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Inside CSULB
Vol 58 No. 2 : February, 2006
Vol 58 No. 2 : February, 2006
Mangir, Kwon Receive Grant

Tulin Mangir, professor of electrical engineering at CSULB, and Chuhee Kwon, associate professor of physics and astronomy, have received an award of $294,000 from the Army Research Office (ARO) for a project titled “Assessing the Integrity and Interconnect Issues for Nano-scale Structures and Devices.”

The purpose of the award is to study the integration and interconnect issues for nano-scale structures and devices. Their work will focus on further miniaturization of computer, communications and sensor circuits and has broad implications including sensors, security and next-generation IC technology. Nano-scale science is a bridge between life sciences, physical sciences and engineering.

“We are now able to observe and control properties of atoms and molecules at the nano scale. One nanometer, about three atoms, is one billionth of a meter – human hair is about 100,000 nanometers,” Mangir explained. “This requires the scientific community to understand and develop new theories, models and approaches to education and research.

“This work is important as it builds up on work funded by the National Science Foundation in building up curriculum and infrastructure for nano-science, engineering and technology education,” she added. “This project helps us expand the research and teaching infrastructure and helps us build cooperative relationships with the local companies and research centers, such as Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Aerospace Corporation, UCLA, UCI, Intel and others.”

Nano-science, engineering and nano-scale devices have broad applications in future electronic circuits which will be much smaller, lighter, and integrate a lot more functions on the electronic chips. In addition to very light and high-capacity components for consumer devices, they have very broad targeted drug delivery for medical applications.

Nanotechnology also has many applications in terms of security, as an extremely small amount of particles can be detected using applications of this technology. It is also important for both detection of toxic materials and neutralizing some of these toxic substances. It has benefits for environmental clean-up, providing clean water for many poor countries around the world; and developing many precise diagnostic devices for numerous diseases, more accurate, less toxic medications, among others. Other applications include clean fuel cells, clean water, much lighter and stronger materials, efficient uses of resources such as oil, gas and water, light and water proof sealants, coatings, energy conversion and storage, thermal energy, avionics, better protective gear.

“Nano-science and engineering is the next big revolution in the technology and engineering area,” Mangir pointed out. “It is also the most INTER-disciplinary area and requires students to be educated to work across the disciplines in teams consisting of engineers, physicists, biologists, mathematicians, computational scientists, business people, ethicists, legal experts, and so on.

“Getting students educated and informed will prepare them better for their careers, as well as help them be better informed citizens and be involved in policy, advocacy for the sciences, and beneficial uses of this technology.”

As part of this research grant, Mangir and Kwon expect to enhance the teaching and research infrastructure to tackle the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Scientifically speaking, their research will explore, study and characterization of thin films (Kwon) and uses of nano-tubes both as passive and active components in the future circuits (Mangir).

“This work will help decide reliability, resilience and safety for applications of these structures in many sectors ranging from consumer products to medicine, to energy, to environment to defense, as we reach the limits of our current miniaturization technologies and need new ways of developing products and materials,” Mangir said.

“In the next ten years or so it is expected that there will be a short fall of 7-10 million of trained workers of all levels,” she continued. “Some universities have begun to grant degrees in nanotechnology. Others view it as a portion of existing academic areas. One thing is for certain – Nano-scale science and technology are fueling a revolution in manufacturing and production, creating new materials and novel processes.

“As the lists of nano-science-based applications indicate, our world is increasingly dependent on science for food, shelter, energy, etc. For our democratic society to function effectively, citizens must become familiar with at least some basic science and, perhaps even more importantly, with thinking scientifically. As a public institution, it is our responsibility to bring this to our students, feeder schools, and public,” Mangir concluded. “We are grateful to both National Science Foundation for providing our initial support and continuous encouragement, and to ARO for supporting our research and research infrastructure in this very important area.”

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