Application deadline is February 12, 2018.
**Note: All research opportunities for 2018 are listed below.
Applied Chemicals and Materials Division
647-1 Development of Novel Alternative Fuels
Thomas J. Bruno, 303-497-5158, bruno[at]boulder.nist.gov
The best method to study the phase properties of biofuels is the composition-explicit distillation curve developed at NIST. The technique provides an energy content channel in addition to the volatility of a fuel. We have applied this method to many fuels, and this summer we will extend this to include pyrolysis-based renewables. A SURF student working on this will become expert at gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and many other analytical techniques. Contact adviser for more details.
647-2 Vapor Characterization and Analysis in Forensic Sciences
Thomas J. Bruno, 303-497-5158, bruno[at]boulder.nist.gov
A new, very high sensitivity method to generate and analyze vapors is pyrolysis cryoadsorption, recently developed at NIST. It has been used to test for explosives, cosmetics, fuel additives, etc. We will extend this to the detection of pollutants, often the result of illegal dumping. A SURF student working on this will become expert at gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and many other analytical techniques. Contact adviser for more details.
647-3 Submission to Industrial Fluid Properties Simulation Challenge
Richard Messerly, 303-497-5851, richard.messerly[at]boulder.nist.gov
The Industrial Fluid Properties Simulation Challenge (http://fluidproperties.org/) is an international competition to push the boundaries of molecular modeling. Every few years these international competitions are opened to the molecular simulation community and pose very challenging simulation tasks. The goal of these challenges is to accurately predict thermodynamic and transport properties using molecular simulation without any knowledge of the experimental values. This year the task is to model the viscosity of 2,2,4-trimethylhexane at room temperature for pressures ranging from atmospheric to 1000 MPa. An accurate understanding of the viscosity-pressure dependence would have direct industrial applications, since this compound has been selected as a potential elastohydrodynamic lubricant. In addition, the molecular insights gained by NIST staff will help improve the REFPROP empirical models for viscosity, specifically at elevated pressures.
The student would work in concert with NIST staff to first learn about molecular simulation techniques and then to assist NIST staff in the required parameterization and simulation work to put together a submission to the challenge. Experience with molecular simulation is recommended, but not required.
647-4 Quantifying the Effects of Disulfide Bonds on the Correlated Motions of Biological Molecules
Demian Riccardi, 303-497-4648, dmr3[at]boulder.nist.gov
Biological molecules are dynamic, with local and/or global motions important to function. These motions are regulated using various strategies; one example being the introduction of disulfide bonds. This computational project will interrogate a database of disulfide bonds in the Protein Databank to find systems where these bonds have the largest effects on the biomolecular dynamics. These effects will be analyzed using multi-scale normal mode analysis. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in structural biology and computational biophysics.
647-5 Alternative Energy: Hydrogen Transport
Matthew Connolly and Damian Lauria, 303-497-5273 mcj2[at]boulder.nist.gov
Could hydrogen be our next fuel source to replace declining reserves of oil? Make the world safer? Reverse the effects of climate change and reduce our use of fossil fuels? Use of hydrogen produced on wind farms or hydroelectric dams is a route to 100% clean energy. However, transport solutions (e.g. steel pipelines) are needed, and each steel varies in susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement. Join our team as we break steels in a high-pressure hydrogen chamber and use statistical analysis to determine the effect of hydrogen on fracture of pipeline steels.
Communications Technology Laboratory
670-1 Database Programming- Access, Visual Basic for Applications, MySQL, and SENCHA (JS based)
Brian Copello, 303-497-7701 brian.copello[at]boulder.nist.gov
Explore techniques for collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data using database operations. The opportunity involves writing code for a relational database using MS Access, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Structured Query Language (SQL), and possibly SENCHA, a Java Script based application.
Public Safety Communications Research Division
671-1 Optimization of ultra-wideband antenna design for first responder indoor location tracking
Jeb Benson, 303-497-5191, jeb.benson[at]nist.gov
The ability to locate, track, and inform first responders while indoors under difficult conditions remains a ‘Holy Grail’ sought by first responders. A resilient solution will require a multi-modal approach to the problem including the use of RF, inertial, and visual signals. Ultra-wideband technology is emerging as a key enabler due to its robustness to multipath. However, UWB systems are limited by extremely low-power transmit levels. This project will study optimal antenna design and configuration to maximize range of UWB links for localization.
671-2 Implementation of an Open-Mesh Standard on Radio Hardware
Maxwell Maurice, 303-552-4705, mkm4[at]nist.gov
The Highly Mobile Deployed Networks projects has identified a need by Public Safety for an open standard wireless interconnection between deployed networks during first responder operations. The interconnection of these networks must be resilient, open source, and easy to use. A SURF student will research different open mesh networking standards and implement one of these standards on hardware. Further research and experimentation on the network will be carried out as well by the student. Contact advisor for more details.
