Questions and Answers
Compiled by Stephen F. Felszeghy
There exists a tremendous amount of information on the
internet about nanotechnology! Below is
a small sampling of what information is out there. My curiosity led me to follow an information
gathering approach akin to throwing a pebble into a pond, namely, observing what
an ever expanding circular wavelet turns up.
I began my collection of information within the smallest wavelet circle,
our College. Then I expanded my search progressively
to the CSULA campus, to the
The arrangement of the material below reflects the chronology of my data collection. I present my findings in a hyperlinked question and answer format which will allow you to jump to any topic that interests you. I hope my approach will be agreeable and useful to you!
Welcome to the meter nano-world!
The following seven questions were sent to 51 ECST faculty members in January 2009. Thirteen responded, and the results are given below.
1. What is your level of familiarity with “nanotechnology”? Ave. 2.69 (on a Low to High scale of 1 to 5).
2. Do you teach undergraduate lecture courses that contain “nanotechnology”? YES: 2 out 13, or 15%.
3. Do you teach graduate lecture courses that contain “nanotechnology”? YES: 2 out 13, or 15%.
4. Do you teach laboratory courses that contain “nanotechnology”? NO: 100%.
5. Do you work on projects that involve “nanotechnology”? YES: 2 out 13, or 15%.
6. Should the
7. Any comments?
The ECE department is hiring one person in NanoElectronics (Electronics is
becoming Nanoscale by definition). The main problem I see is that you need a
strong curriculum in quantum mechanics as a start. The other aspect is how do we position ourselves
for involvement in this technology? You
don't have to manufacture such devices, it is just as important to test and
characterize them and that may be a route that is more suitable for our
An exploratory committee can be formed to look at the feasibility of having
some instructional components in nanotech for our students. Fri,
Getting involved in nanotechnology requires lot of expensive equipment (special
"clean" rooms, atomic mass microscopes and others). I think initial
capital investment is very high. Also, it is very hard to make interesting
something that you cannot see. Wed,
Good idea; however I believe you don't just "get into"
nanotechnology. Research in this area is serious investment dollars and
requires major infrastructure facilities. Hey, but you have to start somewhere.
Good luck. Wed,
Nanotechnology has been the buzzword of the day for a decade. It has its use in
securing external funding, and, if the college decides to explore the
possibilities, it would not be a very bad idea. Tue,
Good idea. As the chair of the CS personnel committee a few years ago I once
tried to recruit an expert in quantum computing. Our former Dean rejected the
Abstract of lecture: There is much excitement about the unusual physical properties of carbon nanostructures, particularly carbon nanotubes and graphene, which are both of great interest at the present time. A brief review will be given of the physical underpinnings of carbon nanostructures that were developed over the past 60 years, starting with the electronic structure and physical properties of graphene and graphite, and then moving to graphite intercalation compounds which contained the first carbon nanostructures to be studied experimentally. Liquid carbon studies were precursors to the fullerene family of nanostructures, and vapor grown carbon fibers were precursors to carbon nanotubes. Particular emphasis is given to the recent developments in our understanding of the photophysics of carbon nanotubes and graphene, with perspectives on future research directions for these fields and applications that are emerging.
A search of the CSULA Web site revealed that three professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry do research and publish in nanotechnology. The three professors are: Dr. Frank A. Gomez, Dr. Matthias Selke, and Dr. Feimeng Zhou.
Prof. Frank A. Gomez is interested in microfluidics, materials, and capillary electrophoresis (CE). His research group is particularly interested in instrumentation design and development with a strong application focus. The members of the Gomez research group include undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scientists. Dr. Gomez also serves as the director of the CSULA-Caltech Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) Collaborative.
The work of Prof. Matthias Selke’s research group is centered on the chemistry of the singlet oxygen (1O2), the lowest excited state of the dioxygen molecule. The group has been exploring reactions of singlet oxygen with heteroatoms such as phosphorus and sulfur. The group is especially interested in mechanistic pathways of such oxidation reactions. Kinetic measurements, trapping experiments and low-temperature observation of reactive intermediates are performed to understand what types of peroxidic intermediates are formed. It is important to understand the nature of such reactive intermediates because they are often better oxidants than dioxygen (in its triplet or singlet state) itself.
The Selke group is also interested in the development of non-porphyrin, metal based sensitizers and the use of nanoparticles and quantum-dot-porphyrin hybrids as efficient sensitizers.
Prof. Selke is also a PREM faculty member.
The focus of Prof. Feimeng Zhou’s research group has been on chemically sensitive resistors that utilize semi-conductive 1D material, such as individual or networks of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT’s) or semiconductor nanoparticle arrays or networks for detection of a wide variety of biological and chemical targets in both liquid and gas phases. Chemically and biologically sensitive resistors (chemiresistors) are currently leading candidates for vapor detection of environmentally and biologically important molecules. Since these sensors are simple to prepare, and are inherently compatible with conventional silicon electronics processing and readout circuitry, they can be miniaturized and tailored for different applications.
Idealized scheme depicting SWCNT-based chemiresistors with receptors, where binding of biomolecule with net electrical charge change the conductance in the channel. The channel can be either individual or network of SWCNT’s.
In such structures, the 1D-structure provides the electric conductivity and the biomolecules provide sites for the selective sorption of analyte molecules. This approach has three main attributes: (1) the presumed ability to synthesize, if not at will, then with much control, nearly any type of hybrid structures; (2) enhanced sensitivity resulting from the network assembly of various structures; and (3) the versatility in modifying the binding through various processes (e.g., non-covalent, hydrogen bonding, coordination, etc.) and linker molecules and nanomaterials. By judicious choice of the building blocks, it is possible to combine, in the same chemiresistor framework, two or more properties that are difficult to achieve in classical devices.
A search of the online catalogs of
all the campuses in the
M E 543. Powder-Based Manufacturing (3)
Prerequisite: Mechanical Engineering 340.
Manufacturing of micro and nano-structured engineering components and composites starting with metal and/or ceramic powders. Powder production methods, characterization, powder shaping and compaction, sintering, hot consolidation, design considerations, and finishing operations.
M E 585. Fundamentals of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) (3)
One lecture and four hours of laboratory.
Prerequisites: For aerospace engineering majors: E E 204, E M 220,
and M E 240. For electrical engineering majors: E E 330 and M E 240.
For mechanical engineering majors: E E 303, E M 220, and M E 240.
Microfabrication techniques, microsensors and microactuators, and scaling laws. A design project of a micro-device including schematic creation, test of performance, layout generation, and layout versus schematic comparison. (Formerly numbered Engineering Mechanics 585.)
201. (PHYS) An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Nano-Technology
Broad overview of the key areas, applications, and emerging importance of nano-scale science and engineering in today’s society. For lower-division students thinking of entering majors like physics, biology, and electrical engineering.
(Lecture, 3 hrs.) Letter grade only (A-F).
236. (EE) Introduction to Nanotechnology: A Tour in Nano-Land (3)
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
Overview of the fundamentals of nanoscience and nanotechnology, a wide range of applications, and issues that affect widespread use of these technologies based on ongoing research and discourse. An interdisciplinary course, taught by an interdisciplinary team of instructors. Students will observe nature and matter in submicron and nanometer scale.
(Lecture-problems 3 hours) Letter grade only (A-F).
436./536. Microfabrication and Nanotechnology (3)
Prerequisites: EE 330 and PHYS 254; or MAE 300.
Techniques and the technology of miniaturization of electrical, mechanical, optical, and opto-electronic devices in sizes from millimeters to nanometers. Design examples of sensors, microlenses, cantilevers, and micromotors, process fabrication.
Additional projects required for EE 536. (Lecture-problems 3 hours) Letter grade only (A-F).
*437. Multidisciplinary Nano-Science and Engineering (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Introduces four key areas: nanoscience properties of materials; nanotechnology in biology and nature; observation, measurement, analysis; applications. Importance of understanding and engineering nanoscale structures, materials, and processes for the 21st Century. Use of scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope.
(Lecture-problems 2 hours, laboratory 3 hours) Letter grade only (A-F).
