Materials Science & Nanotechnology, Southwestern College (CA)

Southwestern College
City, State: 
Chula Vista, CA
David Brown (Southwestern College)
25 Jun 2017 - 30 Jun 2017




In his famous presentation to the American Physical Society in December of 1959, “There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” Caltech Physicist Richard Feynman asked questions such as: Why cannot we write the entire 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin? and 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 an interdisciplinary endeavor and requires new approaches to undergraduate education. These approaches must involve identifying and clarifying 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, terabyte disk drives, and light emitting diodes - devices that are based on atomically engineered materials - are all around us. These everyday wonders on which we continually depend 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 teaching curricula. It will include a number of hands-on activities and laboratory experiments that do not require specialized equipment. Participants will receive lab instructions and other classroom resources.

Day 1: What's different about the nanoscale? Topics: Introduction, Scale, Nanoparticles, Surface plasmons, Solid state stoichiometry, Defects, Template synthesis. Laboratory Activities: Synthesis of gold nanoparticles, Synthesis of nickel nanowires, Nitinol wire.

Day 2: Materials chemistry. Topics: Surface modification, Self-assembly, Electrochromism, Sensors. Laboratory Activities: Property changes from self-assembly of a molecular monolayer, Self-assembly and encapsulation, Layer-by-layer assembly and characterization of a thin film.

Day 3: How can we use the periodic table and particle size to tune properties? Topics: Holes and electrons, p-n junctions, Bands, Light Emitting Diodes and applications, Quantum dots, Luminescence. Laboratory Activities: LEDs and Periodic Properties, Optical properties of CdSe quantum dots.

Day 4: Preparing and utilizing magnetic materials. Topics: Magnetism, Magnetorheology, Surfactants, Water remediation; Laboratory Activities: Synthesis of ferrofluid, Preparation of adsorbent magnetic composite particles.

Day 5: Novel materials and sustainable energy. Topics and: Societal implications of energy production and consumption, Photovoltaic conversion, Nanomaterials in sustainable energy production, hydrogen fuel cells; Laboratory activities: Construction and characterization of dye-sensitized solar cells, Using hydrogen fuel cells to store sunlight as chemical fuel.


Image: Public domain, Wikimedia