Cluster 2: Nanochemistry and Nanotechnology

(This is a FIRST CHOICE option only)

At the nanometer scale (10(raised to the -9th power)m), the chemical and physical properties of materials and structures show drastic deviations from those of their atomic or bulk forms. Exploiting these new properties has sparked research in energy, electronics, and a diversity of areas. We will introduce basic principles of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and demonstrate the applications of functional nanomaterials through in-house demonstrations and hands-on experiments. Students will learn about the preparation and functionalization of nanomaterials, their controlled assemblies, and the potential impacts on future technologies. Students will also visit nanotechnology laboratories as a foundation for understanding, evaluating, and explaining nanotechnology. In this cluster, we will uncover patterns that transcend specific technologies, enabling us to evaluate whatever we create in our future.

Prerequisite: Students must have completed Chemistry.
Preferences: Completion of Biology.


All students in this cluster will be enrolled in the following courses:

Nanomaterials: Chemistry and Energy/Electronic Sciences

Instructor: Shaowei Chen, Ph.D.(Chemistry Department)

The focus of this course is to introduce the fundamentals of nanomaterials chemistry to students and to highlight some of the important implication in energy and electronic sciences. Specifically the lectures will cover the general properties and technological significance of nanomaterials, the leading technologies in the preparation and engineering of functional nanomaterials, typical experimental tools that are important in the investigation, and potential applications in energy (fuel cells, battery, solar cells, etc) and electronic science (nanoelectronics, nano(bio)sensors, etc).

Students will also have the opportunity to carry out a miniproject to evaluate the generation of electricity by fuel cells with simple organic fuels (e.g. methanol), a process that is catalyzed by nanoparticle materials. 

Nanotechnology: Molecular Control 

Instructor: Roger Terrill, Ph. D.

In this section, we will try to accomplish two things:  Firstly we will introduce the necessary geometric, physical, and physical chemical topics necessary to enrich students’ understanding of nanoscience, and secondly we will work through some exciting examples of nanoparticle-based technology, mainly from the perspective of their unique optical and magnetic properties.  Part one will build a foundation of understanding by exploring the following topics: a. basic descriptive quantum mechanics that is essential to understanding these materials, b. scaling questions and how nanoparticle sizes are important to their applications, c. basic bulk and surface thermodynamics (energy and force considerations), d. crystallographic descriptions, e. nanoparticle chemical synthesis strategies, and f. optical properties that derive exclusively from the 2 – 100 nm size range.  This section will include throughout descriptions of the ways in which nanoscale entities differ from both their smaller relatives, atoms and molecules, and their larger, i.e. bulk material ones.  In the part two, we will focus on some of very exciting applications of nanoscience derived from current research.  Applications will include research into nanoparticle-based photothermal therapies for cancer, multiplexed chemical sensing strategies using coded nanoparticles, and nanoparticle-based single molecule spectroscopy using nanoparticle-coupled surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

Transferable Skills: Tools for Success

It may or may not surprise you that being a university researcher requires a whole host of skills outside of the specific scientific knowledge required of your chosen discipline or specialty. It requires communication skills such as the ability to present your work in writing and orally. It requires competencies in the realm of information technology including the ability to find and judge (the validity of) information and use a variety of hardware and software tools (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, statistics software, other data manipulation tools). Conducting research requires data collection, analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and problem solving, as well as the ability to conduct laboratory and/or field work And, of course, a baseline competency in English, science, mathematics and computers is critical. 

The governing mission of the UCSC COSMOS Transferable Skills course is to promote students’ future academic (and professional) success through the exploration and development of transferable skills: i.e. those competencies that students develop while in school which facilitate academic achievement, the eventual transition into the work-force and which are applicable in many other life situations.