Professor of Chemical Engineering
Nanotechnology is considered an emerging field, but it promises to revolutionize everything around us. Derived from the Greek word for midget, nano means 10-9, a billionth part. A nanometer (nm), for example, is one billionth of a meter. To get an idea of the scale involved, the diameter of a human hair is 200,000 nm.
However, nanotechnology is not just the study of the very small, it is also technology: the practical application of science. Although they have long been fascinated with atoms, only recently have scientists acquired the ability to manipulate them precisely. Today, researchers painstakingly assemble nanodevices a single molecule at a time. But to be useful, a device would have to contain millions of clusters arranged in just the right configuration. In order to achieve this, scientists are focusing on devices that can assemble themselves based on inherent molecular properties.
Surfactants at work: polyethylene bubbles in a polypropylene matrix, stabilized by a polymeric surfactant. (Courtesy of the Balsara group.)
Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">March