The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Grant to introduce nanotechnology

A $500,000 grant from the William Myron Keck Foundation will allow CSUN students and undergraduates students to be introduced to the field of nanotechnology.

The money will be used to purchase a field emission scanning electron microscope and spectroscopy equipment. The electron microscope is powerful enough to magnify material more than a thousand times its size at a nano-size scale, making it possible for people to look into the chemical make-up of material.

Tony Cunha, senior civil engineering major, is one of the students who is looking forward to the new technology, will use the microscope to further his research.

‘I think that it’s awesome,’ Cunha said. ‘It allows (students) to do research that we wouldn’t be able to do.’

Based on the powerful equipment, Cunha could get a better understanding of what the material he’s researching looks like and develop new methods for research.

Nanotechnology in Undergraduate Education (NUE) students like Cunha will have access to the electron microscope and spectroscopy equipment as part of the two-year program. They will be doing research for one of eight joint projects being conducted by faculty and practicing nanotechnologists.

This program aims to introduce nanoscale science, engineering and technology to students through participation, interdisciplinary courses and interacting with nanotechnology faculty and professionals.

‘It’s very instrumental to have this equipment,’ said Behzah Bavarian, manufacturing systems engineering and management professor. As project coordinator, Bavarian was pleased to receive the grant support from the W.M. Keck Foundation as well as other organizations to fund the research.

‘(The W.M. Keck Foundation) was extremely generous,’ Bavarian said.

The advance technology could aid staff and students in current projects and become a stimulus in getting more students involved in science, Bavarian said.

CSUN staff who are currently working on projects with undergraduates will develop an introductory engineering course focusing on nanotechnology and will be sent to high schools to encourage students there to pursue the sciences.

‘An instrument like this captures their imagination,’ said Dale Conner, assistant manufacturing systems engineering and management professor. ‘We have these tools that can get the students excited about science.’

Conner will be working with undergraduates on projects that will expose them to the microscope.

‘Basically, it’s not a single project,’ Conner said in reference to the various other works in the process by staff. Conner and Cunha are currently working together on a group project.

The W.M. Keck Foundation is a Los Angeles based organization established in 1954 by William Myron Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. It’s one of the largest philanthropic organizations with more than $1 billion in assets.

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