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

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Academic/Education

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Graduate Students from Across the Country Attend Hands-on NanoCamp: Prominent scientists Warren Oliver, Ph.D., and George Pharr, Ph.D., presented a weeklong NanoCamp for hand-picked graduate students across the United States July 26th, 2017

The Physics Department of Imperial College, London, uses the Quorum Q150T to deposit metals and ITO to make plasmonic sensors and electric contact pads July 13th, 2017

Nanomedicine

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Announcements

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Aerospace/Space

The July 23 close fly-by of asteroid 2017 BS5 is explored in a Q&A with Dr. John S. Lewis, chief scientist at Deep Space Industries July 23rd, 2017

National Space Society Governor Scott Pace Named to National Space Council as Executive Secretary July 18th, 2017

National Space Society Supports VP Pence's Call for Constant Low-Earth Orbit Human Presence Leading to the Settlement of Space July 13th, 2017

Thinking thin brings new layering and thermal abilities to the semiconductor industry: In a breakthrough for the semiconductor industry, researchers demonstrate a new layer transfer technique called "controlled spalling" that creates many thin layers from a single gallium nitride July 11th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Fewer defects from a 2-D approach August 15th, 2017

Controlled manipulation: Scientists at FAU are investigating the properties of hybrid systems consisting of carbon nanostructures and a dye August 8th, 2017

Simultaneous Design and Nanomanufacturing Speeds Up Fabrication: Method enhances broadband light absorption in solar cells August 5th, 2017

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project