Addressing pressing issues of human society, research at the Nanotech Center is driven by outcome-based relevance in the medical fields, in alternative energy technologies, and in technologies that aid in the development of peaceful nations.
An interdisciplinary group of scientists using the tools of nanotechnology to study biology at the smallest scale. The group's goals are to learn more about the basic functions and interactions of biological molecules and to use what they find to achieve new capabilities with biomedical implications. In pursuing this goal, they bring together aspects of physics, engineering, molecular biology, and many other disciplines.
In 2005, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognized Washington University School of Medicine's contribution to nanomedicine with a five-year, $16 million grant to establish the Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (SCCNE). It is one of eight such centers funded by the NCI in the United States.
The lab's research interests are focused at the intersection organic and plasmonic nanomaterials. They aim at rational integration of organic (polymeric, biological) materials and plasmonic nanostructures to realize multifunctional materials. Organic materials with responsive and self-assembling properties combined with functional plasmonic nanostructures that exhibit unique optical properties forms a powerful materials platform for a wide variety of applications including plasmonic photovoltaics, chemical and biological sensors, adaptive materials, non- or minimally-invasive bioimging and therapy.
Ivan Avrutsky's group designs, fabricates, tests, and simulates optoelectronic devices employing waveguide gratings and nanostructured materials. They study physics of light interaction with such objects. Practical applications are mostly in the areas of optical communication and optical sensors.
The acquisition of the Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope (LC-SEM) has positioned WKU as the only university in North America with an instrument of this type. As envisioned, the NOVA Center will be a national focal point for nondestructive measurements and is crosscutting in the five priority research areas of the Commonwealth's New Economy Strategy. In particular, Materials and Advanced Manufacturing will be significantly impacted as a result of the Centers founding.