UNC2007 Speakers

Last year's conference was a great success, and included many illustrious speakers, as shown below.

Dr. Don Eigler

"COMPUTATION WITH SPINS: A Long Road to an Uncertain Future"

Nanometer-scale structures have unique physical and chemical characteristics that differentiate them from their constituent atoms and larger structures that exhibit bulk properties. This is what makes them interesting, challenging, and just plain fun to mess with. They perpetually provide us with surprises, opportunities and new insights. One of the opportunities that may lie ahead is to perform classical binary computation using just the spins of electrons without the flow of electric current. This is appealing because of the prospects of low power consumption, incredibly dense 3D circuitry and because we haven't much of a clue about how we would do it (never mind how we would manufacture it)! We thrive on challenges. Undaunted, we have set off on the road to demonstrating "Spin-Cascade" logic circuits. I will describe how a spin cascade might operate and show how we are learning to measure and control the spin configuration of custom built nanometer-scale structures.

Biographical Information

Dr. Don Eigler is a physicist who specializes in studying the physics of surfaces and nanometer-scale structures. In late 1989, using the liquid-helium-temperature scanning tunneling microscope that he had built, Dr. Eigler demonstrated for the first time the ability to build structures at the atomic level by spelling out "I-B-M" with individual xenon atoms.

Since then, Dr. Eigler has led an active group of scientists in a series of experiments aimed at extending basic knowledge about the physics of atomic-scale structures and exploring the potential for atomic-scale logic and data-storage technologies. The group's results include discovering that magnetic impurity atoms alter the electronic structure of superconductors over a surprisingly short range, measuring for the first time how electrical conductance through single- and double-atom wires varies with element, inventing a new kind of electron trap called a "quantum corral," demonstrating the ability to image electron density waves on metal surfaces, and inventing an atomic-scale switch.

Dr. Eigler was educated at the University of California at San Diego, where he received a bachelor's degree in physics (1975) and a doctorate in physics (1984). He was a Postdoctoral Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories for two years before joining IBM as a Research Staff Member in 1986. In 1993, Dr. Eigler was named an IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the corporation.

Dr. Eigler is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1990, he received the Grand Award for Science and Technology in Popular Science magazine's Best of What's New competition. His group received the '93-'94 Newcomb Cleveland Prize given by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for the best paper published in Science magazine that academic year. He was the Alexander Cruickshank Lecturer in Physical Science at the 1994 Gordon Research Conferences. In 1995, the Goettingen Academy of Sciences in Germany awarded Dr. Eigler the Dannie Heineman Prize. In 1998, Dr. Eigler was named the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year by the University of California at San Diego Alumni Association. In 1999, he became the first winner of the Nanoscience Prize, which he received at the Fifth International Conference on Atomically Controlled Surfaces, Interfaces, and Nanostructures.

Prof. Geoffrey A. Ozin


Not all colors in Nature originate from pigments. Color can also emerge if a biological or geological material is fashioned into a one, two or three-dimensional nanoscale optical diffraction grating. In Nanochemistry, this capability of "structural color" is now within our grasp, and it is easy to imagine how color from structure can be intelligently designed, synthesized and integrated into for example jewelry and artwork, vehicles and buildings. Beyond static structural color is a dynamic form that could enable for instance a full color display with the unique feature that one material can provide an infinite range of colors. Opportunities for “intelligent color” in Nanotechnology are truly boundless.

Biographical Information

To appreciate the importance and impact of Professor Ozin's research in Nanochemistry and Materials Chemistry, rapidly growing fields to which he has made pioneering contributions, it is important to recognize the evolution of Materials Science with respect to the creation of new technologies. In the latter half of the 20th century, Materials Science enabled innovation from electronics to energy to space research. Here the synthesis of solid-state materials led both to a new brand of physics and a myriad of electronic devices. The 21st century demand for new materials is different, especially in fields like Nanotechnology, Information Technology and Biotechnology, where it is clear that traditional solid-state synthesis approaches to preparing materials will have to be supplanted by molecular methodologies, particularly the self-assembly of materials with structures that can approach the complexity of those observed in nature.

