CONCEPT NOTE FOR NANO RESEARCH GROUP UNN
Nanotechnology (NT) is the manipulation of materials or devices to bring them to the nanometer scale (one billionth of a meter), which is at the level of individual atoms and molecules. This is considered to be the next fundamental revolution in technology, since it empowers and enables the structuring of matter to the level of fundamental building blocks. This could be disruptive technologies, where significant new capabilities and industrial systems bring large-scale changes, which may result in the advancement of the society or may be creating new problems. It is diverse and cut across traditional boundaries between academic disciplines due to new needs and professions. It involves researchers, students, and teachers with a goal of connecting and integrating several academic fields, professions, or technologies in the pursuit of a common task. NT will impact diverse areas such as materials science, biotechnology, manufacturing, electronics, medicine, and information technology.
We intend to form a university based nano research group with the view develop new materials to tackle the challenges on energy, health and environment. The group will be drawn from a spectrum of scientists ranging from physical sciences, biological sciences, engineering, pharmaceutical sciences to medicine. The multidisciplinary research approaches expected will lead to new discoveries which will put the university in the global world map of the new technology.
The Nano-Research group of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka is currently working on some nano science projects to meet with the challenges associated with energy generation and storage, environmental and health issues. Some of the areas include dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC), thin film solar cells, electrodes for supercapacitors, battery, electrochromic devices, gas sensors, nanoparticles for bio-imaging, drug delivery, biomaterials, etc.
- Name: UNN NANO RESEARCH GROUP
- Research focus: Basic nanoscience and nanotechnology research as well as applied research in the areas of applications of nanoscience and nanotechnology to energy, health and environment.
- Composition of the Group and brief CVs of the members. To be sent later as wider consultation with members is required.
- Coordinator of the Research Group : this will be coordinated for now by Dr. Fabian I. Ezema, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Univeristy of Nigeria, Nsukka
Members of the group include but not limited to:
- Prof R.U. Osuji Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Prof. A.A. Attama, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutics
- Prof. DON Obikwelu Engineering, Metullugical & Materials Engineering
- Prof C.M.I. Okoye, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Dr. F.I. Ezema, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Dr. P.O. Nnamani, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutics
- Dr. P.A. Akpa, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutics
- Dr. P.M. Ejiekeme, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry
- Julia Agwu, Biological Sciences, Zoology
- Camilus Obayi, Engineering, Metullugical & Materials Engineering
- Chinwe Nwanya, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Solomon Offiah, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Kenneth Ugwu, Biological Sciences, Microbiology,
- Dr. G.A. Okafor, Agriculture, Food Science and Technology
- Dr. E.A. Eze, Biological Sciences, Microbiology,
The scientific merit
Traditionally solar cells are made from either silicon or a ruthenium compound. Unfortunately, ruthenium is relatively rare (a rare Earth element) and will not ‘scale’ to produce the enormous quantities needed for solar energy production. Silicon is what is used now, but silicon is relatively expensive to manufacture, so scientists have been looking for alternatives. Such alternatives include DSSC and thin film solar cells. Though the efficiencies achieved so far with DSSC and thin film solar cells are lower than what is obtainable using silicon based solar cell but they are cheaper and easier to fabricate. Energy storage in super capacitors traditional uses carbon electrodes due to its porosity. Research has shown that other porous thin film materials can replace carbon electrodes and give similar or even better results hence the need to explore other materials that can be applied as electrodes in super capacitors. Electrochromic devices are important for energy savings in buildings and cars while gas sensors are important to avoid environmental hazards due to gas leakages.
Bioimaging has received particular attention as an essential tool in the field of biomedical research through the observation of biological phenomena both in vivo and in vitro systems. Real-time imagings of biological reactions and intra-cellular kinetics have been carried out using this technique. The use of NIR light in the wavelength region between 800 and 2000 nm for biomedical photonics attracts great interest. This is due to the so-called biological window located at the NIR region of the spectrum between 800 and 2000nm, characterized by minimal absorbance and auto fluorescence of water and biological tissues. This window is very important since fluorescence imaging is expected and upconversion phosphors (UCPs) utilize this window by absorbing NIR-light followed by the emission of visible light used for bioimaging.
Over the past 50 years, prostheses and implants have been designed, developed and deployed in various medical applications to save and prolong the life of millions of humans around the globe. These implants or human spare parts or artificial organs are made from various biomaterials such as metals, ceramics, polymers and composites and deployed to interface with human biological systems to treat cardiovascular, orthopaedic and other diseases.
The major clinical complications for the current biomaterials and implants still reside in an interfacial mismatch between the implant surface and the natural living tissue surrounding it. The success of medical implants is governed by extent of the living tissue-implant surface interaction or biocompatibility, which is a surface phenomenon. This surface phenomenon which comprises chemistry, energy, charge, wettability and topography (roughness), determines the extent of cell adhesion, protein adsorption, tissue healing rate, biocompatibility and biofunctionality. Since the human tissues naturally exist on the nanometre scale, the implant surface must be tailored to be on the same scale for better host-implant interactions or biocompatibilities.
Owing to the cost there is the need to develop cost effective excipient for the delivery of the ACT in nanoparticle formulation, and that necessitated the need for the research. The use of natural polymeric excipients in drug formulation and research has increased in recent years owing to their high freedom of design.