Welcome

The O'Brien Group is located in The City College of New York. Our research is especially focused on nanotechnology, especially, but not limited to nano dielectrics, nanotubes, and nano-based printable electronics. Please feel free to look around and learn a litle bit more about us and our work.

What is Nanotechnology?

Simply put, nanotechnology is the study and development of materials whose properties are determined by their microscopic structure, rather than their macroscopic structure. That is, when a structure is formed smaller than ~100 nm (just to give you an idea, a human hair is 17,000 nm - 180,000 nm thick), its properties are determined by its quantum properties, rather than its bulk properties. What does this mean? Well, it allows us to exploit unique and exciting new compounds and materials with properties that allow us to do all kinds of neat things with higher efficiencies than ever before. For example, at bulk sizes (larger than 100 nm) Cadmium Sulfide is a bright yellow solid used as a pigment for the paint Cadmium yellow.

When we form nano-sized Cadmium Sulfide, it is a colorless solid. When we shine a blacklight on it, however, it looks more like this:

What is a dielectric?

Many materials in the world act an electrical insulators. These insulators (made of what is called a dielectric material) prevent electricity from flowing through them. This allows us to build a capacitor, which is esentially an insulator sandwich. The insulator allows us to store an electrical charge on the plates on either side of the insulator (the bread of the sandwich). The more insulating a material is, the greater the charge we can store on the capacitor.

City College of New York

The City College of New York (CCNY, ) is also affectionately known as The Harvard of Harlem. In the words of its founder Townsend Harris more than a century and a half ago "Open the doors to all. Let the children of the rich and the poor take their seats together and know of no distinction save that of industry, good conduct, and intellect." City College today attempts to continue this noble vision of world-class education to a diverse student body, at a cost affordable to most students. Located at 138th street and Convent Avenue in New York City. You can find out more about the college at www.ccny.cuny.edu