Professor Ozin's work is noteworthy in this context because it enabled a fusion of "top-down" solid-state physics ways of making structures and "bottom-up" molecular-chemistry methods of making materials. His approach to making materials involves a creative integration of strategies in materials chemistry and self-assembly with methodologies in chemical templating and patterning, to synthesize novel structures with properties and functions suited to a range of nascent technologies.

This work has changed the prevailing view in Nanochemistry and Materials Chemistry, the most highly competitive fields of contemporary materials research. A hallmark of his most recent work is Materials Self-Assembly Over "All" Scales. Here he has shown how to organize nanometer to micron scale building blocks into unprecedented structures with remarkable form, and how they can serve as functional materials with a myriad of uses.

Noteworthy recent contributions to Materials Science include the chemically powered nanomachine; 3-D silicon inverse opal; planarized microphotonic crystal chip; designer defects in colloidal photonic crystals; morphosynthesis; new nanocomposites; microporous, mesoporous and macroporous forms of metal-oxides, metal-phosphates, metal-sulfides, semiconductors, metals; and spin-on silicon nanocluster-mesoporous silica film.

Professor Ozin's research involves a "global" way of thinking about materials. It introduces notions of complexity and hierarchy into materials chemistry, deemed appropriate only for biomineralized materials made by living organisms. He has shown that building block self-assembly directed by aggregations of molecules, block copolymers and colloidal crystals can be used to create new materials whose structure from the nanoscale to the overall macroscopic form, determine materials properties, function and utility. These materials have proven interesting in areas as diverse as catalysis and electrocatalysis, membrane science and chemical sensing, controlled drug delivery and bone implants, electronics and optics, photonics and information storage.

Prof. John Polanyi

"XEROXING A SNOW-FLAKE: A Chemist’s View of Nano-Fabrication"

The 'snow-flake' in the title of this talk refers to a self-assembled nano-structure. 'Self-assembly', in which sticky molecules are shaken together to form nano-scale patterns, is widely recognized to be a vital step in nano-fabrication. The snag is that actually using such a fragile self-assembled nano-structure by, for example, passing a current through it, is likely to destroy it. Chemists have a likely solution: why not chemically bind the nano-structure to the underlying surface? By flashing a laser at the nano-pattern one can induce it to react with the surface and therefore become permanent. But can one do this without in the process seriously disturbing the pattern? This is the problem of 'xeroxing' a nano-scale snow-flake. Success hinges on discovering chemical reactions that are so highly 'localized', on the atomic scale, that the snow-flake is still present in its 'xeroxed' image. As is so often the case success with technology hinges on fundamental science: the fundamental question to be addressed is the degree of localization of chemical reactions at surfaces. That is the topic of this talk.

Biographical Information

Professor John Charles Polanyi, educated at Manchester University, England, was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, U.S.A. and the National Research Council, Canada. He is presently a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto.

His research is on the molecular motions in chemical reactions in gases and at surfaces. He is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of Canada (F.R.S.C.), of London (F.R.S.), and of Edinburgh (F.R.S.E.), also of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Rome and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (P.C.), and a Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.). He has served on the Prime Minister of Canada's Advisory Board on Science and Technology, the Premier's Council of Ontario, as Foreign Honorary Advisor to the Institute for Molecular Sciences, Japan, and as Honorary Advisor to the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Germany.

