WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University is taking part in a nationwide event that celebrates nanoscale science and engineering. The university's NanoDays event will be held April 13-15 at the Birck Nanotechnology Center.

The event offers activities and learning opportunities for registered K-12 students, Girl Scouts, teachers and parents. The event is free, but registration is required for both participants and volunteers. You can register for the event by clicking here.

"This free event continues to be an annual highlight for our faculty, students and staff at the Birck Nanotechnology Center," said Dimitrios Peroulis, deputy director of the Birck Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering. "We truly enjoy introducing this important and growing field to young scholars, whether they leave the event and decide to enter the nanotechnology field one day or take away great memories and a new interest in STEM."

The university says nanotechnology deals with objects between one and 100 nanometers in size. One nanometer is on billionth of a meter.

Some of the activities and demonstrations include:

  • Mock cleanroom. Visitors dress up like nanoscientists and wear a cleanroom suit. They learn that to make tiny things, scientists need to work in a very clean place.
  • Exploring Products-Liquid Crystal Displays. Visitors investigate temperature-sensitive liquid crystal sheets and liquid crystal displays from a calculator. They learn that liquid crystals change color as a result of nanoscale shifts in the arrangement of their molecules.
  • Exploring Properties-Invisibility. This hands-on activity allows visitors to investigate how glass objects can be "hidden" in some liquids. They learn researchers can use nanotechnology to engineer new materials such as an invisibility cloak that interacts with light in special ways.
  • Exploring Properties-UV Bracelets. This is a hands-on activity in which visitors use ultraviolet light to change the color of beads that contain photochromic dye. They learn that the UV beads change color as a result of nanoscale shifts in the shape of the dye molecules.
  • Exploring Products-Nano Fabric. Visitors explore how the application of nano-sized whiskers can protect clothing from stains. It stays dry although it's raining or snowing. Visitors investigate the hydrophobic properties of pants made from nano fabric and ordinary fabric.
  • Exploring Fabrication. Electroplating is a hands-on activity in which visitors coat a nickel coin with copper using the electroplating process. They learn electroplating can deposit nanometer-thin layers of materials.
  • Exploring Tools-Transmission Electron Microscopes: This hands-on activity allows visitors to use a model of a transmission electron microscope to image an object by looking at its shadow. They learn scientists use special tools and equipment to work on the nanoscale.
  • Nano-Ice Cream. A public presentation demonstrating how liquid nitrogen cools a creamy mixture at such a rapid rate that it precipitates super fine grained (nano) ice cream.

You can learn more about the NanoDays event by viewing the video below: