NanoScience Practicals (1-3)

UM-StL Physics 4306 (2008)

Disclaimer: Course information here might be "permanently tentative", in the sense that we expect the content to continually evolve with the field.

Summer 2011 update: An on-line version of this course is being put together for Fall 2011. If you have an UM-StL SSO ID, you'll find interactive notes on this implementation on the campus wiki. We plan to work from the textbook by Gabor L. Hornyak, Joydeep Dutta, Harry F. Tibbals, Anil K. Rao (2008) "Introduction to nanoscience" (CRC press Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton FL). Look for more here soon on a set of nanoscience tutorials and empirical observations under development in this context.

Interactive talk notes: This might be a good place to post talk notes for moderated commentary.

Interactive tutorials: This might be a good place to post voice-thread powered interactive Kahn-academy style tutorials for moderated commentary. Any volunteers to help?

Topics in the area of multiscale thinking might include:

Topics related to nano-characterization might include:

Topics related to nanoscale modeling might include:

Topics related to nanostructure synthesis & applications might include:

Similar tutorials on Bayesian informatics.

Nanoscale science is a place where biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, physics, manufacturing, extraterrestrial materials, ethics, crime scene investigation, and complex system studies of emergence join up, and increasingly make contact with our everyday lives at work and at play. This cross-disciplinary class is designed to provide students working on technical research with overview material that they don't get in the standard curriculum, as well as to provide practical information to non-technical consumers of quantitative data on nanoscale characterization, synthesis, and modeling. It involves the addition of synthesis and modeling modules to an earlier characterization course, as well as a move to weekly class meetings in a computer-equipped classroom. The content is expected to adapt to developments in this emerging field, and to reflect the interests of multiple faculty in the University's recently expanded Center for NanoScience (CNS).

Boiler Plate:
Curricular Area: Cross-disciplinary Science
Course Number: 4306
Reference Number: 44778
Section Number: 001
Day, Time & Location:
Saturday 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, B225, BENTON HALL, Recitation/Seminar/Discussion
Organizing Instructor: FRAUNDORF,PHILIP
Course Description:
Studies of nanoscience characterization, synthesis, modeling techniques designed for clients of these tools, as well as for technical users interested in a current overview. Course consists of a set of 1/3 semester modules. Check with the instructor on more specialized modules (e.g. on materials microscopy) if interested. Each module will cover instrumentation, current applications, weaknesses, and will involve lab visits for hands-on experience, weekly web interaction and classroom hours.

Outline of what we hope the course will address, although the specifics are still being refined:

Module 1: Characterization of Nanostructures

Module 2: Synthesis of Nanostructures

Module 3: Nanoscale Modeling

A continuing-ed web flyer for this course may be found here, with information on registration for those not in a degree program here.

We have also been experimenting with a variety of web-based empirical observation exercises. These will prove useful should we decide to field an on-line version of the course, with first hand experiences both on the web as well as during a few class visits per semester.

These observation platforms include, for instance, the following links:

Such a web course would also likely include a Module 0 on Size-scale Awareness. This may be a good place to get folks from diverse backgrounds all thinking about how the size of an object affects: (i) what can happen inside it, (ii) the object's perspective on the world around, and (iii) the object's interfacial connection to that world as well.

A subset of developing application areas for nanotechnology:

Below find a table of some basic features of submicron spheres. To provide a sense of scale, the Pd nanocluster pictured at left above has a radius near 1.1 nm. How many atoms does it have? Note that one Dalton (Da) or unified atomic mass unit (u) is about 1.66 yoctograms (1.66 × 10-24 grams), just shy of a lone proton's mass to correct for the average binding-energy deficit in multi-baryon nuclei. Even the world of electron microscopy, which has provided us with eyes on the submicron scale since the 1940's, was traditionally focused on what can be seen in volumes containing a billion atoms or more. That is no longer the case, and this table provides clues as to why.

radius of a sphere
1 g/cc mass
approx. number of atoms
% of atoms on surface
1 micron
4.18 femtoLiters
4.18 picograms
a trillion (1012)
100 nm
4.18 attoLiters
4.18 femtograms
a billion (109)
10 nm
4.18 zeptoLiters
4.18 attograms
a million (106)
1 nm
4.18 yoctoLiters
4.18 zeptograms
a thousand (103)
1 Angstrom
0.00418 yoctoLiters
4.18 yoctograms
one (100)

The second table (below) lists comparable features of objects that are 10 nm long in N-directions but only one atom (0.2 nm) thick in the others. The single-walled carbon nanocone pictured above center is an N=2 structure, by way of example. The table suggests that bio-polymer structures (like polypeptides and the nucleic acid helix leaving the nanotube at right above) may play such an important role in the inner life of a cell because they offer the highest possible atom-surface exposure for an extended structure. Aperiodic structures are particularly challenging to characterize one atom at a time. Although signals from sub-yoctoliter objects may be tough to detect, their small size can also make it easier to interpret the data that one manages to capture.

# of dimensions N
1 g/cc mass
approx. number of atoms
% of atom surface area exposed
10 nm cube (N=3D)
1 zeptoLiter (10-21L)
1 attogram (10-18g)
125,000 0.2nm-cubes
10 nm square monolayer sheet (N=2D)
20 yoctoLiters
20 zeptograms
2500 0.2nm-cubes
10 nm line or chain polymer (N=1D)
0.4 yoctoLiters
400 yoctograms
50 0.2nm-cubes
2 Angstrom atom-sized cube (N=0D)
0.008 yoctoLiters
8 yoctograms
one 0.2nm-cube