty in the School of Engineering, the Biodesign Institute, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the School of Life Sciences, REU students will work with research teams in multi-user laboratories using a variety of micro- and nano-fabrication tools and characterization equipment. Hands-on training will be provided by the ASU NNIN staff with expertise in micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS), microfluidics, cell biology, and semiconductor process technologies. The ASU campus is located in the heart of downtown Tempe within walking distance of the Mill Avenue bar and restaurant scene. The museums, art galleries and sports arenas of metropolitan Phoenix are within easy reach via the recently opened light-rail system. With three local campuses and more than 80,000 students we are one of the largest universities in the nation with a vibrant student population. Yes, summer in Arizona is hot. But when the sun goes down and the temperature falls, the clear skies, desert climate and outdoor lifestyle is second to none. Weekends offer a range of outdoor pursuits in the higher, cooler elevations of northern Arizona including the pine forests and lakes of the Mogollon Rim, the Grand Canyon and the historic towns of Prescott, Jerome, Bisbee and Flagstaff. For more details of ASU and the opportunities available to NNIN REU students visit the following sites:,,,, and

Cornell University

The Cornell NanoScale Science & Technology Facility (CNF) at Cornell University is a national user facility that supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology projects by providing state-of-the-art resources coupled with expert staff support. Research at CNF encompasses physical sciences, engineering, and life sciences, and has a strong inter-disciplinary emphasis. Over 800 users per year use the fabrication, synthesis, computation, characterization, and integration resources of CNF to build structures, devices, and systems from atomic to complex length-scales. The CNF has been hosting an REU program since 1990, and our  cleanroom  is a perfect training ground for new researchers. Our REU program features dedicated staff support, both administrative and technical, a beginning short course, Technology & Characterization at the Nanoscale, exposure to academic, industry and government users, and of course, exciting hands-on research! For your free time, Ithaca offers some of the best hiking and swimming in the Northeast. “Ithaca is Gorges” is our area’s motto. ( Also, the CNF and Cornell REU programs organize several opportunities to meet up with peers, enjoy fabulous free food, partake of paint ball and Ultimate Frisbee, and travel to nearby destinations such as New York City, Niagara Falls, and Darien Lake!

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) has two cleanroom facilities — The Marcus Nanotechnology Building, which consists of 10,000 square feet of inorganic space and 5,000 square feet of organic space, and the  8,200 square foot Pettit Building Inorganic Cleanroom. The Marcus facility is unique because it allows users to address the needs of their physical and biological-based research programs. Georgia Tech offers traditional semiconductor processing equipment to state-of-the art nano-manipulation, characterization, and patterning equipment. Past REU interns at Georgia Tech have worked on research involving nanoparticle catalysis, improved chip interconnects, biosensors, optical devices, biomolecular lab-on-a chips applications, characterizations tools, microfluidics, early cancer detection devices, among others. Because of the broad range of nanoscale science and engineering ongoing at Georgia Tech, we are able to offer students projects that encompass a wide variety of topics. We do our best to match student and faculty research interests to provide high-quality research experiences. More can be learned about the IEN’s shared user facilities at and IEN in general at Examples of previous NNIN REU experiences at Georgia Tech can be found on the NNIN website — Housing for REUs is in apartment-style housing on campus. Georgia Tech is located in the heart of Atlanta and offers all the amenities of a big city, but also has wonderful outdoor activities including Stone Mountain, Piedmont Park, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation area, as well as the world’s largest aquarium. Great hiking, rafting and kayaking are a short distant away in the Northeast Georgia mountains. Atlanta is also known for its wide range of dining options and the Georgia Tech campus has a variety of food trucks visit campus weekly. Finally, if you are a Walking Dead fan, the filming site is less than an hour south of Georgia Tech!

Harvard University

The Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) at Harvard University is the perfect place to spend your summer NNIN REU experience. CNS moved into the new Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering (LISE) in summer 2007 and invested millions in new state-of-the-art instrumentation including a fully equipped and operational 10,000 square foot cleanroom facility, a subterranean suite of rooms dedicated to imaging and characterization, as well as labs for material synthesis. In the midst of Harvard's north yard campus, CNS is neighbored by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as well as the departments of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and several research centers. There are many opportunities for interaction with a broad range of world-class researchers from many disciplines. Harvard hosts many REU programs in addition to the NNIN and has an educational programs coordinator who designs many special activities for all the combined programs resulting in a vibrant REU community with lots of peer interaction. These activities include special talks, trainings, and social events. Finally, since Harvard is located in the metro-Boston area, REU interns have access to not just the great number of museums, libraries and events at Harvard but also within all of the historic, eclectic city of Boston.