EGEE 455 Microelectronics and Nano Devices
Description: Prerequisites: EGEE 303 and 311.
Quantum mechanical principles, crystal structure, energy brand, carrier transport, carrier generation and recombination, p-n junction, bipolar transistor, MOSFET, MEFET and related devices, basic microwave and optoelectronic technology, crystal growth and fabrication, introduction to nano structure, nano devices and technology.Units: (3)
ME 531 Processing of and Design with Modern Engineering Materials (4) Prerequisite: ME 430. Manufacturing of ceramics, glasses and composites. Design using composites. Processing of polymers semiconductors and superconductors. Rapid prototyping. Fabrication of printed wire boards. Introduction to microelectronic devices, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nano-technology.
MSE 512. Fundamentals of Mems Fabrication (3)
Prerequisite: Instructor Consent.
Introduction to MEMS technology. Working principles of microsystems, engineering science for microsystem design and fabrication, materials for MEMS and microsystems, fabrication processes, micromanufacturing, packaging, CAD for MEMS design and assembly, CIM integration for fabrication.
MATE 232 Nanotechnology, Human
Biology, Ethics and Society (4)
(Also listed as
Focus on four nanotechnology examples as focal points for themes of nanoscale science and technology, human biology, society, ethics, and systems thinking: gold nanoshells for cancer treatment; molecular manufacturing; tissue engineering of a vital organ; and a microfluidic glucose sensor. The focal points provide natural contexts for learning biology at the cellular level, the molecular level, the organ level and the biological systems level, respectively. 4 lectures.
Prerequisite: GE Areas B1, B2, B3.
MATE 504 Research and Development in Materials Engineering (4)
Overview of the materials science and engineering field. Current materials research and technologies, such as fuel cells, nanotechnology, etc.
Emphasis on independent learning, individual research topics, and presentations. Analysis of information from different media used to comprehend how advancements in materials research and development are made. The Schedule of Classes will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 4 lectures. Prerequisite: MATE 210 and graduate standing or consent of instructor.
MATE 550 Micro Systems (4)
Fundamentals of intelligent systems employing sensors, actuators and intelligent controls. Impact on material properties as devices shrink in the micrometer realm. Applications toward exploring nanotechnology. 4 lectures.
Prerequisite: MATE 210, graduate standing or consent of instructor.
MATE 241. Advanced Methods of Materials Characterization
Methods for characterization and analysis of bulk materials, films, nanoscale structures and surfaces.
Prerequisite: Upper division undergraduate course in chemistry, condensed matter physics or materials. 3 units
ME 145. Electronic Packaging and Design
Introduction to electronic packaging including thermal management and application of integrated cooling and thermal MEMS; shock and vibrations; materials; EMI/RFI/ESD; reliability and standard test.
Prerequisites: ME 114, ME 130. Lecture 2 hours/lab 3 hours. 3 units
ME 169. Microelectromechanical Systems Fabrication and Design
Hands-on design, fabrication, and testing of micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Processes including oxidation, photolithography, etching, wet processing, and metal deposition applied to MEMS. Design problems for MEMS transducer components such as cantilever beam actuators, membrane deflection sensors, and microfluidic flow channels.
Prerequisites: CE 112 or MATE 25 or EE 98. Lecture 2 hours/lab 3 hour. 3 units
ME 189. Design and Manufacture of Microsystems
Overview of design and manufacture of microdevices and systems including MEMS. Engineering physics and mechanics; scaling laws for miniaturization, microfabrication technique, material selection, microsystems design methodologies, microsystems packaging design.
Prerequisites: ME 106, ME 154. 3 units
Title: Introduction to Micro-and Nano-Engineering
Prerequisites: ENGR 201 or ENGR 204; ENGR 200 or ENGR 203; ENGR 205
Description: Introduction to the design, fabrication, and materials issues of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanonelectromechanical sytems (NEMS), and solid-state devices. Bulk and surface micromachining, LIGA; scaling issues; materials properties and others.
Title: Nanoscale Circuits and Systems
Prerequisites: ENGR 378, 453, and 890 or equivalent or consent of instructor.
Description: Advanced topics in VLSI device, circuit and system design including high-performance and low-power design issues, challenges of technology scaling, technologies and solutions at different levels of abstraction. Requires class project.
Title: Design of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
Prerequisites: graduate standing.
Description: Design of MEMS and Nano-Electro-Mechanical Systems (NEMS). Sensors and actuators fabricated with MEMS technologies. Fabrications and applications.
Cal State Long Beach Physics Professor Mladen
Barbic is making a name for himself within nanotechnology circles for his
innovative concepts for microscopic magnetic-powered devices and new magnetic
imaging techniques at the molecular or even atomic level.
He plans to carry on his work in a new world-class nanotechnology laboratory under development in the CSULB Physics Department and is backing up his ideas with a five-year, $450,223 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant. NSF calls it the agency's "most prestigious award for new faculty members."
The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. The grant also will involve undergraduate and master's students in Barbic's research.
"My lab is very much an applied physics lab," explained Barbic, a native of
"One of my big interests is in pushing the limits of resolution in magnetic resonance imaging (
One of his ultimate goals is "eventually to do a single molecule or single cell high resolution imaging non-invasively. I think that's a big field that people have tried, but it's just so difficult."
He's busy getting his new lab operational. The grant begins June 1 and will fund two graduate students per year and two undergraduates during summers over five years.
"My plan is to have graduate students do research that leads to a master's thesis that's comprehensive and is going to complete a nice body of work, whereas my undergraduate students will get involved in some of what I will call quirkier ideas that are perhaps even more risky," Barbic said. "But they can afford that risk and can do something a little more crazy and it doesn't have to end up in a master's thesis-just a cool summer project that might even end up in a publication if we're successful."
He already is working with a group of graduate students, many of whom have industry work experience. "What I expect from my students are world-class master's theses with students going out and representing Cal State Long Beach well and contributing to the economy of this area. A lot of companies have a lot of positions and can't fill them because there aren't people that are really doing physics. To be honest, physics is not what you call a sexy field any more," Barbic explained. "There are still a lot of jobs in physics, especially in the local area, but it's perceived to be a difficult field to study and master."
Barbic is seeking additional funding from a variety of sources, both public and private, and is part of a larger proposal being submitted by Caltech for a major nanotechnology center. He added that the CAREER grant does not include funds for equipment, but that through collaborations with other labs and by his ingenuity and that of his students, he can construct or obtain the instrumentation needed for his work. Connecting with both academic and industrial partners will be an essential part of his lab's success, he said.
"We can certainly explore and make a niche for ourselves in a specific field that I think is novel and really be the best in the world, even if it's a very narrow field," he said. "I think it has a huge potential. I hope to instill in my students that they should be proud of what they do and that they really can be the best in the world in our niche area of research, and we can really contribute and publish in top scientific journals."
Tulin Mangir, a professor of
electrical engineering at Cal State Long Beach, has received a $100,000 award
from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project titled "
Together with CSULB colleagues
Chuhee Kwon, associate professor of physics and astronomy, and Andrew Z. Mason,
professor of biological sciences, Mangir plans to expand and develop curricula
for undergraduate major and non-major students, and they plan to add a
teacher-training component to increase general awareness and promote career
options to fill jobs in this rapidly growing discipline.
"As part of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, CSULB is located in the largest concentration of high technology industry in the nation," said Mangir, who has worked with researchers from Xerox PARC, Boeing,
Specific goals of Mangir's work will include development of an interdisciplinary survey course on nanotechnology designed for engineering and science majors in their sophomore and junior years, development of a junior/senior course with a combination of lecture and laboratory time that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the techniques used in nano-scale science and engineering, and the creation of Web-based resources and interaction modules designed for distance learning aimed at science and engineering teacher preparation classes.
The courses, which will cover applications in life sciences, biotechnology and medicine, physics, materials, electronics and environmental monitoring, will expose students to the use of instrumentation such as atomic force microscopes, x-ray microscopes, remote monitoring of robots (tele-robotics) and nano-robots, and materials with very special properties that can only be produced in the nanotechnology realm.
