Richard D. Braatz is the Gilliland Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he does research in control theory and its application to biomedical systems, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, and nanotechnology. He received MS and PhD degrees from the California Institute of Technology and was a Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University before moving to MIT. He has consulted or collaborated with more than a dozen companies including IBM, United Technologies Corporation, Novartis, and Abbott Laboratories. Honors include the AACC Donald P. Eckman Award, the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the Engineering Research Council, the Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize, and best paper awards from IEEE- and IFAC-sponsored control journals. He is a Fellow of IEEE, IFAC, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Nanometer length scale analogues of most traditional control elements, such as sensors, actuators, and feedback controllers, have been enabled by recent advancements in device manufacturing and fundamental materials research. However, combining these new control elements in classical systems frameworks remains elusive. Methods to address the new generation of systems issues particular to nanoscale systems is termed here as systems nanotechnology. This presentation discusses some promising control strategies and theories that have been developed to address the challenges that arise in systems nanotechnology.
A selection of novel nanoscale devices are reviewed, selected by their potential for broad application in nanoscale systems. Many of these devices use single-walled carbon nanotubes, which demonstrate the diversity of potential applications for a single type of nanoscale material. All of the elements necessary for the design of advanced control systems are available, including sensors to rapidly assess the physical characteristics and use for estimation of the states of a system, actuators to affect the system states, and feedback controllers to utilize the state estimates to determine the signals to send to the actuators to satisfy control objectives. Specific examples are provided where the identification, estimation, and control of complex nanoscale systems have been demonstrated in experimental implementations or in high-fidelity simulations. Some control theory problems are also described that, if resolved, would facilitate further applications. Some recent developments are described for addressing a major challenge that must be resolved for commercial manufacturing, which is improving the integration of nanoscale devices.