Research Experience for Undergraduates

Research Experience for Undergraduates


Spend a summer learning about cutting-edge imaging science at one of the newest NSF Science and Technology Centers in the United States. Your efforts will help push the limits of real-time functional imaging by advancing and combining different imaging modalities including visible microscopy, X-ray, nano-probe, and electron microscopy. STROBE brings together scientists and students from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Berkeley, Fort Lewis College, Florida International University, and the University of California at Irvine. Several national laboratories, industries, and international institutions are also partnering with STROBE.

Deadline for application: February 16, 2018. 

STROBE Undergraduate Researchers will be announced in March 2018.

(Please note the deadline for 2018 applications has passed. Stay tuned for next year's opportunities.)

Please fill out the STROBE Undergraduate Application Form and attach pdf documents of the following:
•    1 page statement—include the institution and researcher you would like to work with (see more information below), an explanation of why you’d like to work with this researcher, and a little bit about yourself, your motivations, and your interest in STROBE and imaging science.
•    Resume/CV that includes courses taken and in progress and GPA.
•    Letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor.

•    Unofficial transcript

Overall questions can be directed to Tess Eidem <>

All programs include $4,000-5,000 stipend and additional funding may be available for housing/travel for those who need it.
Program dates vary but are typically 8-10 weeks, include research in a supervised lab experience, supporting group and social activities, and academic, science, and career development opportunities.
Undergraduates will present their summer findings at the STROBE Summer Undergraduate Research Scholar Symposium in August 2018.

University of California - Los Angeles

Pietro Musumeci
Research combines the progress in ultrafast laser technology and our improved understanding of photocathode physics and beam dynamics. Our goal is to develop the first time-resolved electron microscope capable of acquiring single shot images with picosecond temporal resolution and nanometer spatial resolution.
Suggested Skills: Upper Division E&M and/or Classical Mechanics preferred. The project will be mostly theory/computation, as it will be related to the design of electron optics for a variable magnification microscope, but there could be practical aspects of it (for example measuring magnets). Will mostly use commercial software that there is prior knowledge of programming needed. Some knowledge of Matlab to interpret and postprocess data might be useful.

John Miao
Research in the Miao lab lies at the interface of physics, nanoscience, and biology. Our lab has played a major role in pioneering a three-dimensional imaging approach based upon the principle of using coherent diffraction in combination with a method of direct phase recovery called oversampling. Our lab aims to tackle major scientific challenges by improving imaging technology and probing physical properties of materials at the single-atom level using optical lasers, coherent X-rays, and electrons
Suggested Skills: Some knowledge of Python and/or Matlab is preferred.

University of California - Berkeley

Roger Falcone Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 

Our work takes place at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Advanced Light Source (ALS) synchrotron facility. At the ALS students will have the chance to work at the new facility for Coherent X-ray Microscopy (COSMIC). Students with have the opportunity to develop existing computing skills, learn about advanced imaging systems and explore the future of x-ray imaging science. Students will also be welcomed into the STROBE community on UC Berkeley campus where they can meet with other imaging scientists.

Suggested Skills: any experience with programming (Python, matlab or C/C++), image manipulation or low power lasers.

Laura Waller

The summer undergraduate will help with a project in reconstructing 3D images of invisible objects by quantitative phase imaging with X-rays, in collaboration with the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. The student will work closely with one graduate student to write Python code for image processing and help with data collection for a project in 3D imaging of X-ray phase objects. Some background in optics, image processing (Fourier transforms) and Python will be helpful.

Andrew Minor

Andrew Minor’s research interests lie at the intersection of advanced electron microscopy and materials science. His group focuses on the development and application of new and often in situ electron microscopy techniques to image and quantify nanoscale phenomena critical for our understanding of structure-property relationships in materials. These new techniques have impacted our understanding of nanomechanics  deformation in metals, polymer structure, laser-materials interactions and phase transformations. A summer intern will be able to work at the National Center for Electron Microscopy in the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, helping to implement new electron microscopy imaging techniques. A background in Matlab/Python and image processing is desirable. 

Naomi Ginsberg

Research in the Ginsberg lab  pushes the limits of spatially resolved spectroscopy and time resolved microscopy in multiple modalities, tailored to answer fundamental and challenging questions that span chemistry, physics, and biology, many of which pertain to interrogating dynamic nanoscale processes in energy-related materials that are formed through deposition from the solution-phase.  Although this approach to material formation is facile and energy efficient, it often results in heterogeneous, kinetically trapped structures far from equilibrium. One of our main goals is therefore to elucidate how these materials’ physical structure, including the nature of their heterogeneities and defects, determines their emergent optoelectronic properties. To do so, we conceive and develop multiple new forms of dynamic optical microscopies with sub-diffraction resolution, each tailored to a particular class of materials and their associated femtosecond-to-minutes dynamics. For resolving the dynamics of energy flow we primarily employ ultrafast optical microscopies; to resolve dynamic material structures we primarily extend the applicability cathodoluminescence microscopy to soft materials otherwise too delicate to withstand electron beam illumination.