In addition, societal and business implications of nanotechnology will be explored, and students will become more aware of the issues in the development and applications of nanotechnology in a planned follow-up program.
Money from Parsons Foundation Supports CSUN's Research Efforts in Nanotechnology
New state-of-the-art equipment in Cal
State Northridge's Advanced Materials Laboratories is providing the
university's engineering students a chance to do cutting-edge research
alongside NASA scientists and engineers in the burgeoning field of
The purchase of the Imaging Laser Ellipsometry System was made possible in part by a $50,000 grant from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Additional money came from NASA and the university's own funds.
"It's the latest state-of-the-art spectroscopic imaging laser Ellipsometric system," said manufacturing systems engineering professor Behzad Bavarian, director of the laboratories in the
Ellipsometry is an optical technique that probes a sample and that, through the analysis of polarized light, can yield information about layers that are thinner than a single atom. It is referred to as nanoscience because it deals with extremely small substances, 100 times thinner than a strand of hair. It reveals details about layer thickness, refractive indices, absorption constants, morphology and chemical composition.
The most common function of Ellipsometry is the analysis of very thin films. Thin films have acquired a new importance in modern society due to their use in semiconductors, flat panel displays, automotive plastics, eyeglass lenses and many plastic packaging applications. Thin films are also used for scratch resistance and anti-reflection coatings.
Bavarian said having an Imaging Laser Ellipsometry System at Northridge means the university's engineering students will have an opportunity to work alongside scientists and engineers from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on developing sensors to be used in space exploration.
"NASA pioneered this technology because it is very interested in reducing weight in the equipment it uses for the space program," he said. "One of the things we agreed to when we got this equipment was that we would be working with NASA as it continues its efforts in this area."
SJSU is Awarded $500,000 for Nanotechnology Partnership
"The building of university/industry partnerships is an important activity for the University," says SJSU President Don W. Kassing. "We are delighted with DARPA's support of this project, and are grateful for the commitment of U.S. Congressman and head of the House Appropriations Committee Jerry Lewis, and our local representatives, Mike Honda and Anna Eshoo, who so enthusiastically endorsed our proposal. We look forward to supporting the efforts of
The DARPA award will support the work of six SJSU graduate students and six faculty members in the industry/partner laboratories. Funds from the award will also be used to provide technical support and maintenance services for the nanomaterials research equipment located throughout the SJSU campus.
"Over time, there won't be a single market that is not in some way changed by what we are learning about how the molecular building blocks of existing materials can be combined and manipulated to produce and deliver new materials," says Emily Allen, project principal investigator and chair of SJSU's Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. "Being able to support the work of our students and faculty members on campus, as well as in such prestigious laboratories, is part of our commitment to training the next generation of scientists and engineers, who must be skilled in the use of tools and techniques to study nanoscale materials." Allen added that leading
"We always have many more ideas than we have time and hands available to pursue," says
"I see this first substantial grant in nanotechnology for San José State as an important beginning for their development of curricula and research opportunities for their students interested in nanotechnology," says Dr. Meyya Meyyappan, director of the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA-Ames. "The funds will allow them to leverage public institutions like NASA-Ames so that they can fairly quickly establish themselves as an important player in the field of nanotechnology. I am pleased to be part of this partnership and to be able to provide this sort of opportunity for SJSU faculty and students. It is a terrific institution."
CSULA Chemistry Professor Receives Grant Funding Cutting-edge Nanotechnology Research
"Basically we are developing miniaturized devices that will allow people to use hand-held instruments to perform point-of-care diagnostics and to detect pathogens from bioterrorist attacks, among other applications," says Gomez. "For example, a physician can simply put a little dab of blood into a hand-held device and analyze it while with a patient, rather than having to take it back to a laboratory. As chemists we are always interested in devising smaller instruments to make things easier."
The $450,000, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will fund this research, which will develop analytical techniques that examine small molecules and enzymes involved in disease and public health.
Gomez will serve as principal investigator for the
project, titled "Microfluidic/Capillary Electrophoresis Devices for
Chemical Analysis." In this role, Gomez will oversee a group of 14 Cal State
L.A. undergraduate and graduate students as well as a post-doctoral fellow. In
addition, students from
"This project will provide students with invaluable chemistry experience in bioanalysis, biochemistry and instrumentation design and development, allowing them to conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary research to help solve broad scientific problems," says Gomez.
CSUN Physics Professors Awarded $2 Million National Science Foundation Grant to Explore Future of Nanotechnology
Three faculty members in Cal State Northridge's
Department of Physics and Astronomy and a colleague from
The grant, awarded to Northridge physics professors
Nicholas Kioussis, Gang Lu, and Donna Sheng, and
Kioussis said the Keck efforts will focus on fostering multidisciplinary and innovative research in computational materials science; educating and training students in cutting-edge computational materials science; stimulating and developing strong laboratory partnerships between industry and CSUN; and increasing the recruitment, retention and degree attainment of underrepresented students in the field of materials research.
The Keck efforts include outreach, in the form of summer programs, to local high schools students and teachers to get them interested in and enthusiastic about computational materials science, he said.
Kioussis said one of the most exciting aspects of
the grant is the opportunity it affords Northridge undergraduate physics
students to work with CSUN and
"This is frontier research using computer
codes to understand how electrons interact with atoms on a nanoscale
level," Kioussis said. He explained that the joint research going on at
the Keck center and at
In addition to doing research with faculty during the school year, six of the CSUN undergrads will be invited to continue their studies at Princeton each summer for nine weeks.
"It will be a wonderful, hands-on experience for the student to do research at one of the nation's leading materials research centers," Kioussis said.
Group is an inter-disciplinary group of curious people exploring some of
the mysteries and applications of quantum nanostructures. The group exploits Nature's ways, dubbed
self-assembly, to create 3-dimensionally confined nanoscale semiconductor
volumes called quantum dots (QDs) and hybrid abiotic
(semiconductor)-biotic (peptide, protein, cell)-quantum dot integrated
structures. And the group studies their electronic properties.
Such nanostructures are at the core of the emerging nanotechnology at the intersection of the information and biological sciences. The group’s applications interests range from electronic and optoelectronic devices (transistors, resonant tunneling diodes, light emitting diodes, lasers, and detectors) for information processing, communication, and computing to biochemical sensors and intelligent bio-mimetic coatings for neural prostheses.
The center houses three new scanning electron microscopes (SEMs). These instruments will allow researchers from a broad range of the biological and life sciences to gain a better understanding of nano-materials using the latest, most sophisticated 3-D imaging technology available.
The new center is located in the engineering
school’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis. The facility
NanoScience: Development of NanoBioSensors
Nanotechnology is the result of scientific research carried out on materials whose dimensions do not exceed one hundred nanometers. The innovative feature of these nanomaterials is their size; when the size of materials is constrained into the nanoscale dimensions they acquire novel physical and chemical properties. Nanomaterials can function on their own or can be integrated into more complex devices. A device with integrated nano-features can perform some selective operations exclusively because of the incorporation of particular nanomaterials. If those materials were not in the nano range, the device would not work at all or would work very differently.
Human cells have diameters of about 10,000 to 20,000 nm, whereas macromolecules such as proteins are in the tenths of nanometres range. In comparing these dimensions it is clear that nanoscale materials are well suited to enabling the study of biological elements. It has been demonstrated that nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes or nanoparticles are small enough to cross mucosal barriers and vascular pores, and to penetrate the lipid bilayer of cell membranes. Nanomaterials can be designed to interact with biomolecules located both on the cell surface and inside the cell while maintaining unaltered biological function of such molecules. Clearly, nanomaterials could be useful tools for executing accurate operation at the cellular and macromolecular levels.
