OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Nanotechnology Education

The new Nanotechnology Processes Option in the undergraduate chemical engineering program allows students both to develop an in-depth understanding of how the core skills of the ChE discipline can be applied towards manufacturing of nanotechnology based products as well as to provide them with multidisciplinary experiences. The option will contain six courses, five required courses and an elective. There are two entirely new sophomore level courses which will lead into three upper division courses already in place. This duality (Breadth plus Depth Pedagogy) will be reinforced in senior lab (ChE 415) in which they will need to synthesize both aspects in their capstone project, and potentially through their Honors College thesis. The courses are described in more detail below.

The Nanotechnology Process Option is being devloped in partnership with Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), Oregon's first "Signature Research Center". Together with other academic and industrial partners, ONAMI is performing research in nanoscale metrology, transparent and printed electronics, green nanoscience and nanomanufacturing, materials characterization, bulk microfluidics for energy/chemical and medical devices, process intensification and microfabrication; and applying this research to both short- and long-term commercial opportunities ranging from computers to healthcare, and energy systems to environmental remediation. ONAMI leadership will facilitate input on the content of the new courses, be a resource for guest lecturers, and assist in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the new courses in achieving their learning outcomes.

Required Courses

  • ChE 214 - Material and Energy Balances in Nanotechnology (4)
    ChE specific lab-based course, emphasizing how the fundamental skills students have learned couple to nanotechnology. For ChE students, the approach is to develop a novel Breadth plus Depth Pedagogy (breadth of multidisciplinary experiences and depth of specific technical applications within the discipline) in which students have complementary experiences early in their undergraduate studies.
  • ENGR 221 - The Science, Engineering and Social Impact of Nanotechnology (3)
    General engineering survey course so that students from Biological, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering will also be exposed to the field of nanotechnology. Thus, there will inherently be a multidisciplinary approach. The course includes hands-on activities, demonstrations, and a capstone ethics project where students complete a risk assessment of nanotechnology. Additionally, this course will focus on the lifecycle of technology development.
    This course uses the innovative WISE Learning Tool to promote active learning and assessment to assist learning.
  • ChE 415 - Chemical Engineering Lab (3)
    Students who select the Nanotechnology Processes Option will be required to do a nanotechnology-based capstone project. Additionally, the teams formed will include students from other disciplines; thus the Breadth plus Depth Pedagogy will be reinforced giving students capstone projects in which they will need to synthesize their discipline’s expertise (depth) while functioning on a multidisciplinary team (breadth). The following types of projects are ones that may be assigned to students for their capstone lab projects: carbon nanotube synthesis by catalytic CVD and analysis of kinetic data via TGA; silicon nitride nano powder synthesis by the ammonolysis of SiO vapor and characterization of these nano materials by SEM, TEM, and XRD. Review example student projects.
  • ChE 417 - Instr in Chem, Bio & Envir Eng (4)
    Equips students with a toolbox of instrumental techniques important in chemical, biological, and environmental engineering and inclusion of specific techniques useful for the characterization in nanoscale systems. Also, provides students with the background required to determine the appropriate instrumental technique to address a specific problem.
  • ChE 444 - Thin Film Material Processing (4)
    Solid state devices are based on the patterning of thin films. This lecture and lab course is primarily an introduction to the technology associated with processing thin films. It is particularly suited for the Nanotechnology Processes Option since integrated circuit manufacturing has recently entered the nano-realm. Topics include chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, plasma etching, and thin-film characterization.

Elective Courses

  • ChE 445 - Polymer Engineering and Science (4)
  • BIOE 451 - Biomaterials (4)
  • CH 445 - Physical Chemistry of Materials (3)
  • CH 448 - Surface Chemistry (3)
  • ECE 317 - Electronic Materials and Devices (3)
  • ECE 418 - Semiconductor Processing (3)
  • ENGR 321 - Materials Science (3)
  • IE 355 - Statistical Quality Control (4)
  • IE 356 - Experimental Design for Industrial Processes (4)

Nanotechnology Related Student Projects

Capstone Senior Lab

Honor's College Thesis

Plasma Enhanced Growth of Carbon Nanotubes


The development of the Nanotechnology Option is funded by NSF NUE-0532584, the Intel Faculty Fellows Program, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) and Oregon State University.