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Learning Materials Science Via the Web Using Nanospheres and Scanning Probe Microscopes

  • Eddie W. Ong (a1), Kenneth Mossman (a2), B.L. Ramakrishna (a3), Vincent B. Pizziconi (a4), William S. Glaunsinger (a2), Eric Patrick (a1), Prashanth Vishwanath (a1), Kranti Allagadda (a1), Terence Tan (a1) and Anshuman Razdan (a5)...


The Interactive Nano-Visualization for Science and Engineering Education (IN-VSEE) project at Arizona State University (ASU) has developed a remotely operable scanning probe microscope (SPM), a visualization gallery of images, and a number of educational modules with materials themes. It exploits the incredible potential of materials science for teaching at the high school and college level about fundamental concepts that cross traditionally separated disciplines. The packing of spheres is a topic that is ideal for linking together the different science and engineering disciplines because of the ubiquity and relevance of spheres in the materials world and the universality of the rules that govern their packing over a large range of sizes. Students can perform a number of discovery-based learning activities, over the web by simultaneously using IN-VSEE's web-accessible module (e.g., The Music of Spheres) and by accessing the remotely-operable SPM for experimenting with nanosphere samples that they prepare. With these resources students can pose materials questions and are empowered to design their experiments to increase their understanding of real materials. The fundamental concepts (e.g., packing geometry, density, surface composition, long-range/short-range ordering, intermolecular forces, etc.) they learn through these materials science experiments are applicable to many other curricular, research, and technology areas.



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