Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale, or in simple terms, ‘engineering at a very small scale’. Groundbreaking research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology has been taking place in Scotland since the 1980s.
Scotland is home to some nano "superstars" who head up world-renowned research groups at Scottish universities.
The country is also home to home-grown spin-out companies and international players, such as:
- Rolls Royce
- Kelvin Nanotechnology
- BAE Systems
As the nanotechnology sector grows the stronger, so does the scope of Scotland's nanotechnology potential.
What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology helps to create smaller, cheaper, lighter and faster devices that can be applied in more intelligent ways than their predecessors. Nano products tend to use less raw materials to produce and consume less energy to run.
For example, nano-developed coatings can repel dirt and reduce the need for harmful cleaning agents, or prevent the spread of hospital-borne infections.
A more widespread application of nanotechnology is the develpoment of mobile phones, which have become smaller whilst growing in speed and intelligence - and which are now cheaper to make.