MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Nanotechnology is the study of materials at their smallest levels to advance research in fields from electronics to medicine. Nanotechnology research is happening at West Virginia University.
Nanoscale materials can't be seen by the naked eye.
They're studied for use in the field of nanotechnology, and at West Virginia University and other universities across the state, it's a hot area of research.
"The average person should know about nanoscience because there's very little in the future that is not going to touch them that won't involve nano in some way,'' said Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, West Virginia University researcher.
"So everything from your electronics to medicine to the environment, you're going to be called upon to make decisions and you really need to understand what nano is, and how it affects your life.''
Leslie-Pelecky is the head of an initiative known as WVNano, a program that focuses on stimulating research in nanoscience.
More than 40 researchers throughout the state-many at West Virginia University-are working with WVNano, conducting research in everything from electronics to medicine.
Leslie-Pelecky became the group's first full-time, permanent director in November 2010.
"It's a really nice group of people who have come together. I think the thing that impressed me most about WVNano is the quality of the people,'' she said.
"When we're talking nano we're talking about something really small. So a meter is about a yard. We're talking about a billionth of a meter,'' she said, "so we're about something very small, we're talking about something that's smaller than a cell, something that's smaller than a hair.''
WVU professor Mikel Holcomb studies magnetics and is using materials called nanofilms, a form of nanotechnology, in her research.
Holcomb is studying how to improve energy efficiency in computers.
"Current computing right now is all focused on having electricity constantly flowing through computers, and that eats up a lot of electricity,'' Holcomb said.