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The Mechanical Engineering Department has focused on transforming nanoscience from a scientific curiosity to a technology of mass manufacturing of ubiquitous products.


The miniaturization of devices and systems of ever increasing complexity has been a fascinating and productive engineering endeavor during the past few decades. Near-term and long-term, this trend will be amplified as physical understanding of the nanoworld expands, and wide-spread commercial demand drives the application of manufacturing to micro- and nanosystems. Tiny technology research in the Mechanical Engineering Department cuts across all of the five broadly divided disciplines of mechanical engineering, including Mechanics and Materials; Fluids, Energy and Transport; Design and Manufacturing; Systems, Controls and Information; and Bio-engineering.  


Fluids, Energy, and Transport: research topics include nanostructured thermoelectric materials for solid-state power generators and coolers, high power density and high-efficiency thermophotovoltaic energy conversion devices, nanowire-based new nano-patterning technology, design and fabrication of elastomeric addressable silicone microfluidic networks for chemical or biological screening, electro-thermal actuators for manipulating the dynamics of fluid jets and flows.

Biomedical Engineering: research topics include the development of novel microscopy instrumentation to study biomedical problems, a new non-invasive method to detect skin cancer, nanoscale interfaces to biological molecules by switching DNA and proteins, elucidating the inner-workings of proteins, enzymes and biological motors, instrumentation that combines optical tweezers, single molecule fluorescence and pulsed spectroscopy, fundamental study and modeling of electrical, mechanical and chemical energy conversion in natural and synthetic membranes and biological tissues.

Mechanics and Materials: research topics include understanding the fundamentals of small-scale mechanisms, mechanical properties of polymer nanocomposites, carbon nanotubes, polymer/carbon nanotube composites.

Design and Manufacturing: MEMS technology to nano-scale manufacturing, massively parallel assembly of carbon nanotubes, energy scavenging power MEMS, self-assembly in micro- and nano-scale systems, millimeter-scale electric induction motor/generators, micro-scale self-assembly technology to create useful 3D microsystems.

Systems, Controls and Information: research topics include the manipulation of light with novel, miniaturized or nanostructured elements that provide new functionalities for optical information processing, 3D assembly of nanosystems based on “nanostructured origami? design and manufacturing methodologies for atomic resolution systems for advanced data-storage systems.

Pappalardo NanoManufacturing Facility: A new nanofabrication facility will be constructed. The facility will provide 5,490 square feet of space for nanoscale mechanical engineering research. A generous gift to the ME Department from Jane and Neil Pappalardo will cover a significant portion of the expenses.

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