Conversations in Science
for K-12 Educators

A program conceived and organized by the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with the collaboration of the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Edgewood Sonderegger Science Center.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 4:00 p.m.

Nanotechnology: The Next Big Thing, Only Smaller

Wendy Crone
Associate Professor Department of Engineering Physics -- U of W - Madison

About the conversation:

In recent years, nanotechnology has emerged as an exciting new arena of scientific research and technological innovation. Nanotechnology is the study and design of materials and systems at the nanoscale – the scale of atoms and molecules. Based on researchers’ growing ability to manipulate matter on such a small scale, some believe that nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize our lives. Already nanotechnology is impacting the way we live in small ways, with applications ranging from stain-resistant pants to self-cleaning windows to longer-lasting tennis balls. Research on nanoscale exploration of materials is poised to impact a vast array of industries in the future. I will talk about some of the research we are conducting in my lab to fabricate nanoscale materials, “see” what we have created at the nanoscale, and manipulate these nanoscale materials so that we may one day be able to incorporate them into engineering designs.

About the professor:

Wendy C. Crone is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison with affiliate faculty appointments in the Materials Science Program and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her research interests focus on improving fundamental understanding of mechanical response of materials, improving material behavior through surface modification and nanostructuring, and developing new applications and devices. Prof. Crone has conducted research on shape memory alloys, metallic single crystals, and biomaterials with specific emphasis on pseudoelastic behavior, plastic deformation, and fracture in these materials. Applications for these materials occur in the microelectronics, aerospace, and biomedical industries. Her research has been funded by the Whitaker Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Department of Energy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation. Prof. Crone is also the Director of the Interdisciplinary Education Group of the University of Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) on nanostructured materials and interfaces. This education and outreach effort, focused on Exploring the Nanoworld, impacts all levels of learners, as well as in-service teachers and the general public. Prof. Crone is the Vice-Chair and co-founder of the MEMS and Nanotechnology Technical Division for the Society for Experimental Mechanics and the University of Wisconsin representative to the Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Exemplar of the Worldwide University Network.

References and Suggested Readings:

Daniel Ratner and Mark Ratner, Ch. 1 “Introducing Nano” and Ch. 2 “Size Matters,” Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction (Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, 2003).

A.K. Bentley, J.S. Trethewey, A.B. Ellis, W.C. Crone, “Magnetic Manipulation of Copper-Tin Nanowires Capped with Nickel Ends,” Nano Letters, 4(3) 487-490 (2004).

G.A. Shaw, J.S. Trethewey, A.D. Johnson, W.J. Drugan, W.C. Crone, “Thermomechanical High-Density Data Storage in a Metallic Material via the Shape-Memory Effect,” to appear in Advanced Materials.

R.W. Carpick, M. Salmeron,“Scratching the surface: Fundamental investigations of tribology with atomic force microscopy.” Chemical Reviews, 97 (4), 1163 (1997).

MRSEC “Exploring the Nanoworld” Education Site,