Howard University

Undergraduate research internships at the Howard Nanoscale Science and Engineering Facility (HNF), at Howard University, provides the student an opportunity to perform cutting edge research in areas such as crystal growth and characterization, novel device fabrication and characterization, water purification using nanofiltration and biological sensor applications. Projects are mostly geared toward engineers and physical science majors, however we have accepted students from other majors with great success. This is due primarily to the high level of individual training and the open access which we provide our interns. Good mentorship is crucial to ensuring a meaningful and successful research experience, and we work hard to provide that. In addition to performing your own research, interns also have the opportunity to see and hear what other researchers are doing and can get exposure to nanotechnology tools beyond their project's requirements. Because the NNIN REU program requires technical presentations, we work individually and collectively with our students to build their knowledge, confidence and presentation skills, thus ensuring a successful presentation. Finally, Washington DC is a fun place to be in the summer. There's lots to do both indoors and outdoors. It's also easy to get around with a convenient bus and rail system. We believe that we provide a challenging and rewarding REU experience.

The Pennsyvania State University

The Penn State Nanofabrication Facility at The Pennsylvania State University: Apply today to join us in utilizing your enthusiasm and energy and the unique strengths of the Penn State NNIN site that include surface chemistry, self-assembly, and the fabrication and processing of novel, nontraditional materials such as porous silicon, a-Si:H, deposited low-K and high-K dielectrics, deposited polymer films and novel optoelectronic and piezoelectric ceramics to discover new materials and new uses for chemical and molecular scale technologies. Engaging in the deposition, fabrication or characterization of nanostructures and devices, our REU participants get the opportunity to work on individual projects with the support of their research group and facility staff. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, past participants have performed synthesis of polymer nanostructures, deposition of gate oxides for field effect transistors, on-chip mechanical testing, assembly of nanoparticles for energy applications, and nanofabrication of contact test structures. In addition to being exposed to a wide variety of materials research, strong mentoring and support, information about careers in science and technology and various professional development activities our summer researchers also participate in picnics, canoe trips, hiking excursions, and a visit to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA, to view education outreach in action.

Stanford University

Working at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility (SNF) at Stanford University, you’ll be exposed to the whole spectrum of nanotechnology research and we have offered projects in all the different areas. Past projects included: developing artificial retinas, fabricating carbon nanotube transistors, studying MEMS and NEMS devices, creating nanoparticles for cancer detection, building new nanoelectronic and photonic devices, as well as working on new characterization and nanofabrication techniques. You’ll join and participate in one of Stanford’s research groups and be mentored by an experienced Ph.D. candidate, learning what it is like to be a graduate student and doing cutting-edge research. The SNF REUers will also meet regularly as a group with Dr. Mike Deal, the program’s director, to discuss their research with each other, go over logistical matters of the program, learn about techniques for professional writing and presentations, and to discuss issues such as career paths and what to do in your free time during the summer. You’ll live with the other SNF REUers in a very nice graduate apartment quad on campus, which past REUers have really enjoyed. Finally, evenings and weekends you’ll be able to explore the Bay Area, including trips up to San Francisco -- a short 45 minute train trip away. We'll also have some organized weekend day trips for hiking and other fun activities, as well as one overnight trip to Yosemite or somewhere similar.

University of California, Santa Barbara

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is an extraordinary place for participating in nanotechnology research. The university laboratories for nanofabrication and characterization are among the best in the country and the high level of research is widely respected. Research students experience a collaborative multi-disciplinary environment with students and faculty from top departments in the country. For example, the Materials, Chemical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments ranked in the top five in the country in those fields. The Materials Department scored the highest of any engineering doctoral program in the country, and was the top rated doctoral program at UCSB, indicating the high quality of nanotechnology research done at UCSB. For more information about the nanofabrication facility and the research done in the facility, visit the website at Visit the education and research sections of the website in particular for more details on research projects that have been done and links to UCSB research groups.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Spend the summer in Boulder, Colorado, as an NNIN REU intern. You’ll be exposed to the ongoing nanotechnology research in electronics, optoelectronics, MEMS and nanomaterials. You will gain first-hand processing experience using the equipment in the Colorado Nanofabrication Laboratory facility with support and guidance from the staff. Students work with outstanding University of Colorado (CU) faculty drawn from multiple disciplines including biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and optics. You’ll join and participate in one of CU Boulder’s research groups and be mentored by an experienced Ph.D. candidate, learning what it is like to be a graduate student and work on your own research project. More information can be found at’ll also have further opportunities to network and build relationships with peers in other REU programs across campus. Finally, evenings and weekends you’ll be able to explore the Rocky Mountains and the Front Range. The list of outdoor activities is endless including cycling, hiking and climbing while the University and the greater Boulder/Denver area host a wide range of cultural events each summer.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The Lurie Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor supports a full range of technologies used to produce electronic, microelectromechanical (MEMS), and optoelectronic devices. We support traditional silicon-based microelectronics, III-V, MEMS, organic materials, nanofabrication and much more. REU projects are typically very varied and include different topics and departments. Here are a few past examples: electrical engineering (nanowire-based flexible transistors, high-efficiency nanostructured LEDs, ZnO photodetectors), material science (post growth annealing of InGaAsN), process technology (nanoimprinting, pulsed Cu electroplating), MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems), mechanical engineering (carbon nanotubes, microfluidics), biomedical engineering (biosensors based on arrays of nanoparticles, nanostructured polymer films for microfabricated neural prosthetic biosensors), physics (electronic and thermoelectric properties of semiconductor nanostructures), etc. We keep the REU group closely connected, through regular technical meetings and seminars, and extracurricular activities (picnic, trips to the river, festivals -- there are several throughout the summer in Ann Arbor). More information about the NNIN REU program at Michigan is available at

