UVA Working On New Science Frontier

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

It's called the nanoscale, measured in nanometers, billionths of a meter.

“Imagine something that is one millionth of the thickness of the human hair," said NanoQuest Director, Robert Hull.

Nanotechnology uses these tiny measures in manipulating and building different molecular structures, changing them to objects with different properties.

"As things get small, then a new kind of phenomenon comes into play," said NanoQuest Associate Director, Ian Harrison

It may seem like a foreign form of science, but it's used in many things today. Nanotechnology makes smaller, faster computers possible. It also has many other practical uses, such as stain resistant clothing and cosmetics.

The University of Virginia's Nanoquest Institute continually works to explore the full capabilities in nanotechnology. In one lab, researchers use lasers to understand molecular properties so they can manipulate them.

"There's a possibility for making things smaller, faster, cheaper, better. All at the same time," said Hull.

In the future - researchers believe there's no limit to what nanotechnology can do.

"I'm exciting about everything in nanotechnology," said Hull. "I really believe there's massive opportunities in virtually every industry."

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