Focused around the uses of nanotechnology, UnderstandingNano offers information about companies and research labs, as well as descriptions of nanomaterials and lesson plans for teachers and students. You can find information on nano topics by using the navigation bar above or through the Quick Links on the right side of many pages.

Hot Topic: Improving Battery Capacity Using Nanotechnology

Improving battery capacity can help our energy efforts from more efficient electric grids to building better electric cars.

One possible way to improve li-ion battery capacity is to use silicon anodes. “Putting silicon into batteries can produce a huge increase in capacity—10 times greater,” said Dr. Philip Bradford, Assistant Professor of textile engineering, chemistry, and science at North Carolina State. “But adding silicon can also create ten times the problems.” That’s because silicon swells when a lithium-ion battery discharges energy. In a process referred to as pulverization, silicon breaks off from electrodes as a battery cycles. These pieces of silicon can make a battery unstable.

Researchers have been looking to nanomaterials to solve this challenge. A young company, TruSpin, is reporting the development of a silicon nanofiber anode that may help significantly increase the capacity of li-ion batteries. According to TruSpin in an article that appeared in the Alabama News Center, "The total electrification of America is the future. A true breakthrough in battery technology will enable this."

Nanotechnology in...

Check out a few interesting ways nanotechnology is affecting our world.


  • Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated a technique using liposomes as containers in which a large number of molecules can quickly synthesized and analyzed. The researchers believe this method could be used for rapid development of new pharmaceuticals.

  • Several organizations are working to increase testing capacity for Covid-19 using nano methods to detect Covid-19 antigens.

  • Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago are developing a method to treat lung fibrosis using sugar-coated nanoparticles.

More about Nanotechnology in Medicine


  • Researchers at Harvard have used nano fabrication techniques to build a laser on a lithium niobate chip, to be used in lithium niobate photonic circuits.

  • Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have demonstrated atomically-thin indium-tin oxide sheets that may make touchscreens that are cost less to manufacture and well as being flexible and comsumes less power.

  • Researchers at Ames Laboratory have developed split-ring resonators made of metamaterials that can generate tera-hertz frequency signals.

More about Nanotechnology in Electronics


  • Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland are developing a mesoporous Si film anode for lithium-ion batteries.

  • Researchers at Rice University are using carbon nanotube films to stop the growth of dendrites on lithium metal anodes. This step may help develop lithium metal batteries, which could have much higher capacity and faster charging than lithium ion batteries.

  • Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago showed that nanoparticles composed of tantalum and titanium oxide can increase the durability of iron-nitrogen-carbon fuel cell catalysts for fuel cells.

More about Nanotechnology in Energy


More about Nanotechnology in Materials


  • Researchers at the University of Illinois have reported the developement a method to make transparent, flexible conductive films with a one step spray process using silver nanowires in water.

  • Researchers at Prudue University have demonstrated a method they call laser shock imprinting to form nanoscale shapes such as gears.

More about Nanotechnology in Manufacturing

The Environment

  • Researchers at the RMIT University and University of New South Wales have demonstrated a filter made with nano-thin sheets of aluminium oxide which can filter both heavy metals and oils from water.

  • Using photocatalytic copper tungsten oxide nanoparticles to break down oil into biodegradable compounds. The nanoparticles are in a grid that provides high surface area for the reaction, is activated by sunlight and can work in water, making them useful for cleaning up oil spills.

More about Environmental Nanotechnology


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