Nanoscience Capabilities at the APS
Advisory Committee


Workshop Chairs:

Eric Isaacs (ANL/UofC)
Sunil Sinha (UCSD/LANL)

Workshop on Mesoscopic and Nanoscopic Science

August 29 September 1, 2004, The Abbey, Fontana, Lake Geneva Area, Wisconsin


Over the past decade, materials with nanoscopic to mesoscopic dimensions have been the subject of enormous interest. These materials, notable for their extremely small feature have the potential for wide-ranging industrial, biomedical, and electronic applications. Such materials can be metals, ceramics, polymeric materials, biomaterials or composite materials, and they are being assembled layer-by- layer or even atom-by-atom to generate new atomic arrangements with completely new properties. The interplay of confinement, proximity and organization is the key in realizing materials with novel and unpredicted behavior. Understanding, controlling and tailoring material properties with a view to control of materials phenomena on the nanometer to micrometer length and from femtosecond to second time scale is the key target for materials research.

Among many newly realized properties, nanostructured materials exhibit stronger, more wear and corrosion resistant materials. Materials made up of nanocages, nanotubes and fibers have broad applications in drug encapsulation and delivery, display, and telecommunication. Research is geared to modify the surface chemistry of nanoparticles together with studies affecting the phenomena determining reactivity in catalysts. Preparation and structure formation of new biomaterials (including biocompatible materials, biotemplating and self organization) will lead to new techniques, materials and devices. As one approaches mesoscopic dimensions, the microstructural design is the key to the materials properties and granular behavior.

There are plenty of opportunities for investigating the static and dynamic behavior of this new class of materials using x-rays. On one hand one can monitor the atomic organization as a function of confinement, and on the other hand the dynamic response of systems over very short time-scales such as ultra-fast structural relaxation or dynamic and dissipative phenomena at surfaces and interfaces under extreme conditions can be recorded.

Progress in the field of nanoscale materials is intimately related to the achievements in the development of dedicated analytical techniques that enable us to examine the atomic and electronic structure of materials at the nanoscale and unravel and quantitatively analyze condensed matter phenomena and processes. As the new hard x-ray tools deliver spatial resolution in the nanoscale range, provide greatest chemical sensitivities and ultimate detection limits, along with capabilities for in situ and non-destructive analysis, it is expected that the traditional boundaries between x-ray scattering, imaging, microscopy, interferometry and spectroscopy will disappear. This new paradigm will provide unprecedented opportunities for progress in nanoscience.

While the area addressed by the workshop topic is vast, the focus of this workshop is to identify the frontier problems in understanding interfacial structures, nano-systems, confinement, and self-assembly of hard materials, soft materials, and biomaterials, and to assess the applicability of hard x-ray tools available at the third generation synchrotron radiation sources in addressing these problems.

The workshop will include plenary and breakout sessions. The plenary sessions will comprise of science overviews of the topics of the breakout sessions. The topics for the workshop are:

  1. Carbon nanotubes and related structures
  2. Molecular electronics
  3. Quantum phase transitions
  4. Micro- and nano-fluidics, nano-jets
  5. Granular materials
  6. Polymer nanoarrays, polymer/metal and metal/semiconductor nanocomposites
  7. Biomolecules and optical tweezers
  8. Self assembly, organization and reorganization

The breakout sessions will include discussions of planned scientific experiments (contributed abstracts) at the APS and the requirements of x-ray techniques to perform such experiments. The closing plenary session will summarize the outcome of the workshop, and especially from the breakout sessions.