NSF Summer Institute on Nanomechanics and Materials

NSF Summer Institute on Nanomechanics, Nanomaterials, and Micro/Nanomanufacturing

NSF Fellowship

Co-sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the AVS Science & Technology Society, Northwestern University, the Center for Surface Engineering and Tribology, the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, and the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Professor Yip-Wah Chung(Director)
Professor Ted Belytschko (Co-Director)
Professor Wing Kam Liu (Co-Director)
Professor Jian Cao (Co-Director)

With the confluence of interest in nanotechnology, availability of experimental tools to synthesize and characterize systems in the nanometer scale, and computational tools widely accessible to model microscale systems by coupled continuum-molecular-quantum mechanics, we are poised to unravel the traditional gap between the atomic and the macro scopic world in mechanics, materials, and manufacturing. This in turn opens up new opportunities in education and research.

Many areas of research are rapidly advancing due to the combined efforts of science and engineering. In some cases, fields of research that were stagnant under the exclusive domain of one discipline have been rejuvenated with new discoveries through collaboration with practitioners from other disciplines. In mechanics, materials and manufacturing research, we are particularly excited with the research and education progress that can be achieved by combining engineering and basic sciences through modeling and simulations together with experimentation.

At the same time, rich and exciting results and technologies arising from nano-science cannot materialize until these new discoveries are implemented or utilized on a large scale via manufacturing. Manufacturing at the micro-scale (from a few microns to a few millimeters) is increasingly important as the need to bridge the macro- and the nano-world becomes more acute. Miniaturization technologies now appear in many application areas, e.g., optoelectronics, mass storage, medicine, biotechnology, communications, and avionics. These applications involve a wide range of engineering materials, three-dimensional features, and high relative accuracies (10-3 - 10-5). Emerging miniaturization technologies are perceived as key technologies of the future that will bring about completely different ways people and machines interact with the physical world. As a result, new processes and manufacturing equipment are being developed. The future of nanotechnology will depend on creating tools, instruments, metrology devices and manufacturing processes that will enable effective positioning of molecules or nanoscale building blocks into complex structures with high precision and throughputs.

The objectives of the NSF Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics, Nanomaterials, and Micro/Nanomanufacturing are:

  • To identify and promote important areas of nanotechnology, and to create new areas o focus which will augment current nanotechnology research and development by universities, industries and government.
  • To train future and practicing engineers, scientists and educators in the emerging areas of nanotechnology, nano-mechanics, and nano-materials.
  • To exchange new ideas, disseminate knowledge and provide valuable networking opportunities for researchers and leaders in the field.

The short courses offered by the Institute provide fundamentals and recent new developments in selected areas of nanotechnology. The material is presented at a level accessible to BS graduates of science and engineering programs. Emphasis is on techniques and theory recently developed that are not available in texts or standard university courses. The instructors are well known for their research and teaching.

Northwestern has a long tradition in materials science and mechanics. It established the first materials science department in the country, and the mechanics program has been internationally recognized as among the best worldwide. Mechanics researchers have long interacted with materials science researchers in micromechanics problems and in the explanation and design of materials by micromechanics. In addition, researchers at Northwestern have engaged in nanoscale research long before the term came into being. Many faculty members in materials science, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering have collaborated in nanoscale problems for many years.
Chicago is the center of a web of major universities engaged in scientific and engineering research: among them, the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. All of these institutions have intense programs in nano mechanics and materials, and engineering computing, and will provide a large resource of talent for the Institute.

In addition, Chicago is located in the heart of North America and it is one of the most accessible places in the world; direct flights are available to Chicago from most European capitals and major cities of the Far East and South America. Moreover, most U.S. cities can be reached from Chicago by direct flights, thus facilitating visits to and from other universities.