NASA Tech Briefs' 2007 National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), November 14-15 at the Marriott Boston Copley Place, is the premier event focused on current and future developments in engineering innovations at the nanoscale, as well as the commercialization of nanotechnology. The event also includes the presentation of the third annual Nano 50® Awards.

This year, a number of Nano 50 recipients will highlight their award-winning technologies in selected panel sessions. Dr. Nicholas Leventis, a professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla, is a Nano 50 winner in the Innovator category, and his current work focuses on mechanically strong aerogels, which are monolithic, low-density 3D assemblies of nanoparticles. While they have unique properties suitable for a wide number of applications, they are also extremely fragile, limiting their application to a few specialized environments.

Dr. Leventis has addressed aerogel fragility by attaching a conformal polymer coating over the entire skeletal framework of the aerogel. The coating bridges the nanoparticles and renders the interparticle connections stronger. Find out more about this research in Dr. Leventis' session on "Nanomaterials for Aerospace & Defense Applications" on Wednesday, November 14, at 2:00 pm.

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