Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Upcoming Online Course in Nanotechnology

This spring Professor Marmorino (top right) completed an 8-week course in distance education to prepare him for the development of our department's first online course: Nanotechnology.  We decided to go with the broader course nanotechnology rather than nanochemistry for many reasons, two of which are that (1) the field is so interdisciplinary that is hard to stick to just chemistry, and (2) this will be the only "nano" course at our campus so we wanted to give it a wider appeal.  The course will be offered this fall as a general education course (Natural World, N390) that simultaneously serves as a chemistry elective. Below is a tentative description of the course - tentative because Marmorino will spend the summer hashing out the details of topic spread and depth along with the method of delivery and evaluation.
Nanotechnology is the application of the science of small – small particles, but also small features on macroscopic objects. The size scale is so small that the atom must be constantly considered and the properties of bulk matter no longer apply. The course begins by developing an appreciation of the small scale and the implications this has on the variability of the properties of matter once thought to be constant for a given substance regardless of size. Students learn about naturally occurring nanoparticles and their impact in the natural word, but also consider the anthropogenic production of materials and the probing of their properties (mainly through various types of microscopy). Applications of nanomaterials to different disciplines are investigated with a focus on how the peculiar behavior of matter on the nanoscale allows technological advance. Selected topics may include air pollution, clouds, dust, DNA, proteins, micelles, drug delivery, buckyballs, nanotubes, surface tension, diffraction, scaling laws, quantum dots, wave-particle duality, compact discs, paint, and even Himalayan salt lamps.