Part of the Nanotechnology glossary:

A nanocrystal is a crystalline particle with at least one dimension measuring less than 1000 nanometers (nm), where 1 nm is defined as 1 thousand-millionth of a meter (10-9 m).

Nanocrystals have a wide variety of proven and potential applications. They have been used in the manufacture of filters that refine crude oil into diesel fuel. Nanocrystals can also be layered and applied to flexible substrates to produce solar panels. Research at the University of Queensland (Australia) have yielded promising results in this field. Titania nanocrystals can be suspended in liquid form and applied to surfaces, making it possible to literally paint a solar panel onto an exterior wall or roof.

Possible future uses of nanocrystals include:

  • Production of hydrogen
  • Removal of pollutants and toxins
  • Medical imaging
  • Bio-tags for gene identification
  • Drug manufacture
  • Protein analysis
  • Flat-panel displays
  • Illumination
  • Optical and infrared lasers
  • Optoisolators
  • Magneto-optical memory chips
  • Self-organized smart materials.

NanoCrystal® is also a registered trademark of Elan Pharma International Ltd. (Ireland) for a technology that improves the bioavailability of drugs by rendering them as nanoscale particles that can be suspended in liquids, made into powder, pressed into tablets or encapsulated.

Learn More About IT:
> Nanocrystal Imaging Corporation conducts research and development in nanocrystal technology.
> Researchers at the University of Queensland (Australia) have grown titanium oxide nanocrystals that may be useful in alternative energy production.
> A technical overview of titania nanocrystal technology has been published.
> Elan Pharma International Ltd. describes its NanoCrystal® technology.

This was last updated in June 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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