Could this nano chip change the face of manufacturing?

Professor Matt Trau from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN)

University of Queensland researchers have pioneered a new chemical process to manufacture molecules that are the building blocks for lifesaving medicines, vaccines and energy storage materials.

Professor Matt Trau from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) has been awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship worth $2.9 million to further understand and develop the process.

Professor Trau and his team have invented a way to synthesise molecules on a tiny electronically controlled chip, or silicon wafer.

“We have been able to accelerate and control chemical reactions on a tiny nano-scaled chip,” Professor Trau said. “This could enable on-demand, miniaturised, remote manufacturing in a much more economical and environmentally friendly way.”

The project builds upon Professor Trau’s previous research into nano-scaled chips.

“This was a left-field spin-off from research where we used nano-scaled chips to detect rare molecules in blood, to diagnose cancer and dysregulated aspects of the immune system,” he said.“I’m proud that our research team committed so strongly to what was originally an extremely risky blue-sky idea.”

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