Thinking Big About Small Things: Applications and Implications of Nanotechnology

written by Shaun Kirby ‘07

Imagine a vessel that can deliver medicine to an infected human cell. How does it know which cell to target? How does it know not to harm other nearby cells inadvertently? Think of that same vessel seeking oil particles in the ocean. How does that vessel disperse the oil in a safe and efficient way? Now picture the vessel 75,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, the size of a nanometer. This is the world where University of Rhode

Island (URI) Professor of Chemical Engineering Geoffrey Bothun conducts research. For the past 13 years Bothun has led a highly collaborative research group studying the foundational science behind engineered nanoparticles – materials so tiny they can only be observed and manipulated through electron microscopes, powerful tools that magnify the structure of microorganisms and chemicals.

A 3D printed model of perfluorooctane sulfonate, which is a persistent environmental pollutant.

| 38 | The University of Rhode Island { Momentum: Research & Innovation }

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