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October 23rd, 2007
Nanotechnology enters the unexplored
One of science's newest frontiers is tiny - and in this case, size is exactly what matters. As national interest in nanotechnology has increased, a Brown interdisciplinary research team has been looking at so-called "green" nanomaterials to gather more data on their toxicity in consumer products and to find new medical applications. Their research will be part of the work of the University's Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation, which was formed in May to unite the resources from different disciplines involved in nanomaterial research.
Nanomaterials are particles between 0 and 100 nanometers, putting them on the same scale as DNA molecules. Unique properties often emerge when common substances are studied on the nano scale that differ greatly from those normally observed in the substance. Constant development of new nanomaterial formulations means that there are hundreds of new substances available for research.
Last May, the Corporation, the University's top governing body, approved the creation of the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation. The institute, chaired by Professor of Engineering Robert Hurt, includes 55 faculty members and has a wing in the Metcalf Research Laboratory.
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