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Students Pursue Nanotech Opportunities
Dec 2004
LEXINGTON, Ky., Dec. 3 -- Eight students are taking advantage of a unique undergraduate certification program in nanotechnology at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Engineering.

The Nanoscale Engineering Certificate Program, headed by mechanical engineering professor M. Pinar Menguc, prepares students for career opportunities in nanoengineering with courses in fundamentals and principles of nanomaterial engineering and fabrication. The program offers students the chance to work in laboratories with UK’s nanomaterials’ researchers as they explore ways to manufacture and use nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and other nanosubstances. In addition to the eight students seeking certification, a total of 20 students are taking program courses.

Nanomaterial refers to a manufactured substance measured at the molecular level. They generally are smaller than one-thousandth the size of a human hair.

Menguc said researchers are exploring a number of uses for nanomaterials, from faster computers to sensors for a variety of purposes. Menguc and a colleague received a patent in December 2003 for a proposed method to prepare a tiny platform that would house nanomachinery. His lab currently is developing a practical means of using his patent that eventually could be licensed to industry.

He predicted the certification program will experience strong growth in the next few years.

"I find high school students are showing more interest than many students currently at UK," Menguc said.

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