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A New Approach To Microelectronics And Nanotechnology Education For Undergraduates Of All Disciplines

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Project-based Learning and Other Pedagogical Innovations

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.62.1 - 15.62.12

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Paper Authors

author page

John Cressler Georgia Tech

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A New Approach to Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Education for Undergraduates of All Disciplines Abstract

A new undergraduate course in microelectronics and nanotechnology is described. Importantly, this course does not assume any electrical and computer engineering background or substantive college pre-requisites, and is designed to be accessible for all undergraduate majors at all educational levels. The course focuses on developing the general scientific and engineering underpinnings of microelectronics and nanotechnology, but importantly, also examines how this new technological revolution is influencing a broad array of diverse fields and civilization as a whole.


College undergraduate students are generally exposed to the disciplines of microelectronics and nanotechnology 1-3 only if they major in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) or associated majors, often only in advanced ECE classes (typically senior year), and in many cases perhaps not until graduate school. Counter examples to this classical model do exist 4-11, but they are recent and clearly in the overwhelming minority. In addition, such micro/nanotechnology courses remain largely for specialists with a well-defined skill set coming into the class (e.g., advanced undergraduate engineering or science students). Given the pervasive changes being thrust upon our global society by the remarkable cross-disciplinary innovations which are being fueled by microelectronics and nanotechnology, this classical course model is deficient, and must change if the future educational needs of our students are to be best satisfied, and our global community best served. Of particular interest in this context is the exposure of non-engineering majors (e.g., management students) to micro/nanotechnology, something they would generally never encounter in a “normal” college undergraduate curriculum. We offer here an example of a solution to this dilemma by describing a new course introduced at Georgia Tech which deals squarely with micro/nanotechnology at the undergraduate level, and importantly is intended to serve undergraduate students of all majors (e.g., management, engineering, sciences, etc.) and all educational levels (freshman through senior).

At Georgia Tech, we have introduced a new undergraduate elective course 12, which does not assume any ECE background or substantive college pre-requisites (only advanced high-school level math and science that most, if not all, incoming freshman, regardless of major, would possess). The course focuses on developing the general scientific and engineering underpinnings of microelectronics and nanotechnology; but importantly, the course also examines how this new technological revolution is influencing a broad array of diverse fields (engineering, biology, manufacturing, biomedical engineering, material science and engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, renewable energy, physics, medicine, law, etc.), and civilization as a whole (art, business, film, gaming/entertainment, ecology, politics, etc.). Across campuses, the traditional science, engineering, business, and liberal arts disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred and inter-related, and this trend will surely accelerate. This new course embraces the changing interdisciplinary and globally-aware landscape emerging at universities and also examines the

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