671-3 3GPP Release 14 test cases for Mission Critical Services
Jason Kahn, 303-497-3677,jason.kahn [at]boulder.nist.gov
Mission Critical (MC) communications on LTE networks are still being developed in the commercial world, and thus unproven in the field. Without the verification of requirements, public safety cannot trust that the new Mission Critical Services (MCS) are trustworthy. To this end, the development of technical test standards for MCS is imperative. In 3GPP, the Release 14 MCS test cases will start to be developed in 2018. A student on this project will work with NIST PSCR and engineers from global companies to help develop the 3GPP Release 14 MCS testing standards by researching & identifying requirements and creating feature descriptions. A student on this project will also have opportunities to author the technical test standards in 3GPP. The areas of focus within MCS are MCPTT, MCData, and MCVideo.
671-4 Development of a Network Health Monitor Application
Hien Nguyen, 303-497-5891, hien.nguyen[at]boulder.nist.gov
When operating within a local LTE network without internet access, network capabilities and status are often not known to end users. Throughput from the end user to the eNB and between users would be vital information to a first responder. Further information on availability of services, such as video streaming or MCPTT, would also be important. Although applications are available offering similar capabilities, none have been evaluated for public safety use or tailored to public safety missions. A SURF student will research different open source network health applications and design and implement an original application for deployed public safety networks. Contact advisor for more details.
671-5 Intelligent Virtual Assistant for Firefighters
Allison Kahn, 303-497-3523, alison.kahn[at]boulder.nist.gov
Public Safety Communications Research is researching multi-sensor personal area networks for firefighter personnel. In addition to determining what information is critical for a firefighter during a wildland or structure fire, we must also determine how the most important data is consumed by the first responder. This SURF project will entail developing tasks and implementing an intelligent virtual assistant for a firefighter, utilizing situational awareness information. The intelligent assistant must be able to take inputs from the firefighter and provide accurate output in a mission critical scenario.
RF Technology Division
672-1 Machine Vision Algorithms for Identifying Antenna Geometries
Joshua A. Gordon , 303-497-4312, josh.gordon[at]nist.gov
NIST has been involved in the science of antenna measurements for several decades. Antennas are showing up around us more and more, such as in mobile devices, which is driving new types of antenna research. Performance characteristics are fundamentally tied to the shape, and dimension of an antenna. At NIST, new laser and optical imaging based measurement devices are being used to better characterize the shape and size of antennas to determine antenna performance. Students are being sought to write machine vision algorithms in LabView that will be used to search for, and find shapes in images that correspond to antenna geometries. Students should have familiarity with LabView. No prior knowledge of machine vision algorithms is needed. Assessment of shape finding algorithms will be performed using a laser tracking system and pixel probe and analyzed in Microsoft Excel.
672-2 Electromagnetic Characterization of Nanoparticles Using Microfluidics
Nate Orloff, 303-497-4938, orloff[at]boulder.nist.gov
The continued development of personalized medicine and point-of-care diagnostics depends on rapid, accurate, high-throughput measurements tailored for specific applications. We have developed chip-based electromagnetic techniques incorporating microfluidics to characterize the response of different types of nanoparticles in solution. Student activities include microwave measurements, microfluidic fabrication, measurements of novel materials (biomolecules, nanoparticles), and programming.
672-3 The Calibration Network
Nate Orloff, 303-497-4938, orloff[at]boulder.nist.gov
NIST provides traceability for the federal government. That traceability is essential for trade. The volt, for instance, is important for the trade and intercompatibility of electronic circuits. For electronic circuits in communications technology, on-wafer calibration techniques are essential for the quantifying a circuits performance. Up till now, we have disseminated that traceability through transfer standards that we measure for our customers, and return to them as corrected data. Inspired by popular culture, we woudl like to create a Calibration Network. In our vision, the Calibration Network is an online web portal for performing calibrations, and storing historical data. And we need your help building it. To help us with this idea, we are looking for a student who wants to learn web development, database management, programming (MATLAB and Python), and on-wafer measurement.
672-4 High-Speed Signal Measurements for Next-Generation Communications
Tasshi Dennis, 303-497-3507, tasshi[at]boulder.nist.gov
Next-generation communications, including both 5G wireless as well as coherent optical, will rely on complex modulation formats involving both magnitude and phase to maximize the information capacity. Measuring these signals with bandwidths exceeding 100 GHz is particularly challenging yet critical to the success of these approaches. In this project, measuring these signals will involve working with microwave synthesizers, high-speed sampling oscilloscopes, vector network analyzers, data acquisition, instrument control, and waveform signal analysis.
Applied Physics Division
686-1 Instrumentation for Bio-Imaging and Metrology
John Moreland, 303-497-3641, john.moreland[at]boulder.nist.gov
This project develops new instrumentation for medical imaging and biomedical research. Some examples include ultra-sensitive magnetometers for bio-assays, high-resolution MR spectrometer probes for developing new kinds of contrast agents, new technology for MRI, and bio applications of magnetic particles in microfluidics and imaging.
686-2 Single-Photon Detection
Marty Stevens, 303-497-4740, marty[at]boulder.nist.gov
Our group performs measurements at the lowest possible light levels, using superconducting nanowires as single-photon detectors. We have opportunities for a SURF student to develop laboratory skills in optics, high-speed electronics, cryogenics, and measurement automation.
