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Using Modeling to Demonstrate Self-Assembly in Nanotechnology

General Science
Education Level
High School

There are two activities in this lesson, the Fly Prison and the Water Maze. The Fly Prison is a hands-on modeling activity designed to introduce students to the area of nanotechnology and give them a basic understanding of how researchers build very small devices by the self-assembly of molecules. The Water Maze is a follow up activity to give the students a chance to practice and demonstrate what they have learned.

Real World Uses: One researcher designed this fly prison to line up the flies in a perfect order, so that tiny spots of metal can be adhered to the wings of the adult fly. The developing flies were provided with enough food to develop into  adulthood right on the drop of oil they were stuck to. As for water mazes, it has become a new field to develop on the spot lab testers that are the size of a credit card. A person can be in a remote place in the world and do quick tests by dropping blood or urine on one place on the card and the liquid is drawn through a series of channels providing indicators for certain things the researchers are looking for.

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