HeLa cells containing silicon nanocrystals - [F. M. Dickinson et al.  Analyst, 2008, 133, 1573-1580] - Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Nano science and technology cuts across many disciplines in the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering and also impacts other faculties of Newcastle University.

Research in the nanoLAB covers a wide variety of areas from the social and ethical implications of medical nanobiotechnology through to the photophysics and photochemistry of silicon quantum dots. nanoLAB brings together researchers from across all three faculties, promoting cutting edge cross-disciplinary research in four main themes:

Societal Themes

Our four research themes underpin both of the university's societal challenge themes:



Nanotechnology research is key to sustainability since it fundamentally involves increasing functionality using less space. Nanotechnology is already used to enhance the efficiency of solar panels and further breakthroughs are predicted in the use of lightweight nanomaterials in new, more energy efficient vehicles.

Key nanoLAB research relating to sustainability includes using nanofiltration to remove organics from wastewater and designing new nanomaterials for the recovery of metals from industrial effluents and for corrosion protection to increase the life of pipelines and other civil structures.


Human Skin

Ageing research at the nanoLAB includes finding novel ways of aiding the aging population, for example by using nanoscience techniques to coat prosthetic surfaces - potentially making them lighter, more flexible and increasing their lifespan.

Nanotechnology can also be used to study the aging process, for example our researchers have recently shown that nanosensors can be used to investigate ageing in human skin.

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