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14 JANUARY 2014

Nanoscience with a Big Impact: IAEA joins 3rd Nano Today Conference

Nanoscience with a Big ImpactAn International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representative from the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications (NA) joined over 300 participants from 45 countries at the 3rd Nano Today Conference held from 8-11 December 2013 in Biopolis, Singapore. Organized by the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Singapore) and the International Rapid Reviews Journal, Nano Today, the biennial conference established a platform for experts and researchers to present important findings and research in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Among the poster presentations at the conference was "The role of the IAEA in coordinating research in radiation-engineered nanomaterials". The poster provided a comprehensive overview of the unique role played by radiation in engineering nanomaterials, as well as the IAEA's implementation activities relating to nanotechnologies, particularly Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs).

"This conference is very important to the IAEA", said Ms Agnes Safrany, Acting Head of the Radioisotope Products and Radiation Technology Section. "Radiation-engineering is generally not among the main topics at conferences on nanotechnology and, often, other participants are not aware of the benefits of this approach. Our presence here helps to generate a lot of interest from researchers in the field, who then return home to their institutions after learning how to participate in our activities."

Among such activities are the IAEA's CRPs, several of which have handled issues relating to nanotechnology. The nanotechnology projects have been diverse in scope ranging from research on the development of scratch and abrasion resistant coatings to nanoscale delivery systems for radiopharmaceuticals. In each CRP the IAEA serves as the main coordinating body, with a group of institutions conducting the research.

"In terms of radiation-engineering on the nanoscale, the IAEA continues to be one of the main international coordinating bodies", Ms Safrany explained, "but there are a number of institutions in the IAEA Member States that have the radiation facilities and advanced knowledge necessary to conduct this important research. Conferences such as Nano Today provide an opportunity to reach out to potential collaborators."

Other areas covered at the conference ranged from nanomaterials for environmental applications to nanosystems for diagnostic applications. The wide breadth of the field generated a diverse group of participants and speakers, with 22 invited speakers from eight countries.

Background:

Nanotechnology is the understanding and controlled manipulation or self-assembly of individual atoms, molecules or molecular clusters into structures to create materials and devices at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. Through the use of Nanotechnology, scientists have the potential to generate innovative and enhanced polymers through a process of fabrication. Nanotechnologies' can be utilized in a vast range of areas, from the removal of arsenic from drinking water to the creation of alternative energy sources. The IAEA focuses on the use of radiation technologies for the creation and characterization of new functional materials on the nanoscale.

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