Sustainable Nanotechnology

Sustainable Nanotechnology

The need to reduce our ecological footprint motivates us to focus on applying micro- and nanotechnologies in the fields of sustainable nanotechnology. Our vision is to use and further develop our competitive miniaturised sensors and sensor systems to deliver solutions for key sensing challenges. We have several projects on water quality monitoring and on high throughput screening from bio-fermentation to crude oil analysis. Our silicon microfabrication technologies have proven extremely useful in e.g. the maskless nanostructuring of SERS Sensors for e.g. PCB tests. We foresee that our activities will expand further in fields such as catalysis and water related technologies, in close collaboration with industry.

 



Research areas:

Environmental monitoring

Environmental monitoring
Sensors have widespread use in environmental monitoring and in production line optimisation.
We investigate new sensor techniques for the detection of pesticides, virus contamination, heavy metals and hormones. The sensors are based on different technologies, such as lab-on-a-chip systems,
spinning disc systems using DVD technology, or they can be colorimetric assays. For electrically powered microsensors that need power supplies in harsh environments, energy harvesters are being developed that can power remote sensors. Concerning the safety of nanoparticles, we have a continuous involvement in studying nanotoxicology and safety aspects of aerosolised particles.

Solar energy conversion

Solar energy conversion
In solar cells, the materials responsible for converting sunlight into electricity are semiconductors.
In those materials, first, electrons have to overcome a moderate energy gap by exploiting the energy of sunlight, and then they can contribute to the electric current in the solar cell. We investigate novel materials that have higher absorbance than the traditional silicon based solar cells and various methods that can improve the efficiency of the existing silicon solar cell technology.
The solar energy can also be converted into chemical energy storage by for instance hydrogen production in water splitting devices.

Improving recyclability

Improving recyclability
The ecological footprint of products can be reduced if the constituent materials can be recycled more easily or last longer.
We are exploring nanostructured plastic/metal surfaces that enable all the colours of the rainbow to be created by tuning the plasmonic properties of the surface structure’s design. Such plastics can easily be recycled as the structure and hence the colour is removed when melted. For materials that undergo corrosion, the traditional zinc based corrosion protection is facing limited supply horizons, and research is done in surface coatings with 2D materials for corrosion protection.

Contact

Kristian Mølhave
Associate Professor
DTU Nanotech
+45 45 25 63 95