Summary and evaluation

The microgravity research supplies knowledge about gravity-dependent phenomena and procedures, which would not be accessible under terrestrial conditions. These realizations in the context of nanotechnology research can contribute to a better understanding and a more accurate modelling of nanotechnological procedures. Contact points result particularly within the following ranges:

• Obtaining exact data for the optimization of process technologies for the production of nanopowders and particles in the gaseous phase, in liquids and in plasmas

• Investigations regarding the formation and stability of nano-emulsions

• Investigation of thermal transportation phenomena and aggregation processes in magnetic liquids

• Self-organization phenomena

Additionally microgravity research stimulates the advancement and miniaturization of measuring devices in the range of nanoanalytics and micro system engineering (e.g. miniaturized STM or AFM devices, lab-on-a-

chip system, laser-optical devices or nano-manipulators for microgravity experiments). Here spin-off effects are likewise to be expected for other industries as for example the environmental or medical technology. Concerning the above mentioned topics several microgravity experiments are conducted or are in preparation in the frame of public space research (NASA, ESA, DLR etc.).

On the other hand, particularly within the range of applied industrial research, the following application obstacles for microgravity research in the field of nanotechnology can be identified:

• An added value of microgravity research is little transparent for nanotechnology companies. Furthermore the expected technologically usable results do not justify the estimated expenditures for such experiments in view of the questioned experts (cost-benefit aspect).

• The simulation of nanotechnological procedures for terrestrial application is already highly developed, moreover still sufficient optimization potential exists also without microgravity experiments.

• In particular smaller start-up nanotechnology companies must obtain a return on invest in a given time period, in order to sustain their businesses; therefore microgravity experiments, which usually require a time consuming preparation and are connected with much imponde-rableness regarding the realization of the experiments, are hardly considered.

• Adequate measuring devices for the investigation of nanoscale phenomena are so far available only to an incomplete extent.

As further obstacle surely information deficits on the side of nanotechno-logy companies regarding the applicability of microgravity experiments for own research activities can be mentioned. Not least the lack of cooperation between space and nanotechnology companies can also be traced to different attitudes and philosophies as well as missing communication processes between both specialized scenes.

0 0

Post a comment