In This Issue
- Message from the NanoVate Editor
- Message from President Steven Healy
- Nanotech in the News
- TechFast® - Fast tracking technology development and adoption through collaboration
- Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund (QSEIF)
- Australian delegation to NSTI Nanotech 2007 Conference and Trade Show
- Nanoclay - A New Beginning For Old Products – Isaac Spedding, Acme Nano Products Pty. Ltd.
- Nano-Based Consumer Products – There Are More Than You Think – Gary Day, Nanotec Pty. Ltd.
- ARC Centre for Function Nanomaterials appointed Centre of Excellence
- Invest Australia – European Commissioner meets ANA members
- ARCCFM appoints Dr Fouad Haghseresht as Manager, Astute Nanotechnology
- May 18 - Technology Innovation in Action - Bus Tour
- May 20 to 24 - NSTI Nanotech 2007
- May 23 to 24 – TechConnect Summit, Santa Clara California
- May 24 - IVS Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Jari Pasanen
- Sept 23 to 28 - Nanostructures for Electronics Energy and Environment (Nano-E3)
- Podcast - Clean Coal Technology: Graham Reed, CLET describes latest advances in clean coal technology
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Call for articles
News, views and articles are welcome. Please submit material for inclusion in NanoVate to firstname.lastname@example.org
News:Message from the NanoVate Editor
Welcome to Issue 2 of NanoVate. the official newsletter of the Australian Nanotechnology Alliance (ANA). Feedback for the inaugural edition was positive, so thank you to all those who took the time to respond.
As stated in the last edition, the theme for this month is "Nanotechnology in Consumer Products", and we have two articles in line with that theme. One article is by Isaac Speeding from Acme Nano Products concerning nanoclay, its properties and uses, and the second is by yours truly, concerning a range of unusual consumer products which are "nano" based.
The themes for future issues of NanoVate have been determined and are listed below. These will be rotated over time so that each will be visited as least once per year.
Themes for NanoVate:
- Nanotechnology in Consumer Products - e.g., textiles, household goods, anti-weathering etc.
- Nanotechnology and the Body – e.g., cosmetics, drugs, drug delivery, diagnostics, tissue / bone engineering, medical devices, bioassemblies.
- Nanotechnology in Australia – e.g.,. infrastructure, research overviews, Nanotech companies, nanotech contribution to economic growth, skills, education, employment.
- Nanotechnology and the Environment - i.e., nanotech contributing to improve the environment, examples such as water filtration, catalysis, smog eating surfaces.
- Nanotechnology in Construction - contributing to sustainability, less cleaning, less use of harsh chemicals, improved building materials etc.
- Nanotechnology and Energy – e.g., fuel cells, clean coal, fuel additives, power (batteries), solar cells.
- Nanotechnology and Electronics - e.g., information and communication devices, semiconductors, optoelectronics, quantum computing, sensors, nanomachines.
- Nanofabrication Tools and Techniques – e.g., nanomanufacturing, instruments used to view things on the nanoscale.
- Nanotechnology and Risk – e.g., regulation issues, risk papers, consumer survey summaries.
- Nanotechnology and Materials – e.g., nanoparticles, nanotubes, beads, composites, polymers.
We invite readers to submit articles in line with any of the themes. However, I would ask that prospective authors read the submission guidelines prior to submission, which can be found on the ANA web site. They are not particularly onerous, and by following them authors make our job much easier. Additionally, if you have a suggestion for a theme not covered in the above list, please let us know. All submissions can be emailed to me directly at email@example.com.
I would also like to encourage everyone to peruse the ANA web site since it is regularly updated. We have our first podcast on “Clean Coal Technology”, where Graham Reed, from the Centre for Low Emission Technology, describes the latest advances in clean coal technology.. So please listen and enjoy. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading this edition of NanoVate.
In last month’s NanoVate we reported on the most comprehensive study of public perception of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology undertaken by Rice University in the USA. The study indicated that US consumers are willing to use specific nano-containing products — even if there are health and safety risks — when the potential benefits are high. With that knowledge, we dedicate this edition of NanoVate to examining nanotechnology in consumer products.
Mid last year, the ANA held an event in Brisbane and asked consumer product companies to display nano products. Australian clothing icon King Gee undertook a fashion parade with models wearing nano enhanced clothes that repels liquids, while other clothing suppliers showcased items including shirts, knits, socks and even underwear. From Samsung, a household name in white goods, a display of items including fridges and air conditioners called Samsung Silver Nano with anti-bacterial benefits. Glass from G James Glass has a range of construction and cleaning qualities, while even Mercedes Benz took the opportunity to display a vehicle with anti-scratch nano paint.
