Nanotechnology is an emerging new field that involves manipulation of matter at the scale of one billionth (10-9) of a meter. Recent development in nanotechnology has been inspired by the discovery that nanomaterials possess chemical, physical and electronic properties that differ from bulk materials. Nanomaterials have shown promising applications in various areas including engineering, material science, biology and medicine among others where they are currently being explored or developed for applications in new types of semiconductors, transparent/invisible electronics, sensors, solar cells, piezoelectric generators, gas adsorption or storage, drug delivery and for cancer treatment by irradiation of nanometals introduced directly to cancer tissue areas. Various methods have been used to prepare nanomaterials including chemical vapor deposition (CVD), spray pyrolysis, Pulsed Laser Deposition, Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD).
Dr. Sabila is interested in preparing nanomaterials from metal (Ga, In, Zn, Cu, Cr, Fe) amides by MOCVD. The use of metal organic compounds to prepare nanomaterials is attractive as their decomposition to give nanomaterials can be carried out at relatively low temperatures and that the MOCVD process can easily be scaled-up for large scale industrial synthesis. In collaboration with Howard University, Dr. Sabila is currently developing routes to various types of metal-organic compounds that will be used as precursors for nanomaterial synthesis by MOCVD process. This project saw Dr. Sabila carry out research at Howard University in the summers of 2010 and 2011 (visiting research professor). He also worked with three Gallaudet students for summer internships at Howard University (summer 2012). This part of the project was supported by NSF DMR-0611595 . More recently (Fall 2012, NSF PRDM Grant NSF#1205608), a new NSF award for nanotechnology project was given to Gallaudet University (Dr. Sabila and Dr. Sorensen) in collaboration with Howard University, Prince George's Community college and Cornell University. This will allow Gallaudet students to carry out nanotechnology-related research at Gallaudet during the academic semesters and also provide several internship opportunities for Gallaudet students at Howard and Cornell Universities during the summer. To increase the general public awareness of nanotechnology, a mobile nanotechnology laboratory (NanoExpress) was recently brought to Gallaudet University where students were able to get onboard and look at some state-of-the art instruments.