Over the past summer, Lawrence Technological University took another step forward in nanotechnology education with the introduction of a nanotechnology summer academic camp, which was attended by 11 high school juniors and seniors.
Nanotechnology involves the study of objects and surfaces as small as a billionth of a meter. This tiny world deals with miniscule sizes that are 100 to 1,000 times smaller than the cross-section of a human hair! The catch-all term is used to describe the extremely small devices and materials that are revolutionizing the next generation of technology.
One of the very few of its kind in the country, LTU’s nanotechnology summer camp was a joint effort by faculty members from the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, including Mansoor Nasir and Yawen Li from the biomedical engineering program, Dean Hsiao-Ping Moore and Changgong Zhou from the College of Arts and Sciences, and Liping Liu and Selin Arslan from the A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering.
The students were introduced to the nanoscale as well as some of the exciting nanotechnology applications through hands-on and interactive activities. They visited a clean-room facility at Wayne State University to see the sophisticated equipment used to manufacture and characterize nanoscale devices.
“The feedback from the participants was extremely positive and the students especially appreciated the involvement from different faculty members. It not only allowed them to get different perspectives on this emerging area but also to appreciate the multidisciplinary nature of this field,” said Nasir.
The summer camp is another example of LTU’s leadership in encouraging high school students to pursue their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM subjects. “Summer camps are an important outlet for high school students to learn about relevant and emerging areas of technology that they may be unfamiliar with,” Nasir said. “These experiences usually play a formative role in a student’s decision to pursue undergraduate education in STEM topics.”
The nanotechnology summer camp is part of a greater effort at LTU to expand education in nanotechnology at the undergraduate level. Starting with the fall semester, students from many different backgrounds have the opportunity to take new classes in the area of nanomanufacturing, nanometrology, nanomedicine, and nanomaterials with very few prerequisites.
The faculty who worked on the summer camp, in addition to Associate Professor William Madden, are also on a task force looking into a minor/concentration in nanotechnology at LTU. This would be the first of its kind in SE Michigan.