Focus on Small – special session on ‘Micro- & Nanofabrication in Start-Up & SMEs’

M. Hull, J. Lead
VirginiaTech & NanoSafe; South Carolina University,
United States

Keywords: remediation, nanoscience


Oil spill recovery and remediation remains a significant problem. Initial academic developments began in very different areas, with synthesis and characterization for environmental purposes. In particular, with an exploration of the quantification of nanoscale dose in toxicology experiments in the presence of physico-chemical transformations; fabrication and characterization using multi-method approaches and international round-robins were essential for success. This led to specific fundamental research, which focused on two complementary aspects: i) nanotechnology can remove oil from environmental waters, and ii) the technology can be ‘environmentally friendly’. Extensive laboratory, field and modelling studies confirmed both, ultimately providing a mechanism of removal and a simplified synthesis procedure, while retaining functionality. The next step, using National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps and SBIR funding, involved matching the customer/market to the technology and improving the technology to meet those needs, while retaining sustainability. This presentation will include discussions of the tensions and complementarity between sustainability and commercialization, along with scaling issues in fabrication and characterization.