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Nanotechnology is an emerging discipline with revolutionary potential for producing new materials, improving energy efficiency, and creating new diagnostic tools and therapies for medical applications. Researchers in the Mechanical Engineering Department are working in all of these areas. We are using plasmas to produce nanoscale coatings with improved hardness and wear resistance. We are exploring applications of highly uniform semiconductor nanocrystals, produced using a process invented in the department, as building blocks for more efficient lighting, solar cells, and thermoelectric devices. And, we are working on new nanoparticle-based medical imaging techniques and cancer therapies. Concerns have been raised about possible unanticipated health effects associated with exposure to such nanomaterials. Our department has one of the world’s leading programs on the measurement and behavior of gas-borne nanoparticles, and we are using that expertise to study their health and environmental impacts.