Education and outreach

We strive to make nanotechnology understandable and relatable. We use the abstract nature of nanotechnology as a tool to engage and educate the public. Our varied outreach programs cater to a range of audiences, including families, K-12 teachers and faculty at local community colleges. Each outreach effort is specifically tailored to make nanotechnology less complicated and more accessible to learners of all ages.

Research Experience for Teachers

ASU proudly serves as the Southwest hub of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). As such, the NCI-Southwest funds the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program and is available to grade school teachers and community college faculty from the Phoenix metropolitan area. RET participants work with ASU faculty on summer research projects and then adapt what they learned for use in their classrooms. Learn more.

The NCI-Southwest RET program consists of:

  • A five-week non-residential summer internship at ASU NanoFab.
  • A stipend of $5,300 (paid in 3 installments).


  • Must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Teacher applicants:

  • Must teach in grades 6–12.
  • Must teach science or technology.
  • Must have a minimum of two years of teaching experience.

Community college applicants:

  • Must be currently teaching at a two-year post-secondary institution.
  • Must have taught for at least two years at a two-year institution.
  • Must teach science or engineering.


Interested in applying to the ASU NCI-Southwest RET Program? Information on applying for the ASU RET can be found here. E-mail a completed applications to Please include “RET Application” in the subject heading of the e-mail.

Research Experience for Undergraduates

As the southwest node of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, ASU NanoFab participates in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) national program, providing motivated undergraduate students with a summer of research experience. The REU program is a nine-week residential experience for undergraduates chosen from across the country through a national competition. Students spend the summer working with faculty and their students on a variety of nanotechnology-focused research projects. At the end of the summer, program participants join other NNCI REU interns for a three-day convocation where they share the results of their research in a workshop-style setting. More details of the ASU REU program can be found here.

K-12 Outreach

ASU's Night of the Open Door
The Night of the Open Door is an annual event in which Arizona State University (ASU) invites the general public to visit all five of its campuses to learn about the work and capabilities at the school. The Night of the Open Door is also a signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival. Our 2018 event attracted over 760 visitors, well above the 480 we saw in 2017.

Hands-on activities included the use of an optical microscope to view patterned wafers, real-time remote access to the SEM, and demos to illustrate the use of nanotech­nology in paper money and producing stain resistant fabric.

City of Tempe’s Geeks’ Night Out
For the past few years, the city of Tempe has teamed with the Arizona SciTech Festival to present this signature event that is a fusion of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), offering a variety of interactive displays and hands-on activities.

Staff from ASU and Rio Salado College partner to share a booth at Geeks’ Night Out. Activities offered include the operation of a remotely accessible scanning electron microscope as well as the construction of solar cells and other demos to help attendees better understand the latest developments in nanoscience and energy technologies.


EEE: 435 Fundamentals of CMOS & MEMS
This course teaches Engineering Science through the application of advanced process modeling techniques to real world data measured during the NanoFab laboratory sessions. For example, students adjust the process parameters in the Athena model to fit the measured data of oxide thickness grown at 1050 C for various times. Students are also exposed to Engineering Design problems by using the simulated and measured data to design MOS structures with certain characteristics. For example, they design a CMOS process flow to give a transistor with a threshold voltage of 0.7 V. Course information can be found here.