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Typical human hair Nanogap M arquette assistant professor of something, it really helps to understand almost impossible,” says Lee. “And if you electrical and computer engineering Dr. it as a molecule. That’s the single build- were lucky enough to do it once, you Chung Hoon Lee is going boldly where ing block.” Further fueling interest is had to start all over again. It was very few have gone before. But it’s not the the awareness that tiny particles of difficult to replicate your work.” far reaches of interstellar space. In his certain substances can prove particularly Lee was among a few in the field who fourth-floor lab in Haggerty Hall, he and sensitive to heat or electric and magnetic began approaching the problem from the student assistants explore the microscopic fields, opening up exciting applications opposite direction. If you could build a frontier of molecular electronics, honing for them in sensors, transistors or nanostructure with tiny electrode arms, their ability to apply electric current to other nanodevices. you could use mists to drop desired particles as small as a single molecule. This corner of nanotechnology is Captivating as it is, nanoscale electronics is not for the faint of heart. About a particles into place. Then you’d know exactly where to look for them — right seeing a flurry of research interest these days — in part, Lee says, because oversized insights tend to emerge in the gap between the “THROUGH CREATIVITY AND DESIGN, electrodes, ready to I’M ABLE TO MAKE SOMETHING LIKE Since coming to NO ONE ELSE HAS BEEN ABLE TO MAKE IT.” from the study of Marquette in 2008 from California State University at Fresno, substances in their smallest form. The half-dozen years ago, the only way to Lee has developed the ability to build advances are akin to what occurred electrify a tiny particle was to isolate it these very nanostructures out of metal- when biologists began to understand within a massive ensemble, to spend coated silicon, tens of thousands of them, human cellular structure in the 19th century. hours or even days searching for it with on campus. It’s his contribution to an “You can try to understand the human 10 be electrified. a high-powered microscope and then effort involving collaborators at Cornell body as a single object or you can look to perform the even harder task of University and Department of Defense closer. ... You can see how liver cells positioning electrodes just right to make grant support. differ from heart cells and how they a connection. The difficulty level was off function differently,” he explains. “The the charts — like finding a snowflake on exciting milestones. He has bridged his same principle applies with nano- a hockey rink and positioning a Zamboni gap of between two to 10 nanometers technology. If you want to understand to touch it without crushing it. “It was (about 1/10,000th the diameter of a Discover In the past year, Lee has passed some

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