From band-aids to tennis rackets, many companies are using nanotechnology as a marketing tool, clear with the belief that consumers view many nano products as having quality and benefits.
Last month ANA in conjunction with the Nanoscale Science and Technology Centre at Brisbane’s Griffith University, undertook a workshop for Gold Coast based manufacturers examining the issue of bringing the materials of tomorrow into today's business. Over 50 business people attended this seminar to learn how nanotechnology will aid their businesses in the future.
The ANA will continue communicating with industry on the way nanotechnology can assist their industries, and more seminars are planned for many places throughout Australia to ensure that both initiated and uninitiated organisations are aware of the economic and production benefits of nanotechnology.
Promoting nanotechnology is a key activity of the ANA as we support organisations that underpin Australia’s current and future economic growth. I’ve used these statistics often, but when organisations like Lux Research and the US Nanotechnology Alliance estimate that products including nano will have a global value of $US1 - 2.6 trillion by 2015, it reminds me that there is a significant market for Australian firms.
I look forward to keeping you informed on our developments and welcome your thoughts, either via our web’s blog session or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Healy - ANA President
Nanotech in the News
Regulating nano and related risks
The UN has weighed into the nanotechnology regulatory debate. In its annual report of the global environment, the U.N.'s Environment Program said "swift action" was needed by policy makers to properly evaluate the new science of nanotechnology. While recognising potential benefits in a range of fields, the report states that more research is needed to identify environmental, health and socio-economic hazards.
The European Union (EU) has set up a number of scientific commissions to look into the effects of nanotechnology to determine the sort of regulation needed. Additionally, risk assessment research into nanotechnology and marine biotoxins are some of the areas the European Food Safety Authority plans to target this year.
Environmental Defense and DuPont have been working together since 2005 to develop a nanotechnology risk framework for the responsible development, production, use and disposal of nanoscale materials. Development of this framework has been performed in conjunction with other groups, companies and institutions who are also working on this topic. The draft framework establishes “a process for ensuring the responsible development of nanoscale materials, which can then be widely used by companies and other organizations”. The final version should be ready for publication around mid-2007.
The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA maintains a comprehensive database of references to papers, articles, and books concerning potential health and environmental risks of nanomaterials. For those interested, it is called “Nanotechnology Risk Resources” and can be found here.
21st century asbestos In the recent NSW election campaign, a Greens Party press release stated that “Nanomaterials could well be the 21st century's asbestos”, and that the Greens are calling for a complete moratorium on the release of consumer products containing manufactured nanomaterials until adequate regulation is in place and to establish a regulatory body to assess the health and environmental risks of nanomaterials. Whether the reader agrees with this sentiment or not, it does serve to illustrate that the issues around risks and regulation of nanomaterials are being taken more seriously than ever before.
World’s first risk management and monitoring system for nanomaterials
The world’s first certifiable risk management and monitoring system for nanotechnologies has been formulated, and called CENARIOS® (Certifiable Nanospecific Risk Management and Monitoring System). According to the press release, a cooperation between a major global auditing and technology certification authority in Germany (TÜV Munich) and a Swiss nanotechnology consulting firm (The Innovation Society Ltd.) developed the system to meet the challenges of human health risks and legal uncertainties surrounding the current use of nanomaterials.
“CENARIOS® is certified and audited regularly in an independent quality standard process in which a TÜV SÜD certificate is awarded. The high-quality TÜV SÜD label testifies a foremost safety level for the risk-management system. It documents the company’s great safety efforts towards customers, authorities and the public. CENARIOS® consists of three modules. These modules provide a coherent fundament for strategy and product decisions and serve as benchmarks.”
Module 1: Hazard and risk assessment provides current product and process specific Risk-Evaluation and positioning
Module 2: A 360 degree risk-monitoring system screens relevant developments and trends in science, regulation, technology and market
Module 3: Issue management and communication provides the necessary tools to deal with potential crises.
The system ensures that upcoming trends and developments related to the risks and regulations of nanomaterials are taken into account at an early stage. The periodical certification process ensures that the safety system is kept up to date. For more on this system, read the fact sheet.
NICNAS nanomaterials report released
National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) has compiled information regarding the industrial use of nanomaterials within Australia over 2005 and 2006. The main information sought included the type and volume of nanomaterials introduced into Australia, as well as the availability of those nanomaterials to the public. The final analysis concluded that there were approximately 21 types of organic (e.g. polymers) and inorganic (e.g. metal oxides) nanomaterials, 17 of which are for commercial use, with four used for research and developmental purposes. Main commercial applications include surface coatings, printing, water treatment, catalysts, domestic products and cosmetics, and over half of the nanomaterials are used in volumes of less than 1 tonne/year. The largest group of nanomaterials reported was metal oxides.