He was a founding member of both the Committee on Scholarly Freedom of the Royal Society, and a further international human rights organization, the Canadian Committee for Scientists and Scholars, of which he is the current President. Additionally he was the founding Chairman of the Canadian Pugwash Group in 1960, and has been active for 40 years in International Pugwash. He has written extensively on science policy, the control of armaments, and peacekeeping. He is co-editor of a book, The Dangers of Nuclear War, and was a participant in the recent 'Canada 21' study of a 21st-century defence posture for Canada. He was co-chair (with Sir Brian Urquhart) of the Department of Foreign Affairs International Consultative Committee on a Rapid Response Capability for the United Nations.

His awards include the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society of London, and over thirty honorary degrees from six countries.

Dr. Danial D. M. Wayner

"DESIGNING FUNCTION AT THE NANOSCALE: Towards Materials and Devices for Diagnostics"

One of the problems in the area of biomedical applications is the incompatibility of many of the hard materials with a biological (aqueous) environment where we actually want to make measurements. For example, if one puts a standard silicon device into water it will oxidize, and the electronic properties that make silicon a perfect material for that particular device are lost. Similar problems are found in the use of nanoscale materials (nanocrystalline metals and semiconductors) for biomedical applications.

I will talk about approaches to building nanoscale molecular layers on the surfaces of silicon and nanoscale materials. The layers are designed to protect the inner core from reactions with solvents in order to preserve their physical and electronic properties while at the same time building biological functionality on the outer core. In particular, I will cover a range of materials and devices used for pathogen detection, including bio-field effect transistors based on silicon, and superparamagnetic nanoparticles used to capture and manipulate bacteria in magnetic fields.

Biographical Information

Dr. Dan Wayner received his B.Sc. from McMaster University in 1980 and his Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in 1984. Following a two-year postdoctoral position with K.U. Ingold at National Research Council Canada (NRC) in the area of organic free radical chemistry, Dr. Wayner joined the NRC Division of Chemistry in 1986. He served as leader of the Molecular Interfaces Program in the NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (NRC-SIMS). This is a highly multidisciplinary team whose research focuses on organic chemical reactions on silicon surfaces including the self-assembly of organic nanostructures and the integration of bio-active interfaces into silicon devices. The program is recognized for its world leading work in nanoscience, especially scanning tunneling microscopy.

Dr. Wayner's electrochemical work and studies on laser-induced photoacoustic calorimetry have dramatically increased the world's store of reliable bond dissociation energies and provided the first comprehensive compilation of standard potentials of radicals. He has made important advances in human understanding of the fundamentals of electron transfer and the design of chemical probes for both radical ion and alkoxyl radical intermediates. These probes are now widely used by physical organic and inorganic chemists in every corner of the earth as the essential test for these intermediates.

Dr. Wayner has even applied his physical organic knowledge and expertise to the organic modification of semiconductor surfaces, a research area that promises to underpin future molecular electronic, sensor and biochip technologies.

In 1999, the Royal Society of Canada recognized Dr. Wayner's contributions by awarding him the Rutherford Medal - Chemistry. In 2002, months after being appointed acting Director-General of NRC's National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) at the age of 44, Dr. Wayner receive Canada's most prestigious academic accolade-induction into the Royal Society of Canada as a Fellow.

Dr. Wayner is also a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada and the only Canadian member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the premier venue for publication of research in chemistry worldwide.

Prof. Younan Xia


Control of nanostructure shape may initially seem like a scientific curiosity, but its goal goes far beyond aesthetic appeal. For metal nanostructures, shape not only determines their intrinsic chemical, plasmonic, and catalytic properties but also their relevance for electronic, optical, and sensing applications. Part of my research in the last five years has focused on shape-controlled synthesis of silver and gold nanostructures. While the synthetic methodology mainly involves solution-phase redox chemistry, we have been working diligently to understand the complex physics behind the simple chemistry – that is, the nucleation and growth mechanisms leading to the formation of nanostructures with a specific shape. Polyol synthesis of silver nanostructures provides a good example to illustrate this concept. We discovered that the shape of silver nanostructures were dictated by both the crystallinity and shape of nanocrystallite seeds, which were, in turn, controlled by factors such as reduction rate, oxidative etching, and surface capping. We also exploited the galvanic replacement reaction between silver and chloroauric acid to transform silver nanocubes into gold nanocages with controlled void size, wall thickness, and wall porosity. We were able to engineer the optical properties of resulting gold nanocages with optical resonance peaks ranging from the blue (400 nm) to the near infrared (1200 nm) simply by controlling the molar ratio of silver to chloroauric acid. Thanks to their exceptionally large scattering and absorption coefficients in the transparent window for soft tissues, this novel class of gold nanostructures has great potential emerging as both a contrast agent for optical imaging in early-stage tumor detection, and a therapeutic agent for photothermal cancer treatment.

Biographical Information

Dr. Younan Xia is a Professor of Chemistry and the Adjunct Faculty of Materials Science & Engineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.

There he leads a group that aims to explore the the myriad of opportunities that result from nanostructured materials. Dr. Xia and his group are working towards developing the new chemistry, physics and technological applications related to nanomaterials. Their work focuses on three main frontiers: synthesis and fabrication of nanomaterials, synthesis of photonic bandgap crystals using self-assembly, and applications of nanostructured materials in biotechnology.

Dr. Xia received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Harvard University (with Professor George M. Whitesides) in 1996, M.S. degree in inorganic chemistry from University of Pennsylvania (with Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid) in 1993, and B.S. degree in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 1987. He came to the United States in 1991.

Dr. Xia has received a number of prestigious awards that include 2006 NIH Director's Pioneer Award (NDPA), Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (2005), Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar (2002), David & Lucile Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering (2000), Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000), NSF Early Career Development Award (2000), ACS Victor K. LaMer Award (1999), and Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award (1997).

Dr. Xia serves as an Associate Editor of Nano Letters and sits on the Advisory Board of Advanced Functional Materials (2001-), Chemistry of Materials (2005-), Langmuir (2005-), International Journal of Nanoscience (2004-), and International Journal of Nanotechnology (2004-). He has also served as a Guest Editor of Advanced Materials four times and MRS Bulletin in 2005. He is a member of ACS, MRS, APS, and AAAS.

Workshop Speakers

Dr. Darren J. Anderson

"WHY NANO? Hope, Hype, or Hysteria?"

Northern Nanotechnologies (NNT) is an early stage nanomaterials start-up company that has been spun out of the University of Toronto. I will tell the NNT story from my perspective – as a graduate student who took the company out of the lab after finishing my PhD. In particular, I’ll try to focus on my experiences and on the important skills that potential entrepreneurs need to develop. I will also spend some time talking about the ‘business of nanotech’, including some comments on near-term commercial opportunities. The workshop will be highly interactive and audience participation will be strongly encouraged.

Biographical Information

Dr. Darren J. Anderson is Chief Technology Officer & Founder of Northern Nanotechnologies (NNT). He is responsible for the overall scientific direction of the company and has directed the commercial development of NNT since pre-incorporation. Dr. Anderson has a Ph. D. in physical chemistry from the University of Toronto, specifically in the interaction of complex biological molecules with one another. Dr. Anderson won a prestigious NSERC Doctoral Fellowship and has received 4 competitive awards to make presentations at international conferences. Dr. Anderson has published 5 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, currently has three papers in preparation, and has presented at over 20 prestigious scientific conferences.

Dr. André C. Arsenault


Opalux Inc. is a new company recently spun-off from the University of Toronto. Its aim is to develop and commercialize a number of platform technologies emerging from the University’s Chemistry Department, based on the self-assembly of uniform micro-spheres into 3D ordered nano-composites. The resulting materials and their derivatives support a myriad of unique properties and highly promising marketing opportunities.

Opalux’s P-Ink technology can dynamically, economically and effectively reflect full spectrum radiation frequencies from IR through the visible ranges to UV. This gives it the ability to manage IR heat penetration as well as control color changes of materials on demand. Its Elastink technology can provide effective defense against counterfeiters on everything from ID and credit cards, documents such as financial instruments, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and other vulnerable and high value merchandise.

