Nanoscience and nanotechnology promises to revolutionize our lives in multiple ways. This field has captured the imagination of scientists world-wide. Nanoscale refers to dimensions of ~ 1- 100 nm. At these length scales materials have new and sometimes unpredictable properties. These properties can be exploited in a wide range of applications such as solar energy conversion, ultra-sensitive sensors, and the creation of new vaccines. All of these activities require the multiple knowledge bases and expertise of almost all science and engineering disciplines.
Nanoscience and nanotechnology are based on the ability to synthesize, organize, characterize, and manipulate matter systematically at the nanoscale, creating uniquely functional materials which can be inorganic, organic, biological, or a hybrid of these. Consequently, nanoscience and nanotechnology pose formidable challenges that cut across traditionally distinct disciplines. The Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) brings together faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Medical Center to discover and utilize nanomaterials and nanoscale phenomena.
VINSE provides the underpinnings of the interdisciplinary structure for this field. This occurs through collaborations, central experimental facilities and through various communication activities such as monthly colloquia and a yearly Nanoday. Educational out-reach is associated with the NSF funded Vanderbilt-Fisk IGERT program in the Nanosciences and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Materials Science, the Vanderbilt Summer Academy, and through individual activities associated with VINSE connected faculty.