Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotechnology’s reach, from swords to solar cells

In a lecture last week, Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science, examined the history of nanoscience — and what studying nature means for its future. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.
In a lecture last week, Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science, examined the history of nanoscience — and what studying nature means for its future. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Abstract:
Nanotechnology may be an emerging field of study, but it's actually been around for a number of centuries, said Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science at Northeastern University.

Nanotechnology’s reach, from swords to solar cells

Boston, MA | Posted on November 8th, 2011

To make swords, blacksmiths would bang away at iron in the presence of coal dust — thereby infusing tiny carbon particles into the iron to make the sword tips sharp. "They didn't know how it worked, but they were doing nanotechnology thousands of years ago," Gibson told more than 30 faculty and students in Frost Lounge last Tuesday for a lecture presented by PRISM, the Proactive Recruitment in Introductory Science and Mathematics.

PRISM is an initiative that connects Northeastern mathematicians, physicists and biologists with first- and second-year students who want to learn more about math and science research-related co-ops and internships. It was developed by members of Northeastern's math and science faculty and is supported by a five-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Nanoscience, Gibson said, is a highly interdisciplinary field best described as a convergence between the physical and life sciences. It revolves around the study of tiny objects. A nanometer, for example, is about the size of 10 atoms, or about how much a fingernail grows in a second.

Much of the science is explained in the arrangement and pattern of atoms on the nanoscale. This arrangement, Gibson explained, is what differentiates diamonds from graphite found in pencils. How atoms organize and bond with each other also determines the brilliant colors in ancient stained-glass windows.

Nanoscience even occurs in the kitchen. Earlier this semester, students in Northeastern's chapter of the American Chemical Society made ice cream using liquid nitrogen. When liquid nitrogen hits the cream and other ingredients, it immediately creates crystals, which Gibson said directly relates to how the ice cream tastes.

"It's a very expensive way to make ice cream, and only a chemist would think that way," he joked.

Nanotechnology, Gibson noted, may lead to a revolution in the way things are built — from lighter, stronger aircraft wings to cheap solar cells that can solve the world's energy problems. He said nanotechnology might be used in health care to help detect viruses and deliver drugs.

The answers, Gibson said, lie in studying how nature and evolution have already built things from the bottom up, and then translating that knowledge into interdisciplinary research, which he said can provide fertile ground for collaboration and discovery.

Northeastern researchers are already exploring the boundaries of nanotechnology through innovative work across numerous research centers and programs, such as the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, the Electronic Materials Research Institute, the Center for Translational Cancer Nanomedicine and the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program in nanomedicine.

Gibson said it's critical for students interested in pursuing research to develop expertise in a particular discipline. This, he said, will provide a strong foundation for designing science experiments and position students to conduct interdisciplinary research, which he called a critical component in the future of nanotechnology.

"The great thing about science is you're always discovering like you did as a child," he said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Greg St. Martin
617-373-5463

Copyright © Northeastern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Academic/Education

Pushing Past Limits: Junkai Jiang receives prestigious Ph.D. Student Fellowship from IEEE Electron Devices Society March 14th, 2019

Research Pioneers: Five UCSB professors are named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science November 27th, 2018

GaN Rising: UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Umesh Mishra to deliver 63rd Annual Faculty Research Lecture November 16th, 2018

The National Graphene Association Is Excited To Announce A New Affiliate Partnership With Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) November 7th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-APOC3 June 21st, 2019

Materials/Metamaterials

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Electron-behaving nanoparticles rock current understanding of matter: Discovery will lead to new methods for materials design June 20th, 2019

University of Konstanz researchers create uniform-shape polymer nanocrystals: Researchers from the University of Konstanz's CRC 1214 'Anisotropic Particles as Building Blocks: Tailoring Shape, Interactions and Structures' generate uniform-shape nanocrystals using direct polymeriz June 14th, 2019

Laser technique could unlock use of tough material for next-generation electronics: Researchers make graphene tunable, opening up its band gap to a record 2.1 electronvolts May 30th, 2019

Announcements

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Aerospace/Space

Better microring sensors for optical applications May 10th, 2019

Sculpting Super-Fast Light Pulses: NIST Nanopillars Shape Light Precisely for Practical Applications May 3rd, 2019

New hybrid energy method could fuel the future of rockets, spacecraft for exploration: Nontraditional route shown to increase performance, burn rate April 9th, 2019

VP Pence Announces Humans on Moon by 2024 April 2nd, 2019

Solar/Photovoltaic

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

UCI scientists create new class of two-dimensional materials: Fabrication could help unlock new quantum computing and energy technologies June 6th, 2019

Data science helps engineers discover new materials for solar cells and LEDs May 24th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project