Space spinoff for nanotechnology

The microgravity research can in future supply impulses for nano-technology research in the basic range. Results from microgravity research could contribute to a better understanding and a more accurate modelling of nanotechnological procedures. This applies particularly to the formation of nanoparticles in gaseous phase, in liquids and in plasmas as well as gravity dependent phenomena in nanophase systems (e.g. magnetofluids). A substantial prerequisite for the use of microgravity for nanotechnology is the development of space suitable experimentation and measuring devices, as designed for the employment on the the ISS at present (among other things ICAPS, IMPF). The requirements regarding the analysis of relevant parameters with a nanoscale resolution however are only partly fulfilled in these conceptions.

At present the possibility of microgravity experiments for own research purposes is used rarely within the nanotechnology scene. As reasons for that, beside the time and money consuming preparation of the experiments, also information deficits regarding the funding modalities and the usable experimental devices in space can be mentioned. As a condition for an intensified utilization of microgravity research by nanotechnology institutions it is therefore advisable to pay greater attention to funding programmes of the ESA in microgravity research, e.g. in the frame of the

MAP programme, within the nanotechnology scene. The information base could be improved for example through specific workshops or newsletters, in which among other things nanotechnology relevant best practise examples of microgravity research are presented.

Apart from microgravity research, particularly the ISS offers fields of application, which are already used by NASA, for the space qualification of nanomaterials and components. An industrial utilization of the ISS by nanotechnological companies appears however rather unrealistic from today's perspective both for commercial microgravity research as well as for the production of nanomaterials in space, since the expected technologically usable results respectively improved characteristics of materials manufactured in microgravity do not justify the required investments, according to assessmets of the questioned enterprises.

0 0

Post a comment