Nanotechnology Laboratory

Villanova has strived to develop state-of-the-art nanotechnology research facilities all over campus.  In Chemical Engineering we are exploring the growth and use of carbon nanofibers for thermal management, and as catalyst supports.  We are also growing metallic nanoparticles and depositing nano-thick films on surfaces.  We are exploring self-assembled monolayer (layers that are one molecule thick) for lubrication of small devices and as corrosion inhibition.  Finally, we are beginning to develop molecular wires.  These are electrical connections that are made by single molecules!


Major Equipment Across Campus

Equipment is freely shared and researchers have open access to the equipment in both the teaching laboratories as well as in the individual research laboratories. 

  • A Hitachi H-7600 transmission electron microscope (TEM) with EDAX energy dispersive spectroscopy system (EDS) and an AMT digital camera for image acquisition
  • An Hitachi S-4800 cold field emission scanning electron microscope (SEM) with a YAG Back-Scattered Detector, an Oxford EDS System, and a HKL EBSD System
  • A JXA 840 tungsten filament scanning electron microscope
  • A Hitachi S570 SEM equipped with an EDAX image analysis and EDS system as well as with a Robinson backscatter detector
  • A complete Mössbauer spectroscopy laboratory consisting of three spectrometers with sample temperature variation capability from 1.8 K to 300 K and applied magnetic field up to 8 T in longitudinal geometry. Components include two Janis Research, Inc. cryostats, one American Magnetics, Inc. Niobium Titanium superconducting magnet, Ranger and Web Research electronics, Lake Shore and TRI Research temperature controllers, Reuter Stokes proportional counters, pumping stations, etc.
  • A Bruker-AXS Kappa/Apex II Diffractometer with a low temperature device (100K) designed for small molecule single crystal work using Cu or Mo sources, but it is also capable of collecting and processing powder data
  • An ICP Atomic Emission Spectrophotometer
  • An Agilent PicoPlus atomic force microscope (AFM)
  • Perkin Elmer Atomic Absorption (AA) spectrophotometer
  • Varian Mercury High Resolution (300 Mz) NMR Spectrophotometer with Solid State Capabilities and accompanying computer workstations (ca. $ 250 K - completely funded by the University). This instrumentation is available for hands-on use to all users after proper training from the full-time NMR Laboratory Director and Instrument Specialist, Dr. Walter Boyko.
  • Two new Perkin Elmer UV-Visible spectrophotometers with kinetics packages
  • Two new Perkin Elmer FTIR spectrophotometers (Model 1615)
  • Innovative Technology Inert Atmosphere Glovebox
  • A Hewlett Packard GC-Mass Spectrometer (Model 5890A)

Did you know?

Nanotechnology has already transformed our society in ways that we are still trying to fathom.  A glance at some recent breakthroughs demonstrates the possibilities of this infant technology:

  • Higher storage densities have been achieved through the development of perpendicular magnetic recording media.
  • Gold nanoparticles, exposed to extremely weak microwaves, can dissolve the abnormal protein clumps linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Titania nanotubes promise to harness solar energy.
  • Albumin nanoparticles may be able to improve the clinical usefulness of a wide variety of anticancer drugs.
  • Dextran coated magnetite nanoparticles are being used to enhance MRI.
  • Specially developed coatings may be used for self-cleaning of surfaces in locations such as hospitals and homes.

From high tech to the medical and the domestic, nanotechnology is beginning to have an impact on our lives. 

Nanotechnology Laboratory
Styles of Graphite Nanofibers produced at Villanova
Styles of Graphite Nanofibers produced at Villanova (a) platelet (b) ribbon (c) herringbone