Some people say nanotechnology is the next scientific revolution. It could mean faster computers, cures for cancer and solutions to the energy crisis.

Some people say nanotechnology is the next scientific revolution. It could mean faster computers, cures for cancer and solutions to the energy crisis.

Prof Valeria Nicolosi

Principal Investigator, Nanoscience

So what is nanotechnology exactly?

Nanotechnology involves the use of tiny particles, about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a single human hair. At this small scale, many common materials exhibit unusual properties, such as remarkably lower resistance to electricity, lower melting points or faster chemical reactions. 

We hear about nanotechnology in the media a lot. Is it really that cool?

Well, some people have heralded it as the next scientific revolution, with promises of faster computers, cures for cancer and solutions to the energy crisis, to name a few.

Crucially, when we talk about materials so tiny in size every single atom counts.

How do you go about studying these materials?

Crucially, when we talk about materials so tiny in size every single atom counts. So I use very powerful electron microscopes to view the nano-world in a way that’s sharp, detailed and incredibly interesting. 

What’s your specific area of research?

I focus on processing and characterising nanomaterials atom-by-atom for the development of more efficient energy storage devices. Climate change and the decreasing availability of fossil fuels require society to move towards sustainable and renewable resources. Energy storage will be an important part of that shift. 

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