Molecules to Materials (M3)
Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program
The Molecules Meet Materials (M3) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at the University of South Dakota, located in Vermillion, SD, supports the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2022-2024. In this program, funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry, participants pursue collaborative research projects, with a focus on chemistry at interfaces in which molecular processes occur on surfaces. The site will train students to use spectroscopy, electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and computational methods to study materials and molecules at interfaces. All students also take part in a professional development and ethics training program, with a focus on science communication and preparation for graduate school or industrial careers. Through independent research projects and workshop and seminar series, this site broadens participation in STEM.
In collaboration with their peers and faculty mentors, the undergraduate students undertake individual projects including core-shell plasmonic nanoparticles for applications in anti-counterfeiting, metal-organic supercontainers for biomass conversion, computational methods to improve f-block element separations, organic semiconductor materials from perfluoroalkylated aromatic molecules, nanoparticles with tailored surfaces for specific cellular surface targets such as plant cells, cancer cells, or bacterial cells in biofilms. To increase diversity in the STEM pipeline, this site will recruit underrepresented students from Tribal Colleges and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions.