Southampton University to lead £3m nanotechnology project

Southampton University has been awarded a £3m grant from Lloyd’s Register Foundation to lead research into the development and use of nanotechnologies.

Dr Themis Prodromakis
Dr Themis Prodromakis

The International COnsortium in Nanotechnologies (ICON) will be led by Dr Themis Prodromakis, a Reader within the Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnologies Group at Southampton and an EPSRC Fellow. He said the programme is a big step forward in the advancement of nanotechnology and its integration into the world around us.

“Nanotechnology offers us the tools to play with atoms and molecules, creating limitless opportunities for creating new things, new functionalities,” he told The Engineer.  

“With recent advancements in nanotechnology and nanosciences, never before have there been more opportunities for innovation enabling new application areas for making the world a safer place.”

Nanotechnologies are already widely used in consumer electronics such as smartphones and cameras. Other developments include materials stronger than steel but with additional functionality such as self-cleaning and repairing, and flexible textiles that become rigid when under stress, protecting the wearer from impacts.

The ICON programme will explore further nanotechnology applications. It aims to bring together the best scientists and engineers in the world, providing them with access to facilities such as the £120m Southampton Nanofabrication Centre (SNC). According to Dr Prodromakis, the facility houses one of the premier cleanrooms in Europe.

“The unique capabilities of SNC allow medium to large-scale production of a wide range of devices in diverse fields such as electronics, nanotechnology and bionanotechnology,” he said.

The £3m in funding from Lloyd’s Register Foundation will be matched by partner organisations. In total, ICON will help support more than 50 PhD students to undertake research at leading universities around the world.

“We are pleased to support Southampton University in developing this global cohort of scientists,” said Prof Richard Clegg, managing director of Lloyd’s Register Foundation

“Their research will develop applications to further the Foundation’s safety goals whilst also providing training and building technical capacity in support of our educational mission.”