Systems Nanotechnology: Engineering Nanomaterials for Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Biological Applications

Event Date: October 29, 2013
Speaker: Prof. Richard Braatz
Speaker Affiliation: Department of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
Time: 9:00 - 10:15 pm
Location: FRNY G140

Abstract: Nanometer length scale analogues of most traditional control elements, such as sensors, actuators, and feedback controllers, have been enabled by recent advancements in device manufacturing and fundamental materials research. However, combining these new control elements in classical systems frameworks remains elusive. Methods to address the new generation of systems issues particular to nanoscale systems is termed here as systems nanotechnology. This presentation discusses some promising design and control strategies that have been developed to address the challenges that arise in systems nanotechnology.

A selection of novel nanoscale devices are reviewed, selected by their potential for broad application in nanoscale systems. Many of these devices utilize single-walled carbon nanotubes, which demonstrate the diversity of potential applications for a single type of nanoscale material. All of the elements necessary for the design and control of nanoscale systems are available, including chemical/biosensors to rapidly assess the physicochemical characteristics and use for estimation of the states of a system, actuators to affect the system states, and feedback controllers to utilize the state estimates to determine the signals to send to the actuators to satisfy control objectives. Specific examples are provided where the estimation, design, and control of complex nanoscale systems have been demonstrated in experimental implementations or in high-fidelity simulations. The presentation ends with a discussion of some open research questions in systems nanotechnology.