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UCD School of Physics

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UCD Physics Undergraduate Laboratory Summer Experience 2012 - Call now closed & offers have been made.

School of Physics Summer Internship Program

The School of Physics will be offering a number of Summer Internships in 2012. The a list of potential projects in various research groups are listed below. A stipend of approximately 650 Euro will be paid per student. Campus accommodation costs can be covered for two non-local students, however transport costs to UCD cannot be paid. Students at all undergraduate levels are encouraged to apply, but priority will be given to those in their penultimate year. The program is not restricted to UCD students. 

Applicants should submit the Internship Application Form (download), a cover letter and CV (max 4 pages) by email to sheila.mcbreen@ucd.ie with “Internship 2012” in the subject. The deadline for applications is 10th February 2012 at 1pm. Successful candidates will be notified by the end of February. Internships are typically 6 to 8 weeks in duration, starting in June. Details of start dates can be negotiated with individual supervisors at a later date.

Project Titles

1. Simple theoretical and computational studies of Markovian protein folding models

This project would introduce the student to modern molecular biophysics, with a focus on performing and analyzing molecular dynamics simulations of small proteins. This study requires average skills in computational analysis and data plotting, though a prior experience with Matlab, C/C++, and/or working in a Linux/Unix environment would be preferred. This particular project will be focused on theoretical aspects on how we can improve the statistical analysis of data generated in modern biomolecular simulations.

Contact: Dr. Vio Buchete, Physics, Rm. 1.11, http://sites.google.com/site/buchete

2. Understanding naturally unfolded proteins with simple theoretical models andcomputer simulations

This project would introduce the student to modern molecular biological physics, with a focus on performing and analyzing molecular dynamics simulations. This study requires average skills in computational analysis and data plotting, though a prior experience with Matlab, C/C++, and/or working in a Linux/Unix environment would be preferred. This particular project will be focused on generating (using existing software) and analyzing molecular simulation data of naturally unfolded peptides - an increasingly bio-medically important class of small proteins.

Contact: Dr. Vio Buchete, Physics, Rm. 1.11, http://sites.google.com/site/buchete

3. Computational modeling of kinetic and structural properties of Alzheimer's anddiabetes-related peptides

This project would introduce the student to modern molecular biophysics, with a focus on performing and analyzing molecular dynamics simulations of small proteins involved in Alzheimer's or type 2 diabetes. This study requires average skills in computational analysis and data plotting, though a prior experience with Matlab, C/C++, and/or working in a Linux/Unix environment would be preferred. This particular project will be focused on generating (using existing software) and analyzing molecular simulation data of peptide sthat can aggregate and form amyloid nanofibrils and nanofilaments. Modeling and understanding this aggregation process has major biomedical relevance, because amyloid fibrils are often associated with a variety of diseases.

Contact: Dr. Vio Buchete, Physics, Rm. 1.11http://sites.google.com/site/buchete

4.Design and Manufacturing of Optically Active Nanostructures via E-beam Lithography

Optically active nanostructures can be used to excite Surface Plasmons supporting the confinement of light beyond the diffraction limit. Such structures can be manufactured at the nanoscale via e-beam lithography and/or focused ion beams and imaged via electron microscopy (TEM/SEM), Scanning Nearfield Techniques (e.g. ASNOM) and Photo Emission Electron Microscopy(PEEM). All techniques are available in-house.

Supervisor: Dr. Dominic Zerulla, http://www.ucd.ie/physics/staff/academics/dominiczerulla/home/

5. Optical nanoprocesses in materials

Simulations and experimental studies of optical processes in nanomaterials concentrating on nanophotonic materials.

Contact: Dr. James Rice, http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/physics/drjamesrice/

6. Development of optical microscopy instrumentation

The creation of microscopy instrumentation and the application of lasers to the developed system for laser induced optical microscopy studies.

