"Exploring Tools - Special Microscopes" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use a flexible magnet as a model for a scanning probe microscope. They learn that SPMs are an example of a special tool that scientists use to work on the nanoscale.
Nanolab is an immersive exhibit space, with activities and interactive components suitable for visitors of all ages. NanoLab explores how nanoscientists use special devices and laboratories to build and manipulate materials on the nanoscale. Visitors can dress up like a scientist, play with interactive exhibits, examine clothing and objects used in real labs, watch a video on nanoscale research, and explore the resource area for materials on nanotechnology and the basics of nanoscale science.
"Exploring Tools - Transmission Electron Microscopes" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use a model of a transmission electron microscope to image an object by looking at its shadow. They learn that scientists use special tools and equipment to work on the nanoscale.
The objective of this lab is to campare the diffraction behavior of light waves between a CD and DVD. CDs and DVDs contain regularly spaced micrometer sized features which can act like a diffraction grating. Using commercial electronic storage devices like CDs and DVDs as gratings rather than commercially produced plan transmission gratings enhances student interest in the activity and also opens up a discussion on the trend of improving storage capacity with the invention of Blu-ray and layered DVDs.
NanoFabulous, an exhibition developed by the University of Maryland, College Park Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is on display at Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, MD. The exhibit is designed to help children and their families understand how scientists and engineers discover and invent new materials from nanoscale building-blocks.
"Exploring Tools - Mystery Shapes" is a hands-on activity in which visitors use their sense of touch to investigate hidden objects. They learn that researchers use special tools, including scanning probe microscopes, to detect and make images of nanoscale objects.
This illustration shows how an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is used to image a line of graphene made by a pencil. The scale spans ten orders of magnitude, from the microscope and pencil to the atoms that compose the scanning probe and pencil line. As the viewer zooms into the line, graphite flakes, and eventually a single layer of graphene, become visible. On the AFM, a silicon cantilever with a sharp atomic tip and a laser with a photodiode measure the up and down motion as the probe maps out the graphene sample.
These 'Do It Yourself' Nano activities and experiments allow families to experience and learn about nanoscale science, engineering, and technology at home or on the go! They are are designed to be done in the comfort of your own home. Each activity includes lists of widely available, inexpensive materials, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. Go ahead, give 'em a try!
The NACK center at Penn State University has set up a remote access to the Instrumentation available in their labs for educators to use in class. This is available free of cost to educators. Traditionally, an engineer from Penn State University orchestrates the instrument's use, while offering additional assistance via audio and visual internet software. However if you are familiar with the equipment (AFM, SEM , UV-Vis) you can control it from your location using your computer, internet connection and Skype.