Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Number of ECTS:  6    Price:  720 € 
Teaching Language:  English  Place: Building J
Bellaterra Campus, 08193 Bellaterra

Teaching Period: 26 June to 14 July


Teacher: Maria Jose Esplandiu, Xavier Borrise and Francesc Perez Murano

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Contents overview

The aim of the subject is to provide a general and broad introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. During the course the students will acquire the basic knowledge of why and how the physicochemical properties change at the nanoscale. The students will become familiar with the more important materials that have boosted the field of nanotechnology and with the typical techniques that allow the observation, characterization and manipulation of matter at the atomic, molecular and supramolecular level. The subject also aims at acquiring basic knowledge of the nanofabrication tools from the top-down approach widely used in microelectronics and micromechanics to the bottom-up approach of chemistry/biochemistry. The recent scientific and technology work in the nano world will be presented to demonstrate the potential of nanoscience and nanotechnology in diverse areas such as medicine, biotechnology, chemical industry, information and communication technology, production and storage of energy, synthesis and manufacture of new materials, etc. It is also expected that the student becomes aware of the ethical, social and economic implications of this new discipline.

Week 1

Fundamental concepts
Concept of nanoscience and nanotechnology. The nanoscale. Impact of the nanotechnology in the society. Ethical, social, economic and environmental implications.
Nanotechnology in the history and in nature. Bioinspiration.
Size dependent physical and chemical properties. Surface effects. Importance of the surface at nanoscale. The surface/volume ratio. Surface energy at solids. Surface reactivity and catalysis. Surface reconstruction and relaxation. Adsorption and electrical double layer effects. Surface tension in liquids, contact angles and capillary forces.
Size dependent properties: quantum effects. The classical theory vs. quantum theory. Black body radiation. Photoelectric effect. The atom Rutherford and Bohr. The electron as wave and particle. Wavefunction and uncertainty principle. Schroedinger equation. Particle in a box. Energy discretization and Confinement effect. Tunnel effect.

Week 2

Graphene and carbon nanotubes: synthesis, properties and applications.
Colloids and their properties. Metal, semiconductor and magnetic nanoparticles. Synthesis, properties and applications in sensors, catalysis and nano-medicine.
Nanomaterials based on lipids, polymers and proteins: properties and applications. Smart materials: Stimuli responsive and self-healing nanomaterials. Molecular motors and switches.
Concept of self-assembly, hierarchical organization. DNA and protein based supramolecular structures

Week 3

Characterization and Nanofabrication techniques
Techniques based on the interaction of electromagnetic radiation/materials. Synchrotron radiation.
Characterization techniques based on the interaction of electrons/materials. Transmission electron Microscopy and Scanning electron Microscopy. Chemical Microanalysis.
Scanning probe nanoscopies based on the interaction of a tip with a sample. Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and different modes of Atomic force Microscopy. Force spectroscopy.
Nanofabrication techniques: top-down and bottom-up approach. Photolithography. Electron and ion beam lithography. Applications.
Lithography based on scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Dip-pen nanolithography. Applications.

Teaching / learning activities
Week 1

  • Daily Lectures
  • Powerpoint presentations of specific topics by students (Nanotech products in our society and Nanotech in Nature)
  • Debate on “The ethics and societal impact of Nanotechnology”
  • Homework problems related to size dependent physical and chemical properties

Week 2

  • Daily Lectures
  • Practice: Synthesis of carbon Nanotubes
  • Practice: Synthesis of Graphene
  • Practice: Synthesis of gold nanoparticles

Week 3

  • Daily Lectures
  • Practice: Electron Microscopies
  • Practice: Nanofabrication by Electron Beam Lithography
  • Visit of laboratories at the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology and the National Center of Microelectronics

Exams: One exam of the concepts taught in class with an overall weight of 80%.
Problems and work: delivery of solved problems and / or powerpoint presentations with an overall weight of 20%.

Links and references
Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology by Gabor L. Hornyak, H.F. Tibbals, Joydeep Dutta, John J. Moore.
Introduction to Nanotechnology by Charles P. Poole Jr. y Frank J. Owens.
Concepts of Nanochemistry by Ludovico Cademartiri and Geoffrey A. Ozin.