Nanoscience and Technology
Nanoscience is the study and development—on a scale of 1/10,000 the diameter of a human hair—of new materials and machines. The ability to build things atom by atom or molecule by molecule will revolutionize the production of virtually every human-made object. But much work remains to be done on understanding the special rules that control behaviour at this small scale and on integrating these concepts into practical devices.
Researchers from several Faculties are known for their expertise in nanotechnology, microdevice fabrication, high-speed photonics devices, and nanoscale physics. Nanoscience expertise was initially centred in electrical and computer engineering and has expanded to include scientists in physics, chemistry, and oncology. Research is taking place on thin film microstructures, ultrafast microscopy, laser-plasma nanolithography processes, nanoscale materials and analysis, and microfluidics systems.
The Nanoscience Group was instrumental in establishing the $7-million Nano- and MicroFabrication Facility, the top facility in Canada for this innovative work. Its principal investigators have also developed some very successful commercial products (SIMBAD, Microfluidics Toolkit), played a key role in start-up companies (Micralyne, Big Bangwidth), and collaborated with or received funding from companies around the world.
Headed by Dr Andriy Kovalenko, the Theory and Modelling Group at NINT is a multidisciplinary group of scientists who have been developing theory, modeling, and simulation of nanosystems on multiple length and time scales.
The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta announced in August 2001 the creation of the $120-million National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), located at the University of Alberta.
Funded and operated jointly by the National Research Council (NRC), the Province of Alberta, and the University of Alberta, NINT is an integrated, multidisciplinary institution whose national mandate is to conduct molecular and nano-scale technology research, development, and commercialization focusing on the following major sectors:
- Life Sciences
- Energy and materials
- Information and communications technology