Materials that have length scales on the order of billionth of a meter can have unique properties. These types of materials have applications in fields ranging from consumer electronics to medicine. Research at UWEC in this area includes growth and synthesis of nanomaterials and characterizing their chemical and physical properties.
Doug Dunham characterizes his research in this way:
To further advance the ever-decreasing size of circuitry for electronics, new and different ways to transfer power and information must be developed. Therefore, we are probing new ways to produce much smaller wires, nanowires, and enable the further diminishing size of electrical systems. Using a Vapor Liquid Solid (VLS) deposition method, we are able to produce Silicon Carbide (SiC) nanowires using silicon monoxide (SiO) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) as reactants. Growth parameters, characterization, dispersion, electrical testing, and doping of the SiC nanowires are being investigated. All of these procedures are just steps along the way towards the long-term goal of incorporating them into circuitry to use the SiC nanowires as nano-transistors and switches.
Marc Mc Ellistrem gives the following description of his ongoing research:
Our research focuses on two aspects of nanomaterials:
Gold nanoparticles - while these materials have been extensively studied, the use of a unique biochemical to produce them has lead to unexpected results. In particular, gold nanoparticle production can be triggered by changes in pH, and the reducing agent appears to be using a unique source of electrons. We are developing methods to trigger pH changes with other "switches", such as temperature or ion concentration.
Graphene - single-layer graphite continues to attract increasing attention of the scientific and engineering communities. Our work has explored how to manipulate this material to place single-layer graphene in a desired or targeted location. Our methods combine novel materials and chemistry to facilitate their placement.