Materials Science and Nanotechnology

Beloit College
City, State: 
Beloit, WI
George Lisensky (Beloit College) and Christopher Bailey (Wells College)
26 Jul 2015 - 31 Jul 2015

A week-long cCWCS workshop

In 1960, Richard Feynman asked the question, What would happen if we could arrange atoms one by one the way we want them? Today, the emerging fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology are enabling control of the material world at the scale of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology is inherently interdisciplinary and requires new approaches to undergraduate education through interdisciplinary connections between chemistry, physics, biology and materials science. Chemists can play an important part in this collaboration if the barrier of unfamiliar vocabulary is removed. Silicon chips, gigabyte disk drives, and light emitting diodes - devices that are based on atomically engineered materials - are all around us. These everyday wonders that we depend on would not be possible without the ability to "see" and manipulate materials at the most basic level, the individual atom. This workshop will focus on a chemical view of materials science and the nanoworld and how to incorporate these topics into the core curriculum. It will include a large number of hands-on activities, connections to commercial high technology materials, and laboratory experiments that do not require specialized equipment. Participants will receive a book, lab directions, and resources for class use.


Day 1: What’s different about the nanoscale?
Topics: Introduction to Nanoscale Materials, Nanoapplications, Superhydrophobicity, Electrons in Solids (Magnetism, Giant Magnetoresistance, Data Storage) and Metal Nanoparticles
Laboratory Activities: Property changes from a monolayer, Electrochromic Prussian Blue, Synthesis of ferrofluid nanoparticles, Synthesis of gold and silver nanoparticles

Day 2: Materials chemistry
Topics: Solid state stoichiometry; Unit cells; Metals; Bands, holes and electrons; Quantum Dots, Carbon
Laboratory Activities: Structure and properties model building, Thermal conductivity, Titanium dioxide dye solar cell                                        

Day 3: How can we use the periodic table to tune properties?
Light Emitting Diodes and applications, p-n junctions, Solar cells, Thermoelectrics
Laboratory Activities:
LEDs and periodic properties, Liquid crystal thermometer, Preparation of OLEDs, Synthesis of CdSe quantum dots 

Day 4: How do we know about structure?
Topics: Diffraction, DNA diffraction, Scanning Probe Microscopy, Piezoelectricity
Laboratory Activities: PDMS replication of surface structures; Preparation and properties of ZnO nanorods; SEM, STM and XRD instrumentation 

Day 5: Defects and Society
Topics and activities: Dislocations, Bubble raft, Amorphous Metal, Societal Implications, Conclusion