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Precious Metals Research | Nano Bugle

Tag Archives: Precious metals research

Nanotechnology Research around the world. This week: South Africa

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Stellenbosch University Water Institute

South Africa faces formidable and unprecedented challenges in meeting the rising demand for potable water. Their available supplies of fresh water are decreasing due to extended droughts, deteriorating water quality, more stringent health-based regulations, and competing demands from a variety of users. Moreover, increased pollution of groundwater and surface water from a wide variety of industrial, municipal and agricultural sources has seriously tainted water quality.

In response to these water challenges, the Stellenbosch University Water Institute was established in 2010 to collaborate with government and industry. This multidisciplinary research unites microbiologists, polymer scientists, engineers, earth scientists, biochemists, aquaculture specialists, biologists, soil scientists, etc, all towards one goal: to solve water related challenges, to provide technology transfer and to develop human resources.

Through a focus on water, issues such as health, effluent treatment, agriculture, food, a sustainable environment, nanotechnology and filtration are addressed. This includes topics such as biofouling and biocorrosion control, community health, financial-economic planning of water use, endocrine disruptors, hydrodynamics, water engineering, catchment and resource management, invasion biology, the geochemical evolution of water and waste waters, etc.

Innovation holds the key to the mitigation all of these problems, ranging from unsophisticated technologies to high-tech nanotechnology solutions. In this area, the Institute has recently patented a portable, easy-to-use and environment-friendly water filter bag (like a tea bag) filled with active carbon granules that remove harmful chemicals like endocrine disruptors. Each “tea bag” filter can clean the most polluted water to the point where it is 100% safe to drink. The sachet combines years of fundamental research on water purification, nanotechnology and food microbiology in a practical way.

More information:

Professor Eugene Cloete

Faculty of Science

Stellenbosch University

Edificio Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz,

Private Bag X1

Matieland, 7602

South Africa



Nanotechnology Research around the world. This week: Taiwan

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The Nano Facility Center at the National Chiao Tung University.

The Nano Facility Center at the National Chiao Tung University.In 1960, the establishment of the “Far-East Communication Training Center” by the Institute of Electronics, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), on the Po-Ai campus with funding support from the United Nations Special Fund (UNSF), not only started the persistent and renowned academic achievements of NCTU in microelectronics, but also seeded the development of semiconductor science and technology in Taiwan, which was vital for the success of modern IC industry. Since then, NCTU strived to seek and recruit experts in the field from around the world to join and add to the pioneering R&D work being done at the center, which later evolved and became the “Semiconductor Research Center (SRC),” the predecessor of the Nano Facility Center.

Since it was founded, the center has trained about 200 masters and 50 PhDs each year, provided about 50,000 technical and processing services, trained 1,600 graduate students as well as providing the technical consulting, services and training for an additional 500 graduate students each year

The main objective of this center is to educate hi-tech professionals in demand in both the academic and industrial fields, which will consequently promote academic research in electronics and forward the development of IC industry. The duties include:
1.Training professionals in device processing, VLSI design and fabrication, semiconductor physics, device modeling and characterization, etc..
2.Advancing the domestic development of microelectronics-related technology.
3.Providing technical services for domestic researchers related to semiconductor field.

Currently, the Center is researching 6 different nanotechnology lines: IC Technology, Compound Semiconductor Technology, Display Technology, Packaging and Testing Technology, MEMS Technology and Optical Systems.

With the support of the Center, the researchers published about 150 papers and National Chiao Tung University published the most papers in the world in IEEE Transactions on Electron Device (ED) and Electron Device Letters (EDL) among all research organizations in 1995.

The Nano Facility Center at National Chiao Tung University, which has long been one of domestic laboratories with the best equipment and manpower in semiconductors, will continue to seek prominence with the objective of providing the best education, training, and services in semiconductor technology to favor research advancement in the field and consequentially, promote industry advancement.

More information:
Nano Facility Center
National Chiao Tung University

Nanotechnology Research around the world. This week: South Africa

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The Nanotechnology Unit of the Advanced Materials Division at Mintek Research Center (South Africa)

Mintek, South Africa’s national mineral research organisation, is one of the world’s leading technology organisations specialising in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and other related areas. Working closely with industry and other R&D institutions, Mintek provides service test work, process development and optimisation, consulting and innovative products to international clients.

Mintek is an autonomous statutory organisation, which reports to the Minister of Minerals and Energy. About 35 per cent of the annual budget (R290 million) is funded by the State Science Vote with the balance provided by contract R&D, sales of products and services, technology licensing agreements, and joint-venture private sector companies.

Mintek has about 780 permanent staff members, over half of whom are scientists, engineers and other technical R&D specialists.

The Advanced Materials Division (AMD) is a dynamic and multi-disciplinary division that addresses the need
for specific research into the end-use of metals in the manufacturing, fabrication and mining industries. AMD combines the skills of highly qualified and experienced researchers with a comprehensive variety of specialised equipment, some of which is unique in South Africa, and undertakes contract research and development as well as fundamental research in the following areas:

  • Precious metals research
  • Ferrous and base metal research and development
  • Metallurgical service work for complex and difficult problems

The Nanotechnology Unit of the Advanced Materials Division has the following expertise:

  • Precious metal nanostructure synthesis
  • Metal/polymer nanocomposite synthesis
  • Commercial volumes of precious metal nanostructures
  • Electrochemically-based systems for sensor applications

One of the key activities of the Unit is “Project AuTEK Nanoscience & Nanotechnology”. Project AuTEK is focused on exploiting the remarkable properties of gold on the nanoscale to develop biomedical and environmental
diagnostic devices. There are three main research areas within the programme: biolabels, sensing platforms and nanostructures.

The programme is extensively networked both nationally and internationally, and brings together a multitude of disciplines. Physicists, chemists, chemical engineers, biologists and mathematicians are brought together to work on specific research themes within the programme, creating a melting pot of new ideas and solutions to old problems.

More information:

Dr Robert Tshikhudo

Advanced Materials Division, Mintek

Randburg, South Africa