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EPISODE: The Engineering Physics Department Newsletter

 

Fall / Winter 2005-2006
Featured articles

Advances may enable on-the-spot prostate cancer treatment

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: New method calms unruly plasmas, cleans reactors

Engineers help turn science into interactive exhibits

CAD interface boosts modeling efficiency

BIG discoveries on a small scale

Innovative recycling project could reduce U.S. inventory of spent nuclear fuel

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Alumni News:
Susan L. Reinhold receives Distinguished Achievement Award

 

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BIG discoveries on a small scale

Rob Carpick and Wendy Crone

Associate Professors Rob Carpick and Wendy Crone
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Decorative initial cap Associate Professors Rob Carpick and Wendy Crone could place hundreds of thousands of nanoparticles onto the period at the end of this sentence. And while the materials they study are on a tiny size level called the nanoscale, the potential for their application is huge—in everything from denser computer memory to more efficient engines.

Carpick studies friction, adhesion and wear of nanoscale materials. With Department of Energy (DOE) funding, Carpick, Professor Mike Plesha and researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are investigating the fundamental issues of friction in micromachines, which fail prematurely due to friction and wear. In another project funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Carpick, Assistant Scientist Anirudha Sumant, Research Professor Kumar Sridharan, Physics Professor Gelsomina De Stasio and colleagues at Sandia and Argonne National Laboratory are focusing on novel forms of diamond. “We’re finding that with nanostructured diamond, nanoscale friction and adhesion can be far lower than silicon, and that makes it a promising material for nanotech applications,” says Carpick.

Crone is working with Materials Science and Engineering Professor John Perepezko and Chemistry Professor Arthur Ellis to develop methods to create active components and materials for microscopic structures and miniaturized devices, and experiments to characterize, understand and optimize their behavior. With support from the AFOSR and DOE, they build new nanostructured materials particle by particle. To make their work easier, members of the research group devised a method that enables them to easily manipulate nanowires magnetically. In a related project, they are developing nanostructured materials—in particular, shape-memory alloys—and trying to understand how their particle or grain size is affected by the nanoscale.

Together, Carpick and Crone share teaching duties in a new course for undergraduate and graduate students devoted entirely to micro- and nanotechnology and have been instrumental in creating a vision for the nano-engineering specialty area of the department’s new bachelor of engineering physics degree.

A regularly “wrinkled” polymer surface as a future template for placing or ordering nanoparticles.

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“Erasable” nano-indented shape-memory alloy for memory storage.

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“Erased” nano-indented shape-memory alloy for memory storage.

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The carbon-coated nanoscale tip of an atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe.

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An AFM image of a graphite surface, scanned with the nanoscale tip.

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Insets (left to right): A regularly “wrinkled” polymer surface as a future template for placing or ordering nanoparticles.“Erasable” and “erased” nano-indented shape-memory alloy for memory storage.The carbon-coated nanoscale tip of an atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe. An AFM image of a graphite surface, scanned with the nanoscale tip.

 


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Date last modified: Friday, 23-Dec-2005 11:49:00 CDT
Date created: 22-Dec-2005

 

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