Wellington nanotechnology researchers have won a $6.7 million investment from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST).
Victoria University has been awarded contracts for research into the use of magnetic nanoparticles for bio-nanotechnology and for new materials for radiation imaging, while GNS Science will work on magnetic nanocluster bands with potential uses in magnetic sensors, miniature motors and data storage devices.
Nanotechnology is directed at the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, generally 100 nanometres or smaller, and the fabrication of devices or materials within that size range.
The first Victoria University contract is worth $1.8 million over four years and the second $3.8 million over four years. The GNS Science contract is worth $1 million over three years.
Ninety six contestable research projects were announced today in FRST's main 2008 investment round.
The GNS Science project, "Devices from Magnetic Nanocluster Bands", focuses on nanometre-size clusters of magnetic atoms embedded within a non-magnetic substrate. Due in part to quantum effects occurring at this scale, magnetic nanocluster bands have recognised novel applications as magnetic sensors, catalysts and biomedical devices as well as applications in more traditional materials such as high-density magnetic storage media and high performance permanent magnets.
The director of GNS Science's National Isotope Centre, Frank Bruhn, says the research programme would help make New Zealand a niche leader in the global magnetic nanomaterials sector, presently valued at $4 billion.