During this talk, an overview of Opalux’s core technologies will be presented, highlighting the fundamentals of their operation, their implementation into device structures, and the different markets which may benefit from their commercialization.

Biographical Information

Dr. André C. Arsenault is currently the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Opalux Inc., a company spun-off from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Arsenault completed in 2006 his Ph.D. in polymer and materials chemistry under the auspices of Prof. G.A. Ozin and Prof. I. Manners, with his research centered on chemically tunable photonic crystals. He obtained his B.Sc. in biological chemistry from the University of Toronto in 2001. Dr. Arsenault has garnered a number of awards, including the Canada Graduate Scholarship (NSERC’s top doctoral prize), and the NSERC postdoctoral fellowship. He is the author of 18 published papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and co-author of a textbook entitled “Nanochemistry: A chemical approach to nanomaterials”.

Christopher Moraes

"BIOMEMS: manipulating the microverse for biomedical applications"

MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) combine elements of mechanical, electrical, chemical, manufacturing, and materials engineering - through some ingenious lateral thinking - to solve real-world problems. BioMEMS takes the technology a step further, and incorporates living elements into traditional MEMS design, creating powerful research tools to tackle substantial problems in experimental biology. In this workshop, we’ll take a brief tour of the microverse, and look at some unusual and creative bioMEMS research platforms. We’ll also discuss key design issues that affect microdevices in a biomedical research lab, and take an in-depth look at how microsystems can be used to accelerate research in tissue engineering, by combinatorial, high-throughput manipulation of the stem cell environment.

Biographical Information

Christopher Moraes is a Ph.D. graduate student at the University of Toronto, and is co-supervised by Prof. Yu Sun (Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory) and Prof. Craig Simmons (Cellular Mechanobiology Laboratory).

Prof. Jun Nogami


I will give an introduction to characterization techniques that are commonly applied to study nanoscale or nanostructured materials. These will include both spectroscopic and microscopic techniques that probe composition (XPS, EDS, SAM), electronic structure (ARPES), crystal structure (XRD, TED), and atomic structure (TEM). The particular capabilities of each technique will be outlined, as well as examples of how data from different techniques can serve to complement each other. Scanned probe microscopy (SPM) will be discussed in terms of its limitations, and how some of these limitations can be overcome in combination with these other characterization techniques.

Biographical Information

Jun Nogami is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is a graduate of the Engineering Science programme at U of T (8T0, Physics Option). He received a PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1986. Following his degree, he joined the group of Professor Cal Quate (co inventor of the AFM) as a postdoc and research associate. During that time, he was fortunate to be present at the early stages of SPM development and the application of SPM to surface structure determination, before both areas were absorbed into the general category of “nanotechnology”. His current research focuses on synthesis and characterization of nanostructured silicon based electronic materials.

Prof. Yu Sun


Autonomous micro-nanorobotic manipulation of micro-nanometer-sized objects is essential in both biological/engineering research and for the eventual commercial success of many micro-nanoscaled technologies. MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) technology has also demonstrated its importance in facilitating biological studies and enabling intelligent micro and nanorobotic manipulation by providing quantitative information at cellular, sub-cellular as well as organism levels and exploring space at the scale of individual atoms. This talk will present our research in MEMS and micronanorobotics for manipulating and characterizing biological cells, and for manipulating nanoscaled materials to construct new types of nano devices.

Biographical Information

Yu Sun is Assistant Professor of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with joint appointments in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the faculty of Toronto, Dr. Sun held a Research Scientist position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zürich) in 2003-2004. At the University of Toronto, he established the Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory. He has published 70 technical articles and holds 5 patens on micro-nanosystems and devices. He is a recipient of University of Minnesota Dissertation Fellowship and Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award.