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Curriculum Development In Nanotechnology

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Curriculum Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.395.1 - 14.395.6



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Paper Authors

author page

Helen McNally Purdue University

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

Curriculum Development in Nanotechnology Abstract The field of nanotechnology crosses multiple disciplinary boundaries and requires a unique approach for curriculum development. The very nature of nanotechnology allows for courses in most colleges and departments and thus requires the material to be emphasized to align with the department offering the courses. The instructor and students must have basic understandings in math, physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. These can be required as prerequisites; however a session of basic information can be conducted to provide all students with the necessary background information. Laboratory or hands-on experiences are difficult to provide due to the large cost of the nanotech instrumentation, environmental conditions necessary and biohazards associated with nanomaterials. This report will present our efforts to develop a nanotechnology curriculum within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Purdue University.

Introduction The interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology provides many exciting challenges in curriculum development. A number of courses1,2 and curriculums3,4 are being introduced at this time. Books on the subject have been published5-7 although few with the feel of a textbook8, i.e. providing examples and homework problems. Nanotechnology concepts can be found in departments and colleges ranging from biology to physics, engineering, food sciences, and veterinary medicine just to name a few. Providing a nanotechnology course or curriculum which covers all these aspects is unreasonable thus the course/curriculum developed must be aligned with the department offering the course. The background material for any course in nanotechnology is also highly interdisciplinary, requiring, chemistry, biology, physics, math and engineering. These requirements can be met through prerequisites for the courses or by providing the necessary background material in the beginning of each course9. Laboratory components to these courses also provide a significant challenge in the cost of the equipment required10, the necessary environmental conditions11 as well as issues of biohazardous materials12 associated with nanotechnology.

Curriculum Development Within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) a nanotechnology curriculum is being developed to complement our current areas of analog, digital, communications and power. Nanotechnology can actually be applied to each one of these areas or stand on its own as a separate area of concentration. Our spiral curriculum lends well to introducing nanotechnology in each one of these areas starting with the freshman year, leading to more advance nanotechnology courses as selectives during the junior and senior years. For instance, the very basic concept of resistance which is introduced in our freshman level courses has been altered by the idea of ballistic transport through nanoscale devices. While our previous understanding of resistance is sound for macro and micro scale devices, introducing the concepts at the nanoscale and how these differ provides additional understanding of the concept of resistance no matter what the scale. Course modules are being developed which will

McNally, H. (2009, June), Curriculum Development In Nanotechnology Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5056

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