The Thompson Group’s research focuses on the development of sensors constructed using nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and indium oxide nanowires. There are several types of nanobiosensor. Several nanobiosensors have been fabricated using nanocantilevers, nanoparticles, or quantum dots but these need to be coupled to an optical detection method. The most promising nanobiosensors are those based on the electronic detection of the target molecule such as field effect transistor nanosensors (FET). These devices are still in the early stages of development but have made impressive progress over the past 5 years. Each single nanobiosensor is capable of identifying the specific biomarker for which it was designed. Large arrays entailing hundreds of FET nanobiosensors could be constructed to fit on the tip of a needle for a very broad screening of biomarkers and other medically useful biomolecules. For instance, in the field of oncology, dozens or even hundreds of biomarkers of specific tumors could be monitored and the presence of a growing tumor can be detected while the cancer is still in very early stages of growth -- months, if not years, before it could be detected using currently available diagnostic imaging technologies. FET nanobiosensors are highly specific to their targets and produce a signal in a very short period of time (generally a few seconds); consequently, the need for laboratory-based analysis could be substantially reduced.
· Perform realistic simulations of nanosystems and devices.
· Demonstrate the feasibility of simulating systems not yet attempted.
· Incorporate simulation and parallel computing & visualization in physical sciences and engineering education.
Within reach are the following activities:
· At the nano-scale (?100 nm) ~ 10 million -10 billion atom nanosystems (inorganic, organic, biochemical) can be simulated & visualized while maintaining their atomistic nature.
· At micro-to meso-scales (0.1 mm to mm’s) – Seamless transition from discrete to continuum model via connection to finite element approaches – Allows examination of systems such as NEMS.
Copyright 2008 Technology Transfer Center
The Blue Ribbon Task Force on
nanotechnology was initiated by
Task force members represent the breadth of
stakeholder groups in
Ken Dozier, Executive Director of the
Chemical Engineering education is at a crossroads.
There is a disconnect between the curriculum (which is largely focused on
macroscopic “unit operations”, e.g., heat exchangers and distillation columns)
and faculty research (which has recently emphasized nano- and bio-technology).
Furthermore, there is a disparity between the courses students take and the
diversity of industries they will serve (only about 25% of graduates go to work
in the chemical industry, while the biotech, food, fuels, and electronics
industries continue to aggressively hire ChE graduates. So how then can faculty
continue to prepare highly-qualified students for today’s rapidly changing
workplace? This question was posed by a NSF-sponsored, cross-departmental
Frontiers in Chemical Engineering Education initiative, recommending a paradigm
shift in ChE education by moving away from the macroscopic, unit-operations
approach to instead teach from the molecular point of view in a bottom-up
fashion. While this will allow our students to be uniquely prepared for 21st
century jobs in emerging bionano fields, the challenge is to continue to
prepare students for the more conventional chemical and petroleum industries.
Illustration of the degree project approach to modernize ChE education
The NanoBiophysics Core Facility at
This new focus on biomedical Nanoscience is a
reflection of the University’s strategic initiative aimed at more integrated
intercampus, interdisciplinary research. It allows researchers to benefit from
the diversity and wealth of intellectual strength present at
The facility currently has resources to study molecular and nanostructures with Biacore surface plasmon resonance instrument T100, Light Scattering Equipment, both Dynamic and Multiangle devices from Wyatt, a Spectrofluorometer QuantaMaster from PTI with near-IR capabilities, solid sample holder and time-resolved accessory, an Atomic Force Microscope Nanoscope IIIa, and a Universal Microplate Reader GENios.
for Robotics and Embedded Systems (CRES) was established in fall 2002. It is an
interdisciplinary organized research unit (ORU) in the
They say the West could not have been won without the humble blacksmith. On the frontiers of nanoscience, a new kind of smithy is much in demand.
Nanotechnologists of the past – and
present, truth be told – have had to dream up their own approaches and
manufacture their own nano-components from scratch. But those of the future will have help.
“The National Science Foundation has estimated that in the next five to 10 years, some 2 million new jobs will be created worldwide in the nanotechnology field,” reads Lee’s course description. “Will you be ready to capitalize on this inevitable trend?”
Twenty students, mostly chemical engineering majors, stepped forward and are now learning the fundamentals of “nano-blacksmithing” and “how to mix individual atoms and molecules in the proper proportions to make a desired nano-composite.”
It deals with both the “hard” side of nano – nano-crystals, quantum dots – and the “soft” materials – micelles, polymers, proteins, composites – that are attracting such intense interest from medical researchers.
“This course will be unlike any other you have taken,” Lee promises his students. “Today’s class assignment,” he told a reporter who called him, “was to determine under what conditions quantum would become localized in cancer cells.
“We’re doing organic, inorganic, biological,” Lee says. “You have a lot of possibilities when you play nano. The students can take what we give them to follow their interests where they lead.”
“There is plenty of room at the bottom...” — Richard P. Feynman
The Caltech Nanofabrication Group, under the leadership of Professor Axel Scherer, is primarily interested in the design, fabrication and characterization of nano-scale photonic, magnetic and fluidic devices and systems.
Professor Scherer has authored or co-authored approximately 280 papers describing micro- and nano-fabricated devices. These papers describe fluidic, optical, optoelectronic, magnetic, electronic and thermally active micro- and nanostructures. Applications of the microfabricated devices range from data communications to clinical analysis of biological samples for pathogens.
Without exception, all of the publications result from productive and exciting collaborations between colleagues, technical staff or students.
The nanofluidics portion of the nano-micro-meso scale mechanics group is concerned primarily with fluid flow interactions with carbon nanotubes. By utilizing carbon nanotubes (of the order of 20 nanometers in diameter), the group aims to study the effects on the carbon nanotubes of nanoscale fluid flow, and also the flow induced by the presence of these structures. Wherever possible, the group directs this work toward useful device applications in addition to elucidation of basic mechanics.
In the group’s work, the term nanocarpet is used to describe a nanostructured surface comprised of densely packed, well-aligned, and vertically oriented carbon nanotubes supported on a substrate. A nanocarpet is quite different from other nanostructured (significant features of submicron or smaller size) surfaces currently being studied elsewhere, such as submicron-pitch silicon post surfaces (nanoturf), aligned silicon nanorod arrays, nanosphere lithography created nanobowl arrays, superhydrophobic block-copolymer surfaces, or hydrophobized silicon oxide micro-post arrays. (See images above.)
The group forms its nanocarpets by self-assembly
using thermal chemical vapor deposition (
Properties of nanocarpets grown in this way include super-hydrophobicity (highly non-wettable by pure water), high opacity to visible light (blocks laser light), and good electrical and thermal conductivity.
The group has discovered that nanocarpets can be patterned by fluid forces, especially surface tension, and this presents a method for pattern formation of nanoscale fibers on a surface, which the group has termed capillography. First, the group wets the nanocarpet in a prescribed manner (drops, dipping, immersion, etc) with a liquid (aqueous or non-), and then removes the fluid by evaporation or withdrawal. This leaves permanent patterns in the dried nanocarpet of rearranged carbon nanotubes, in bowl-like shapes (nests), long trenches, and polygonal bowls. The goal of this project is to elucidate the mechanism of this pattern formation process and develop it as a general self-assembly patterning method. (See images above.)
A very important characteristic of this method is that it is fully scalable to very large areas because it is based on self-assembly and does not require any top-down fabrication such as photolithography. It also has the capability of dual functional patterning by deposition of some liquid-borne materials (particles) simultaneously with patterning of the nanoscale structures (in this case the carbon nanotubes). (See image above.)
This work has many potential applications including memory and data storage, tissue scaffolding, heat transfer, field emission and high density displays in addition to giving rise to a vast array of never observed nanofluidic phenomena.
The microfluidics research in the Multiscale Fluidics laboratory is focused on developing microfluidic devices for biomedical applications, in addition to fluid control, mixing and analysis on the microscale. Currently the flow dynamics of the first impedance driven micropump are being evaluated. The micropump is comprised of an elastic tube coupled at either end to two end members of different mechanical properties, geometries or any other factor affecting wave propagation and/or reflection, which when periodically excited in a specific configuration, the accumulation of a pressure gradient results from wave interference propelling the contents in the desired direction. The flow output has been observed to be reversible, direction being highly dependent on frequency, as well as capable of reliably delivering both high and low flow rates.
The group’s activities include experiments in superconductivity, magnetism and other strongly correlated electronic systems such as graphene and carbon nanotubes; scanning probe microscopy; nano-science/technology; spintronics; organic semiconductors; low-temperature phases of helium; development of superconducting cavity-stabilized oscillators.
