The National Science Foundation (NSF) predict that nanomaterials will become the largest sector of the nanotechnology market, reaching $340 billion annually by 2015. The great interest in nanomaterials is largely due to their fundamentally different characteristics compared to macroscopic systems, for example silicon is an insulator on the macroscopic scale but becomes a conductor at the nanoscale.

A functional polymer

Exciting new nanoscale properties have already found use in many areas with new technologies being developed at an astonishing rate.

nanoLAB is closely affiliated with the Chemical Nanoscience Laboratory (CNL) based in the School of Chemistry which has expertise ranging from the synthesis and characterisation of functional nanoscale materials to their development towards applications. Research in the CNL includes:

Chemical Nanoscience Laboratory

  • DNA-based routes to semiconducting nanomaterials (Prof Houlton, Dr Pike)
  • Dynamic Covalent Polymer-Based Nanostructures (Dr Fulton)
  • Molecular functionalisation of silicon nanoparticles (Dr Horrocks)
  • Photophysics and photochemistry of silicon quantum dots (Dr Tuite)

Nanoscale science and Nanotechnology Research Group

nanoLAB is also linked with the Nanoscale Science & Nanotechnology group based in the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials. Research activities in the group encompass a wide range of cutting edge themes including the synthesis and characterization of new nanoscale materials, such as nanodiamonds, silicon nanocrystals, gold nitride (AuN) and photon reactions on ice.

Other world-class nanomaterials research also takes place under the nanoLAB auspices, for example:

  • Modelling of the thermal evolution of electrically active defects in silicon and their effects in nanoelectronics (Prof Cowern)
  • Nanocomposites and nanostructured materials for tribological applications (Prof Bull)
  • Synthesis and reactivity of functionalised polyoxometalates as nanoscale building blocks and functional components of molecular assemblies (Prof Errington)
  • Combined nanofiltration membrane and catalytic process for removal of organics from wastewater (Prof Metcalfe)
  • Using electrochemistry and electrochemical engineering to fabricate novel nanoscale materials (Prof Roy)