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Introduction to Nanotechnology

GK12 Student: Kyle Barr

Professor Frank Fisher

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Stevens Institute of Technology

Web: http:://


Supported by:  NSF Graduate Teaching Fellow in K-12 Education ProgramAssociated Institution: Stevens Institute of Technology - Hoboken, NJ

richard feynman grandfather of nanotechnology
Richard Feynman - “Grandfather” of Nanotechnology
  • 1959 - Richard Feynman - Nobel Prize in Physics
  • “There’s plenty of room at the bottom” - an invitation to enter a new field of physics
  • Offered two $1000 prizes:
    • Build an electric motor in a 1/64 inch cube
    • Reduce a page of a book by a factor of 25,000; read using an electron microscope
  • 1960 - engineer claimed the first prize
  • 1985 - graduate student wrote a page from A Tale of Two Cities 1/160 millimeter in length using Ebeam lithography

Van der Waals force

  • An attractive force between atoms or molecules.
  • Not the result of chemical bond formation, much weaker
  • Responsible for some material properties: crystal structure, melting points, boiling points, surface tension, and densities.



Nano-adhesion mechanism of Gecko

  • Many hypotheses

- Suction: Gadow, 1901

- Electrostatics: Schmidt, 1904

- Friction: Madhendra, 1941

  • - Micro-interlocking: Madhendra, 1941
  • - Capillary wet adhesion



Gecko’s foot structure


Kellar et al, “Adhesive force of a single gecko foot-hair,” Nature, 405, 681-685 (2000)

what are carbon nanotubes
What are Carbon Nanotubes?
  • Hexagonal sheet of carbon atoms (graphene sheet) rolled into 1D cylinder
  • “Classes” of nanotubes: SWNTs, MWNTs, andNT ropes or bundles



SWNT bundle

space elevator updated oct 2008
Space Elevator (updated Oct 2008)
  • A conference discussing space elevator concepts is being held in Japan in November 2008
  • Hundreds of engineers/scientists from Asia, Europe and the Americas are working on the design
  • Will take you directly to the one hundred-thousandth floor
  • A cable anchored to the Earth's surface, reaching tens of thousands of kilometers into space
  • Arthur Clarke's novel "The Fountains of Paradise" brought idea of space elevator to masses (1979)
  • NASA holding $4M Space Elevator Challenge to encourage designs for a successful space elevator
  • (website of Japan Space Elevator Association)

Nanomechanics and Nanomaterials Lab (Fisher)

Processing-induced Crystallization of Semicrystalline Nanocomposites (Kalyon)

Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting (Shi, Prasad, ECE…)

Harvesting energy from ambient vibrations for wireless sensors

Using nanoparticles + processing to promote preferred crystalline phases

  • Mago, Kalyon & Fisher, J. Appl. Polym. Sci.114, 1312 (2009)
  • Mago, Fisher & Kalyon, J. Nanosci. & Nanotech.9, 3330 (2009)
  • Mago, Kalyon & Fisher, J. Nanomaterials3, 759825 (2008)
  • Mago, Fisher & Kalyon, Macromolecules41, 8103 (2008)
  • Challa, Prasad & Fisher, Measurement Sci. & Tech., under review
  • Challa, Prasad & Fisher, Smart Mat. & Struct.18, 095029 (2009)
  • Challa, Shi, Prasad & Fisher, Smart Mat. & Struct.17, 015035 (2008)

Nanomanipulation and Nanomechanical Characterization (Shi, Yang, Zhu)

Polymer Nanocomposite Nanomechanics

Novel micromechanical modeling for polymer nanocomposites

In situ SEM characterization of nanomaterials and nanocomposites

  • MRI: Acquisition of an instrument for nanoscale manipulation and experimental characterization, NSF DMI-0619762, 09/01/06-08/31/09, $326k
  • Fisher & Lee, Composites Science and Technology (to be submitted)
  • Fisher, Oelkers & Lee, Composites Science and Technology (to be submitted)

Nanomechanics and Nanomaterials Lab


PEEK layer seen on MWNTs

Crystallization of semicrystalline polymer nanocomposites (solution-processing)

MWNT-PVDF membranes with enhanced piezoelectric crystal polymorph

  • Piezoelectric behavior of PVDF attributed to  crystal phase
  • MWNTs nucleate crystallization, which also controlled by rate of interdiffusion of solvent/antisolvent (solubility parameter)
  • MWNTs to promote  phase

Mago, Kalyon & Fisher (2008), Journal of Nanomaterials, 3, 759825

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)nanocomposites

  • Melting point of ~360 °C, insoluble in most solvents
  • Applications: aerospace industries, membranes, coatings, electrical connectors, fibers, etc…
  • Solution crystallization via Benzophenone to promote/maintain dispersion

0.1 wt% CNF

Bartolucci, Mago, Kalyon & Fisher (2010), submitted to Polymer


Processing-induced crystallization of semicrystalline polymer nanocomposites*

Shear-induced crystallization

Complex viscosity

Mago, Fisher & Kalyon, Macromolecules, 41, 8103, 2008; Mago, Fisher & Kalyon, J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol., 9, 3330, 2009

Pressure-induced crystallization

Nanohybrid Shish-Kebab

As-received CNFs

TEM of NHSK (nylon)

G. Mago, C. Velasco-Santos, A.L. Martinez-Hernandez, D.M. Kalyon, and F.T. Fisher (2007), Proceedings of the 2007 MRS Fall Meeting, November 26-30, Boston, MA.

