Nanotechnology: Mystery Science or Small Materials Doing Big Things?

Course Description

This is a Course-based Research Experience (CRE) class that will provide you with the chance to propose, design, and conduct your own research project, working on topics and seeking answers to questions that are currently unknown to science.

Nanotechnology, the science of small things, is a field that dates back to ancient Egyptians, who used nanoparticles to make colorful pottery. Today, scientists are developing nanorobots that can roam your body and monitor disease. Nanotechnology is at the forefront of every scientist’s mind and is revolutionizing the world!

In this course, you will make nanomaterials and explore why they are so exciting to so many fields. You will learn the fundamentals of nanotechnology and what makes these materials so special for so many applications, from medicine to energy. You will participate in interactive lectures aimed at learning the fundamental and applied science behind nanotechnology. Specifically, chemical bonding, grain size, crystallinity, energy, physics, and chemistry will be combined as you make nanoparticles and explore the multitude of products that currently contain nanoparticles. And since nanoparticles are too small to see individually with the naked eye, you will also learn state-of-the-art nanoparticle characterization techniques that can help scientists characterize nanomaterials.

As a CRE course, you will answer your own research questions. Specifically, you will design and fabricate a nanomaterial that can address a significant problem in today's society (for example, global warming, improved disease detection and treatment, or lack of clean water). You will compare your nanotechnology solution to what is used today, developing advantages and disadvantages of their approach. You will use the scientific process of developing a hypothesis, designing an experiment to make and test such nanoparticles, and analyze the results. Finally, you will present their work and findings to the class.

By the end of this course, you will:
• Understand what makes nanotechnology so unique for numerous scientific applications
• Be able to critically evaluate existing and new nanotechnology advances
• Understand how to characterize nanomaterials
• Utilize the scientific process to develop brand new nanomaterials to address a societal concern of your choosing
• Effectively communicate scientific findings and results in both oral and in written format

At the end of the course, you will have learned the fundamental and applied science that goes into nanotechnology for a diverse range of applications. You will also have learned a number of laboratory techniques in making and characterizing nanoparticles for specific applications. You will discover the process of designing, executing, and analyzing their own experiments. Further, through reading and analyzing journal articles, you will have learned state-of-the-art nanotechnology for addressing society’s largest concerns.


This course is ideally suited for advanced students 16 years of age and older who are rising juniors, seniors, or will have recently graduated. Students will be most successful in this course if they have a strong interest in science and in solving diverse, real world problems using critical thinking, hypothesis driven experiments, and data analysis.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - August 05, 2022
Duration: 6 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Blended with required live sessions every Monday from 9:00AM - 10:30AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Thomas Webster
Course Number: 10274