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NanOU is the center for nanotechnology research at Oakland University.

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Nanotechnology as defined by Eric Drexler in his 1986 book Engines of Creation is "technology based on the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules to build structures to complex, atomic specifications."   In the summer of 2007, physics professor Dr. George Martins and electrical and systems engineering professor Dr. Mohamed Zohdy formed an alliance to institute an interdisciplinary program for nanotechnology at Oakland University.   The purpose of NanOU is to introduce the developing field of nanotechnology to students through undergraduate and graduate level courses as well as labs and molecular simulations.   Research is a vital part of NanOU's vision, including the utilization of cutting-edge tools such as Nanorex's NanoEngineer-1 and AFM microscopy and the provision of research opportunities for students.  

Ahmed Zewail | Nobel Prize Laureate (1999)
Awarded for discoveries in Femtochemistry
Much of Femtochemistry deals with the observation and manipulation of chemical bonds on both the time and length scales. Zewail's main discovery included the use of ultrafast laser pulses to track the dynamics of a chemical reaction in realtime. The enhancement of laser technologies have allowed Zewail to better understand the inner workings of a chemical reaction. Understanding reactions and having the ability to conventiently control them would greatly benefit the development of new nanomaterials and devices, since fields such as material science and nanoelectronics directly involve chemistry at the smallest of scales. Researchers at Caltech have already used Zewail's findings to develop a 4D imaging (i.e. x, y, z, and time) technique.

Richard Feynman at Caltech giving his famous lecture he entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom"

© Copyright California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

In December of 1959, renowned physicist Richard P. Feynman gave a lecture entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).   In the lecture, Feynman addressed the manipulation of atoms and what is possible in principle at the atomic level.   Using the illustration of downsizing an entire 24 volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica to an area the size of a head of a pin, he not only showed that there is room at the bottom, but also that there is plenty of room. The goal of the lecture was not just to show that extraordinary things are possible at the atomic scale.   Feynman was trying to motivate people to focus on the bottom-up building process which could make what is possible a reality.   In fact, he ended his lecture with a challenge — a prize of $1000 to the first person who could make an electric motor the size of a 1/64 inch cube.   When somebody stepped up to his challenge and made the motor, Feynman was disappointed.   His vision was on the building process and not the product.  

"It is a staggeringly small world that is below. In the year 2000, when they look back at this age, they will wonder why it was not until the year 1960 that anybody began seriously to move in this direction." — Feynman

The full transcript of Feynman's lecture can be read at www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman

Oakland University is proud to have the support of Nanorex

One company which is making a step toward Feynman's vision is Nanorex.   A short video created under the support of Nanorex shows a "nanofactory" in action.  

If the movie is not showing, download the Quicktime plugin here.

Oakland University is proud to have the support of Nanorex founder and CEO, Mark Sims, in its nanotechnology research endeavors.   Like other scientists, engineers, and technology enthusiasts, Sims was motivated to pursue nanotechnology through reading Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation, a book which challenges its readers to think nano just as Feynman challenged his audience in 1959.   Using his expertise in CAD (computer-aided design), Sims founded Nanorex, which has developed a world class tool for the modeling and simulation of nanotechnology systems — NanoEngineer-1.   NanoEngineer-1 effectively bridges the gap between physics, chemistry, and engineering to give students, professors, and researchers a better visualization of nanotechnological systems.   Perhaps the best part of NanoEngineer-1 is the fact that it is open source software and will be available for download.   In June 2007, Oakland University had the privilege of having Mark Sims give the first public demonstration of NanoEngineer-1.   Since the demonstration, Oakland professors and students have been writing application-specific plug-ins and utilizing the power of NanoEngineer-1 for nanotechnology research.  

A bit of humor goes a long way in nanotechnology

Liam's Quantum Mechanics Project
The Twinkie Guide to Nanotechnology

Several people have been influential in providing support (either financially or academically) for beginning nanotechnology research and educational programs at Oakland University:
Dr. Hoda Abdel-Aty-Zohdy - Dr. Zohdy teaches the semiconductor materials and devices course at Oakland which is a must for undergrad engineers who desire to explore nanotechnology. She successfully describes quantum mechanics from an egineering viewpoint, and she has encouraged students to pursue further their research endeavors.

Provost Virinder Moudgil - Oakland is blessed with an excellent Provost and VP of Academic Affairs. He has shown constant support for the emerging field of nanotechnology at Oakland University both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Brad Roth - Dr. Roth has provided valuable insight into the world of medical physics and has motivated us through his teaching to look at medical applications of nanotechnology.

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