G. Mago, DM Kalyon, and FT Fisher (2010), submitted to Macromolecules

*with D. Kalyon, Chemical Engineering, Stevens


Cell-Biomaterial Interactions

Center for MicroChemical Systems

Microreactor-Based Pilot Plant

Multiscale Engineering, Science & Technology @ Stevens: Research Clusters

Multiscale Mechanical Systems and Devices

Controlled Quantum Systems

Environmental Nanotechnology


1 mm

500 nm

Multiscale Mechanical Systems and Devices

Chang-Hwan Choi, Frank Fisher, Souran Manoochehri, Kishore Pochiraju,

Yong Shi and Eui-Hyeok Yang

Nano and Micro Structures and Devices Engineering Laboratory

Micro-Device Laboratory

Current & Future

Funding Sources

Munitions Applications

Safe/Arm and Fuze Devices

US Army Picatinny ARDEC, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Science Foundation, NASA SBIR, Department of Homeland Security, Naval Research Lab, Industry, etc..


Nationally recognized doctoral research

training and technology development in novel

multiscale electromechanical

systems and devices

Large-Area Nano-Patterning & 3D Nanofabrication

Multifunctional Nanowires/Nanofibers

PZT Nanofibers

Nanostructure Morphology in Polymer Nanocomposites

ITO Nanofibers

PZT Nano


Nano and Microfluidics Laboratory

Active Nanomaterials & Devices Laboratory

Nanomechanics and

Nanomaterials Laboratory


Other Applications of Nanotechnology

NSF website; March 1 2007

  • Applications
  • next-generation solar cells (better capture light; increase efficiency)
  • coating LED’s to eliminate reflections (gain efficiency to compete with other bulbs)

Top 5 Nano-Breakthroughs in 2006 (

1) DNA ORIGAMI: Researcher: Paul W. K.Rothemund (Caltech)

The sheer simplicity and versatility of Dr. Rothemund's "DNA origami" renders it a revolution in nanoscale architecture. Rothemund developed a technique to fold a single long strand of DNA into any 2D shape held together by a few shorter DNA pieces. He created software to quickly determine what short sequences will fold the main strand into the desired shape, such as the DNA smiley face he built, which is a mere 100nm across and 2nm thick, or his nanoscale map of the Americas. They sound silly, but these creations are proof of concept: here is a method for building scaffolding that can be used to hold quantum dots in a quantum computer or proteins in a multi-enzyme factory, to name just a few potential applications.

2) NANOMAGNETS TO CLEAN UP DRINKING WATER: Researchers: Vicki Colvin and colleagues (Rice University)

According to the World Bank, nearly 65 million people are at risk from arsenic-related health problems due to millions of contaminated wells, especially in developing nations like India and Bangladesh. Now, a research team led by Vicki Colvin at Rice University has developed a simple and inexpensive way to solve the problem. Rust nanoparticles, which have magnetic properties, bind to arsenic; the rust and arsenic can then be lifted out of the water by nothing more than a handheld magnet. The breakthrough was the realization that the manipulation of nanoscale rust would not require huge magnetic fields, as was expected. The unique properties at the nanoscale cause the rust nanoparticles to act as one large magnet that can be easily drawn out of the water, leaving behind drinking water pure enough to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. The method, which requires no electricity or extensive hardware, will have a global impact.

3) ARRAYS CONNECT NANOWIRE TRANSISTORS WITH NEURONS: Researchers: Charles Lieber amd colleagues (Harvard University)

In the first ever two-way interface between nanoelectronics and living neurons, Dr. Lieber and his team have created a revolutionary way to study brain activity. Silicon nanowires link up with the axons and dendrites of live mammalian neurons, creating artificial synapses between the two and allowing scientists to study and manipulate signal propagation in neural networks. The device can measure the brain's electric signals with unprecedented sensitivity, amplifying signals from up to 50 places on a single neuron. It will allow researchers to accurately model complex brain activity, pave the way for powerful neural prosthetics, and open the possibility for hybrid nanoelectronic and biological information processing.


Top 5 Nano-Breakthroughs in 2006 (

4) SINGLE NANOTUBE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS: Researchers: Phaedon Avouris and colleagues (IBM's T.J.Watson Research Center; University of Florida; Columbia University)

This year, IBM unveiled the most complex and highest performance electrical circuit based on a single nanotube, demonstrating the applicability of CMOS technology and paving the way for the future of computing. The integrated logic circuit consists of 12 transistors made of palladium and aluminum tracing the length of a single carbon nanotube. The circuit is hundreds of times slower than today's silicon processors, but t is 100,000 times faster than any previous carbon nanotube device and has the potential to be much faster. Unlike silicon, it doesn't require doping, which scatters electron flow and is far more heat efficient. Expect to first see these nanotube circuits in hybrid nanotube-silicon computers.

5) NANOPARTICLES DESTROY PROSTATE CANCER: Researchers: Robert Langer and colleagues (MIT; BWH and Harvard; U.of Illinois; Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea; Dana Farber Cancer Institute)

Here's one battle with cancer where cancer is losing dramatically--researchers at MIT and Harvard have custom-designed nanoparticles that hone in on prostate cancer cells and deliver doses of targeted chemotherapy. In trials with mice, which were given human prostate cancer, a single injection of these nanoparticles completely eradicated tumors in five out of seven animals, significantly reducing tumor size in the other two. The work may be replicable for treatments of breast and pancreatic cancer, as well. Look forward to seeing these cancer-killers in human clinical trials.