SIUC professors work with molecular material

By Gus Bode

SIUC professors work with molecular material

Nanotechnology may bring business, jobs to Carbondale

Nano Babies, Tamagotchis and Giga Pets have nothing to do with nanotechnology, the process of designing materials at the atomic scale.


Max Yen, director of Materials Technology Center, said professors use nanotechnology to build memory devices and create small particles to make products more efficient.

“Nanotechnology is the way we build material by looking at the molecular features of materials,” he said.

New products that can be created from nanotechnology by professors at SIUC could help bring business to Carbondale. Yen said some companies could partner with SIUC or open a business and create new jobs in the area.

“If you look at nanotechnology, its potential applications are very big. You can use them to create drugs that include the functionality of drugs way beyond what you and I can think about.”

Chemotherapy is one area that nanotechnology can make a difference. John Koropchak, vice chancellor for Research and Graduate School dean, said the cancer drugs used in chemotherapy attack the entire body. New drugs created with nanotechnology could help the drugs to attack only cancerous cells.

“It is possible to vision new types of drugs that might specifically go to the cancer cells and release the poisons in effect right at the cancer cells so you get all the effect right where you want it and not in the rest of the body so you’re not as sick as you typically are when you’re treated with chemotherapy,” he said.

In his first address to the State of the State, Gov. Rod Blagojevich noted the importance of nanotechnology to Illinois. He has announced an “Illinois Opportunity Fund” to help encourage advancements in technology.


The fund, he said, “will help jumpstart industries and focus on new technologies that have the potential to not only put people back to work, but to create the sort of jobs that will attract young people to our state.”

Koropchak said SIUC’s involvement in nanotechnology demonstrates how current the University is in the field of technology.

“I think that we’re particularly good at taking ideas of nanotechnology and developing them into useful products and ideas that can develop into new companies,” he said. “This is an area that we hope that a lot of this work, not only results in high quality research that is beneficial to the reputation of the University, but we hope we can develop intellectual property, patents and so on, that might bring new resources to the University.”

Reporter Lindsey J. Mastis can be reached at [email protected]