Materials Science & Nanotechnology, Southwestern College (CA)

Location: 
Southwestern College
City, State: 
Chula Vista, CA
Instructor(s): 
David Brown (Southwestern College)

 

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 and 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 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 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, Nanoapplications, Electrons in Solids, Magnetism, Giant Magnetoresistance, Electrorheology. Laboratory Activities: Synthesis of gold nanoparticles, Gold layering and SAMs, Optical properties of CdSe quantum dots.

Day 2: Materials chemistry. Topics: Solid state stoichiometry, Unit cells, Piezoelectricity, Metals, Carbon Nanotubes. Laboratory Activities: Structure and properties model building, PEM hydrogen fuel cells, Dye-sensitized solar cells, Property changes from a molecular monolayer.

Day 3: How can we use the periodic table to tune properties? Topics: Holes and electrons, p-n junctions, Bands, Light Emitting Diodes and applications, thermoelectrics, electrochromism. Laboratory Activities: LEDs and Periodic Properties, Synthesis and characterization of polyaniline.

Day 4: How do we know about structure? Topics: Diffraction, Scanning Probe Microscopy; Laboratory Activities: Synthesis of nickel nanowires, Synthesis of ferrofluid nanoparticles, Preparation of magnetic composite particles.

Day 5: Defects and phase changes. Topics and activities: Societal implications, bubble raft, dislocations, Nitinol wire programming.

 

Image: Public domain, Wikimedia