Georgia Institute of TechnologyNanoscience + Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech
Students conducting researchNanoTECH Student Spotlight: Farhana Zaman

FARHANA ZAMAN

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Farhana Zaman, who graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 2004, had two criteria when she began looking for a job as a sophomore in 2001. She wanted to work in a field relevant to her degree, and she wanted a job on or near campus. When she was offered a co-op position at Georgia Tech's Microelectronics Research Center (MiRC), she found not only a convenient job in her field, but her future research focus, nanotechnology, as well.

"There was both convenience and interest," says Zaman, who was intrigued by MiRC's high-tech facilities promoting interdisciplinary research in microelectronics and MiRC's state-of-the-art electron beam lithography (EBL) tool. "MiRC keeps up with current technology and constantly acquires novel and up-to-date pieces of equipment," says Zaman, who will earn her master's degree in electrical engineering spring semester 2006 and then pursue a Ph.D. in the subject. "The EBL aroused my interest. I wanted to work on projects using that."

Her wish has been granted. As a graduate research assistant under the guidance of MiRC Director James Meindl, she has used the EBL to make nanogaps between metal nanoparticle pairs on semiconductor wafers. The tool patterns wafers with controlled exposure to electrons. "We're not able to make smaller patterns with conventional methods. That's why we need nanotechnology—to push things further," says Zaman. "The challenge is the imaging. You need very good tools to make the invisible visible."

Zaman's research in nanogap fabrication has wide-ranging applications, such as single-molecule detection and biochemical sensing. But the future of nanotechnology doesn't stop there, says Zaman, who looks forward to a day when nanotechnology research will provide for medicines that can be inhaled instead of injected, and efficient delivery of drugs to specific body parts that need them.

She also looks forward to continuing her research in nanotechnology as she pursues a career as a university professor. "I've always wanted to be a teacher," says Zaman. She recently mentored a high school junior, teaching him about different fabrication tools and processes in the MiRC cleanroom. She also volunteers through Nano@Tech, an organization at Tech that exposes middle and high school students to nanoscience and nanotechnology efforts. "There's no shortage of reasons why people should go into nanotechnology and nanoscience," says Zaman. "Nanotechnology is so broad and has so many capabilities. It's very exciting."