College of Science

Clemson Nanomaterials Center reaches out to community


Apparao M. Rao, Ramakrishna Podila,  Sriparna Bhattacharya, Anthony Childress and others from the Clemson Nanomaterials Center have been keeping busy lately, and they recently took a few minutes to update us.

First, National Nanomanufacturing Network highlighted Clemson’s latest research and development. The full article can be found at the link below, and describes how scalable nanomanufacturing of current electrodes for supercaps was developed by graduate students Jingyi Zhu and Mehmet Karakaya at Clemson in collaboration with Cornell Dubilier, Inc.

Second, Rao, Podila and Bhattacharya also helped celebrate Nanotechnology Day at the Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville.

On March 14, 2015- “pi day” as it is called for its similarity to the ubiquitous irrational number π–about 800 visitors aged 7-70 years attended the Nanotechnology Day event. While it was raining outside, it was enthusiasm and curiosity that was pouring inside the RMSC.

The enthusiasm of kids and senior citizens was alike reaffirming the fact that no matter how old you are, learning about things at the nanoscale is definitely fun.

To captivate the enthusiasm and unleash the imagination of its young visitors, CNC also brought its nanolab to the doorstep and illustrated intriguing physics phenomenon through simple experiments with the help of its members Deepika Saini, Pooja Puneet, Achyut Raghavendra and Bishwambhar Sengupta.

Some such activities included: the art of levitation, which demonstrated a floating piece of graphene on magnets, much like the magic carpet of the Arabian nights; the extraction of graphene from graphite in pencil that won the Nobel prize (pencil to Nobel); the magic of ferro fluids, the power of nano-sponges, the nano-movers and shakers (nano diving-board like cantilevers), to name a few. Other nano activities using the RMSC’s Network Nano Days Physical Kit from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) grant were also included.

The audience was awed by the possibility of delivering nanomedicine and storing energy using nanomaterials. Indeed, many of them truly learned, despite its size, that nanotechnology is no small thing.

“It was a really fun and exciting experience to teach kids about nanoscience,” remarked Bhattacharya, Research Assistant Professor at CNC. “I believe learning went both ways. We learned as much as they did”.

Anthony Childress, a graduate student from Clemson’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and a member of CNC presented The Magic of Nanomaterials, a 30 min talk where he introduced the interesting physical phenomenon at the nano-level. The audience, which included both kids and elders, was thrilled and asked him many interesting questions. He concluded his talk with a live demonstration of making nanosweets (nanocarbons from sugar and drain cleaner) that undoubtedly piqued the interest of everyone.

“Clemson is being recognized as an international center of excellence for nanomanufacturing”, said Rao, Director of CNC. “One of our goals is to convey the excitement of cutting-edge research developed at CNC to K-12 and undergraduate students through programs such as the Nanotechnology Day.

“We intend to develop a larger workforce in South Carolina and the nation”, explained Podila, Assistant Professor of Physics at Clemson. “We want to train the next generation scientist to solve future challenges in the fields of energy and biomedicine through innovations in nanoscience.”

About RMSC: The RMSC actively engages middle and high school students of the Greenville County to do hands-on STEM activities in their newly renovated Hall of Science (physics, chemistry and robotics labs). It opens its doors to general public on every second Saturday of the month, for exciting STEM festivals which have always witnessed the enthusiasm in people of all ages, when they learn about emerging fields of research and development.

Clemson Nanomaterials Center acknowledges financial support through the NSF CMMI Scalable Nanomanufacturing Award.

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