Suggested skills: basic familiarity with optics and some form of coding are helpful, but motivation and resourcefulness are most important!

University of Colorado Boulder

Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn
Research in our lab focuses on ultrafast laser and x-ray science using new tabletop light sources. We develop these new ultrafast laser and coherent x-ray sources as part of our research in optical science, and then make use of these light sources for new imaging and spectroscopy experiments spanning physics, nano and materials science and engineering.

Ever since the invention of the laser over 50 years ago, scientists have been striving to create an X-ray version of the laser. The X-ray sources we currently use in medicine, security screening, and science are in essence the same X-ray light bulb source that Röntgen used in 1895. In the same way that visible lasers can concentrate light energy far better than a light bulb, a directed beam of X-rays would have many useful applications in science and technology. The problem was that until recently, we needed ridiculously high power levels to make an x-ray laser. To make a practical, tabletop-scale, X-ray laser source required taking a very different approach that involves transforming a beam of light from a visible femtosecond laser into a beam of directed X-rays. The story behind how this happened is surprising and beautiful, highlighting how powerful our ability is to manipulate nature at a quantum level. Along the way, we also learned to generate the shortest strobe light in existence - fast enough to capture the fastest attosecond electron dynamics in materials.  We also learned how to achieve sub-wavelength spatial resolution at soft X-ray wavelengths for the first time. These new capabilities are already impacting nano and materials science, as well as showing promise for next-generation electronics, data and energy storage devices.
Suggested Skills: Simple optics and/or coding experience.

Markus Raschke
Our lab’s interests lie in linear and nonlinear optical spectroscopy at surfaces and of nanostructures. For simultaneous spatial information we explore new routes for ultrahigh resolution optical imaging far beyond the diffraction limit. Topics include single molecule spectroscopy, surface photochemistry, molecular plasmonics, as well as surface electron dynamics and electron-phonon interaction.

Rafael Piestun
The research in Dr. Piestun's group deals with the control and processing of optical radiation at two significant spatial and temporal scales: the nanometer and the femtosecond. Interest in this area arises from the existence of new phenomena occurring at these scales and the fascinating applications in new devices and systems.
Suggested Skills: Motivation to succeed.

Fort Lewis College

Megan Paciaroni
Our lab studies ultrashort pulse amplified laser systems to provide unprecedented temporal resolution for a wide range of applications within biology, chemistry, engineering, and materials science. This work is important because many fundamental physical processes occur during ultrafast time scales, and ultrashort pulsed lasers have enabled us to investigate such processes. Our new laser facility will be used in research programs focusing on combustion and propulsion science, Generation IV nuclear reactors, the dynamics of liquid phase molecular energy transfer, photoluminescence and surface morphology of porous silicon, laser patterning, laser assisted deposition, characterization of photovoltaic materials, photothermal therapeutics, materials characterization, and the development of innovative microscopy capabilities.

Florida International University

Jessica Ramella-Roman

Biomedical Optics is a multidisciplinary research discipline that includes physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry and engineering. Our research at FIU focuses on the development of optics-based devices and methodologies for diagnosis of disease that can be used clinically. We are seeking motivated undergraduate student that are interested in learning about optics and medicine. During the (8-10 weeks) summer Research Experience for Undergraduates the students will first learn the fundamentals of optics and light travel into biological media. Particularly they will focus on polarized light methodologies. The second part of the experience will involve the design and development of portable imaging tools that can be deployed at the point of care.

University of California Irvine

Franklin Dollar
The Dollar Lab research involves laser plasma interactions with ultrafast laser systems, performing high intensity laser experiments with near and above critical density plasmas for tabletop particle acceleration and the generation of soft and hard x-rays; and the simulation of such experiments using numerical modeling. Dr. Dollar is also involved with a variety of recruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented students in STEM fields, with a particular focus on American Indians.

Students interested in joining Dr. Dollar’s lab for the summer must also apply to the UCI SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship), which has an earlier deadline of February 8, 2017. For more information and to apply to SURF, visit the SURF Website



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If I am not a US citizen, can I apply to the STROBE Undergraduate Summer Research Program?

We are currently accepting applications from both US citizen and non-citizen undergraduates.


How do I submit a letter of recommendation if my advisor wants his/her letter to remain confidential?

If your advisor wishes their letter to remain confidential, inform them to email it directly to Tess Eidem:

When preparing to submit your application in the STROBE Undergraduate Application Form, please upload a document in the Letter of Recommendation file that states the letter of recommendation will be emailed, and provide information on your recommender (name, email, university, etc.).


Can I apply to more than one STROBE research laboratory?

Yes! There are many great STROBE labs, and it can be difficult to pick just one. You may indicate up to two laboratories that you would like to work with, but ensure you provide reasoning behind choosing more than one investigator.