"If nanotechnology at maturity achieves even a fraction of its promise, it will force the reassessment of global markets and economies and industries on a scale never experienced before in human history. Imagine the emergence of a nanochip that tomorrow would deliver over 50 gigahertz of speed with the processing power of ten supercomputers for the price of a quartz watch and smaller than a key chain. What might the economic impact on the computer industry be overnight? Imagine a super strong and inexpensive material to be used for pipe insulation, construction and manufacturing that would eliminate the market for steel and plastic. How might that influence the economy?"
“By 2014, nanotechnology is projected to capture 14 percent of the US$2.6 trillion (€2 trillion) global manufacturing market.” In 2004 it made up less than 0.1 percent.
The Commonwealth Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, has re-confirmed its commitment to the Australian Institute for Commercialisation’s (AIC) TechFast program with funding of up to $2.1 million to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) improve their business performance.
TechFast, a program run by the AIC, helps businesses identify, assess and pursue new partnerships that can provide access to technologies, processes, knowledge and distribution channels to improve business performance.
It uses a unique market pull approach to helping SMEs solve problems and pursue new opportunities. Specifically, TechFast works with companies with an annual turnover between $3 and $100 million to create innovation partnerships, become more competitive, overcome challenges and seize new opportunities.
The Commonwealth’s funding allows the AIC to not only provide it’s collaboration facilitation services, but also offer qualifying businesses up to $50,000 in funding support.
AIC Chief Executive Officer Dr Rowan Gilmore said that collaborations fostered through TechFast are integral to business success as they enable businesses to improve their product range, service delivery and make their business more productive in general.
TechFast helps it’s clients build partnerships with other businesses and research organisations to help them pursue new product and process development opportunities, or commercialise their own new technologies.
“Under the TechFast program businesses will discover new channels to develop or commercialise products and ideas and are able to access specialist know-how or equipment for market analysis, product development and testing” Dr. Gilmore said.
Since 2005 TechFast has contributed more than $2.9 million to 32 Australian businesses and helped them identify and adopt new technology and knowledge. It has generated over 30 new collaborative technology development and commercialisation partnerships.
For further details, please contact Alex Blauensteiner on 1300 364 739 or visit www.techfast.com.au
The Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund (QSEIF), administered by the Sustainable Industries Division of the EPA, assists Queensland based organisations to develop innovative technologies that reduce consumption of fossil fuels, water or greenhouse gas emissions. QSEIF provides funding support (up to $200,000) to offset the technical risks associated with developing, adapting or proving new technologies or processes that achieve more sustainable production and use of energy and water. Further information on the QSEIF program can be found here.
Project proposals are currently being invited for the 11th round of QSEIF funding. Closing date is 4 May.
Invest Australia is leading an Australian delegation to the Nanotech 2007 Conference and Trade Show in Santa Clara, California from 20 to 24 May 2007. Invest Australia invites you to join the Australian delegation to this key international event, along with other Australian nanotechnology companies and prominent researchers. Being part of the Australian delegation would provide your organisation with an international insight into the relevance of nanotechnology to your products and to become familiar with Australian and US nanotechnology commercial and industrial applications. Invest Australia would welcome your participation in the networking events and functions with international companies and research institutions during the event.
Please advise by 5 April if you will be attending this international event as part of the Australian delegation.
Nanoclay – A New Beginning For Old ProductsIsaac Spedding
Director, Acme Nano Products Pty. Ltd.
The exciting world of nanotechnology is breathing new life into old products. Many products that had seemingly reached their peak are now being developed even further through the addition of nanomaterials. New benefits such as enhanced UV protection, increased strength, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and self cleaning properties are taking consumer products to the next level. Globally, there are thousands of nano-enabled products that benefit from these properties and more.
One nanomaterial that is heavily researched and used commercially is nanoclay. Nanoclays are highly refined clay powders that are used as an additive to give increased strength, UV resistance, heat resistance, flame retardance, and in some cases anti-bacterial properties. Nanoclays are widely used in the plastics industry and are being developed in other areas such as coatings, cosmetics and ceramics. They are also a safe, inorganic compound.
Generally, nanotechnology relates to technology and science where the materials being used or manipulated have a controlled size between 1 and 100 nanometres (nm). Nanomaterials are generally classified as either two dimensional (2D) or three dimensional (3D). Nanoclay is a 2D nanomaterial.
