“Nanotechnology is creating quite unique opportunities for sustainable development”
Hi there Maria Strømme, Professor in nanotechnology, and participating in the Kvalitetsmässan, a conference on AI, nanotechnology and cyber-attacks among other topics, on 12 – 14 November in Gothenburg. You will be speaking as part of the theme track “Digitisation and trends in the future”. What will your talk be about?
“I will be talking about how we can use nanotechnology to determine what properties a material has. Nanotechnology is creating quite unique opportunities for sustainable development in all areas in which we use materials. I will also be describing examples of how we will be able to use nanotechnology to treat cancer more successfully, diagnose diseases before we get symptoms, and teach our bodies to rejuvenate themselves. The list of benefits of nanotechnology can be made long: we can create environment-friendly, smart packaging, give our clothes brand new properties, and make wound plasters that guide wounds on how to heal faster. Finally, I am going to show pictures from the world’s first Formula 1 race with nanocars.”
Nanotechnology almost sounds like a universal miracle worker – is it?
“Because nanotechnology gives us quite unique possibilities for determining the properties of materials, this technology is in fact a kind of universal miracle worker in all areas where we use materials. And we have materials all around us, of course. Our cars, computers, clothing, medicines and even our bodies – they are all made of materials.”
What do you think the biggest challenges are for nanotechnology moving forward? And what are the areas in which nanotechnology is achieving the greatest successes today?
“The biggest challenges as I see it are about getting the development of this technology to move ahead fast enough. That way we can offer all the tools that we humans need to be able to transition to sustainable development at every level: in industry, in the community, and for our own personal health.
“Nanotechnology is achieving great success in lots of areas such as drug development, diagnostics, and energy technologies to name a few. I’m not mentioning IT development here because it’s so obvious in that area. The transistor, which today is perhaps the world’s most widespread nanoobject, has enabled our entire information revolution.”
Where does your own research focus lie at the moment?
“My group is conducting research in five main areas. On the one hand, we are developing new types of nanoporous materials for a big variety of industrial applications. One such is the material called Upsalite. And then we are also developing electrical energy storage based on green materials. The paper battery that BillerudKorsnäs is now scaling up is an example of such an energy storage device. We are also developing new cellulose nanostructures for applications in biotechnology and life sciences ranging from virus filtering to wound care.”
“In addition we are investigating new ways of using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as it is now called, to be able to create drugs adapted to the individual directly in the clinic, and even develop new diagnostic methods for antibiotic resistance.”