Contact: Dr. James Rice, http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/physics/drjamesrice/

7. Nanomaterials and nanophotonics applied to solar cells

Development of solar cells, probing their optical properties using laser spectroscopy.

Contact: Dr. James Rice, http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/physics/drjamesrice/

8. Investigation of deadtime effects in Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor Terrestrial Gamma Flashes

Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) is an instrument on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope which was launched into low Earth orbit in June 2008. The GBM detects a number of transient sources including Terrestrial Gamma-Flashes (TGFs). They are millisec flashes of gamma-ray emission coming from the Earth’s atmosphere and are linked to electrical activity in atmospheric regions in or above thunderstorms. TGFs are short, bright events and are affected by deadtime in the GBM BGO detectors. An effort is underway in the Space Science group to correct a sample of TGFs for deadtime and obtain the true pulse shape distribution. The aim of this project is the test and verify the results of this work by I. generating simulated Time Tagged Event files for TGFs of known rate II. applying the instrumental deadtime to these files III. running the deadtime correction code IV. testing how well the current method reproduces the input light curve for a variety of pulse shapes. A number of the Space Science Group members are in the Fermi GBM team.

Contact: Dr. Sheila McBreen, http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/physics/drsheilamcbreen/

9. Analysis of serendipitous sources in the XMM-Newton archive

XMM-Newton is an X-ray observatory launched by the European Space Agency in December 1999. Since then, it has been orbiting Earth in a highly eccentric 48 hours orbit, which allow for long exposure times and thus, deep field X-ray observations. Thanks to the great sensitivity of the instruments onboard XMM-Newton, for every observation performed, several new sources appear in the background. These sources either haven ever been detected before, or they were too faint for previous missions to be able to analyse them in full detail and thus most of their properties remain unknown. The aim of this project is to select several long exposure XMM-Newton observations, most preferably of the galactic plane where a higher concentration of sources is expected, and study the temporal and spectral properties of these serendipitous sources observed by XMM-Newton. The successful candidate will learn to download and analyse XMM-Newton data, usesource databases like Simbad or Aladin, search for scientific publications through NASA/ADS and/or astro-ph, and perform timing and spectral analysis. This project does not require a high knowledge of programming.

Contact: Dr. Antonio Martin-Carrillo, http://www.ucd.ie/physics/staff/graduatestudents/

10. Swimming in microchannels (numerical modeling of bacterial propulsion)

The project involves computer simulation of self-propelling microbots, which mimic bacterial swimming mechanics. The task is to determine what swimming mechanism and what geometry provides the best propulsion efficiency in confinement at a fixed stroke frequency (or given rpm). The modelling will be performed using the ESPResSo simulation package, which contains excellent visualisation tools. Some basic programming skills and familiarity with linux would be an advantage.

Supervisor: Dr Vladimir Lobaskin , http://www.ucd.ie/physics/staff/academics/vladimirlobaskin/

11. Electrophoresis of a nanobubble (computer simulation)

Due to different ion affinity to adsorption at the air-water interface, gas bubbles in water tend to be charged and move in external electric fields. The task is to simulate a motion of gas bubble in water and measure its electrophoretic mobility and surface potential. The modelling will be performed using the ESPResSo simulation package. Some basic programming skills and familiarity with linux would be an advantage.

Supervisor: Dr Vladimir Lobaskin , http://www.ucd.ie/physics/staff/academics/vladimirlobaskin/

12. An x-ray microscope

There is significant demand to be able to image biological samples with sub-micron resolution. We have recently started to build a microscope based on a highly novel approach which should achieve the desired resolution. This will form the basis of a summer project for an interested student who has an interest in optics, lasers and the applications of physics in biology. The project requires some knowledge in these areas as well as a familiarity with Matlab and computer interfacing.

Supervisor: Dr Tom McCormack, http://www.ucd.ie/physics/staff/academics/

Research Images
'Midnight forest stroll'. Image by Mark Ross-Lonergan.
'Midnight forest stroll'. Image by Mark Ross-Lonergan.