Welcome...

Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below an to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kansas High School Women attend the 2017 Women In Science Conference at the University of Nebraska

    Four Kansas high school teachers and eight of their students traveled to Nebraska to participate in the 19th annual Women in Science Conference at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  The Kansas representatives were teachers, sophomores and juniors from Topeka High School in Topeka Kansas and from Free State and Lawrence High School in Lawrence Kansas. This opportunity was sponsored by the current NSF Kansas and Nebraska EPSCoR Track 2 grant titled “Collaborative Research: Imaging and controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures.” As part of the collaboration's education and outreach initiatives, the Nebraska Women in Science Conference invited Kansas teachers and students to participate.  The conference brings high school girls and their teachers to the University of Nebraska (UNL) campus for a two day science career exploration and networking opportunity. The format of the conference encourages students to “interact with career and academic professional women in science, meet current female science students and other high school girls who are interested in science, and discover countless professions as diverse as biologists, geologists, engineers, food scientists, computer scientists, and those in the medical fields.”
Kansas students touring St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
     The 2017 Women in Science Conference began with a hospital tour at the at the Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center on Friday, March 31, 2017, followed by a banquet featuring Dr. Terri Norton of the Nebraska Engineering Department. Saturday, April 1, 2017, was filled with hands-on activities and lab explorations at the Nebraska Union and the Beadle Center.
     The Kansas students' occupational interests ranged from careers in medicine, forensics, biochemistry and zoology.  Karla Gaines, science teacher from Topeka High School, said her students “loved the hospital tour, the session we attended on breaking bones, and the lab session in the afternoon.” She added “I thought the message of the Key note speaker was fantastic.”  Marci Leuschen, science teacher at Free State High School, said her students’ favorite parts of the conference were “the hands on photosynthesis and respiration lab,” and “The round robin forum where they spoke to scientists.” She also commented “the girls all came away from the conference energized about scientific research.  The car ride home they were talking about the women they met over the weekend and the stories they enjoyed. Shoot – the speakers had me convinced to quit my job and enroll at UNL to pursue a career in research science!” Both teachers indicated that the 2017 Women in Science Conference experience “really solidified their students’ interest in pursuing a career in science.”

Funding for this Collaborative Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The Grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce and prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science. 


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kansas State University hosts 2017 Kansas and Nebraska EPSCoR Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Moledules and Nanostructures Symposium

  Over 100 physics and chemistry students and faculty attended the March 31, 2017 Kansas and Nebraska EPSCoR Track 2 Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Moledules and Nanostructures Symposium at Kansas State University.
Top: Dr. Beth Montelone & Dr. Anthony Starace
Bottom: Dr. Paul Corkum

      The program opened with a welcome from Dr. Beth Montelone, Senior Associate Vice President for Research at Kansas State University (KSU), and was followed by Dr. Anthony Starace, co-principle investigator and the George Holmes Distinguished Professor of Physics, AMOP Physics & Astronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), introducing the Plenary Speaker, from the Dr. Paul Corkum from the University of Ottawa and the National Research Council(NRC) of Canada.  Dr. Corkum engaged the audience and sparked interesting discussions with his talk titled Linking high harmonics from solids and gases.
From left to right: Dr. Chris Elles, Dr. Steve Cundiff,
Dr. Louis DeMarco, Dr. Mette Gaarde
   The morning session featured Kansas EPSCoR researcher, Dr. Chris Elles from the University of Kansas (KU), discussing Nonlinear photochromic switching in the plasmonic field of a nanoparticle array; as well as talks from visiting speakers: Dr. Steve Cundiff , University of Michigan, who discussed Coherent control of the exciton/biexciton system in a quantum dot ensemble; Dr. Lou DiMauro, from Ohio State University, who discussed Intense mid-infrared laser-cluster interactions; and Dr. Mette Gaarde, from Louisiana State University, who discussed High harmonic generation in solids: dynamics of multilevel adiabatic states spanning the band structure.
From left to right: Dr. Ken Knappenberger, Dr. Carlos Trallero-Herrero
Dr. George Gibson, Dr. Matthias Fuchs
   The Afternoon session opened with a presentation titled Mode-specific plasmonics examined using single-nanoparticle ultrafast imaging given by Dr. Ken Knappenberger of Florida State University and was followed by Kansas EPSCoR and KSU researcher Dr. Carlos Trallero-Herrero who discussed Control and measurement of attosecond pulses with two-color fields (1). The afternoon session concluded with talks from visiting professor Dr. George Gibson from the University of Connecticut who discussed Deep inner-orbital ionization of diatomic molecules by strong laser fields and Nebraska EPSCoR and UNL researcher Dr. Matthias Fuchs who discussed State-of-the-art and next-generation sources for ultrafast hyperspectral imaging.
   Dr. Itzik Ben-Itzhak, co-principle investigator and distinguished physics professor at Kansas State University made closing remarks and invited the audience to attend the poster session that featured over 35 posters from students and grant participants.








