Western on the cutting edge of nanotechnology

DANBURY, CONN. — As nanotechnology leads the pack in the techo-world, Western Connecticut State University is right along side as it gears up to make “nanotech” an integral part of its science programs.

According to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Chris Yen, Western is incorporating the study of nanotechnology by branching out in several areas, including the development of several courses on the subject. Nanotechnology is the study of examining matter on an atomic and molecular scale. As Yen said, the technology generally deals with the development of new advanced material in nanoscale. The first course, Introduction to Nanotechnology will be offered for the first time in Fall 2011, with more courses being added in both the biology and chemistry departments.

Thanks to a federal grant from the Department of Energy, the university’s chemistry department will soon purchase a Raman spectrometer. Named after Indian physicist C.V. Raman, who earned a Nobel Prize for his discovery of the Raman effect, the instrument is important to researchers in identifying molecules and material. The Raman spectrometer will be in use at the university by the end of the spring semester.

The grant was awarded to the Connecticut State University System and is to be used toward nanotechnology education at all four state universities. The CSUS is promoting continued growth in this area and hopes to have all four institutions share in a comprehensive program. While equipment and other courses will be implemented at the other universities, Western will be the only one to date with a Raman spectrometer.

“Nanotubes and nanowires are an essential element to next-generation solar cells and solar-to-fuel conversion,” Yen said. “In order to show and further study these nanotubes and their properties to students, we need Raman spectrometer. Nano is the future of technology, and we need to stay on top of that.”

WCSU has also been invited to participate in the 18th Annual Connecticut Microelectronics and Optoelectronics Consortium to be held on Wednesday, March 16, in New Haven. Discourse will include NanoElectronics and NanoPhotonics, and technological industry giants, such as United Technologies and Pitney Bowes, will also be participating.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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