Research Experience for Teachers

2012 RET Participants

The MRSEC provides up-to five metro-Atlanta high school physics teachers a research experience every summer.  The objective of the program is to familiarize participating physics teachers with the modern materials and physics concepts and their applications to engineering as well as their relevance to today’s technology.  Each teacher works on an individual research project with a MRSEC faculty.

 Participants get unique opportunities to:

  •  Have a 8 week research experience at the state-of-the-art MRSEC facilities
  • Receive a $6,000 stipend
  • Attend MRSEC seminars, lectures and journal club
  • Participate in professional development activities
  • Prepare a research-based lesson plan

 The 2013 program will run from June 3 to July 26.  The program will start with a half-day orientation and end with each participant giving an oral presentation on the last day of the program.  Teachers will be admitted and hired through the STEP-UP program.  Interested teachers can apply to the program on-line by completing the STEP-UP application form.

View lesson plans developed by past participants
View what past participants say about the program

The MRSEC research projects are challenging and many have outcomes that could directly be used in technological applications in the near future.  The Center faculty developed techniques for using the material “graphene”, that is recognized in the physics Nobel Prize in 2010, in electronic devices.  The abstracts of the past year teacher research projects are provided in the table below.  Each teacher’s research presentation can be viewed by clicking on her/his project title.


Participant Name & Affiliation

Project Title

Project Abstract

Faculty Mentor

John Nice – South Gwinnett High SchoolCalculating the Effective Hamiltonian of Bilayer Graphene
The Hamiltonian of bilayer graphene differs from single layer graphene due to the fact that each layer has an energy characteristic, but also the interaction between the two. This energy changes as the layers are rotated relative to each other. The project was to see what happens to the energy momentum plots at different energies as the rotation angle and bias voltages are changed. The focus was at the energy value of zero. The shape of the plot changes from single layer graphene with multiple loops instead of one.
Markus Kindermann
Gabriel Pak – Arabia Mountain HIgh SchoolAnalysis of Resonant Frequencies in Tungsten Tips for Application in Scanning Tunneling Microscopes
Scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) use fine tungsten tips to produce quality images of materials as a nano-scale. The etching of these tips is tedious and lacks precision. During the imaging process, a background frequency of approximately 400 Hz was observed, which may produce noise or adversely affect the image quality. COMSOL and Solidworks models were constructed to analyze the resonant frequencies of a variety of tip dimensions to determine the optimal tip size to minimize resonance affects in image production.
Phil First
Kenneth Matterson – Gwinnett School of Math Science and TechnologyGrowth and Characterization of Graphene by Chemical Vapor Deposition
In this project the electronic properties of graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition are investigated. Many graphene samples are grown on copper substrates then transferred to silicon. Three samples are manufactured into Hall bar devices with a silicon back-gate. The gate dependence of each sample is measured and the Dirac point voltage is determined for two of the three samples. The electron mobility of two graphene samples is also determined to be μ = 1943.3 cm2/Vs and 1452.4 cm2/Vs. The samples are prepared for future high mag Hall bar measurements.
Zhigang Jiang
Karen Porter-Davis – Chamblee Carter High SchoolTemperature-programmed Desorption of the Reaction of Water and Epitaxial Graphene on Silicon Carbide
Epitaxial graphene (EG) is a mono-layer of graphite in a two-dimensional hexagonal arrangement of carbon (sp2) atoms. EG has interesting electrical, chemical and mechanical properties, but an understanding of how these properties are affected under high temperatures and when dosed with water is important, especially if it is to be used to coat fuel-cladding. The EG used in this study was created by Dr. Walter de Heer’s group at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was grown on single crystal Silicon Carbide substrate. Temperature Programmed Desorption was used to study the thermal stability by measuring desorption components (H2, CO, and CO2) of the EG on SiC.
Thomas Orlando