Tiny Solutions to Our Big Energy Problem

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The Tiny Solutions to Our Big Energy Problem program gives a brief overview of energy sources and our current energy crisis and discusses a variety of ways that nanotechnology can improve the way we harness energy (improving solar cells), distribute energy (carbon nanotube transmission lines) and use energy (nanotech-enhanced LED bulbs). It is primarily a slideshow presentation, designed for medium-to-large audiences. It consists mostly of a lecture, with a few live demonstrations and a few audience interactions.


Big Idea

Nanotechnology can have a big impact on the future of energy.

Learning Goals

Identify a few potential applications where nano might impact alternative and renewable energies:

a. Solar cells can be made cheaper and easier with nanotechnology.

b. Carbon nanotube transmission lines would reduce energy loss.

c. Nanotech-enhanced LED lighting saves energy.

Nano Content Map
Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.
Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.


Year created

Development of this product was supported by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center headquartered at Harvard University (PHY06-46094), the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and University of New Hampshire (EEC-0425826), with support from the National Science Foundation. Packaging and dissemination for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Owning institution

Museum of Science, Boston


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process
NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.