Everybody knows that it is impossible to propagate light through structures smaller than the wavelength of light... but Seed Project 1 has belied this conventional wisdom, showing propagation of light along waveguides whose lateral dimensions are a few nanometers, or a few percent of the wavelength of light. The key is to exploit the tendency for electromagnetic excitations to "hop" between electric dipoles (such as fluorescent dye molecules or metal nanoparticles).
Researchers in Seed 1 demonstrated propagation of light through two types of subwavelength-scale waveguides. The first is a
The second nanoscale waveguide structure is called a "plasmon wire," which is a chain of metal nanoparticles along which light hops from one particle to another. Light can even propagate around sharp corners and through nanoscale networks -- all of which are impossible in conventional optical waveguides. This work was covered in Nature Materials in 2003. So much for conventional optical wisdom!
Active Nanophotonic Materials and Devices
The recent decade has seen an
explosion of optical communication. Yet much of the information processing is
conducted electronically since there have been few truly tunable optical
devices. Ferroelectric materials offer a potential solution. They possess
interesting nonlinear properties that can be used to design and fabricate
unique active tunable nanophotonic devices. Photonic crystals are synthetic
hetero-structures that provide an unprecedented ability to manipulate light
including slowing down and reflecting selected frequencies. These structures
are typically fabricated using glass and their properties are fixed. The
calculations conducted in the interdisciplinary research group on Ferroelectric
Nanophotonic Materials show that we can make such devices tunable by
fabricating them out of ferroelectric materials. The first figure on the left
shows the first ever ferroelectric photonic crystal fabricated on a thin film.
The nonlinear properties of ferroelectrics also provide tunability to other nanophotonic devices. The images on the right show the use of ferroelectric films on toroidal resonators. These were fabricated using CSEM facilities.
CSEM-CSULA Materials Partnership Program (MPP) and Caltech-CSULA Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM)
CSEM’s Materials Partnership Program with California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) enhances the cohesion and visibility of the university’s budding materials research activities, enriches the research opportunities for its undergraduates, and makes its students aware of postgraduate opportunities and the means to pursue them. Located 13 km from Caltech, CSULA has high (>80%) enrollment of students from under-represented minorities. CSULA has a growing level of faculty and student interest in materials science. MPP has three main goals: faculty exchange between the two universities’ seminar programs, purchase of instrumentation needed at CSULA for collaborative research with CSEM, and collaboration of CSEM and CSULA faculty in designing co-advised projects to involve CSULA undergraduates. Since 2005 CSEM has provided a program coordinator for the Caltech-CSULA PREM high school fellows program. The program coordinator met with the high school students, provided guidance on basic research skills, helped the students link their experiences to their future educational and career endeavors, and conducted evaluation activities for the program.
The Micro/Nano Fabrication Laboratory is in the Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics at Caltech. This laboratory is a campus–wide resource for thin film processing for a wide variety of disciplines: including
· Materials Science
The group is working to explore new physics at the nanoscale, and to apply this knowledge to realizing advanced tools for the biomedical and life sciences. The group's efforts span from very systematic nanodevice engineering for practical applications, to biological investigations enabled by novel devices, to quantum measurements with nanosystems at ultralow temperatures.
The group’s efforts are part of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech. Through generous support from both the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Kavli Foundation, the Caltech “nanoscience community” has been able to assemble state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities that now enable the group’s work. These facilities include capabilities for 150 mm wafer-scale patterning of complex nanodevices with dimensions down to the ten nanometer regime.
The most exciting frontiers in nanoscience and
nanotechnology, in the group’s opninion, are highly cross-disciplinary and
cannot be accomplished without strong ties to other laboratories. The group feels privileged to be working with
excellent collaborators around the world.
One of its principal collaborative efforts is the Alliance for Nanosystems VLSI, a close and
enthusiastic collaboration with scientists and engineers at
The Kavli Nanoscience Institute emphasizes research in nanobiotechnology, nanophotonics, and large-scale integration of nanosystems.
A core mission of the KNI is to push the state-of-the-art beyond current capabilities in nanofabrication. To this end, the KNI has pursued aggressive acquisition of strategic instrumentation for advanced nanofabrication capabilities. KNI’s multi-user laboratories and cleanrooms for nanostructure synthesis, fabrication, and characterization are available to users from both academia and industry. Click here for more background and history.
foundry provides Multilayer Soft Lithography (
The dream of using large scale integration in microfluidics for portable, high throughput applications has been stymied due to the fact that the shrinking of microfluidic circuits has not been matched by a corresponding miniaturization of the actuation and interfacing elements that control the circuits. By combining multi-layer soft-lithography with shape memory alloys (SMA), researchers in the KNI/BI Microfluidic Foundry at Caltech demonstrate electronically activated microfluidic components such as valves, pumps, latches and multiplexers that are assembled on printed circuit boards (PCBs). Electronic control of elastomeric microfluidic circuits with shape memory actuators —by Saurabh Vyawahare, Suresh Sitaula, Sujitha Martin, Dvin Adalian and Axel Scherer, was published in a recent issue of the
During summer 2005 Marisol Salgado of Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles was one of five high school seniors who conducted research as part of the CSULA-Caltech Partnership For Research and Education in Materials (PREM) Collaborative. Her work in the labs of Dr. Frank A. Gomez (PREM director) focused on developing microfluidic techniques for biological assays.
To develop methods required for
first principles multiscale multi-paradigm based predictions of the structures
and properties of proteins,
Research projects in the
These projects cover applications ranging from design of new drugs acting on G-Protein Coupled Receptors and incorporation of novel amino acids into biopolymers, to design of homogeneous catalysts for activation of CH4, to fuel cells (improved catalysts for anodic and cathodic processes and improved proton or oxygen transport membranes), to designing new molecular microelectronics materials, to nanoelectronics and self assembly on nanoscale systems, to new additives for wear inhibition in auto engines, to control of wax deposition in oil pipelines, to new materials for fire fighting foams, to homeland security.
The methods being developed include new functionals for quantum mechanics (QM) Density functional theory, new reactive force fields (FF) for molecular dynamics (MD), extracting free energies from MD, multiscale and multi-paradigm coupling of QM, FF, MD to gain first principles predictions of mesoscale and macroscale systems.
Biotechnology, Catalysis, Nanoscale Environmental Science and Technology, Fuel Cells, Multiscale Modeling, Molecular Dynamics, Mesoscale Chemistry, Molecular and Nanoelectronics, Reactive Force Fields
The California NanoSystems Institute (
The recently developed method of nanoimprint lithography provides a new avenue for nano-patterning with high resolution, high throughput, and low cost. It has been listed in the ITRS (International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors) as one of the future technology candidates for nano-manufacturing. Previously the group has fabricated nanoscale devices and crossbar circuits by nanoimprint lithography. The major challenges for the imprint lithography are to reduce defect densities and improve yield. In this project the group plans to develop a nanoimprint lithographic process that can fabricate 3D overlay crossbar circuits which will be high-defect tolerant and also self-aligned. This is important because high defect count and overlay are two of the key challenges for nanoimprinting. These crossbar circuits have already been proposed in 2-D to complement circuits by providing a high degree of programmable interconnectivity between logic cells. Such networks are highly defect-tolerant, as defects can be routed around efficiently.
As pointed out in the ITRS’s Grand Challenges, “Maintaining the rapid pace of half pitch reduction for each technology generation requires overcoming the challenge of improving and extending the incumbent optical projection lithography technology at 193 nm wavelength while simultaneously developing alternative, next generation lithography technologies to be used when optical projection lithography is no longer more economical than the alternatives.” “Not only is it necessary to invent technical solutions to very challenging problems, it is critical that die costs remain economical with rising design costs, process development costs, mask costs, and cost of ownership of the tool and process.” Although the self-assembly technique can fabricate sub-10 nm scale nanostructures with high-throughput, low-defect density, and low-cost, and various electronic devices with memory and logic functions have been fabricated from the nanostructures, it is still challenging to fabricate functional circuits based on these self-assembled nanostructures and devices.
