A blog about anything nanotech

On-line math tool: Mathematica Alpha

System Administrator Sunday 07 of March, 2010
Wolfram, the maker of Mathematica, has a new online tool that provides an amazing amount of data on materials and chemicals that can be used as a handy reference tool. The tool is called Mathematica Alpha. You can enter queries like:
  • Carbon, Si, P
  • density Ag, Au
  • elements semiconductor
  • ferromagnetic elements
  • Anthracene
  • Pentacene 3D structure
  • Fe3O4
  • Streptavidin
  • DNA
The image below is an example output from the tool and is the 3D structure of Pentacene. Pentacene is a p-type organic semiconductor with a bandgap of around 1.8eV. You can also use the tool to evaluate equations. It's a very powerful online tool.

Pentacene 3d

I would like to point out the Mathematica is also available for students (spectacular value $140), and there is a home version of all you closet mathematicians (you know who you/we are :-) for $295). The full version is $2495.

Matter Compiler

morreale Saturday 06 of March, 2010
The folks over at Foresight.org have a very cool video that shows the bottoms up fabrication of a laptop. They call the machine that builds it a Nano Factory. It a very impressive idea and fascinating to watch. I recommend downloading the file to disk and watching it as the file is 86 MB and I have not figured out how to stream it.

If you like this kind of idea, then I recommend The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson's for a interesting look at the world where nanotechnology is widely used and misused.

What p-brane all about?

morreale Saturday 06 of March, 2010
I was captivated by Brian Greene's book The Elegant Universe which describes the universe in terms of string theory which attempts to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity.

String Theory describes spacetime as having 11 dimensions with 10 for space and 1 for time (at the time the book describes spacetime with 10 dimensions so an extra dimension has appeared). Thus, objects in spacetime can have many dimensions. p-brane describes the dimensionality of the object as follows:
  • 0-brane: infinitely small point particle (0 dimensional)
  • 1-brane: an object with only length like a 1D line
  • 2-brane: membrane
  • 3-brane: a blob, 3D object
and so on until you get to a 10-brane what ever that might be. My pea brain overloaded with trying to imagine every point is space having 6 or 7 curled up dimensions so that we can only see 3 spacial dimension. These curled up dimensions are known as Calabi-Yau space and a projection of that space can be seen in the photo below thanks to user Lunch on Wikipedia.

Calabi Yau

Let me get this straight: I need nano to make nano?

System Administrator Wednesday 03 of March, 2010
I want build a nano device but keep getting stuck. With limited funds, I don't have a fab but think that maybe solution processing or a bio approach might be the way to go. It's would seem to be inexpensive to setup. Um, E. Coli and some self assembly to the rescue.

Nano For Nano

Did I make something? Does it have the right morphology? How many did I make? Does it work? Oh wait, an AFM costs how much? That cool table top SEM costs how much? So that means we go Fabless? Note to self: make the first nano device build nano devices. Let the science experiments begin.

Will prototype for funding

System Administrator Tuesday 02 of March, 2010
Say, I'm entrepreneur that want's to make a nano device for a great new product but do not have any real money and won't for some time. The best way to raise money to build the devices is to demonstrate the a concept with a prototype.

Figure showing state machine

Wait, there seems to be a problem with this logic. I need a prototype to raise money but I need money to build the prototype. What the... Thus, starts the self funding phase of the start-up. Yikes!

To Enroll or Not to Enroll

System Administrator Tuesday 02 of March, 2010
It big decision time. The deadline for Enrollment at the Stanford Center of Professional Development (SCPD) is March 24, 2010. That's 22 days. Yikes! The Spring 2010 course schedule can be found at the link below:

SCPD 2010 Course Schedule

These course are real courses. Good Courses taught by world class professors. Don't mistake on-line course for easy courses. Expect to send like three hours a week on lectures and about 20 hours a week with reading and home work. These course will make you work like you worked in grad school. It will be hard but your brain will thank you. After working for a long time, it takes a while to get back into shape and learn like that. It's amazing how much we forget.

I've taken
  • Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology
  • Organic Semiconductors for Electronics and Photonics
  • New Methods in Thin Film Synthesis
  • Solar Cells

All the course were really good but may favorite was the Organic Semiconductor course. So you can imagine my excitement to hear Alan Heeger give one of the lectures at the 2009 MRS Fall meeting workshop on 3rd generation solar cells. It was just superb.