What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is an emerging area of capability working across chemistry, physics, biology and materials science to manipulate matter at the molecular scale. Nanotechnology enables the development of new materials, devices, or other useful structures.

This advance in nano-scale science and technology has taken place becuase of the development of microscopes and other equipment capable of seeing and characterising nano-sized materials, allowing their application to a variety of industries.

What makes Nanotechnology special is that atoms and molecules interact with each other at the nanoscale, which can produce interesting results. We are familiar with bulk gold being a shiny golden-coloured, non-reactive metal. However, gold nanoparticles have red-blue colours and are rather reactive. They make excellent industrial catalysts, cancer therapeutics, imaging agents and antimicrobials. Examples of commercial applications of Nanotechnology:

  • Electronics: Integrated circuits, FETs, static discharge removal
  • Automotive: stronger tires, lighter yet stronger materials, catalysts, fuel line safety, airbag and other sensors
  • Sports: nanotubes in tennis racquets and bikes, nanotechnology enabled golf balls (even a sliced ball goes straight)
  • Cosmetics: transparent sunsceens, sustained delivery of bioactive molecules
  • Textiles: Self cleaning clothes
  • Building: Thermal isolation, self cleaning surfaces
  • Energy: hydrogen storage, fuel cell components, smart lighting
  • Biomedical: Antifouling coatings, imaging tools, sensors
  • Environment: Catalysts, sensors, filtration, pollution control, green energy

Nanotechnology is producing revolutions in manufacturing, medicine, energy and water technologies by making devices smaller, lighter, cheaper and faster with better performance.

The areas of expertise at Flinders Unviersity in Nanotechnology are located within the Flinders Centre for NanoScale Science & Technology.