Nanotechnology and nanomaterials


Nanotechnology has been labelled the new technology of the 21st century, comparable to the invention of electricity. The driving force is mainly the recent discoveries that matter change properties and behavior in the small nanoscale.

For example there has been observed size and structure dependant changes optical, electrical, interfacial and tensional properties. Further, the reactivity, for example the catalytic activity of nanomaterials is often superior to their larger counterparts.

By tuning the physical structure and chemical composition of nanomaterials it is thus possible to manufacture novel functional materials that can have huge beneficial impacts on solving some of the grand challenges of the society, e.g. energy production and storage, water treatment, lighter and stronger vehicles, better health care, efficient computers, etc.


The enormous investments in nanotechnology, will take a number of nanoparticles that are currently explored in labs to mass markets. Nanoparticles will become more abundant in work environments, consumer products and the environment. There are a number of reasons for concern of the hazard potential of nanoparticles: the high reactivity may lead to adverse biological effects, nanoparticles are comparable in size to some of the structures in cells, small enough to be mobile and a few example of penetration of biological barriers and most nanomaterials are persistent.

Therefore in order to promote a sustainable development of nanotechnologies and safeguard the human health and eco-systems it is necessary to assess the risks side-by-side with the nanotechnology research and development. Otherwise there is a risk that there will be a public opinion against all kinds of nanotechnologies and thus society will lose the beneficial impacts.

Page Manager: Robert Karlsson|Last update: 11/17/2014

University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. What are cookies?