Nanomaterials Engineering for Sustainable Technologies
Welcome to the NEST, a research lab on Nanomaterials Engineering for Sustainable Technologies, based in Aarhus, Denmark. We hope you will find here useful info about us and what we do.
Nanomaterials are materials with dimensions smaller than 100 nm that exhibit unique properties. Nanomaterials have already shown their relevance in multiple fields of applications: catalysis, chemical synthesis, energy conversion, sensing, water/air treatment, optics, medicine (diagnostics and treatments) or even construction, to name only a few examples. It must also be kept in mind that they can be toxic and detrimental to the environment. In order to make the most of the unique opportunities offered by nanomaterials in a safe(r) and (more) sustainable way, controlled syntheses and production methods are key, as well as controlled processing of the nanomaterials. Understanding how nanomaterials evolve, age or degrade during utilisation is also important to propose mitigation strategies. Ultimately, recycling of the nanomaterials is also a must in order to develop a circular economy around nanomaterials.
Our research focus is on colloidal nanoparticles obtained by wet-chemical methods for applications in catalysis. In particular, we have interest on precious metals, which are critical expensive raw materials but relevant catalysts for multiple chemical reactions and also model systems to understand, control and tune the formation of nanomaterials. Our drive is sustainability at broad. Sadly, this can be challenging to achieve with precious metals. In order to reach this goal we focus on developing simple(r) syntheses for several reasons:
(1) Simple(r) syntheses are much needed model systems to better understand nanomaterial synthesis and/or their applications. See here.
(2) Simple(r) syntheses lead to materials that are ideal building blocks to develop increasingly complex nanomaterials in a controlled way. See here.
(3) Simple(r) syntheses are usually more energy, chemical and cost efficient. See here.
(4) The breakthroughs achieved with simple(r) syntheses are ultimately more likely to be scalable and the findings relevant to industry. See here.
An important starting point for us is to develop surfactant-free syntheses of nanomaterials, using as few chemicals as possible, as environmentally friendly chemicals as possible, and optimize nanomaterials synthesis at room or low temperature (< 100 °C). The materials so obtained are directly relevant for multiple applications that we started to explore.