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Big money for tiny particles

Press release issued: 23 May 2002

Media release
Big money for tiny particles

Part of a £4.4 million grant has been awarded to chemists at Bristol University for nanoparticle research that could revolutionise healthcare, household and industrial products.

Nanoparticles are minute particles - less than a billionth of a metre in size - and nanotechnology is about making new materials using nanoparticles as building blocks.

Nanotechnology has been described as the driver of the next industrial revolution and has opened up new worlds of possibility, but it is still very much in its infancy. In the bio-medical sciences nanotechnology concerns gene therapy, drug delivery and novel drug discovery techniques. In the chemical industry it involves developing new products with unusual properties.

The commercial exploitation of nano-sized particles requires cheap, reliable methods of preparing them. But as yet, the methods used in laboratories do not lend themselves to production on an industrial scale. The government is therefore supporting research in this area by encouraging universities and industry to collaborate on such projects.

A successful bid for £2.2 m was granted by the government to the ACORN consortium. It was supported by another £2.2 m from 15 industrial partners. Almost half a million of this award will come to researchers Professor Terence Cosgrove, Dr Julian Eastoe and Dr Jason Riley of the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

Professor Cosgrove's group will look at adding nanoparticles to plastics, making them easier for industry to process. Dr Riley's research will investigate how plastics could be made to conduct electricity, by coating them with nano-sized metal particles. The development of new methods of preparing nanoparticles will also be part of Bristol's research programme.

The ACORN consortium will be managed by the group at Bristol. It also involves Birmingham, Leeds, Loughborough, Newcastle, UMIST and Manchester universities.

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Thursday, 23-May-2002 10:25:32 BST

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