An Intensive Study on the Properties of Nanomaterials and their Potential Uses

Author: Caroline Peterson
Major: Chemistry
Approved: Spring 2017
Status: Completed

Nanomaterials are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of fields, including industry and biomedicine. Due to their size, they have unique properties that allow them to be tunable. This project serves as a general overview of the field of nanotechnology. As nanotechnology becomes common-place, it is important to understand its full potential. In addition, with increased use comes an increase in concentrations of nanoparticles in biological organisms and ecosystems. Therefore it is necessary to understand the related consequences. The first segment of this project involves an internship with the Department of Energy on “NanoEnergy”. The group I will be working with investigates a variety of  potential applications for nanotechnology including carbon nanotube functionalization, and green nanostructure synthesis. The group also studies strategies to optimize fuel cells and solar cells. The next term of the project involves research at Roanoke College studying the toxicity of nanocrystals using Danio rerio (zebrafish) embryos. Copper indium sulfide / zinc sulfide nanocrystals are bright, fluorescent, and reproducible, which makes them potentially useful for applications in biomedicine including biological labeling and drug delivery. Zebrafish can be used as a model organism in order to make hypotheses regarding the toxic effects of nanocrystals on humans.