Carnegie Mellon Engineering




Center for Nano-enabled Device & Energy Technologies Overview

At the Center for Nano-Enabled Devices and Energy Technologies a multidisciplinary team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers work to create and design new technologies.

The center harnesses nanoscale research under way at both the College of Engineering and the Mellon College of Science. The center, which is housed at the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES), primarily focuses on nanoscale research that enables the design of innovative systems for sensing and on future energy generation and storage technologies. The secondary focus of the center will be on advanced information and communication technologies.

The center's formation comes during a time when tiny ideas seem to be coming of age like the recent move by the United States Patent and Trade Office to announce a new category just for nanotechnology inventions.

 

Research

Nanotechnology is the realm of the very tiny; its name comes from the nanometer, a unit of measure so small that a human hair is roughly 80,000 nanometers thick. Individual molecules are measured in nanometers; so are viruses, strands of DNA and the microscopic structures that determine the performance of everyday materials like steel and plastic.

Nanoscale materials, structures, and particles introduce new properties, behaviors or functions that can improve existing products or create new ones. Some products in the marketplace already sport nanoscale technologies. For example, semiconductor lasers used in CD players and in fiber-optic communication systems contain nanoscale structures called quantum wells. These quantum structures have led to low cost and improved product performance. Some sunscreens contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles that have the same ultraviolet protection properties as traditional sunscreens, but without the cosmetically undesirable “whitening” effect of conventional sunscreens. Even some wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent fabrics use nanoscale molecular structures to behave in a unique way.