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Three Areas of nanotechnology applications

 - Sunday, 24 June 2007, 00:00

For industrial products

• Project AMBIO: Fouling organisms that attach to ship hulls and other marine structures are deleterious to the performance of the vessel: a hull fouled by barnacles may burn 40 per cent more fuel and tackling this accounts for some EUR7 billion per annum. Control measures are expensive and most antifouling technologies rely on some form of biocide, which will now come under a new EU directive. Nanotechnology offers new possibilities for creating more environmentally friendly coatings.

• FlexiFunBar: Existing products are often impregnated by fibre finishing but the very fast release of the active component, especially during washing, is a disadvantage of existing technologies. Adding nano charges helps maintain mechanical properties and can have the following applications: creating antibacterial fibres for hospital bed sheets and nurses’ uniforms so as to minimise nosocomial infections, of which there is a very high degree of incidence, normally kept silent (it is said doctors’ ties are a major carrier of disease); creating fire retardant fibres.

• Nano-sensors for low cost fire and gas detection.

• Project NAIMO: traditionally semiconductor manufacturing carried high fabrication costs, used large volumes of water and was capital intensive. With organic nanotechnology developments one could get low fabrication costs, less volume of water at lower temperatures and inexpensive production.

For healthcare

• Next-generation intelligent diagnostic devices: moving analytical methods from the laboratory to the bedside with just a doctor’s laptop to do the job.

• Functionalised nanoparticles for drug delivery: breaking down the barriers in the body which impede the entry of certain drugs in certain key areas of the body and the brain

• New ways of automated stem cell cultivation and differentiation.

In industrial processes

• Project MEMBAQ: Using nature’s own water membranes for industrial use, reducing energy costs by 80 per cent and low production costs on membrane.

• NanoFIB: a completed FP5 nanotechnology project that created a European NanoEngineering workstation that can carve with an ion-beam of below nm with great precision.

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