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Graduate Student Openings

We welcome enthusiastic graduate students. Our group is the most multidisciplinary research group on campus with members and alumni from Physics, Applied Physics, Physical, Inorganic, and Organic Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Bioengineering. The group atmosphere is very friendly, cooperative, and motivated.

There is a strong emphasis on individual professional development, where all participants develop a broad range of skills, learn, make mistakes, and celebrate achievements. Each group member (including undergraduates) works on his or her own separate research project, but communication and collaboration between group members frequently occurs.

Read Naomi Halas's oft-quoted Steps to Graduate Student Success

We hire transfer students!

Are you a graduate student who feels that they are not living up to their full potential in your current research group? Do you feel you could be more productive and successful in a constructive, informal, non-bureaucratic multidisciplinary group atmosphere that is simultaneously high-intensity, supportive and nurturing? If so, contact us. Some of the most outstanding members and alumni of our research group were refugees from other research groups. Are you in a graduate research situation that satisfies your professional goals? Does your advisor even care what those goals may be? We are interested in helping you launch a successful career in Science/Engineering, whether your goals are academic, industrial, entrepreneurial, governmental, or otherwise. Feel free to contact us at

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Thanks for your interest in our research program.

Let me tell you how I work with undergraduate students. First, I have very few undergraduates in our laboratory, two at the most at any given time, with some relaxation of this during the summer months. The reason for this is not just to give undergrads some project in the lab that they can put on their cv, but for them to learn what a REAL research experience is, to prepare them for a graduate research environment. Many of our undergraduate students have continued on in successful careers in graduate school (Harvard, MIT, Rice) and beyond, to faculty positions (Jennifer Hovis, Chemistry Department, Purdue University).

A student is mentored with a graduate student or a postdoc and works on a project related to this person's work. This has many advantages: the undergrad has a person they can contact easily in the lab for the answers to big and little questions, so they don't have to wait around to find out where things are or how to do something simple. Much of our research involves an electron microscopy or scanning probe microscopy component, and those instruments cannot be used without training- most undergraduates do not have access to those instruments, and so the mentor helps students with characterization. This is a great system, and valuable to both undergraduates and graduate students. I have several graduate students who have gone on to professorships, and more on their way, who found this experience very valuable. Not to mention the undergraduates, who quite frankly would never have had the concerted time or training background to have worked effectively without this "buddy system".

If you would like to work on a project for credit, we would be happy to work with you to develop a project topic within these guidelines. For a for-credit project students are required, at the end of the semester, to write a progress report on their research. If this is successful it can become a publishable paper, or part of a publishable paper if there is complementary work performed that strengthens the findings further (such as a parallel theoretical effort, these things happen when one collaborates with theorists!) If this sounds interesting to you, send me an email about working with us.

We are an intense but very fun group of people, who take our work seriously, but ourselves, not at all!