Atomic Masonry: Building the Nanoscopic World One Angstrom at a Time
Nicholas Strandwitz, Materials Science & Engineering

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Early fantasies about nanotechnology focused on molecular machines that could build materials and devices one atom at a time.  While these visions have not yet met reality, atomic level precision in material assembly has already quietly shaped the world around us.  In this presentation, I will discuss a technique used in science and industry to assemble matter one atomic layer at a time: atomic layer deposition (ALD).  ALD consists of two or more sequential, self-limiting vapor-solid reactions that occur on a surface resulting in growth of a film. Using this technique, single atomic layers are grown on a surface and can uniformly coat even non-planar and porous architectures. This technique and its variants are already used to create transistors, where device features are on the order of 2-6 nm.  I will discuss the basics, origins, and limitations of the ALD technique as well as recent developments and selected applications, both established and emerging. 


Dr. Strandwitz joined the Lehigh University faculty in January 2013. Dr. Strandwitz completed his BS in Engineering Science at The Pennsylvania State University in 2004 during which time he worked with Prof. Joseph Rose and Prof. Stephen Fonash.  He then earned his PhD from the Materials Department at University of California Santa Barbara with Professor Galen D. Stucky. Professor Strandwitz conducted postdoctoral work at California Institute of Technology working with Professor Nathan S. Lewis.  His research interests at Lehigh include new chemistries and techniques in atomic layer deposition and interfacial electronic properties between semiconductors and atomic layer deposited metal oxides.  His research is supported by the Nation Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Pennsylvania Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and several small and large companies. Dr. Strandwitz is the recipient of the Harold Chambers Junior Professorship (2016, 2017) and the NSF CAREER Award (2018). 

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