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Technologies Of Nanotechnology

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Electrical ET Curriculum and Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1186.1 - 13.1186.6



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Paper Authors


Helen McNally Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. McNally is an assistant Professor or Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Purdue University. She is a member of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center (BBC) at Purdus Discovery Park. Dr. McNally currently directs the BBC Biological Atomic Force Microscopy (BioAFM) Facility.
Dr. McNally’s research interests involve the development and integration of scanning probe technologies for fluid applications. She is currently developing BioAFM short courses and courses in nano and bio technology at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Her interest also includes outreach and curriculum development for K-12.

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

Technologies of Nanotechnology Introduction

A new course in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) which introduced our students to the emerging field of nanotechnology is discussed. As an interdisciplinary field, nanotechnology provides an interesting challenge for instruction at the undergraduate level. This course focuses on the technologies of nanotechnologies, with particular emphasis on the electrical components. It also covers the development of nanoelectronics and the electrical characterization of nanomaterials. Guest speakers in the fields on nanophotonics and nanomedical systems introduced these commercial applications and the electronic contributions of each were reviewed. The ethics of nanotechnology was also discussed. This course challenged the students to think on a new level and develop their skills in communications, teamwork and life long learning. Laboratory exercises were conducted in our new Scanning Probe Microscopy Laboratory within ECET as well as the Birck Nanotechnology Center (BNC). Hand-on experience included atomic force microscopy and use of the NanoHub simulations. This course represents a new direction in engineering education with many ideas and challenges to consider.

Course Design

As an emerging field with tremendous opportunity, nanotechnology offers a new frontier for education at the undergraduate level. Simply trying to identify where nanotechnology should be offered in the curricula is a significant area of study1. In the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, we chose to begin with an individual course centered on the technologies of nanotechnology. Introduction to Nanotechnology is a junior/senior year elective being offered for the first time during the spring 2008 semester. Two classes of 75minutes and a two hour lab are required per week for this three credit course. Freshman biology, chemistry or physics or approval of the instructor were the prerequisites. The syllabus was relatively minimal; attendance was assumed due to interest, professional conducted was expected of all and project/laboratory assignments were to be made throughout the semester. A text was not required. A tentative grading system was provided but the instructor reserved the right to make adjustments as the course developed. This approach was adopted from Singham2 “to model the exhilaration of the life of the mind” rather than to stifle innovation through a “rigid rule-infested, watertight syllabus.” Opinions of senior ECET faculty were elicited to insure our students could handle the challenge.

The tentative course schedule is presented in figure 1. The laboratory exercise occurred between the two lectures each week and the schedule was designed for this. The course was designed in the following sections: introduction, electrical, tools, materials, applications and others or miscellaneous. The first two week were devoted to providing the students an introduction to the course and nanotechnology as well as bring them all “up to speed” on the basics required to understand nanotechnology (i.e. chemistry, physics and biology.) As this course was offered in an ECET department, a second concentration was on the electrical components, materials and measurements involved in nanotechnology. Some of these ideas were presented during the third week, but also sprinkled throughout the rest of the semester as various subjects were studied.

McNally, H. (2008, June), Technologies Of Nanotechnology Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3743

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