Four physics high-school teachers participated in our 2008 Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. While three of the four high-school teachers were directly engaged in MRSEC research, one high-school teacher, Steve Wignall, a teacher from Seward High School who worked with Professor Steven Ducharme (physics), developed several laboratory exercises for dissemination to other high-school science teachers. Emphasis was on research in nanotechnology they did during the summer and also on alternative energy, a topic of great State and National interest. The first project dealt with the measurement of Planck's constant using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), by exploiting the relation between photon energy and frequency of light. The second project, "Make your own Organic Solar Cell", illustrates the use of organic molecules and of nanoparticles (TiO2) in modern technology. The third topic was the fabrication and characterization of homemade Leyden-jar capacitors, whereas the fourth project focused on the design of wind turbines for classroom use. The lessons and activities will be helpful for science teachers in their classrooms and are posted on our Nebraska MRSEC web page (www.mrsec.unl.edu/RET2008).
These programs are supported by the National Science Foundation, Division of Materials Research, Materials Research Science and Engineering Program, Grant 0213808.