In this project, the group plans to develop a technique that can reliably fabricate functional nanoscale circuits from the self-assembled nanowires with sub-10 nm resolutions. The group has developed nanoscale electrical lithography (NEL) to fabricate sub-10 nm structures. After applying a voltage on nanoelectrodes on an insulative stamp surface with respect to a counter electrode, the charged nanoparticles suspended in an electrolyte medium are assembled and immobilized onto the nanoelectrodes by electrophoretic deposition. In the group’s experiment, distinct nanoparticles/biomolecules can be assembled onto different nanoelectrodes by selectively applying the appropriate electrical potential on the nanoelectrodes and supplying the corresponding nanoparticles coated with distinct biomolecules in the electrolyte accordingly. Similar to the process to pattern color toners in the laser printing process, nanoparticles coated with multiple distinct biomolecules are assembled and immobilized onto the nanoelectrodes on the stamp surface to generate heterogeneous biomolecular nanopatterns. The stamp surface is then immersed in a cross-linkable polymer, and the polymer is cross-linked and solidified by UV exposure. Finally by peeling off the polymer film from the stamp, the nanoparticle nanopatterns can be completely transferred from the stamp surface to the polymer substrate. The nanopatterns can then be reused many times.
The simple and rapid NEL process can guide the assembly of nanomaterials to form nanopatterns with sub-10 nm resolution over a large area in a parallel process. The group has also developed electrically switchable polymers based on dopant concentration-induced conductance changes in the conjugated polymers. The device consists of an electrically switchable polymer layer integrated with metal electrodes or Si MOS transistors, and the conductance of the devices can be electrically switched to multiple analogy states reversibly at high-speed with low-energy consumption. The polymer materials can be potentially integrated with the NEL process, and directly used for the fabrication of nanoscale devices and circuits.
Over six decades, modern electronics has evolved through a series of major developments (e.g., transistors, integrated circuits, memories, microprocessors) leading to the programmable electronic machines that are ubiquitous today. However, owing both to limitations in hardware and architecture, these machines are of limited utility in complex, real-world environments, which demand an intelligence that has not yet been captured in an algorithmic-computational paradigm. As compared to biological systems for example, today's programmable machines are less efficient by a factor of one million to one billion in complex, real-world environments. The group plans to create new materials, devices and circuits that can break the programmable machine paradigm and define a new path forward for creating useful, intelligent machines.
A neurological system requires a tremendous amount
of synapses (an estimated 1014 in the human brain) for signal processing,
memory, and learning. Si electronic circuits and/or programmable
computers have had very limited success to date in the field of neurological
control systems for one primary reason: the lack of low-cost and low energy
consumption circuits that can emulate the essential properties of
synapses. The group is developing devices that can have the functions of
synapses and are integratable with conventional Si MOS transistors. The
devices can be reconfigured flexibly in analog mode by input signals. It
integrates logic, memory, and learning functions that can fully emulate
biologic synapses while only occupying a tiny fraction of the size of the
The group plans to explore electronic configurable
ionic conductive materials, such as conjugated polymer and perovskite
manganite, to achieve desired synaptic characteristics. The neural
circuits will be built on a large number (>106) of low-power consumption,
low-cost, and high-speed synaptic devices integrated with
Currently available diagnostic approaches for tuberculosis are limited by low sensitivity and time factors. The present gold standard for diagnosis is isolation of positive culture from clinical specimens, which generally takes up to 8 weeks for results. Unfortunately, even with rapid culture techniques, the results take at least 1 week to return, which increases the difficulty of identifying infected patients and ensuring that they follow-up for treatment. Nucleic acid amplification techniques are limited by their sensitivity; they are presently widely recommended only for AFB-smear (+) patients. The EliSpot assay, which detects IFN-g producing T cells specific for mTB, cannot reliably distinguish between active and latent TB given that the test is performed on peripheral blood samples. Therefore, rapid, highly sensitive tests are desperately needed in order to identify patients infected with TB and limit the transmission of this potentially fatal infection.
The group has developed an innovative “lock-in”
fluorescence assay that can detect a single biomolecule with ultrahigh
sensitivity and specificity. In the “lock-in” fluorescence assay, the
group designed two probes that can bind to the target molecule. For
example, probe 1 is a
The overall goal of the proposed project is to
develop an ultrasensitive, reliable, rapid, simple, and economically feasible
single-molecule biomarker detection platform for TB surveillance.
As for the proof of principle during the first year, the group plans to reach
the following milestones in the project: (1) The proposed platform can
detect mTB biomarkers (such as genes) with an ultrahigh sensitivity down to
single molecule level without
Nanonets: the fourth form of materials
Materials come in different shapes and forms, these lead to different application opportunities. Nanowires can be regarded as a new form of matter. As an example silicon has three well studied and known forms: single crystal, polycrystalline and amorphous silicon Ð with the three forms having different properties and thus different application opportunities. A silicon Nanonet, in turn can be regarded as the fourth form, with unique properties and applications on its own right.
Nanowire and carbon nanotube networks
A combination of novel architectures, materials and fabrication routes, together with a host of electrical and optical measurements are pursued by the group in the area that, in general, can be called transparent and flexible electronics.
Reticular chemistry is concerned with linking of molecular building blocks (organic molecules, inorganic clusters, dendrimers, peptides, proteins,...) into predetermined structures in which such units are repeated and are held together by strong bonds.
Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale.
A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter (1 nm = 10-9 m). A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick; a single gold atom is about a third of a nanometer in diameter. Dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers are known as the nanoscale. Unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties can emerge in materials at the nanoscale. These properties may differ in important ways from the properties of bulk materials and single atoms or molecules.
Nanotechnology is the application of scientific and engineering principles to make and utilize very small things. How small? Not as small as atoms or molecules, but much smaller than anything you can see. Nanotechnology is different from older technologies because many materials exhibit surprising and useful properties when their size is reduced far enough. Researchers who try to understand the fundamentals of these size-dependent properties call their work nanoscience, while those focusing on how to effectively use the properties call their work nanoengineering.
Nanotechnology is the creation of materials, devices, and systems through the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules. It is a term used to define the application of materials whose size is measured in billionths of a meter (e.g., a human hair is 100,000 nanometers in diameter). At the nanoscale, materials exhibit unique properties, allowing for new manufacturing possibilities and applications in a variety of fields.
The term "nanotechnology" was defined by Tokyo Science University Professor Norio Taniguchi in a 1974 paper as follows: "'Nano-technology mainly consists of the processing, separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom or by one molecule."
Practically speaking, the nanoscale ranges from about 1 nanometer (nm) to 100 nanometers. The top and bottom of the scale are hard to define sharply, but are chosen to exclude individual atoms on the lower end and things you might see with a very good optical microscope on the upper end.
Yes and no. There are isolated examples of discoveries that we might now call nanotechnology going back 50 years or even more. We know that nanoscale gold was used in stained glass and ceramics as far back as the 10th Century, but it took 10 more centuries before high-powered microscopes were invented that allowed us to see things at the nanoscale and begin to work with materials at that level.
Nanotechnology as we now know it began about twenty
years ago, when science and engineering extended into the nanoscale from both
above and below. Around the turn of the millennium, research managers in the
Nanomaterials is a term that includes all nanosized materials, including engineered nanoparticles, incidental nanoparticles and other nano-objects, like those that exist in nature.
When particles are purposefully manufactured with nanoscale dimensions, we call them engineered nanoparticles. There are two other ways nanoparticles are formed. Nanoparticles can occur as a byproduct of combustion, industrial manufacturing, and other human activities; these are known as incidental nanoparticles. Natural processes, such as sea spray and erosion, can also create nanoparticles.
Many important functions of living organisms take place at the nanoscale. The human body uses natural nanoscale materials, such as proteins and other molecules, to control the body’s many systems and processes. A typical protein such as hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through the bloodstream, is 5 nm in diameter.