Three dimensional (3D) nanomaterials, such as nano-silver and nano-zinc, have all dimensions in the nanometre range (pictured below).
Two dimensional (2D) nanomaterials, such as nanoclay (pictured below left), and carbon nanotubes (pictured below right) have at least one dimension in the nanometre range. Nanoclay platelets are 1-2 nm thick but can be over 100 nm wide. Carbon nanotubes have a diameter smaller than 100 nm and can measure up to 4 cm long.
Nanoclay comes as a micronised powder. Below is an electron microscope (SEM) image of a singular nanoclay grain showing its leafy morphology. Each ‘leaf’ is made of several alumina-silicate platelets. The grain of nanoclay can be likened to a deck of playing cards. As a stacked deck of cards, the area covered is small, but when the cards are spread out and separated, the area covered is far greater. Similarly, the surface coverage of nanoclay powder is generally less than 10 m^2 per gram, but when the nanoclay platelets are separated (exfoliated or de-laminated), the surface coverage can be greater than 500 m^2 per gram!
The nanoclay powder, with each grain having thousands of 2D nanoclay platelets, can be separated and mixed into products in low concentrations giving great benefits. The separation process is called exfoliation (aka de-lamination) and is the key to developing nano-products using nanoclay. A highly exfoliated nanoclay can have up to 1700 times the efficient surface area of the original stacked nanoclay. The best performance is achieved using very low concentrations when mixed correctly.
Premium quality nanoclays form strong ionic bonds within the product in which they are being mixed. They have a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), which is the quantity of exchangeable cations measured in meq/100. This means the nanoclays alumina-silicate platelets form ionic bonds that allow them to remain in suspension indefinitely, where other materials would separate and sediment.
The ionic bond and even dispersion of the platelets in the product inhibits the mobility of molecular chains, enhancing the dimensional stability, heat distortion temperature and mechanical properties of the product.
One example of the performance of PK nanoclay is illustrated below. The chart below shows heat distortion temperature (HDT) improvements achieved through the incorporation of PK nanoclays in Nylon 6 and Polypropylene plastics. As the chart shows, as little as a few percent of nanoclay mixed into these materials can make a huge difference to the bulk polymer’s ability to withstand heat.
Nanoclays are improving existing products and being used as a platform for the development of new nanocomposite products around the world. Australian companies are also adopting this nanomaterial to improve paints, plastics and ceramics, with the knowledge that they are using a safe nanomaterial that will offer benefits to both consumers and the environment.
Nano-Based Consumer Products – There Are More Than You ThinkGary Day
Technical Manager, Nanotec Pty Ltd, Brookvale, NSW 2100
Whether you realise it or not, nanotechnology is becoming part of our daily lives. Various forms of “nano” are increasingly being incorporated into a wide range of consumer products, and this trend is set to continue. A recent study has predicted that by 2013, half of all new consumer products developed will contain some form of nanotechnology .
So what types of nanotechnology do we have in many of the current consumer products? Most are based on what has been termed the “First Generation of Nanotechnology Commercialisation - Passive Nanostructures”, such as nanoparticles, bulk materials and coatings . A good proportion of these products utilise the anti-bacterial properties of silver nanoparticles, e.g., anti-bacterial food containers, filters, socks, underwear and certain cosmetics.
Companies in the Asia Pacific region in particular have been quick to adopt nanotechnology and produce an array of commercial products. Items such as fridges (Samsung, LG, Daewoo), washing machines (Samsung), mobile phone casings (LG), door handles (Nano Care Technology Ltd) and vacuum cleaners (LG) have all recently been infused with silver nanoparticles, to utilise their anti-bacterial properties and seemingly make the appliances healthier to use.
Many people would be aware of other current nanotechnology based consumer products such as clear UV sunscreens (e.g., those incorporating zinc oxide nanoparticles), hydrophobic, easy to clean surfaces on glass, ceramic and stone (e.g., Nanoprotect from Nanotec), water and stain repellent textiles (e.g., Nano-Tex, Nanoprotex), or even scratch resistant paint for cars (Mercedes Benz). However, there are a number of consumer products on the market which claim to have some “nano” component, of which many people may not be aware. The rest of this article will be dedicated to describing a variety of these products.