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The NNIN REU Program at the University of Minnesota provides participants with a 10-week summer research experience in a broad range of interdisciplinary nanotechnology areas. Students work with outstanding UMN faculty drawn from multiple disciplines including biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and the biological sciences. Participants have access to state-of-the-art faculty research laboratories and university wide support facilities, including a complete nanofabrication laboratory and a materials characterization center. Recent past projects have included characterization of real-time drug release from engineered biomedical coatings, investigations of metal oxide thin films for LED applications, synthesis of shaped nanoparticles for 2-dimensional assemblies, and spontaneous alignment of block copolymers for nanolithography. In addition to the laboratory research experience, students participate in weekly group meetings, workshops, tours of local high-tech industries, and social activities. The group meetings expose students to current research by UMN faculty, give students an opportunity to enhance their communication skills, and offer assistance with graduate school and career planning. The program concludes with an all-campus Summer Undergraduate Research Showcase and poster presentation. As part of their experience, students regularly interact with participants in several other REU programs from across the University of Minnesota campus, especially those in closely related disciplines.

University of Texas at Austin

The mission of the Microelectronics Research center (MRC) at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin is to perform research and education in:

  • Novel Materials: graphene, carbon nanotubes, flexible substrates, etc.
  • Nanoelectronics
  • Optoelectronics and Nanophotonics
  • Sensors and Nanostructures
  • optical and electrical Interconnects

The MRC comprises state-of-the-art facility photo lithography, film growth, etching, metalisation and characterization tools. MRC is not just a 14,000 sq. ft. class 100 cleanroom facilities but a vibrant community of 300 research users. Every year since 2004, (MRC) at UT Austin hosts an average six REU students. The REU students are working with the UT faculties from the ECE department. The REUs gain research experience under the guidance of a mentor by working independently on a define project. The REU students are housed in a University dormitory and get a complementary free access to the Recreational Sport complex. With a University of Texas motto Arrive early Stay late, you will enjoy the summer in Austin, the newly fashionable town. Do not miss a splash in Barton Spring natural pool, tubing experience in the Guadalupe River, or the numerous BBQ joints to regain energy and spur your research creativity. Hook 'em Horns!

University of Washington

At the University of Washington’s Molecular Engineering and Sciences (MolES) Institute, immerse yourself in the exciting, dynamic world of nanoscale science and technology. Wide-ranging research projects during past summers have enabled NNIN REU interns to learn, for example, how engineered proteins can organize nanostructures; explore nanophotonics-based optical imaging techniques for biomedicine, and help develop new nanostructured materials for solar cells. More than 100 MolES faculty members from 14 departments around campus carry out cross-disciplinary research, much of it with life science and/or biomedical connections. Interns work one-on-one with graduate students, postdocs and faculty researchers, and have further opportunities to network and build relationships with peers in other REU programs on campus. They gain first-hand experience with cutting edge methodologies and instrumentation with support and guidance from the highly trained staff of the Washington Nanofabrication Facility and the NanoTech User Facility. Informal social activities and recreational options throughout our gorgeous Pacific Northwest summer punctuate your Seattle experience. Please see,, and to learn more about the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute and the associated laboratory facilities.

Washington University in St. Louis

Nano Research Facility (NRF) is an open user facility at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) that supports nanoscale science and technology projects by providing state-of-the-art resources supported by expert staff. NRF cultivates an open and shared research environment that brings researchers across disciplines together, particularly in the emerging area of nanomaterials with applications in the energy, environment, and biomedical fields. NRF emphasizes strong matching of intern’s research passion with high impact projects from nearly every STEM department at WUSTL. With access to top faculty and mentors along with NRF resources our interns are positioned for success. NRF’s commitment to open and equal access to both internal and external users will allow networking and collaboration with academic and industrial users from around the world.  For more details about NRF and the opportunities available to NNIN REU students please visit: