Public Release:  AIT unveils portfolio of 16 nanotechnology products

Solar water purifier, fingerprint identification, gas sensors features in the list

Asian Institute of Technology

A whopping portfolio of 16 Nanotechnology products and processes were unveiled at the event titled "Nanotechnology Portfolio Release" organized to mark the fifty-second anniversary celebrations of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). Releasing the portfolio, Director, Center of Excellence in Nanotechnology (CoEN) at AIT, Prof. Joydeep Dutta said this set of products and processes demonstrates potential development of Thailand as a major hub of research in Nanotechnology.

Unveiling the products developed at AIT, which range from hand-held solar water purifiers to gas sensors as well as processes for fingerprint identification to metal ion sensing in polluted water, Prof. Dutta, who is also the Vice President for Academic Affairs at AIT, stated that the portfolio release is a culmination of five years of extensive research in the Center of Excellence which is a part of the Nationwide centers promoted by National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). Four patents for these products have been applied, while another seven other technologies have been demonstrated successfully. Others have been completed, and are ready for patenting and market release.

Elaborating on the practice applications developed by CoEN, Prof. Dutta stated that the Center has demonstrated the use of sunlight for purifying water. "Most studies so far either work on the use of ultraviolet light or involve a suspension of nanoparticles but the AIT research group has dispensed with both." The Nanoparticle-based water purifier needs no electricity to operate and is a handheld device, he added.

Another example is the fingerprint identification technology where nanoparticles attach only to the ridges of the finger, and leave very little residue. Nanoparticles applied on fingers enhance contrast, making the process simpler and easier. The technique can also be used on wet surfaces, unlike traditional fingerprinting.

The LPG gas based sensor seeks to minimize explosive gas-related accidents and is a high density, low power device. Additional innovations are self-cleaning surfaces which could be applied immediately, dispensing with the need to clean building surfaces. This can lead to savings spent in maintenance and repair of these surfaces.

Another interesting product is the nanoparticle inkjet printer which is suitable for regular laboratory use. Photocatalytic paper is a type of paper that is reusable and has lower ink absorbency. This paper is low cost and environmentally friendly. Nano solar cells are a product which are low cost and represent an efficient and cost-effective energy source.

"All these products and processes have been developed within five years of establishment of CoEN," Prof. Dutta said. AIT's CoEN is one of the eight centers of Excellence under Thailand National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC). Prof. Dutta thanked National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and NANOTEC for collaborating with AIT's CoEN.

Speaking on the occasion Prof. Sirirug Songsivilai Executive Director, NANOTEC/NSTDA remarked that Thailand is now one of the players in the field of Nanotechnology. He complimented AIT and CoEN for developing these projects adding that the list of achievements in such a short span of five years was very impressive.

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