Event Showcases Micro & Nanotechnology at Illinois

MNTL Greets Visitors During 2018 Engineering Open House

In the early 1900s, individual departments in the College of Engineering would periodically showcase their research and the learning and work of their students. In 1920, a college-wide event debuted, and although it was interrupted for a few years during World War II, by 1952 it had become an annual celebration of all that is engineering at Illinois. Initially conceived as an attraction for high school students, it has evolved into an event enjoyed by all ages. Now an annual event organized entirely by students, Engineering Open House draws estimated crowds of 20,000 people.

The Micro & Nanotechnology Laboratory at Illinois is one of the nation’s largest and most sophisticated university facilities for conducting photonics, microelectronics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology research. We are the place where campus researchers and students, along with visiting scientists, come to design, build, and test innovative nanoscale technologies with feature sizes that span the range from atoms to entire systems. The MNTL building houses faculty and graduate students from the departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Bioengineering, Physics, Mechanical Science & Engineering, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering.

MNTL participates in Engineering Open House as part of its community engagement activities, to help demystify the world and work of micro and nanotechnology. Held each spring on the Urbana-Champaign campus, this year’s EOH occurred on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10, 2018. The 2018 event theme was “Drafting the Future”.

Since MTNL is an active research facility, we have to pay special attention to the safety and security of visitors in the building, and as EOH is no exception, portions of the building are off-limits to the public. However, there is still a lot to see, and our cleanroom team conducted tours in the building, while visitors also had the option to participate in a fun quiz that highlighted the impact of nanotechnology in everyday life. Featured videos covered the historic innovators and scientific giants of micro and nantotechnology. Giveways this year included keyrings, flash drives, and first aid kits.

Greg Pluta, MNTL’s Managing Director, coordinated our participation in this year’s event, and said that upwards of 500 people visited the building this year.