Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun Nano labs

Synthesizing ferrofluids and liquid crystals are laboratory activities that can be conducted in a 75 minute lab. At Rice University we have incorporated these labs in our freshmen chemistry course and have taught it to teachers in our Nanotechnology for Teachers course. An outline of the protocol is described by Dr. Mary McHale at

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stellar Nanotubes

In 2008, carbon nanostructures that looked like long carbon nanotubes were
identified in three meteorites. This was surprising because on earth, the temperatures and pressures associated with making carbon fullerene structures were/are very energy intensive and involve very toxic and/or expensive catalysts. However, scientists are now looking at ways to mimic interstellar reactions to create carbon fullerine structures.

Which is appropriate because the first carbon fullerene structures that were identified by Kroto, Curl and Smalley at Rice University, were bucky balls or soccerball shaped structures of carbon. The discovery of the buckyball came out of investigations of carbon structures in interstellar space.