The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: Nov 24, 2011
CRANN nanotechnology researchers wins 'proof of concept' grant
(Nanowerk News) CRANN, the SFI funded nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin has been recognised by the European Research Council, for its continued focus on the commercial potential of nanoscience. The Research Council recently awarded a 'proof of concept' grant of €150,000 to Professor Jonathan Coleman, a Principal Investigator at CRANN, in order to assist in bringing his research to market.
Professor Coleman's research investigates how to produce "nanosheets", flat sheets of materials that are just one atom thick, or about one hundred-thousandth the size of a human hair. These materials have potential in the development of thermoelectric devices and next generation batteries. The latest stage of the research involves developing a method to scale the technique for industrial use by simply using soap and water ("Large-Scale Exfoliation of Inorganic Layered Compounds in Aqueous Surfactant Solutions"). This research has also contributed to Professor Coleman being named the Science Foundation Ireland Researcher of the Year 2011.
Commenting on the announcement, Professor Coleman said, "The receipt of this grant helps us develop the latest stage of our research, which is a crucial step towards the commercialisation of our technique to exfoliate layered compounds. There are hundreds of these layered materials, such as boron nitride and molybdenum disulphide, and being able to inexpensively arrange them into atom-thick layers would allow us to access their extraordinary electronic and thermoelectric properties. Potentially, we can use these materials to produce energy storage devices such as advanced batteries, which have the potential to transform the way we think about energy. The application of nanoscience in improving everyday items essentially has no bounds. I am delighted to continue this research and look forward to even more new discoveries."
Dr. Diarmuid O'Brien, Executive Director of CRANN said, "The award of a research grant by the European Research Council is further evidence of the international recognition being given to Irish science. Ireland is in the top ten countries worldwide for nanoscience research and CRANN is at the fore of this having published over 150 papers since 2010. With Professor Coleman's naming as SFI Researcher of the Year 2011 and with other researchers of his calibre, we can maintain this high standard. In the last year, we have adopted a commercial agenda to focus on the return on investment of nanoscience. The reach of nanoscience in terms of its application in industry is hugely significant. It will be a crucial factor in attracting continued foreign direct investment and expanding our industry engagement programme which already includes the likes of Intel and Hewlett Packard."
CRANN (the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices) was established in 2003 by Principal Investigators (PIs) from the Schools of Physics and Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in partnership with University College Cork (UCC). Since then, CRANN has developed from that small cluster of PIs into a national leading and internationally competitive research institute with 18 PIs and a total of over 250 researchers. CRANN is co-host to CCAN, the Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology which facilitates industry collaboration to develop nano-enabled solutions for Irish-based companies.
Nanotechnology is a key enabling technology which underpins the ICT, medical device, and pharmaceutical sectors and hence is critical to Ireland. At present it is estimated that 10% - approximately €15 billion - of Ireland's annual exports are associated with nanotechnology and that there are in excess of 150,000 employees working in companies in which nanotechnology plays an important enabling role.