Nanoscale science and technology involve the study and/or manipulation of matter at the atomic or molecular scale. At this size - about 1/10,000 of the diameter of a single human hair - individual and small groups of atoms or molecules possess properties dramatically different than those they display in larger quantities. Scientists' ability to precisely manipulate matter on this scale allows them to understand and exploit these properties and to produce materials and devices with unique and useful characteristics.

As fields defined by scale, nanoscience and nanotechnology impact virtually all of the traditional scientific disciplines and their applications. Our understandings of the fundamental forces that hold atoms and molecules together are both enhancing and being enhanced by research in nanotechnology. Our capacities to create, detect, and modify specific chemicals in the laboratory, in the body, and in the environment that surrounds us are growing by leaps and bounds. And our understanding of living systems, along with our capabilities of monitoring and/or specifically manipulating particular sub-cellular components and processes, is ushering in revolutions in biology and medicine.

To train tomorrow’s leaders in nanoscale science and technology, the Center for Nanotechnology organizes and runs a wide variety of educational programs. An optional Ph.D. in nanotechnology may be pursued by doctoral students from ten science and engineering departments on campus. The Center supports dozens of other graduate students each year through competitive research fellowships. Students at earlier stages of their education may participate in a 10-week, summer “Research Experience for Undergraduates” immersion learning program in nanotechnology. The Center also provides brief nanotechnology laboratory experiences for middle and high school teachers, is partnering with regional community colleges to develop new nanotechnology associate degree programs, supports outreach to regional K-12 schools, and is engaged in ongoing collaborations with Pacific Science Center to promote public understanding of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

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