Education and Outreach

At ASU NanoFab, we have made significant strides in making nanotechnology understandable and relatable to young children and the greater public. We have taken the abstract nature of nanotechnology and used it as a tool to engage and excite individuals, young and old, who possess a desire to learn more. Through a variety of outreach programs we have targeted a wide range of audiences, including nearby K-12 schools, families, grade school teachers and the faculty at local community colleges. Each outreach effort is targeted to meet the audience’s specific needs, to better enable our goal of making nanotechnology less complicated and more welcoming to learners of all ages.


Research Experience for Teachers

The ASU NanoFab participates in the NNIN sponsored Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that is available to grade school teachers and community college faculty from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. The RET participants work with ASU faculty on research projects over the summer, and then take what they learn and adapt it for use in their own classroom setting. Later in the year, our RET faculty attend the NNIN Professional Development Workshop at a chosen NNIN site, where they have the opportunity to present the instructional materials developed from their experience at ASU NanoFab. Click here for details about the ASU NNIN RET program.

The NNIN RET program consists of:

  • A seven week non-residential summer internship on the ASU campus
  • A stipend of $5,300
  • Travel support to attend the annual RET Workshop
  • Classroom materials support up to $1,000
  • Professional Development Credits

To qualify for the program applicants must be:

  • US. Citizens or permanent residents.
  • Teacher Applicants:
    • Must teach in grades 6 – 12
    • Must teach science or technology
    • Must have a minimum of two years teaching experience
  • Community College Applicants:
    • Must be currently teaching at a two-year post-secondary institution
    • Must have taught for at least two years at a two-year institution
    • Must teach science or engineering

Interested in applying to the ASU NNIN RET Program? Then please download the ASU RET Application Form and e-mail a completed copy to Include “RET Application” in the subject heading of the e-mail.

Research Experience for Undergraduates

As the southwest node of the NNIN, ASU NanoFab actively participates in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) national program, providing motivated students with a summer of research experience. The REU program is a ten week residential experience for up to five undergraduates chosen from across the country through a national competition. The REU students live in the ASU Barrett Honors College dormitories and spend the summer working with ASU faculty members and their students on a variety of nanotechnology focused research projects. At the end of the summer the ASU REU students join the rest of the NNIN REU interns for a three day convocation where they describe the results of their research in a workshop style setting.

More details of the ASU REU program can be found here.

K-12 Outreach

Outreach photo 2NanoSilver Socks

To introduce elementary school students to some of the concepts of nanotechnology ASU NanoFab has developed a 4th grade lesson plan titled “NanoSilver Socks: No more stinky feet?” The lesson plan consists of two 50 minute classroom sessions in which the students begin to see the relevance of the world of nanotechnology, along with some of the commercial applications and potential risks involved. The materials covered in these lessons address Arizona 4th grade science standards (Strand 3: Concept 2: Science & Technology in Society: PO2 – “Describe benefits and risks related to the use of technology“).

To get an idea, view a video of one of our fun and successful lessons by clicking here.

Taking to the Streets

To reach the broadest possible public audience, the ASU node of the NNIN are working closely with the NSF supported Center for Nanotechnology in Society to implement an informal science communication (ISC) program called “Taking to the Streets”. The program was initially developed around the NISENet Nanodays Kits, which help to facilitate discussions about nanotechnology primarily with K-12 children and their teachers/chaperones.

After a short training in basic presentation skills, engaging the public in a museum setting and learning the objectives of Nanodays kits, students are scheduled to host tables at the AZ Science Center on a monthly basis (more frequently as time and resources permit) throughout the year, with a special emphasis during NanoDays each spring. When possible, visits also coincide with the height of school fields trips to the AZ Science Center – allowing students to teach other students around their age. This program is designed specifically for K-12 students, their parents and teachers/chaperones. As students progress, they are encouraged to develop their own table demonstrations to exhibit their own research in an effort to “take it to the people”.

The ISC program also hosts a tent at the 3-day Spring Tempe Art Festival, which also coincides with Nanodays, another opportunity to engage a wider cross section of the public in discussion around nanotechnology. At both the AZ Science Center and the Tempe Art Festival, children and their parents enthusiastically engage with us each time we visit, adding useful insights through their comments and questions that help us continue to improve our SEI and outreach activities.

Course EEE: 435

Content coming soon.

Society and Ethics

The National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Node at ASU (NNIN-ASU) works closely with ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) to develop social and ethical implications programs.

Nanotechnology is expected by many to create “the next industrial revolution.” Whether or not its social consequences are that profound, they will be wide-reaching. The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, signed into law in 2003, mandates “integrating research on societal, ethical and environmental concerns with nanotechnology research and development” to ensure that nanoscale science and engineering advances “bring about improvements in quality of life for all Americans.”

CNS-ASU responds to this directive by building a new capability, in the United States and globally, for understanding and governing the transforming power of nanotechnology – what is known as “anticipatory governance.”

NNIN-ASU and CNS are exchanging their collective expertise and knowledge to promote researchers using NNIN facilities to reflect on the ethical and social implications of their work.

To learn more, please contact our SEI coordinator, Trevor Thornton.

More details of the NNIN SEI program can be found at including an introductory video and slide show.