Funding for this Collaborative Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The Grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce and prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Physics Teacher Workshop at Kansas State APPLY NOW


  Kansas NSF EPSCoR will select up to 30 physics and physical science teachers from Kansas and Nebraska to participate in a 2 day professional development opportunity at Kansas State University on June 15 -16, 2017. Participants will earn a stipend of $300 for writing lessons and/or enrichment activities that incorporate models, the Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics research, and the Next Generation Science Standards' (NGSS):  Science and Engineering Practices into their current lessons and activities. Travel, lodging and meals will be covered as well.
  Participants will work with the Kansas EPSCoR AMO Physics Scientists; Ms. Lizette Burks, Kansas Department of Education Science Program Consultant; and Dr. Paul Adams, Dean of the College of Education at Fort Hays State University to:
  1. Discuss how modeling is used in laser and nanotechnology research; 
  2. Enhance their understanding and utilization of the Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS;
  3. Make curriculum connections between the research and theNGSS; and 
  4. Rewrite current or develop new lessons and/or enrichment activities to reflect the AMO Physics research

Rolling selections begin April 24, 2017

For additional information read the articles about the past KS EPSCoR Physics Teacher workshops click on the years to follow the links.


2016 Physics Teacher Workshop


2015 Follow up with 2015 workshop attendees at KATS


2015 Physics Teacher Workshop

This educational collaborative opportunity is funded by the
Kansas NSF EPSCoR National Science Foundation Award titled:  
Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of 
Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures
No. IIA-1430493

If you if you have any questions, contact:
Rosemary Blum 
rblum@ku.edu
(785) 864-6120

Kansas NSF EPSCoR encourages applications from women, minorities, and underrepresented groups.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Kansas EPSCoR Track 2 Researcher and University of Kansas Physicist, Dr. Hui Zhao, discovers a new bilayer material


Taken from the cover of Nanoscale Horizons,
Volume 2 Number 1 January 2017
  A member of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Track 2 “Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures” research team, Dr. Hui Zhao and his team at the Ultrafast Laser Lab at the University of Kansas have successfully created a new bilayer material. This material was developed by combining atomically thin layers of molybdenum disulfide and rhenium disulfide. Each layer of the new material measures less than one nanometer in thickness. According to Zhao, both molybdenum disulfide and rhenium disulfide “absorb light very well as semiconductors, and they’re both very flexible and can be stretched or compressed.” The goal of this type of research is to produce more efficient and versatile light emission devices, such as LEDS that can bend and that are just a few nanometers thick.  By creating the bilayer material, Zhao achieved the results he pursued.  In order to better explain this scientific breakthrough, Zhao used the following comparison:

“One can think of a material as a classroom full of students — which are the electrons — one on each seat,” he said. “Sitting on a seat, a student — or electron — can’t move freely to conduct electricity. Light can provide enough energy to stand up some of the students, who can now move freely and, as electrons, to conduct electricity. This process is the foundation for photovoltaic devices, where the energy of sunlight is captured and converted to electricity.” The emission of light involves the inverse process, in which a standing electron sits down in a seat, releasing its kinetic energy in the form of light.  “To make a good material for light emission devices, one needs not only the electrons that carry energy, but also the ‘seats’ — called holes — for the electrons to sit down.”

   Previous scientific studies, including some by Zhao, had already used the method of stacking different types of atomic sheets to create bilayer materials; however, those materials had the electrons and the “seats” located in different atomic layers.  Because it is difficult for electrons to find "seats," light emission efficiency of prior bilayer materials was very low – more than 100 times lower than if both electrons and “seats” were located in one atomic layer. Within this newly produced bilayer material, the electrons and their seats will be located in their original layer, instead of separate layers. Thus, the new bilayer material will produce light emissions that are much stronger.
   A cover story appearing in the January 2017 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Nanoscale Horizons by Zhao and his fellow researchers Matthew Bellus, Samuel Lane, Frank Ceballos and Qiannan Cui, all KU physics graduate students, and Ming Li and Xiao Cheng Zeng of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, titled Type-I van derWaals heterostructure formed by MoS2 and ReS2 monolayers details the how the low tech “Scotch tape” method was used to create the new bilayer material.

Funding for this Research partially provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.

