UMass Nanotechnology Institute, Day 1


Our diffusion experiment, as of 4 pm on Monday

Today started Day 1 of the UMass Nanotechnology Institute 2013, a partnership between UMassK12 and the UMass Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing.  This program started off with introductions, and an overview of Nanotechnology by Dr. Mark Tuominen and Dr. Jonathan Rothstein.  Part of the powerpoint talked about Lithography, a process that I completed last summer working with BUSat.

We then talked about Nanoscale thin films, and used oleic acid to replicate an experiment that Benjamin Franklin completed.  It was very interesting to learn that Franklin had realized the oil spreads out to a very thin layer, and our calculations put this layer at around 1 nanometer thick.

After lunch, we started a gelatin diffusion laboratory, this time using plain gelatin and food coloring.  Each day, we will be taking pictures and measuring the amount of diffusion into this gelatin, from the food coloring that is diffusing into the gelatin.  This is a lab that Jennifer Wellborn runs at Amherst Middle School.

We then talked about growing crystals.  Rob Snyder gave us a supersaturated solution of sodium chloride (NaCl), of which he asked us to make crystals. Specifically, we were asked about self assembly of ionic crystals. We will be measuring these crystals later in the week. 

We ended the day by talking about powers of 10, and using USB microscopes and other lab utilities to measure different materials.  The USB microscopes were awesome, and something that I wish I had access to in my classroom.  We then reflected about the day in our subject groups, and talked about what would be useful in our classrooms.

As a bonus, we went to the Hanger to eat wings as a group after the day’s activities!