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|"Nanotechnology: Super Small Science" is a six-part series that shows viewers how atoms and molecules that are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair can be used as building blocks to create future technology. The series features a dozen world class American researchers, including quantum physicist and National Medal of Science winner Paul Alivisatos. His team at the University of California, Berkeley, is working to develop a new type of solar cell using nano-sized crystals called quantum dots. Quantum dots are already helping to produce brighter, more vivid color in displays. Find out more in this Special Report. Credit: NBC Learn and the National Science foundation|
We can't see them, but nanomaterials, both natural and manmade, are literally everywhere, from our personal care products to our building materials--we're even eating and drinking them.
At the NSF-funded Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), headquartered at Duke University, scientists and engineers are researching how some of these nanoscale materials affect living things. One of CEINT's main goals is to develop tools that can help assess possible risks to human health and the environment. A key aspect of this research happens in mesocosms, which are outdoor experiments that simulate the natural environment - in this case, wetlands. These simulated wetlands in Duke Forest serve as a testbed for exploring how nanomaterials move through an ecosystem and impact living things.
CEINT is a collaborative effort bringing together researchers from Duke, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, Stanford University, and Baylor University. CEINT academic collaborations include on-going activities coordinated with faculty at Clemson, North Carolina State and North Carolina Central universities, with researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Environmental Protection Agency labs, and with key international partners.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1266252, Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology.
Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer
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