For additional information on this discovery, go to KU Today article, Using 'Scotch tape' and laser beams, researchers craft new material that could improve LED screensat at https://goo.gl/w1HKyh



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Small College Faculty Collaboration with KU brings a low-cost Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) Instrument to MidAmerica Nazarene University

    As part of the Kansas EPSCoR Track 2 “Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures” small college collaboration initiative, Dr. Jordan Mantha, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) partnered with Dr. Chris Elles, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Kansas (KU) to develop a low-cost Surface-enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) instrument. The SERS instrument is designed to investigate the reaction dynamics of photoswitching molecules interacting with plasmonic fields.  The instrument Dr. Elles and Dr. Mantha constructed was specifically designed to be easily replicated with small, primarily undergraduate institutions in mind.
   Dr. Mantha plans to use the SERS instrument in his Analytical Chemistry course this spring (2017) and he created a new lab for this course “to show SERS as modern surface-selective spectroscopic technique.”  In addition, he will use the SERS instrument in his Quantum Chemistry course to be taught in the fall of 2017.  In this course, he is planning a semester long project incorporating another new lab to mirror class discussions on vibrational spectroscopy.  This lab will provide an engaging hand-on opportunity to study and witness in real time, the concepts of reaction dynamics and plasmonic nanomaterials.  Dr. Mantha stated “This course, in particular, is taken by both Chemistry and Physics majors at MidAmerica Nazarene University and my hope is that this project will help develop our Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) and experimental physics capabilities.”  Both Dr. Mantha and Dr. Elles hope that this collaboration will expose the students at MNU to undergraduate research in physical chemistry/chemical physics, and ultimately spark an interest that encourages them to pursue graduate studies in the STEM fields.
   Overall, Dr. Mantha really appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with a large public university, and “to get back in the lab after five years as a faculty member at a small liberal arts school.”  As a result of this collaboration, Dr. Mantha went on to say, “I’ve learned a lot about plasmonic arrays and ultrafast reaction dynamics over the summer and working with the Elles group has been phenomenal. I’ve made some great new connections with the Kansas physical chemistry community and have something to bring back to my institution that will keep me involved in research and give my students an opportunity to see what ‘real’ science is like.”

Funding for this Collaborative Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The Grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce and prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities in AMO Physics at Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. APPLY NOW!


ATTENTION KANSAS AND NEBRASKA UNDERGRADUATES

Both the Kansas NSF EPSCoR and the Nebraska NSF EPSCoR programs are sponsoring at least six Kansas or Nebraska undergraduate students to participate in their 2017 Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics Summer Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) students (at least three students will be accepted at each campus). 

The Kansas AMO Physics REU will be held at Kansas State University (KSU) and is titled, Interactions of Matter, Light & Learning. 

Students will earn a $5200 stipend, have a $500 travel allowance and on-campus room and board will be covered.

This year's research topics include:

  • Ultrafast lasers & attosecond physics
  • Nanoparticle formation & light scattering
  • Nonlinear fiber optics
  • High energy and neutrino physics
  • Atomic and condensed matter theory
  • Physics education 
  • AND MORE!
Rolling Admission for the KSU REU begins 2/1/2017

 APPLY NOW to the KSU AMO PHYSICS REU 


For more information on the Kansas State University REU go to: KSU AMO REU or call 785-532-1612

For more information on the 2017 AMO Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) or to apply go to: http://www.unl.edu/summerprogram/physics


Priority deadline for the UNL Summer Physics REUs is 2/1/2017

Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for NSF funding.

Funding for these research opportunities are provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures." 



Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Kansas EPSCoR Physics Teacher Workshop Participants' Collaboration results in Kansas High School Acquiring Access to Cosmic Ray Detector


   Molly Bovos,  Basehor-Linwood High School Physics Teacher met James Deane, Ottawa High School Physics Teacher at the 2016 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Physics Teacher Workshop, "Modeling the Unseen in the Physical Sciences," held at Kansas State University this past summer.  At the workshop, teachers toured the James R. Macdonald Laboratory, discussed cutting edge Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) research with Kansas EPSCoR Physicists and brainstormed how to connect the laser research to their high school physics classroom.  
   At the end of the workshop, Deane invited Bovos to join QuarkNet, a project supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the Office of High Energy Physics, the Office of Science and the U. S. Department of Energy. QuarkNet is a website dedicated to high school students, teachers and physicists working together on physics research that involves the exploration of the nature of matter, energy, space and time. 
   Through the QuarkNet program, Bovos attended a workshop on the study of cosmic rays and cosmic ray muons.  She became very interested in QuarkNet's initiative to make Cosmic Ray Detectors available to high schools students, so she applied and was granted a detector, on loan, from Chicago's Fermilab.  There are nine such Comic Ray Detectors that are registered to Kansas teachers at this time. As an added bonus, QuarkNet provides information collected from around the world allowing other schools with the same equipment to compare data collected. 
HS Senior Alex Teeter
   Already she has students engaged in studying the process that creates cosmic rays, which is a nuclear reaction. One student, Alex Teeters, a Basehor-Linwood High School senior is interested in nuclear physics and is taking an independent study course in Modern Physics with Bovos.  Together they are working on a project involving a time-of-flight study. The study involves measuring how fast a comic ray muon is traveling by spacing several detectors at different heights, then calculating their time of flight from the atmosphere to Earth.  Muons are very unstable particles and they decay in 2.2 micro seconds, so theoretically they should not be able to travel from the atmosphere to the Earth, but they do. According to Bovos, “This is one piece of evidence we have for Einstein’s theory that time slows down for objects moving at speeds close to the speed of light.”