Advisory Board

Professor Frank Underdown, Jr.

Frank Underdown, Jr., Ph.D. is CEO and physicist running the research, development, and consulting company Keweenaw Nanoscience Center in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Its research concerns nanotechnology, bionanotechnology, and quantum optics.

Keweenaw Nanoscience Center (KNC) uses nanofabrication and nanomaterials to create wind turbines, fuel cells, and photovoltaic (PV) alternative energy solutions. Frank has been with KNC since 1999.

Frank was an Assistant Professor at Washington State University between 2010 and 2014, where he taught taught university and college physics lectures and labs.

Frank is poised on the brink of the new frontier of nanotechnology and nanoengineering.

When fully explored, understood and harnessed, nanoscience is expected to revolutionize the world much the way electricity, microelectronics, and antibiotics have.

For several years Frank worked in industry designing RF/Microwave communications systems for satellite communications, control system engineering, and optics.

In 1979, he earned his certificate in Electronics and Communication technology from RETS Electronics School and in 1988 earned his A.S. (Associate of Science) in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics from West Shore Community College.

Frank has spent much of his early career as a non-degreed electrical engineer in the American West, working for a variety of firms in Arizona and California. Though he spent much of his childhood in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, more than a decade in deserts isn’t the best way to prepare for winters where 20 feet of snow is commonplace.

After a layoff, he decided he needed a degree. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Physics and Mathematics in 1990 and his Master’s degree of Science in Nuclear Physics in 1995 from Central Michigan University.

For a year and half in 1995, Frank taught mathematics as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Mid Michigan Community College. Before that he also taught physics and electronics at Central Michigan University as Adjunct Assistant Professor between 1992 and 1995.

Frank earned his Ph.D. in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics in 1999 from Michigan Technological University. The title of his dissertation was Laser Guidance of Mesoscale Particles.

That was the same year he founded the Nanoscience Center. Using grants from the CIA, among other places, to support research, he paid the bills by consulting and by teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Northern Michigan University, commuting 115 miles each way to Marquette, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s largest city. He taught a college physics lecture with lab courses and an electronics instrumentation lecture with lab courses for four years, between 1997 and 2001.

He taught six courses one semester at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in 2000, leaving on his five-hour drive Monday at 6 a.m. and departing for home Friday night.

In 2002, he became a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tennessee Tech University where he was responsible for the great development of nanotechnology research. Among others, he initiated interdisciplinary nanotechnology research, coauthored an NSF NIRT proposal to develop a direct writing nanolithography process incorporating a self-assembling polymer template, developed a piezoelectric nano surface machining process, investigated the use of AFM probes to deposit biological particles on a substrate, coauthored several journal articles with colleagues and graduate students that were submitted for publication, supervised nanotechnology research of several graduate students, and supervised a graduate student research on using nano coatings on artificial hip joints to extent the life of the prosthesis.

Visit his LinkedIn profile and his company website. View his personal page at University at Buffalo and his Chronicle Vitae profile. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.