(588a) The Nanolab: An Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Science and Engineering Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin

Authors: 
Ekerdt, J. G. - Presenter, University of Texas at Austin
Heitsch, A. - Presenter, The University of Texas at Austin


At The University of Texas at Austin, we have developed an upper-division undergraduate laboratory, called the NANOLAB, which is designed introduce engineering and natural sciences students to nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) concepts. For the NANOLAB, we have developed four new 6-hour experiments: 1) ?Fabrication of gold nanoparticles using self-assembled templating?, 2) ?Optical and redox properties of colloidal semiconducting quantum dots?, 3) ?Acid-doped polyaniline nanofiber sensor for vapor detection?, and 4)"Gold nanorod synthesis and optical properties". The NANOLAB experiments are integrated with existing undergraduate laboratories, currently in five different departments?Chemistry/Biochemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering?across both the Colleges of Engineering and Natural Sciences. The NANOLAB is not a stand-alone course, but rather is a laboratory ?station? that interfaces with existing laboratory courses in the participating departments. For example, a student enrolled in physical chemistry laboratory performs one of the NANOLAB experiments as a required experiment in that course. A chemical engineering student in the unit operations laboratory does likewise. In the NANOLAB, students also work in a multidisciplinary team of two natural sciences and two engineering majors to promote the interdisciplinary communication that is fundamental to NSE. Approximately 960 students per year participate in the NANOLAB; thus, providing broad exposure to a large student population at a public university with a hands-on active NSE learning experience. This presentation will provide a snapshot of the program and a summary of successes and failures and lessons learned thus far.