These are different types of nanomaterials, named for their individual shapes and dimensions. Think of these simply as particles, tubes, and films that have one or more nanosized dimension. Nanoparticles are bits of a material in which all three dimensions of the particle are within the nanoscale. Nanotubes have a diameter that’s nanosize, but can be several hundred nanometers (nm) long or even longer. Nanofilms or nanoplates have a thickness that’s nanosize, but their other two dimensions can be quite large.
A nanostructured material has internal structure that is within the 1 to100 nanometer (nm) range), while the pieces of material themselves are larger than 100 nm.
Nanotechnology is used in many commercial products and processes. Nanomaterials are used to add strength to composite materials used to make lightweight tennis rackets, baseball bats, and bicycles. Nanostructured catalysts are used to make chemical manufacturing processes more efficient, saving energy and reducing the waste products. A few pharmaceutical products have been reformulated with nanosized particles to improve their absorption and make them easier to administer. Opticians apply nanocoatings to eyeglasses to make them easier to keep clean and harder to scratch. Nanomaterials are applied as coatings on fabrics to make clothing stain resistant and easy to care for. Several companies make nanostructured products using space-saving insulators that are useful when size and weight is at a premium—for example, when insulating long pipelines in remote places, or trying to reduce heating losses in a leaky old house. Nanoceramics are used in some dental implants, or to fill holes in bones after removing a bone tumor, because their mechanical and chemical properties can be tuned to match those of the surrounding tissue. Almost all electronic devices manufactured in the last decade use some nanomaterials. Nanotechnology is used much more extensively to build new transistor structures and interconnects for the fastest, most advanced computing chips, introduced in 2007 and 2008.
For more information, see Benefits and Applications.
Some exciting new nanotechnology-based medicines are now
in clinical trials. Some use nanoparticles to deliver toxic drugs directly to
tumors, while minimizing the amount of drug damages healthy tissue. Others are
used to make medical imaging tools, like MRIs and
At the nanoscale, materials exhibit unique properties, allowing for new manufacturing possibilities and applications in a variety of fields. These unique properties present new challenges in both the regulatory and legal arenas.
Despite these challenges, the
Some luddites are urging the
Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field of discovery.
Scientists and technicians working in physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, information technology, and other fields are contributing to today's nanotechnology research - research that is leading to the development of tomorrow's breakthrough applications and products.
Basic Research & Development (R&D) in nanotechnology involves understanding and controlling matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers - microscopic levels where unique phenomena enable novel applications.
This work uses highly specialized, precision equipment such as electron, atomic, and scanning tunneling microscopes to machinery that is capable of making these extraordinarily small new products.
Basic R&D in nanotechnology is being conducted by the private sector, research universities, and the federal government - with the government playing an important role in this effort.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), for example, is a federally funded R&D program established to coordinate multi-agency efforts in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology; and includes the participation of 25 different federal agencies.
In addition to its coordination role, the NNI helps by funding basic research, providing funds to establish and support university and government laboratories, and contributing to the educational preparation needed to build a nanotechnology workforce.
The National Science Foundation provides support
for the National
Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). Led by
Commercial applications of nanotechnology Research and Development (R&D) are still in their infancy, but this is likely to change dramatically in the next few years.
At present, nanoscale materials are already being integrated in biotechnology, defense, energy, environmental science, information technology, telecommunications, transportation, and various consumer goods.
For example, many computer hard-drives use nano-thin layers of magnetic materials while stain-resistant clothing is also now available. Other products already in the marketplace include burn and wound dressings, water filtration systems, sunscreens, and different parts of automobiles.
In the near future, molecular nanotechnology manufacturing is expected to result in new products in a wide-range of areas, including improved solar cells, better skid resistant tires, wide ranging health care improvements, and enhancements to homeland security and national defense.
These nanotechnology commercial applications are going to mean the availability of a wide-range of better products that are impossible to make today.
To develop and produce these goods,
This site, http://nsti.tinytechjobs.com/, is dedicated to jobs at the intersection of nanotechnology, microtechnology, biotechnology, and information technology. Here you will find cutting edge nanoscience positions in such disciplines as chemistry, physics, materials science, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, micro- and nano-electromechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and devices, microfluidics, microarrays, information technology, optics, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering, and other relevant fields.
use nanomaterials in research or production processes may be exposed to
nanoparticles through inhalation, dermal contact, or ingestion, depending upon
how employees use and handle them. Although the potential health effects of
such exposure are not fully understood at this time, scientific studies
indicate that at least some of these materials are biologically active, may
readily penetrate intact human skin, and have produced toxicologic reactions in
the lungs of exposed experimental animals.
Current research indicates that the toxicity of engineered nanoparticles will depend on the physical and chemical properties of the particle. Engineered nanomaterials may have unique chemical and physical properties that differ substantially from those of the same material in bulk or macro-scale form. Properties that may be important in understanding the toxic effects of nanomaterials include particle size and size distribution, agglomeration state, shape, crystal structure, chemical composition, surface area, surface chemistry, surface charge, and porosity.
The federal government promotes nanotechnology through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which is one of the largest federal interagency projects promoting a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society.
The Initiative coordinates the funding for nanotechnology research and development among twenty-five federal departments and agencies.
These agencies are working to advance a world-class nanotechnology research and development program leading to new products, drugs and medical devices, robust educational resources and a skilled workforce with a supporting infrastructure and tools, as well as a coordinated research strategy to study the potential environmental, health and safety impacts of nanotechnology.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is the program established in fiscal year 2001 to coordinate Federal nanotechnology research and development.
The NNI provides a vision of the long-term opportunities and benefits of nanotechnology. By serving as a central locus for communication, cooperation, and collaboration for all Federal agencies that wish to participate, the NNI brings together the expertise needed to guide and support the advancement of this broad and complex field.
The NNI creates a framework for a comprehensive nanotechnology R&D program by establishing shared goals, priorities, and strategies, and it provides avenues for each individual agency to leverage the resources of all participating agencies.
Today the NNI consists of the individual and cooperative nanotechnology-related activities of 25 Federal agencies with a range of research and regulatory roles and responsibilities. Thirteen of the participating agencies have R&D budgets that relate to nanotechnology, with the reported NNI budget representing the collective sum of these. The NNI as a program does not fund research; however, it informs and influences the Federal budget and planning processes through its member agencies.
· Advance a world-class nanotechnology research and development program.
· Foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit.
· Develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology.
· Support responsible development of nanotechnology.
The ability to image, measure, model, and
manipulate matter on the nanoscale is leading to new technologies that will
impact virtually every sector of our economy and our daily lives. Nanoscale
science, engineering, and technology are enabling promising new materials and
applications across many fields. Realizing these possibilities requires
continued research and accelerated innovation. The
The NNI has created a thriving nanoscale science
and engineering R&D environment within the
The NNI is managed within the framework of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the Cabinet-level council by which the President coordinates science, space, and technology policies across the Federal Government. The Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the NSTC coordinates planning, budgeting, program implementation and review to ensure a balanced and comprehensive initiative. The NSET Subcommittee is composed of representatives from agencies participating in the NNI.
To support the interagency coordination activities of the NSET Subcommittee, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office was established in 2001.
Attempts to coordinate federal work on the nanoscale began in November 1996, when staff members from several agencies decided to meet regularly to discuss their plans and programs in nanoscale science and technology. For the rest of the story, click: http://www.nano.gov/html/about/history.html.
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) provides technical and administrative support to the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee, serves as a central point of contact for Federal nanotechnology R&D activities, and provides public outreach on behalf of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. For more information, see NNCO.
For funding details see: http://www.nano.gov/html/about/funding.html.
Nanotechnology has the potential to profoundly change our economy and to improve our standard of living, in a manner not unlike the impact made by advances over the past two decades by information technology. While some commercial products are beginning to come to market, many major applications for nanotechnology are still five to ten years out. Private investors look for shorter-term returns on investment, generally in the range of one to three years. Consequently, government support for basic research and development in its early stages needs to maintain a competitive position in the worldwide nanotechnology marketplace in order to realize nanotechnology’s full potential.
Large industry currently supports about half of the
R&D in nanotechnology in the
The current estimate is about 20,000 worldwide.
