Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field. It explores the manipulation and fabrication of nano-sized materials and devices. Zoran Miskovic’s research investigates nanometre-sized structures to see how they interact with their environment and with external probe particles. The goal is to deliver results and inspire technological, medical, and material innovation.
Carbon nanotubes are Zoran’s most recent area of study. “These are amazing objects – a cylinder one nanometre in diameter with a very rigid, stable structure. We are using mathematical modelling and computation to examine ropes of nanotubes and trying to propagate fast particles through them.”
It is important to understand the action and interaction of ions within the nanotube. The ions are subject to Brownian motion in the confined space of a nanotube, whose response is described by a quantum mechanical version of fluid dynamics. And this is where probability plays a role.“We simulate one ion trajectory at a time in the nanotube. If the ion beam is homogeneous, we have an even distribution of ion entry points and by repeatedly sampling, we calculate the histories of their propagation. In this case we use Monte Carlo methods; stochastic methodology is best suited to examining the irregularity and interaction within this small system.”
Zoran and his collaborators have been successful in simulating ion channelling through carbon nanotubes. Some of the potential applications include the delivery of targeted radiation therapy, site-specific drug delivery and extraction of ions from particle accelerators.
“My background is in physics, but I was drawn into learning and using probabilistic methods by my research interests,” notes Zoran. His interests include: ion-surface scattering, molecular electronics, interactions of dust particles with plasma, and interactions of accelerated clusters with solids and plasma.
University of Waterloo Mathematics, Annual Report 2006