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(Feature) Nanotechnology R&D: One of DOST’s priorities

By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, May 14, (PNA) — One of the priorities of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is with regard to nanotechnology research and development (R&D).

In fact, last year, it has put up a nanotechnology laboratory, a class 100K-certified and Electrostatic Discharge compliant one. Furthermore, it has invited partners (academe, industry, other sectors) to be with them in advancing nano R&D in the Philippines.

But what is nanotechnology? DOST describes it as the study and manipulation of matter at a scale of 1-1000 nanometers. Nanotechnology involves the design, characterization and production of structures, devices and systems with unique properties, by fine-tuning the physical, chemical and mechanical and optical properties of materials at the nano-scale to achieve specific properties.

Yes, the definition sounds too technical. The DOST says that basically, nanotechnology enables materials to be stronger, lighter, more durable, more reactive, and better electrical conductors.

Thus, having the facility is a step to the DOST’s goal to provide a world-class nanotechnology laboratory in the country.

ITDI’s Materials Science Division (MSD) is in charge of implementing the project, which is funded by the Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Research & Development.

DOST-ITDI takes pride of the equipment available in the facility. These include a high resolution Field Emission Transmission Electron Microscope with high resolution Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope imaging, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, Atomic Force Microscope with Electron Microscope, X-ray diffractometer, X-ray fluorescence, Dynamic Light Scattering Particle size analyzer, Particle surface area measurement. These are all capable of characterizing materials at nano-level.

Programmable vacuum mixer and dispenser, nano-spray dryer, twin-screw extruder with pelletizer, electro-spinning apparatus have also been installed for the production and processing of nanomaterials and nanocomposites.

Through these acquisitions, MSD researchers were able to develop several creations. Among these are rubber-silicate nanocomposites using natural rubber and locally-synthesized nano-clay for rubber-based sports products; cellulose acetate-based membrane using electrospinning for nano filtration; and dome-type ceramic water filter with nano anti-microbial agent. (PNA)


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