Australians love their sporting contests and nanotechnology has made some inroads into this area. Nanocomposites have been used to improve the strength and flexibility of tennis racquets , golf clubs  and ice hockey sticks , to name a few. Nanotechnology has also been incorporated into golf balls in the form of nanoscale coatings to apparently improve golfer’s accuracy and precision, “…without the need to change their clubs” . Additionally, if you enjoy skiing there is a tailor-made nanowax which produces “…a hard, fast-gliding surface…”, “…which lasts much longer than conventional waxing systems” . For those fishing enthusiasts, there is the polyimide nanoscale coating on fishing lures to improve the catch . When exposed to the natural light, the lure becomes more colourful than existing lures and seems to emit colours, which is apparently more attractive to fish.
Nanotechnology, often in the form of polymeric nanoparticles, has been incorporated into textiles to improve water and stain repellency, as noted above. Now this has moved beyond simple textiles and fabrics, to items such as luggage , handbags  and umbrellas , although the name “NanoNuno” for the umbrella is a bit of a tongue twister. Wrinkle free clothing is also available, with nanotechnology being responsible for this effect as well .
There are a number of products with which nanotechnology would not normally be associated. These include horse shoes, which are totally nanocomposite based , and tooth fillings, also nanocomposite based . There are nanoparticle based fuel additives to reduce harmful emissions from automobile engines , and shock absorbers utilising magnetic nanoparticles, which are used by the car maker Audi . Certain nanocoatings improve the look, feel and printing performance of paper , while others create a ceramic surface which cleans itself, and is used in self cleaning toilets . One type of home pregnancy test uses the colour properties of gold nanoparticles, in combination with a naturally occurring hormone in pregnant women, as the mechanism of detection . L´Oréal offers an anti wrinkle cream, where their “Nanosomes” polymer capsule is used to transport active agents like vitamins and a hair conditioner to improve the power of hair care . There are also “Nanoteas”, in many flavours, which incorporate selenium nanoparticles as an aid to improving various aspects of human health .
There are some “out of left field” products which also claim to include nanotechnology. The Nano Pillow has an “exclusive nano-compound fused and spun throughout the pillows fibrous material” which apparently aids a range of health issues . There are acne treatments apparently containing phosphatidylcholine nanoparticles, which also apparently prevent skin impurities and neurodermatitis . There are even several “nano” products to reduce hair loss, although it is not entirely clear what the nano component is in these products .
Finally, there are what I would consider two of the most unusual apparent uses of nanotechnology in consumer products to date, i.e., “Foam condoms”  and “Breast serum” for breast enhancement . The only comment I will make is that the web sites are interesting reading. Readers can judge the veracity of the stated claims for themselves.
The nanotechnology based products and their uses listed above are not meant to be comprehensive, and such an article would be considerably longer than this one. For those interested in viewing more comprehensive compilations of nanotechnology based consumer products, I recommend two sources, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies Consumer Products Inventory, and Nanoshop.com.
It appears that nanotechnology based consumer products are in a wide variety of markets at present. From the rate at which these products are being released to the market, it is entirely possible that the prediction about nanotechnology in consumer products by 2013 stated earlier could be correct.
- M.C. Roco, “Overview of the NNI”. September 2003
- http://www.babolat.com/ and http://www.head.com/
- http://www.shopping.com/xPC-Wilson_Wilson_Golf_Staff_Fwc_Nano_Fairway_Woods and http://www.accuflexgolf.com/
- http://www.ndmxgolf.com/ and http://www.nano-s-gmbh.de/
ARC Centre for Function Nanomaterials appointed Centre of Excellence
Congratulations to Professor Max Lu and his team at the ARC Centre for Functional Nanomaterials (ARCCFN) which has recently been appointed a Centre of Excellence. The organisations new name is now ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials.
Invest Australia – European Commissioner meets ANA Members
ANA members in Brisbane had the opportunity to meet with Invest Australia’s Senior Investment Commissioner for Europe recently. Ms. Nicola Watkinson heads the 10 strong Australian team headquartered in Frankfurt, and with offices also in Paris and London.
Nicola and her team have had outstanding success linking Australian companies to European companies and venture capitalists. If you are interested in contacting Nicole email her at Nicola.email@example.com. Alternatively, contact Suanne Hackett, Investment Manager, Advanced Manufacturing (Australia) at firstname.lastname@example.org
ARCCFM Appoints Dr Fouad Haghseresht as Manager, Astute Nanotechnology
The ARC Centre for Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials has appointed Dr Fouad Haghseresht as the manager of Astute Nanotechnology. Congratulations to Fouad on this exciting new role.
This newsletter is for general information purposes only . The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the ANA, and all reasonable measures have been taken to ensure that the material contained in this newsletter is correct. However, the ANA gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or the completeness of the material. Readers are advised not to rely solely on this information when making any decision and should seek independent advice before making any decision. The ANA reserves the right at any time to make changes as it deems necessary.