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The Nano Institute The Nano Institute of Utah provides an organization wherein scientists, engineers and clinicians from across the University, the State and elsewhere work together to attain global recognition by conquering interdisciplinary challenges in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The Institute enables Utah researchers from disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, medicine, and pharmacy to create synergistic alliances to drive higher levels of collaborative research, education and commercialization.

The Future of Nanoscience Nanotechnology is already a reality in the world around us. A few nanotechonolgical developments that are in common use today include water-resistant sunscreen, wrinkle-free or stain-repellent clothing, and ski wax. Nanocomposites are being used to simultaneously increase the strength and decrease the weight of materials used in manufacturing car parts and golf clubs. Quantum-dot nanocrystals emit light, like LEDs, but at various colors, and nanocrystals can also form to make antibacterial coatings and increase the longevity of metals. But most significant impacts of nanotechnology are yet to come, and are closer to being realized than you might think.

To learn more about Nanoscience on campus, visit: Used with permission, Nano Institute of Utah

Electron Microscope Images

Titanium Orthopedic Implant

Black Bread Mold

Ductile Iron

Needle Array


Working Small Thinking Big Human Hair

Herpes Simplex Virus

201 James Fletcher Bldg. 115 South 1400 East Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830 (801) 581-6901

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

University of Utah

Nanoscience Nanoscience and nanotechnology are among the highest national priorities for research and development. Nanoscience takes advantage of phenomena that arise at the smallest level to enhance functionality of complex materials. The prefix “nano-” means “dwarf” in the original Greek. As a term used in science and technology, “nano” refers to studies and implementations dealing with matter (atoms and molecules) on an extremely tiny scale. A nanometer (nm) is equal to one billionth of a meter. (To put it in perspective, the period at the end of this sentence is about 500,000 nm in diameter.) The focus of nanotechnology is the design and creation of useful devices with dimensions between 1 and 100 nm. Although we currently have technological devices in operation all around us on a microscale (in computers, etc.), this is nothing particularly novel because their design and function mimics that of macroscale structures. But on an atomic/molecular level, matter exhibits a very different set of characteristics, and harnessing the properties thereof for human benefit opens an entirely new realm of possibility. The Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah is involved in uncovering basic principles of nanoscale optoelectronic phenomena from insulators to super conductors, organic polymers, & biological molecules. Departmental nanoscience is interdisciplinary with strong ties to graduate programs in Biology, Chemistry, & Engineering at the University of Utah, as well as the State USTAR initiative.

Single Molecule Spectroscopy Unravel light-harvesting and energy focusing processes in single multi-chromophoric polymers; develop novel sensing and analytical techniques at the ultimate chemical limit.

Nano Optics & Molecular Biophysics Development of nanometer-resolution optical microscopy to establish relation between the nanoscale architecture and function of molecular networks in biological membranes.

Organic Semiconductors Identify the relation between the molecular structure and physical properties of plastic electronic materials; devise fundamental pathways to improve these properties, including the control and exploitation of the spin degree of freedom.

Physics & Astronomy Nano Czar, Matt DeLong next to the Scanning Electron Microscope.

Energy & Charge Spatially & temporally resolved measurements of energy & charge transfer between individual quantum dots and carbon nanotubes with possible applications to photovoltaic devices.

Temperature Transport Properties This University of Utah logo is smaller than the width of an average human hair at less than 3/1000ths of an inch.

Non-linear Optical Microscopy Develop new spectroscopic techniques for complex disordered media such as biological compounds, including the use of metal nanoparticles to enhance and control the light-matter interaction.

Properties of Quantum Dots Relate the optical properties of individual quantum dots to internal parameters such as shape and external parameters such as pressure and the local dielectric environment.

At low temperature, some specially designed low-dimensional nanostructures behave as a single quantum system. We use very sensitive electron transport and noise measurements to study these effects in superconducting and magnetic nanowires, magnetic nanoparticles and molecules.

Conductivity in Nanoscale Systems Study the novel aspects of low-temperature electrical conductivity in low dimensional nanostructures, such as quantum wires, including superconductivity.

Brochure: Nanoscience Program  
Brochure: Nanoscience Program  

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah is involved in uncovering basic principles of nanoscale optoelectronic pheno...