Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Woodruff Colloquium


Engineering at the Nanoscale: Present and Future Challenges


Dr. Pulickel Ajayan


Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University


Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 11:00:00 AM


MARC Building, Room 101 (1st Floor Auditorium)


Suman Das


The talk will focus on approaches used to engineer materials at the nanoscale for various applications in future technologies. In particular, the case of carbon nanostructures will be used to highlight the challenges and progress. Various organized architectures of nanotubes can be fabricated using relatively simple processes and the work in attaining control on the directed assembly of these structures will be discussed. Similar is the case with grap hene. Some of these structures offer excellent opportunity to probe novel nanoscale behavior; however, when it comes to engineering such materials into precise architectures, challenges remain. We have pursued several novel applications for these materials, taking into account their multifunctional properties. Some of the promising applications of nanotubes and nanotube-hybrids will be reviewed from the perspective of what has been accomplished in recent years. Our efforts on the strategies of growth and manipulation of nanomaterials and some of our recent successes in controllably fabricating heterogeneous and complex nanostructures will be highlighted.


Professor Pulickel M. Ajayan is the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering at Rice University. He earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University in 1989. After three years of post-doctoral experience at NEC Corporation in Japan, he spent two years as a research scientist at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, Orsay in France and nearly a year and a half as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Metallforschung, Stuttgart in Germany. In 1997, he joined the materials science and engineering faculty at Rensselaer as an Assistant Professor and was the Henri Burlage Chair Professor in Engineering until 2007. Professor Ajayan's research interests include synthesis and structure-property relations of nanostructures and nanocomposites, materials science and applications of nanomaterials and phase stability in nanoscale systems. He is one of the pioneers in the field of carbon nanotubes and was involved in the early work by the NEC group led by Sumio Iijima, the discoverer of carbon nanotubes. He has published one book and 324 journal papers with more than 18,600 citations and an h-index of 67. He has given more than 230 invi ted talks including several keynote and plenary lectures in more than 20 countries. Ajayan has received several awards including the Senior Humboldt Prize, 2006 MRS medal, Scientific American 50 recognition in 2006, RPI senior research award (2003), the Burton award from the Microscopy Society of America (1997), and the Hadfield medal for the outstanding metallurgist in India (1985). He has been elected as a fellow of AAAS and to the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He is on the advisory editorial board of several materials science and nanotechnology journals and on the boards of several nanotech companies.