Nanotechnology is a demanding new field that requires participation from various technical disciplines including chemistry, engineering, and physics.

Under the guidance of chemistry professor Dale Teeters, TU is expanding its explorations of nanotechnology and the field’s practical applications. To aid in this research, TU has received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. These federal and state grants will support a research team that includes two graduate students and one post-doctoral fellow.

Teeters and two TU alumni already hold a patent for a nanobattery manufacturing process that can build, charge, and test nanobatteries. The process produces batteries so small that 240 units could be stacked across the width of a human hair. Applications for such technology include anything from cell phones and laptop computers to fuel cells for generating electricity. The new funding will allow Teeters and his students to further explore using nanoscale technology to solve problems that have held back the improvement of batteries and fuel cells for over a decade.

The University’s commitment to advancing technological development in nanotechnology has continued to grow with the creation of the TU Nanotechnology Institute in 2007. Teeters leads this interdisciplinary initiative with Professor Theodore Manikas from the electrical engineering department. The goal of this institute is to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty and students for the advancement of nanotechnology. Additional contributing disciplines include faculty members from the mechanical engineering, physics, engineering physics, and biochemistry departments.

In addition to nanobattery applications, the Nanotechnology Institute is research advanced sensor technology, improvements in efficiency for reliable power sources, and how to strengthen materials such as metal and plastic at the atomic level. Researching nanostructured materials and nanomanufacturing capabilities has been greatly enhanced through the use of a new e-beam nanolithographic system in the Laboratory for Micro and Nanoscale Characterization.

The application of nanoscale research to modern engineering processes and materials represents the next big leap for modern technology. Teeter’s research and the work of TU’s Nanotechnology Institute will play a large part in this field’s development in the future and its application to everyday life. With this research, students and faculty alike will have the opportunity to be at the forefront of a growing and influential field, something that can be said of few other institutions TU’s size.