Nanotechnology & Multiscale Research

Nanotechnology & Multiscale

Extending the life of America's infrastructure
New nanosilica concrete creates stronger, longer-lasting, greener construction materials.

Every day, concrete structures crack and erode prematurely due to Alkali Silica Reactivity (ASR), a chemical reaction that causes fissures in the material as it sets. Jon Belkowitz, a doctoral student, plans to put an end to this problem through his study of chemical reactions within concrete at the nanoscale. Taking advantage of nanostructure characterization tools and materials, his research into the optimal use of nano silica will create a new concrete mixture that will result in longer-lasting buildings, roadways, sidewalks, stairs, sewers, and dams.

Microrobots Transform Healthcare
Microrobots can help detect cancer cells and drive advancement toward microsurgical applications

Dr. David Cappelleri’s microscale robots represent a new level of sophistication. His magnetically controlled microrobots are fitted with a probe that acts as a micro-force sensor. The probe deforms as it comes into contact with cells and tissues under a microscope, and a camera system measures its deformations to allow researchers to characterize the cells or tissues based on the probe’s known properties. The micro-force sensors allow researchers to compare the stiffness of small-scale objects, and they can use this functionality to distinguish healthy and cancerous cells.

Advancing computing power and chemical analysis
Miniaturized circuits and sensors enable next-generation technologies.

In the quest to exploit unique properties at the nanoscale, scientists at have developed a novel technique for creating uniform arrays of metallic nanostructures. A team of faculty and students in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, led by Dr. Stefan Strauf, appropriated methods from holographic lithography to demonstrate a new approach for scaling up the fabrication of plasmonic nanogap arrays while simultaneously reducing costs and infrastructure.