at MIT (2013-present)

  • Additive Manufacturing (2.S998)

  • Manufacturing Processes (2.008)


at the University of Michigan (2007-2013)



This course presents how to make and assemble nanostructures—particularly nanotubes, nanowires, and nanoparticles—into devices and materials ranging from transistors to films, fibers, and structural composites.  Our goal is to design new materials and devices using nanostructures, along with elegant and efficient manufacturing processes that that can realize the promise of nanotechnology at commercially-feasible scales.  Emphasis is placed on understanding the unique properties of these building blocks, and how properties scale from the individual elements to bulk material architectures. We study, analytically and empirically, how scalability is governed by the physical interactions among the structures, and the ability to manipulate and order nanostructures using chemical, mechanical, and electrical means. The course culminates in a team project that proposes a novel device or manufacturing process that uses nanostructures, such as a new architecture for a photovoltaic cell or battery, or a self-assembly or printing technology.

Video preview

Syllabus, Winter 2010 [pdf]

Lecture notes, Winter 2010

copyright John Hart, for personal use only

00 Introduction to nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing video slides
01 Taxonomy and geometry of nanostructures video slides written notes
02 Techniques for characterizing nanostructures video slides
03 Confinement and energy quantization video slides written notes
04 Electronic and optical properties of nanostructures video slides
05 Mechanical properties of nanostructures video slides written notes
06 Thermal properties of nanostructures video slides written notes
07 Intermolecular and surface forces video slides written notes
08 Surface energy, wetting, and melting video slides written notes
09 Small-scale fluid flows
video slides written notes
10 Electrical double layer
video slides written notes
11 Surface plasmon resonance
video slides
12 Top-down vs. bottom up
video slides
13 Heterogenous nucleation and reaction kinetics
video slides written notes
14 Nanoparticle synthesis in solution
video slides written notes
15 Nanotube and nanowire growth by CVD
video slides
16 Exam Review
17 Functionalization and separation video slides
18 Self-assembly of micelles and block copolymers
video slides written notes
19 Self-assembly of monolayers and multilayers video slides written notes
20 From 2D to 3D, LBL and colloid crystals
video slides
21 Organization and properties of nanostructure networks video slides
22 Balancing interactions in self assembly and nanomanufacturing
video slides
23 Searching the literature (extra)


The PhD Research Process

This course aims to develop skills in, and awareness of, research methods that are practiced by Ph.D. students in engineering.  The course meets weekly, with a combination of lecture-style presentation, class discussion, and small group activities. The students complete several small assignments in preparation for class discussion, along with three major assignments related to their individual research topic: a background report, a research proposal (in a hybrid format based on graduate fellowship and small research grant applications), and a final presentation (emulating the UMich Mechanical Engineering Research Fundamentals Exam format).  The course objectives are summarized below.

- Understand how and why research is a dynamic and challenging process—an intellectual adventure—requiring both structured and unstructured thinking.
– Teach basic methods for designing and implementing your individual graduate research program, aiming to:

- Improve your ability to analyze the literature and identify the important questions/needs related to your research theme.

- Improve your ability to define both short-term and long-term goals, and to manage your time effectively.

- Improve your writing and presentation skills.

- Emphasize how to build a constructive relationship with your advisor and research group.
– Emphasize good research practices and responsible conduct of research.
– Discuss the research landscape beyond the day-to-day life of a Ph.D. student, including the writing and evaluation of grant proposals, university administration, and commercialization.

Syllabus, Winter 2012 [pdf]

Lecture notes, Winter 2012

copyright John Hart, for personal use only
00: Introduction [slides]
01: Defining “research”; learning styles [slides]
02: Searching and analyzing the literature [slides]
03: Choosing a research problem; creativity, invention, and innovation [slides]
04: Planning and time management [slides]
05: Advisor-­student relations; mentorship and collaboration [slides]
06: Responsible conduct of research [slides]
07: Formulating and writing a proposal [slides]
08: Evaluating proposals [slides]
09: Graphics and visualizations [slides]
10: Organizing, giving, and evaluating presentations [slides]
11: Research administration and commercialization [slides]


Design and Manufacturing I (ME250)

ME250 is the first of three required undergraduate courses in Design and Manufacturing, and for most students it is their first significant hands-on project.  ME250 teaches the creative design process, CAD and engineering drawings, basics of materials selection and mechanical elements, and prototype fabrication using machine shop tools. These topics and skills are addressed using theory and examples in lectures, and are carried through a semester-long team project involving the conceptualization, design, engineering, and fabrication of a mechanized vehicle that competes in a game at the end of the semester.  Laboratory sections teach CAD modeling (SolidWorks), and machine shop skills; and include “design workshop” sessions with the instructors.  During the first half of the semester, students learn to apply a rigorous design process to both quantitatively and qualitatively compare design options, and to justify their choices.  After the midterm design review presentation, the students begin detailed engineering of their machine.  Each team receives the same kit of materials and components, and a set of rules governs the size and capability of the machines and the parameters of the game.  The course culminates in a competition held at the College of Engineering Design Expo.  In F09 and F10, the “SlotBots” contest challenged the students’ machines to dig ping-pong and squash balls out of a narrow slot in a custom-built table.  The machine with the fewest balls on its side of the table after 120 seconds was declared the winner, and the contest proceeded in a single-elimination bracket until a champion was crowned.  In F11, a new contest named “BallTower” (inspired by the layout of North Campus) was featured.

Syllabus, Fall 2011 [pdf]


Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design (ME450)

In ME450, teams of four students tackle a complex mechanical design project, starting with concepts and finishing with a functional prototype.  In ME450, Prof. Hart and the Mechanosynthesis Group have sponsored and advised several ME450 projects related to the synthesis and processing of nanostructured materials.  Examples include: the SpinGrower layer-by-layer assembly system (2009 R&D100 Award), a machine for rolling and printing of CNT films, a plasma-enhanced CVD system with a locally-heated substrate, and the “Charybdis” machine for 4-degree-of-freedom manipulation of liquids during capillary self-assembly. These and other instruments that were born in ME450 are used in our lab, and the projects have inspired several students to attend graduate school, or to pursue careers in nanomaterials and advanced manufacturing.

[2010 video][2009 YouTube]