The Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will foster multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary fundamental research discoveries, innovation, and education in the rapidly developing and important field of nanotechnology. The Center's research projects will encompass the Preparation and the Photocatalytic Reactivities of Nanostructured TiO2/Al2O3 Composites; the Syntheses and Studies of the Properties of Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes, Nanoporous Multifunctionalized Organosilicates, and Biofunctional Nanoscale Materials. The Center will significantly enhance the research capacity in nanotechnology at CAU by providing support for students, technical and administrative support for faculty, and upgrades to equipment for carrying out the research and education enterprise. CAU will provide salary support for a new faculty position in the area of nanotechnology. The Center will increase the number of talented minority students staying the course in the science and technology pipeline by providing scholarships for promising high school students to enter the program as Nano-scholars and by providing competitive stipend and tuition support for graduate students. The Center will allow CAU to leverage its participation in other NSF STC programs and extend opportunities for research in nanotechnology to undergraduate and graduate students.

Project Report

(CFNM). The center’s dual goals are to continually increase the capacity of Clark Atlanta University to train talented minority scientists in the area of the physical sciences and of advancing human understanding of nanoscale materials science. The center is inter-institutional and includes as domestic partners: Cornell University, University of Illinois, Emory University, university of Texas Pan American and Georgia Perimeter College and internationally it has established collaborative research programs with scientists at iThemba LABS, the African Laser Center and the Technical University of Georgia. In addition, the Center has been designated as the North American Node for NANOAfnet (Nanosciences African Network). Since 2006, the faculty of the Center have mentored and graduated eight doctoral students and three masters’ students with research concentrations in nanomaterials. Center faculty are currently mentoring 20 graduate students (16 US citizens, one US permanent resident and three international students). A major evidence of the impact of the Center on the broader CAU community is that the number of graduate students in the Department of Chemistry at the University has risen to 36. Of this number, 32 are US citizens from groups underrepresented in science and technology. The Center’s research groups have published sixty (64) articles in refereed journals and has to date submitted another ten (10) manuscripts for publication. Furthermore, members of the CAU CREST CFNM group have had a very significant impact on the development of the research infrastructure at CAU. Center faculty took a leadership role in working with the with the Department of Chemistry of Morehouse College to secure support from NSF for a 500 megahertz (MHz) nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. In addition to acquiring instrumentation for and consolidating instrumentation at CAU, Center faculty signed a contract with the Nanotechnology Research Center (NSF-funded) at the Georgia Institute of Technology which enables Center researchers (faculty and students) to use its high-end instrumentation e.g. Scanning Electron Microscopy, XPS, Raman, AFM. To enrich their University experience, a number of distance learning experiences have been made available, through the Center, for its students. In the spring semester of 2010 and 2011, students participated in a video-conferenced course: "Introduction to Nanoscience and Technology" offered by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A total of fifteen (15) students participated in this corse. As part of this course students visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Another significant partnership is that with colleagues in South Africa’s iThemba LABS, one of two South African National Laboratories, in Somerset West, South Africa. So far, Five students, one graduate and four undergraduates, have taken part in the collaboration with iThemba LABS. The graduate student is currently completing her doctoral studies and is co-advised by a South African Professor and a CFNM Professor. Over the last five years, students and faculty of the Center have worked with sixteen area middle and high school teachers in the CFNM/PRISM Teacher Fellows Program, which was established in 2006 as a partnership between CFNM and the Center for Science Education at Emory University. Teachers and graduate students from the Center are paired, giving our students a unique opportunity to work with area middle and high school students. The teams develop and implement in their school’s classrooms problem-based learning cases on aspects of nanoscience. This experience has multiple benefits; our students gain experience in teaching at that level and they gain from what becomes a cross-team mentoring experience. Significant numbers of middle and high school students (more than 300 to this time) have been introduced to the science of materials and to the inquiry and investigative nature of the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) methodology. Connections to other academic communities is happening in many other ways as the Center provides positive experiences for students from other colleges and universities by hosting summer research and enrichment experiences. From 2007 to 2011, thirty-three undergraduates from campuses across the country had the opportunity to work in the Center’s laboratories. Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials CFNM has made significant progress and has achieved the goals set forth in the proposal funded by NSF in 2006.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Human Resource Development (HRD)
Cooperative Agreement (Coop)
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Program Officer
Victor A. Santiago
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Clark Atlanta University
United States
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