National Institute for Nanotechnology
The National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) was established in 2001 and is operated as a partnership between the National Research Council and the University of Alberta. Many NINT researchers are affiliated with both the National Research Council and University of Alberta.
NINT, Canada's flagship nanotechnology institute, aims to establish Alberta as a leading centre of innovation and commercial enterprise in the field of nanotechnology. Its funding comes from the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, and the University of Alberta. The 200,000 square metre NINT building is one of the most technologically advanced research facilities in the world and houses the characterization suite, which is one of the quietest laboratory spaces in Canada. The building was officially opened in 2006.
NINT is a unique, integrated, multidisciplinary institute involving researchers from fields such as physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, informatics, pharmacy, and medicine. The main focus of the research being done at NINT is the integration of nano-scale devices and materials into complex nanosystems that can be put to practical use. Nanotechnology is a relatively new field of research, so people at NINT are working to discover "design rules" for nanotechnology and to develop platforms for building nanosystems and materials that can be constructed and programmed for a particular application. NINT aims to increase knowledge and support innovation in the area of nanotechnology, as well as to create work that will have long-term relevance and value for Alberta and Canada.
Nanotechnology allows for the fabrication of new materials and devices by manipulating individual atoms and molecules. In the past twenty years, techniques have been developed that allow scientists to directly image, characterize, and manipulate individual atoms and molecules. Researchers are now investigating ways in which to assemble different types of nano-particles and devices into more complex systems that can perform useful functions. This involves atom-by-atom design and construction of tiny structures that are typically one to ten nanometres in size. These devices, with their new properties, have powerful applications in areas such as medicine, biotechnology, energy, computing, and telecommunications.
The NINT Business Development Office provides assistance to Edmonton-based nanotechnology firms. It aims to create a cluster of nanotechnology business centred around NINT, which will foster collaboration between companies while assisting with research expertise.
The research groups at NINT include:
- Devices and Sensors
- Engineered Materials for Energy
- Electron Microscopy
- Materials and Interfacial Chemistry
- Molecular Scale Devices
- Nano Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal, and Social Issues (NEELS)
- Nano Life Sciences
- Supramolecular Nanoscale Assembly
- Theory, Modeling, and Simulation on Multiple Scales
To find out more about NINT, please visit its website.