report Micro, Nano & Materials
Lifely discussions in the aula of the FHNW between posters and food

Lifely discussions in the aula of the FHNW between posters and food


From coloured e-readers to viscosity sensors – highlights of i-net’s «Innovation Landscape Nano»

Which nano-projects perform companies as BASF, Roche and SKAN together with universities and institutes? Over 120 curious participants came to the University of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) Muttenz, to view the landscape and discuss posters and exhibits of CSEM, University of Applied Science and the Swiss NanoScience Institute. Prior to this event, 30 participants took the chance to visit the Nano-laboratories with state-of-the art instruments.

In his opening speech, Thomas Weber, Regierungsrat Baselland, emphasized not only how important innovation is, but also the importance to provide support to innovation and promote the attractiveness of the region. Falko Schlottig, the new director of the Life Science Department of the University of Applied Science and Christian Bosshard, director of CSEM Muttenz, welcomed the participants too and presented the strengths of their institutions.

Nano-particles for e-readers? How does this work? Basically, charged nanoparticles with an attached dye move in an electric field to be visible or invisible. Reinhold Öhrlein (BASF), Christelle Jablonski (FHNW) and Zbigniew Szamel (CSEM) explained the chemical challenges, the colourful effects and the collaboration of the team [A 8.3]*.

Can a tiny cantilever measure viscosity and density in fluids? Thomas Braun explained the oscillations, the frequencies and the damping very illustratively – comparisons with guitar strings came to mind. The advantages: minimal volume down to 1microliters and within seconds. Applications are seen in fast measurements of aggregation, e.g. proteins, and polymerization [A 7.7]*.

Single-cell nanoanalytics means the picking, lysis and analysis of one individual cell as Gregor Dernick (Roche) explained. The method avoids the averaging and «biological noise» if many cells are analysed together. The method is further optimised for nanomechanical viscosimetry, reverse phase protein arrays and high-speed atomic force microscopy [A 9.12]*.

SKAN is a hidden champion from Allschwil. The company is a global leader for so-called isolators, which are in principle large boxes for aseptic handling and filling of pharmaceutical products. Hydrogenperoxid gas (H2O2) is used for sterilisation, but this has to be removed quickly and completely. A new catalyst based on nano-silver is the outcome of this successful project [A 8.7]*.

What are «Smart materials»? Peter Seitz presented two examples: mechanosensitive vesicles to deliver the drug right at the critical artery and a membrane glucose sensor for premature babies. The National Research Programm 62 about smart materials delivered surprising results. And sometimes even «bad» first evaluations of a project yielded great results – with persistence and creativity. See the video collection of all NRP projects here.

The Swiss NanoScience Institute (SNI) has an important role in fostering science and collaboration. Director Christian Schönenberger introduced different partners as Paul-Scherrer-Institute, University of Basel and University of Applied Science, but also the funding possibilities by NanoArgovia. In fact, four of the presented projects have been financed by NanoArgovia and the SNI greatly supported i-net in the selection of presentations for this fascinating «Innovation Landscape Nano».

*Note: The brackets [ ] indicate the NanoArgovia project number. More details about the projects are found in the supplement of the annual SNI report 2014

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