686-3 Quantum Circuits and Amplifiers
José Aumentado, 303-497-4137, jose.aumentado[at]boulder.nist.gov
Opportunity to work with NIST researchers studying quantum mechanics in microwave circuits. You'll get a chance to learn something about cryogenics and instrumentation as well as circuit theory and numerical simulation.
686-4 Al for MRI
Stephen Russek, 303-497-5097, stephen.russek[at]boulder.nist.gov
Deep learning systems based on neural nets are coming online for medical image processing and diagnosis. These systems will evolve from the current simple feed forward networks to highly recurrent systems which will require validation, built in explainability, and methods to determine biases and accuracy. This opportunity involves the development and evaluation of deep learning image reconstruction for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the processing of these images to segment and phenotype synthetic tumors and lesions. In addition to coding in TensorFlow and AUTOMAP, the student will be use the NIST preclinical MRI system to obtain precise raw data sets to evaluate image reconstruction methods and will use 3d printed anatomically correct phantoms with realistic lesions to test segmentation and phenotyping.
Quantum Electromagnetics Division
687-1 Microwave Spectroscopy of Spin-charge Transduction
Mark Keller and Tom Silva, 303-497-5430, mark.keller[at]boulder.nist.gov
We use ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) to quantify spin and charge flow at interfaces between ferromagnetic (FM) and nonmagnetic (NM) materials. Spin Hall effects and spin-orbit torques, key ingredients in spintronic devices, can be measured in unpatterned films of various FM/NM combinations. SURF participants will learn sputter deposition of multilayers, automated FMR measurements up to 50 GHz, multi-variate data fitting, and many cool things about the physics of very thin magnets.
Time and Frequency Division
688-1 Optical Atomic Clocks
Andrew Ludlow, 303-497-4972, andrew.ludlow[at]nist.gov
The student will aid in the development of next-generation optical atomic clocks. Many techniques of atomic physics will be introduced, including laser cooling, magneto-optical trapping, optical lattices, laser stabilization, ultra-high resolution spectroscopy, and quantum manipulation and control. The student will gain experience working with different laser systems and atom-laser intectation.
688-2 Ion Optical Clocks
David Hume, 303-497-4364, david.hume[at]boulder.nist.gov
The atomic clocks currently under development at NIST are poised to revolutionize timekeeping and put our best theories of physics, from general relativity to the standard model of particle physics, to ever more stringent tests. These advancements will require the development of new techniques and experimental systems for laser cooling, trapping and probing atomic systems. In the Ion Storage Group, we develop optical clocks based on individual trapped ions. A student in our group will work on the design, construction and operation of these systems.
688-3 Exploring how nonlinear photonics makes a frequency comb
Scott Papp, 303-497-3822, scott.papp[at]nist.gov
A student involved in this project will carry out experimental research on optical frequency combs – ultraprecise rulers for light waves – that are built with photonic-chip technology. These new, ultraportable chip devices leverage fundamental coupling of light and nonlinear optical materials to directly generate frequency comb teeth. This student would be exposed to and learn about photonic-chip devices and their free-space and fiber coupling optics, experimental measurements on ultrafast pulses and visible to infrared spectra, numerical methods for nonlinear optical processes photonic integrated circuit design, and other experimental skills.
688-4 Software Applications to Support the NIST Network Time Service
Judah Levine, 303-497-3903, judah.levine[at]nist.gov
The NIST Time and Frequency Division operates time servers at multiple locations that respond to requests for time in a number of formats. A student working in this program will learn the basics of distributing time information in digital formats and in monitoring the performance of the serves in near real time. The student will develop applications that support these requirements. Some experience with programming in a high-level language (such as Python or equivalent) is necessary.
688-5 Development of Compact Atomic Clocks Based on Laser-Cooled Atoms
Elizabeth Donley,303-497-5173, edonley[at]boulder.nist.gov
Portable, high-performance atomic clocks in battery-operable packages could bring about dramatic new timing applications in navigation and communications systems. Toward this goal, we are developing compact atomic clocks based on coherent population trapping. A student working on this project will practice a broad range of techniques needed for the long-term development of compact atomic clocks, including lasers and optics, measurement methods, electronics, atomic theory, and vacuum systems.
688-6 Optical to Microwave Transfer with Femtosecond Frequency Combs
Franklin Quinlan,303-497-4580, fquinlan[at]boulder.nist.gov
The most frequency-stable electromagnetic radiation is now produced optically. The goal of this project is to use femtosecond frequency combs to transfer the accuracy and stability of optical sources to the electrical domain. The student will gain experience in ultrastable lasers, short pulse lasers, ultrafast and nonlinear optics, quantum-limited measurements, microwave circuits, and high-speed optical-to-electrical conversion.
Applied and Computational Mathematics Division
771-Characterization of Quantum Computers
Scott Glancy, 303-497-3369, sglancy[at]nist.gov
The development of experimental quantum computers is rapidly accelerating, with increasing numbers of quantum bits and operations with higher fidelities. However, characterization of these devices is a challenging statistical problem. We are developing algorithms and writing software to characterize the quantum bits and logic operations in quantum experiments at NIST. This will be a good opportunity to gain practical programming experience and learn both quantum theory and statistics.