CityU goes into nano-drive

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 12:00am

With its advanced research facilities and an active drive to attract top research talent and visiting scientists, City University (CityU) is well placed to join the vanguard of nanotechnology.

Development in the field could revolutionise our lives by making possible miniature semi- or super-conductors with vast application values.

A distinguished visitor to CityU's Centre of Super-Diamond and Advanced Films in the coming months will be Mildred S. Dresselhaus, winner of the US National Materials Advancement Award, a top honour for scientists involved in materials science.

The 2000 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Alan Heeger, and the 1996 Laureate, Harry Kroto, have already toured the centre. And director of the space technology centre at Israel's Soreq Nuclear Research Centre, Yeshayahu Lifshitz, is actively engaged in research and teaching at CityU, being on sabbatical leave from his home institute.

The centre has achieved breakthroughs in making semi-conducting nanomaterials by putting sources such as carbon and silicon under ion beams. It has obtained a patent in assisting the growth of one-dimensional semi-conducting nanomaterials using oxide rather than metal as a catalyst.

This method facilitated production of the materials - only atoms wide - in large quantities, said centre director Professor Lee Shuit-tong.

Last year, physicists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology set two records by creating the world's smallest single-walled carbon nanotubes and with their discovery that the miniature straws could act as super conductors.

The CityU team is researching the manufacturing, properties and applications of a wide range of semi-conducting nanomaterials.