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NanoHigh Program

Believed to be the first program of its kind at a public school anywhere in the country, NanoHigh connects students with the science described by the National Nanotechnology Initiative as “leading to the next Industrial Revolution.” Since its inception in the fall of 2007, more than 100 AHS students have received certificates for successful completion of the program, which was designed by CNSE and the City School District of Albany (CSDA) to enhance students’ opportunities to take advantage of a growing number of nanotechnology-related careers in the Capital Region and across New York State.


Video: Twenty Albany High School
students visit CNSE to
learn about wafer patterning
as part of "NanoHigh"

Through classroom work at AHS and hands-on laboratory activities at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex, students explore the promise and potential of nanotechnology to enable advanced technologies that will positively impact fields ranging from electronics to energy and the environment, health care to military and information technology, among many others.

Throughout the year, AHS students engage in a variety of hands-on activities that utilize CNSE’s state-of-the-art laboratories and world-class cleanrooms, exploring integrated circuit technologies through nanoscale patterning and fabrication; nanobiomedical applications, including innovations in nanomedicine and forensic DNA fingerprinting; clean energy technologies, such as solar cells and ultracapacitors for energy storage; and nanoeconomics.


Each lab activity at CNSE highlights specific links to fundamental chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics presented during the class sessions at AHS. Leveraging CNSE's wide network of partner companies, students are also exposed to the exciting and varied career paths in Nanoscale Science, Nanoscale Engineering, and Nanotechnology. CNSE lab activities involve some of the following topics:

  • Demonstration of Scale: Students learn the concepts of scale and how a reduction in scale from the bulk to nanoscale entails not only a reduction in size but requires new measurement techniques. Students learn that nanomaterials obtain emergent properties unique to their reduction in size.
  • Patterning Surfaces at the Nano and Micro-Scale: Students are introduced to nano and microscale surface patterning and fabrication. One of the ways to create nano and microscale patterns is to "write" on a surface using extremely small "pen." In this activity, the BioForce Nano eNabler (NeN) instrument is used to "write" fluorescently-labeled polypeptide onto glass slides.
  • Self-Assembly and Microencapsulation: This activity introduces students to fundamental self-assembly principles and micro/nanoparticle formation techniques through the fabrication of polymeric nanoporous membrane-based microcapsules
  • Fuel Cell Exploration: During the activity, students are introduced to the concept of fuel cells, their main components, applications, and operation principle. They become familiar with how fuel cells are built and how a fuel cell car operates. Then they have the opportunity to build their own fuel cell assembly using real lab hardware as well as run a fuel cell car that is powered with a real hydrogen fuel cell.
  • NanoEconomics, From Concept to Consumer: Students learn how innovative nanotechnologies are taken into the marketplace. Student groups design a business plan around an innovative nanotechnology-enabled idea and present it to their peers.