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The ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials is an internationally renowned research centre in the field of Functional Nanomaterials read more about the Centre

Biological systems often feature natural, functional nanomaterials. The dwelling of foraminifera and viruses (capsid), the wax crystals covering a lotus or nasturtium leaf, spider and spider-mite silk,[2] the "spatulae" at the base of gecko feet, some butterfly wing scales, natural colloids (milk, blood), horny materials (skin, claws, beaks, feathers, horns, hair), paper, cotton, nacre, corals, and also our very own bone matrix are natural organic nanomaterials.

Natural inorganic nanomaterials occur through crystal development in the diverse chemical conditions in the earths crust. As an example clays display complex nanostructures as a result of anisotropy of the underlying crystal structure, and volcanic activity can bring about opals, that are an instance of any natural photonic crystals because of their nanoscale structure. Fires represent particularly complex reactions and may produce pigments, cement, fumed silica etc.

Inorganic nanomaterials, (e.g. quantum dots, nanowires and nanorods) for their interesting optical and electrical properties, may be utilized in optoelectronics.[4] Furthermore, the optical and electronic properties of nanomaterials which be determined by their size and shape might be tuned via synthetic techniques. You will find the options to utilize those materials in organic material based optoelectronic devices like Organic solar panels, OLEDs etc. The operating principles of the tools are governed by photoinduced processes like electron transfer as well as transfer. The performance of your devices is dependent upon the efficiency from the photoinduced process liable for their functioning. Therefore, better knowledge of those photoinduced processes in organic/inorganic nanomaterial composite systems is important to use them in organic optoelectronic devices.

Nanoparticles or nanocrystals manufactured from metals, semiconductors, or oxides are of particular interest with regard to their mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical, chemical and also other properties. Nanoparticles are already used as quantum dots so that as chemical catalysts including nanomaterial-based catalysts. Nanoparticles are of great scientific interest because they are effectively a bridge between bulk materials and atomic or molecular structures. A bulk material must have constant physical properties no matter its size, but in the nano-scale this could be untrue. Size-dependent properties are observed including quantum confinement in semiconductor particles, surface plasmon resonance in certain metal particles and superparamagnetism in magnetic materials.

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Nanoparticles exhibit several special properties in accordance with bulk material. As an example, the bending of bulk copper (wire, ribbon, etc.) occurs with movement of copper atoms/clusters at regarding the 50 nm scale. Copper nanoparticles small compared to 50 nm are viewed super hard materials which do not exhibit exactly the same malleability and ductility as bulk copper. The alteration in properties may not be desirable. Ferroelectric materials small compared to 10 nm can switch their magnetisation direction using room temperature thermal energy, thus causing them to be useless for memory storage. Suspensions of nanoparticles are possible since the interaction in the particle surface with all the solvent is sufficiently strong enough to beat variations in density, which often lead to a material either sinking or floating within a liquid. Nanoparticles frequently have unexpected visual properties as they are sufficiently small to confine their electrons and create quantum effects. By way of example gold nanoparticles appear deep red to black in solution.

The often extremely high area to volume ratio of nanoparticles gives a tremendous motivator for diffusion, especially at elevated temperatures. Sintering is achievable at lower temperatures and also over shorter durations than for larger particles. This theoretically fails to impact the density from the final product, though flow difficulties and also the tendency of nanoparticles to agglomerate do complicate matters. The outer lining effects of nanoparticles also cuts down on the incipient melting temperature.

Centre Foundation Director Professor Max Lu elected to the Australian Academy of Science
Centre Director Rose Amal in Engineers Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers for second year


Professor Max Lu, foundation director of the Nanomaterials Centre, was elected to the AUstralian Academy of Science at the end of March. Professor Lu is now one of only a very few who are elected to both the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.

Full story here


Prof Amal is one of 11 women on the list this year, and says one of the most rewarding parts of her career is seeing the development of her former students. “Hearing their stories you feel that you contribute in shaping someone’s life and career,” she said.

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Recent centre research published in the journal Small and featured in Science Alert
Centre Director Rose Amal honoured as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)

The paper, Induced Adaptation of Bacillus sp. to Antimicrobial Nanosilver, published in April, highlights that although nanosilver has effective antimicrobial properties against certain pathogens, overexposure to silver nanoparticles can cause other potentially harmful organisms to rapidly adapt and flourish.

Full article can be read here

Feature in Science Alert can be read here

Image courtesy of Science Alert

Centre Director Rose Amal was the headline inductee and one of 11 women honoured in this year’s class.

link to UNSW news






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Modified: March 2011
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