The Physics Department at WWU prefers that majors participate in an REU program at another location during the summer between their junior and senior years.
Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) programs are conducted at many universities and national labs throughout the United States. The National Science Foundation maintains a list.
In the past several years, WWU students have completed REU sessions at Kansas State, the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics, Loma Linda University, Oregon State, Princeton, Purdue, University of British Columbia, University of Florida, and the University of Washington.
This was the busiest summer in the last twenty years for student research with three projects going on. Jeff and Heidi worked on the Raman project that was started last summer. This summer all the 3d printed parts were completed, the circuit boards were assembled, and testing the boards was almost completed. In the picture below at left, some of the larger parts are being printed.
Gregg worked on a Mossbauer system based on stepper motors. As stepper motors have become cheap and easy to use we are incorporating them into more projects. In the picture below at right, the test jig is shown. Brigette worked on a spherical harmonic project using soap bubbles.
Jeff Peters, physics graduate and now secondary education masters student, worked this summer at WWU on two different projects involving Raman Spectroscopy. In the first project, he worked on methods of isolating carbon nanotubes (both single and multi-walled) so that we can get a good Raman spectra from them. In the picture below at the left, the data from two different suspensions is shown.
In the second project, he worked on building a Raman spectrometer. There are a number of vendors which sell Raman systems but several DIY versions have been posted to the internet in the last few years. The physics department bought the equipment to build one about a year ago and several students have worked on it since then. Jeff spent a portion of the summer 3d-printing housing parts. In the picture below at the right, they are the black pieces.
Alina Bylard, a physics and engineering major, has been working on a project with Dr. Ekkens during the past two school years. Initially, she worked on building and testing solar cells. This year she focused on incorporating carbon nanotubes as part of the build process.
Spencer Thorp continued work on Dr. Liebrand's solar project of adding water heating coils to a solar panel. In the picture, the solar panel is underneath and the water fittings are on top and on the near side.
Rebekah Hawkins worked with Dr. Campbell on a her summer research project studying the dynamics of the alanine dipeptide molecule. The study of this simple biomolecule should shed light on the general problem of protein folding. Techniques and methods learned during this study will be used to study larger polypeptides and proteins. Rebekah gave a poster on her work at the Murdock Undergraduate Research Conference and at the LIGO Laser Symposium.
Dr. Liebrand supervised a research project for physics major Thomas Blum. They are adding water heating coils to a solar cell to increase the overall energy collected from the sun.
Dr. Ekkens had two major projects going on during the summer of 2010.
- Jeff Botimer worked on a Nanotechnology Lab improvement. In addition to learning to layout circuit boards using EAGLE, he also build up several prototype scanning tunneling microscope heads to test better methods for course approach. In the picture at the right, the final system - prototype 3 - is shown.
- Jeff Peters worked on developing a new method for building junctions for Physical Electronics Lab. In the past we have been limited to deposition of metal until silicon wafers. Jeff worked on silicon deposition on silicon wafers.