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Introduction to Nanotechnology

Prerequisite: Some high school chemistry is recommended for students choosing this course.

Nanoscience is the study of material properties at the nanoscale, which is on the range of 1-100 nanometers. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter. To give you a sense of the scale, a single human hair is 100,000 nanometers wide! At the nanoscale, materials have different properties than at larger scales. Some of these materials become better at producing energy, releasing heat, changing the properties of light and magnetism. Nanotechnology is the application of nanoscience for applications in areas such as sustainable energy production, biomedicine, and environmental science, among others. Chemistry is at the forefront of nanoscience in areas of nanoparticle synthesis and development of nanotechnology-based applications.

In this course we will explore nanoscience through lectures and labs. We will discuss real-world applications of nanotechnology, including sustainable energy production (solar cells; next generation batteries), biomedicine (nanoparticle-based sensing), and environmental science (pollution reduction).

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to define nanotechnology and have gained knowledge in:

  • Size and shape dependent properties at the nanometer scale
  • Enhanced physical properties of nanomaterials
  • What nanoparticles are and how to synthesize them
  • Applications of nanotechnology

Course Requirements/Examinations

  • Attendance (5% of final grade): required unless you have a legitimate and verifiable excuse
  • In-class participation (5% of final grade): you are expected to participate in labs, in-class activities, etc.
  • Major assignments and exams
    • Mini-quizzes: weekly assessments of what you learned during the week (15% of final grade)
    • Labs and reports (45% of final grade): 13 labs total
      • Worksheets for 10 labs
      • 2 full lab reports
    • Poster (30% of final grade)

Credit Hours: 3

Course Instructors

Ghavya Sharma

Bhavya Sharma, Course Director

Bhavya Sharma is originally from Hawaii. She received her BS degree from SUNY at Buffalo and her PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. Bhavya was a postdoctoral researcher in Rick Van Duyne’s group at Northwestern University. She started her academic career at the University of Tennessee in August 2015. Bhavya’s research involves the use of Raman spectroscopy, a light scattering technique, to examine the underlying physics and chemistry of biological systems. In particular, her group is interested in biomedical applications of Raman spectroscopy. Dr. Sharma’s group also uses nanoscience in their development of biochemical assays for biomarkers of human health.