Faculty and Research

Nanotechnology

Biology background picture

The enhanced ability to control and characterize materials at the molecular level has fueled the rapidly growing science of nanotechnology; research within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford is at the forefront of this new and exciting field. At the nanometer length scale, certain materials demonstrate novel properties quite different from their macroscopic behavior. Semiconductor technologies developed in our department are reaching design dimensions of a single nanometer, exploiting materials that are both inexpensive and mechanically flexible. Researchers in our department study biological phenomena at the molecular level (rather than the cellular level) to further understand mechanisms of drug delivery and metabolism. Characterizing and designing polymers at the nanoscale has led to the development of new materials with unique structure, properties, and functions.

Nanotechnology research within our department includes

  • Understanding charge transport in organic semiconductors (Bao)
  • Single molecule devices (Bao)
  • Carbon nanotube sorting, purification, assembly and devices (Bao)
  • Development of organic rather than the traditional inorganic materials as chemical barriers in computer chips (Bent)
  • Exploration of the microdynamics of polymer molecules, including DNA, to enable separation processes based on reading nano-barcodes rather than the traditional electrophoresis techniques (Shaqfeh)
  • Flow characterization of complex fluids to reduce drag in turbulent flows and to control cellular transport in drug delivery applications (Shaqfeh)
  • Gold nanoparticle synthesis and study of catalytic activity (Jaramillo)
  • Manipulating polymeric and other complex materials to examine interfacial dynamics and rheological properties (Fuller)
  • Using complex fluid dynamics to alter the orientation of molecules for applications in the electronics and biological industries (Fuller)
  • Design and characterization of high-strength interpenetrating network hydrogels for biomaterial functions including wound healing, tissue replacement, and an artificial cornea (Frank)
  • Analysis of the structure and function of proteins and macromolecules at interfaces (Frank)
  • Development of biorenewable polymer composites and foams for green building materials (Frank)
  • Theoretical modeling of the self assembly of clathrin proteins into nanoscale structures (Spakowitz)
  • Developing virus-like particle based nanoparticles as imaging agents for metastatic cancer (Swartz)