Nearly 100 middle-school students from three Capital Region schools experienced the convergence of “Nanotechnology and Nature” during an educational outreach program presented by the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany on April 12 at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Discovery Center.
Led by CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoengineering Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik, students participated in activities that demonstrated nature-inspired nanotechnology innovations, including the “Lotus Effect” of creating a water repellant, hydrophobic surface; the “Moth-Eye Effect” of using nano-burls to capture light rather than reflect it; and the “Shark Skin Effect” of simulating the groove structure of shark scales as an anti-fouling surface.
Sixth-grade students from Ballston Spa Middle School and Van Antwerp Middle School in the Niskayuna Central School District, along with seventh-grade students from the Stephen & Harriet Myers Middle School in the City School District of Albany, took part in the program.
Scientists and researchers at CNSE are using nature as a model to enable nanotechnology innovations that will help address the most critical issues of the 21st century, including sustainable energy, a reduced carbon footprint, and cleaner air and water. This concept, known as biomimicry, promotes the study and imitation of nature’s extraordinarily efficient designs to fuel new and exciting applications.