In order to work with complex, high-tech equipment, many nanotechnology jobs, like advanced manufacturing jobs, require participation in a formal training program. Four-year universities often provide such training programs. Nanotechnology has many scientific jobs that require at least a four-year Bachelor's Degree while others require a Master's Degree and Doctoral work. The City University of New York offers a Ph.D. in Nanotechnology & Materials Chemistry as part of the Ph.D. program in chemistry.
The Nanotechnology Institute of ASME International is dedicated to furthering the art, science and practice of nanotechnology. The Institute is a clearinghouse for ASME activities in nanotechnology and provides interdisciplinary programs and activities to bridge science, engineering, and applications.
The IEEE Nanotechnology Council is a multi-disciplinary group whose purpose is to advance and coordinate work in the field of Nanotechnology carried out throughout the IEEE in scientific, literary and educational areas. The Council supports the theory, design, and development of nanotechnology and its scientific, engineering, and industrial applications.
The California Institute of Nanotechnology’s mission is to conduct research and development and provide professional education and training in the frontier of nanotechnology to meet the needs of the emerging industry for the benefit of the society.
The California Institute of Nanotechnology conducts advanced & applied research in nanotechnology to help solve major problems facing mankind such as diseases, shortage of energy and global environmental issues.
With its expertise and a large network of world class collaborators focusing on a broad spectrum of nanosciences and nanotechnology, the institute provides business and advanced technical consulting services to a number of large multinational corporations around the world.
California Institute of Nanotechnology serves as the central hub to manage a number of projects including:
§ Conducting advanced R&D in nanomaterials & nanomedicine.
§ Developing new nanocrystalline and nano-thin film for usage in solar system products.
§ Developing guidelines for quality control of nanoparticles products.
§ Developing nanotoxicology methodologies.
§ Developing framework for occupation health & safety regulations.
§ Studying societal & environmental impact of converging technologies.
§ Developing nano-manufacturing framework and initiatives.
§ Developing international curricula for education and training.
Providing education & workforce training to
help dislocated workers in
§ Facilitating venture investment for start-up companies.
One of the primary goals of the California Institute of Nanotechnology (CINANO) is to conduct research and development in the frontier of nanotechnology with its wide spectrum of applications in the biomedical, semiconductor and alternative energy (bio-fuel and solar system products).
The institute’s scientists are currently working with partners in industry and academia focusing a number of research projects, such as:
1. Improvement of purification and quality control of uniformity of carbon nanotubes.
2. Trouble shooting manufacturing scalability to improve production yields in partnership with industry partners.
3. Bio-Sensors: development of a bio-nano-sensor system for detecting of toxin and toxic nanoparticles in food and biological products.
4. Targeted Nanoscale Drug Delivery Sustem: development of a novel Nano Drug Delivery System to carry potent anti-cancer anti-biotic to certain targeted cancerous areas to optimize therapeutic treatment while minimizing the toxic effect of chemotherapy.
5. Fuel Cells: Further development of electro-catalysis replacement of platinum-based electrodes to improve yields and cost of large scale production. The fuel cell can be potentially developed into a nanoscale solar system which is a rugged, reliable, thin film at affordable cost for large scale production.
6. Nanocrystalline materials, Nanoscale thin-film materials and Nano-Organic materials for the development of solar energy system products.
Learn about nanotechnology in this free video series on nanotechnology from the director of the California Institute of Nanotechnology.
Challenge: In the San Bernardino Community College District, there is expected to be an addition of 17,700 jobs (a 14 percent increase) related to nanotechnology by 2012. While job growth in the region is significant, the impact on nanotechnology jobs across the globe is even greater, with a projected growth of two million jobs over the next 10 years. Nanotechnology is also used in a variety of other growing industries such as semiconductors, biotechnology, biology, etc. The following education and training challenges have been identified by the California Nanotechnology Collaborative: no short-term training programs to prepare workers for entry-level jobs; no programs to provide opportunities for students to pursue certificate, two-year, four-year, and/or graduate degrees in nanotechnology-related fields; no organization or entity that can provide technical resources in nanotechnology to state community colleges; and no career pathways that link K-12 education to institutions of higher learning.
the Challenge: The California Nanotechnology Collaborative (
The Nano Science and Technology
Institute (NSTI) advances and integrates nano and other advanced technologies
through education, conventions, business publishing, and research services.
NSTI produces the annual Nanotech conference and trade show, which
attracts more than 5,000 industrial, academic, business and governmental
attendees from around the world. It is the largest gathering of the
nanotechnology industry in the
Nanotechnology Now (NN) covers future
sciences such as Nanotechnology, Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT),
MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS), NanoElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS),
Nanomedicine, Nanobiotechnology, Nanoelectronics, Nanofabrication,
Computational Nanotechnology, Quantum Computers, and Artificial Intelligence -
to name just a few.
NN was created to serve the information needs of business, government, academic, and public communities, and with the intention of becoming the most informative and current free collection of "nano" reference material. NN will cover: related future sciences, issues, news, events, and general information, and will make this a place to come for information, stimulating debate, and research info.
Nanowerk is the premier and most popular source for nanotechnology information. Apart from its unique Nanomaterial Database™, the most extensive industry directory, a packed conference calendar, complete nanotechnology news coverage, and business resources, it offers Nanowerk Spotlight: A daily Nanowerk-exclusive nanotechnology feature looks behind the buzz and the hype. What's hot and new from around the globe. Some stories are more like an introduction to nanotechnology, some are about understanding current developments, and some are advanced reviews of leading edge research.
In summary, Nanowerk offers a wide
range of services and information in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology
including the unique Nanowerk Nanomaterial DatabaseTM, nanoTALK
Forum, Nanowerk Spotlight, nanoRISK Newsletter, and the
This weekly virtual journal contains articles that have appeared in one of the participating source journals and that fall within a number of contemporary topical areas in the science and technology of nanometer-scale structures. The articles are primarily those that have been published in the previous week; however, at the discretion of the editors older articles may also appear, particularly review articles. Links to other useful Web resources on nanoscale systems are also provided.
NanoScienceWorks.org serves the nano community as a gateway to the news, journals, books, and articles that support and drive nano research and development. NanoScienceWorks invites you to explore these resources, view its slidecasts, and join its networking database of nano-involved people and institutions from around the world. Click: http://www.nanoscienceworks.org/.
From KQED: “What's 100,000 times thinner than a strand
of hair? A nanometer. Discover the
nanotech boom in
“If you have questions about Nanotechnology you’ve come to the right place. Explore the nanozone and learn more.”
Click: http://www.nanozone.org/index.htm .
“What is a nanooze (we say it....nah--news)? Nanooze is not a thing, Nanooze is a place. A place to hear about the latest exciting stuff in science and technology. What kind of stuff? Discoveries about the world that is too small to see and making tiny things.”
The High School Nanoscience Program
is a joint effort of UCLA/UCSB’s California NanoSystems Institute (
“Our basic goal has been to find
ways to integrate nanoscience experiments into the prescribed high school
curriculum so that they teach required fundamental science concepts, while at
the same time introducing students to the new field of nanoscience and exciting
them about science in general. The program, which was started in 2002,
involves a group of about 30 graduate students and postdocs associated with the
Berube, David M., Nano-Hype, Prometheus Books, 2006.
Cameron, Nigel M. de S., and Mitchell, M. Ellen, Nanoscale, Wiley, 2007.
Foster, Lynn E., Nanotechnology, Science, Innovation, and
Hornyak, G. Louis, H. F. Tibbals,
H. F., Dutta, Joydeep, Introduction to
Hornyak, G. Louis, H. F. Tibbals,
H. F., Dutta, Joydeep, Fundamentals
Roco, M.C., and
W.S. Bainbridge, eds. Converging technologies for improving human
performance: Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and
cognitive science, Doredrecht,
Williams, Linda, and Adams, Wade, Nanotechnology Demystified, McGraw-Hill, 2007.
Nanotechnology: Big Things from a Tiny World, published by NNCO.
Education and career links and other sources of information: http://www.careervoyages.gov/nanotechnology-links.cfm.
Nanotech news: http://www.nanotechwire.com/.