By Stephanie Laird
What's the next big thing in science? Many researchers will tell you that it's something small. Nanoscience, or the study of matter at the atomic scale, could yield tinier, faster computers, more targeted drug delivery systems and stronger construction materials for engineering.
Ohio University's Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute will give the university and local community a peek at this up-and-coming field of science during its first major international conference on nanoscience July 15 through 19.
The Nanoscale Spectroscopy & Nanotechnology 5 and Spin-Polarized Scanning Tunneling Microscopy 2 (NSS5/SP-STM2) conference will gather prominent members of the nanoscience community for scientific presentations, discussions, networking opportunities, and outdoor and cultural activities. The plenary lectures and poster sessions are open to the public.
"We are proud to host this premier international nanoscience conference in Athens this year," said Arthur Smith, director of the Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute. "We are looking forward to a week filled with interesting and inspiring presentations along with stimulating discussions."
Researchers representing more than 10 countries will participate in the conference, either as guests or featured presenters. About 100 participants are expected to attend, in addition to 27 invited speakers who will give presentations about their specific research, methodologies and scientific advancements. Major topics to be discussed include nanoscale spectroscopy, atom/molecule manipulation and spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy.
The local organizing committee for this conference includes Smith and Saw-Wai Hla, who chaired the SP-STM2 and NSS-5 aspects of the planning, respectively, and committee members Sergio Ulloa and Nancy Sandler.
"The fact that the world's leading nanoscientists are coming to Ohio University to discuss the latest nanoscience research directions already is proof that the nanoscience at OU is known and recognized worldwide," Hla said.
The plenary lectures will be held in Baker University Center Theatre at 8:10 a.m. Wednesday, July 16, and Thursday, July 17, and 9:10 a.m. Friday, July 18. In addition, posters featuring nanoscience topics and research can be viewed in Baker 230, 233 and 235 throughout the event.
"For the Ohio University students, this is a great opportunity to learn the latest advances in nanoscience from the world's leading scientists," Hla said. "For instance, if they want to attend this series of the NSS conference in 2010, they will have to go to Osaka, Japan."
Ohio University's work in nanoscience has yielded notable scientific advancements through ongoing, cross-campus collaborations that address numerous aspects of this rapidly evolving field, Smith said.
The university launched the institute in 2001 to unite faculty members from seven departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and Russ College of Engineering and Technology engaged in nanoscience research. Institute members attracted $13.7 million in external funding during the institute's first six years from agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Ohio University researchers have received attention for their discoveries in spintronics and their use of cutting-edge equipment, such as the scanning tunneling microscope, to manipulate individual atoms, Smith said. In addition, institute members received a $2.5 million grant last fall for a new international collaboration with scientists in Hamburg and Buenos Aires that will help advance Ohio University research in the field.
Sponsors for the upcoming conference include Ohio University's Condensed Matter and Surface Sciences Program, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Biomimetic Nanoscience and NanoTechnology effort and the Vice President for Research Office. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy and several corporate sponsors who will exhibit at the conference also provided support.
For additional information on the NSS5/SP-STM2 conference, including a complete program schedule and information on featured plenary lectures, visit www.phy.ohiou.edu/nss5-spstm2/about.htm or contact Mala Braslavsky, conference coordinator, at 740-593-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.