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Miami University faculty and students are available to give nanotechnology demonstrations to your students. In addition for 7-12 grade students, Miami University invites you to the Oxford Campus to review the demonstrations but to also see the tools that nanotechnology researchers use. In addition, career opportunities will be presented. Over 1200 7-12 grade students have been hosted in Oxford since 2004.

So here is an interesting question for you when did human beings first use nanotechnology?

Many will guess shortly after Physicists Richard Feynman 1959 speech "There is plenty of room at the bottom". Dr. Feynman was the first scientist to suggest that devices and materials would someday be manufactured to atomic specifications, "The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom." Later the term nanotechnology was coined.

But this is incorrect. Here is a clue.

This is a stained glass window from a European thirteenth century church.

Yes you're right, the colors are created by the addition of metals to the hot glass. In particular the red color is created by the addition of gold. The gold metal would be diluted by the molten glass and as a result nanometer scale gold particles were formed that produced red color.

Now the glass makers did not know they were using nanotechnology, but they were among the first nanotechnologists. Click here for a short History of Nanotechnology

But humans were not the first to use nanotechnology, Mother Nature was. Every time a wave crashes into the shore, spray of water shoots into the sky. As the water evaporates, nanocrystalline materials made from the salts in the water form in the atmosphere. These nanocrystals are so small that they can remain in the air for very long periods of time.

Here is a list of demonstrations that we routinely use.

Nanotechnology experiments can be purchased from the Institute for Chemical Education.

Exploring the Nanoworld; Activity Kit; George C. Lisensky, Karen J. Nordell, S. Michael Condren, Cynthia G. Widstrand, Diana Malone, Arthur B. Ellis

  • Contains the following experiments:
  • LED
  • Optical Diffraction Demo
  • Refrigerator Magnet to demonstrate AFM principle
  • Smart Material - Memory Metal

Atomic Trampoline - Amorphous Metal Demonstration

Giant Magneto Resistance switch and circuit. Basis for high density disk drive.

Purchased from Edmund Scientific
Rare Earth Magnet for the Ferro Fluid Demo.

Liquid Crystal mood buttons to demonstrate temperature dependent optical diffraction change by changing molecular order.

A powerpoint presentation describing the demonstrations in more detail is available here.

Contact us if you wish to schedule a presenter or to vist Miami Universtiy Oxford.

Additional educational material can be found at
Additional teacher resources can be found at

What problems are nanotechnology researchers pursuing?

Today scientist and engineers are investigating opportunities in numerous areas from health to homeland security. The Foresight Institute has identified six major research areas where nanotechnology will provide significant technological advances (from Foresight Institute Web-site

Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges

1. Providing Renewable Clean Energy: Balancing humanity's energy demands while protecting the environment is a major challenge. Nanotechnology will help to solve the dilemma of energy needs and limited planetary resources through more efficient generation, storage and distribution. Providing Renewable Clean Energy

2. Supplying Clean Water Globally: The demand for fresh water is increasing. Considering the current rate of consumption and projected population growth, some two-thirds of the world will be affected by drought by the year 2050. Nanotechnology can help solve this problem through improved water purification and filtration. Supplying Clean Water Globally

3. Improving Health and Longevity: Humans are living longer lives, yet infectious diseases and cancer continue to kill millions annually. Because of an aging population there could be a 50% increase of new cancer cases by the year 2020. Nanotechnology will enhance the quality of life for human beings through medical diagnostics, drug delivery and customized therapy. Improving Health and Longevity

4. Healing and Preserving the Environment: As a set of fundamental technologies that cuts across all industries, nanotech can benefit the environment in a wide variety of ways. Stronger, lighter-weight materials in transportation can reduce fuel use, nano-structured fibers reduce staining and therefore laundering, and low-cost nanosensors will make pollution monitoring affordable. In the longer term, manufacturing processes using productive nanosystems should be able to build our products with little if any waste. Healing and Preserving the Environment

5. Making Information Technology Available to All: Humanity will need to cooperate as we respond to disasters and critical threats to our survival. A "planetary nervous system" fostering rapid communication and cross-cultural relationships is needed. Nanotechnology applications in electronics will increase access through reduced cost and higher performance of memory, networks, processors and components. Making Information Technology Available To All

6. Enabling Space Development: Heavy demands on resources and raw materials are creating challenges on earth, whereas these items are plentiful in space. Current obstacles to developing space are cost, reliability, safety, and performance. Nanotechnology will solve these through improved fuels, smart materials, uniforms and environments. Enabling Space Development

Nano is HUGE at Miami University
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