Stain resistant clothes, medical breakthroughs, more powerful smartphones and stronger construction materials are a small part of the nanotechnology revolution that’s expected to generate $3 trillion dollars revenue globally by 2020.
Nanotechnology exploits the fact that materials behave differently at scales below about 100 nanometers, which is about 200 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Scientists launched on Friday a national strategy for nanotechnology development.
They say development could help parts of the manufacturing industry revolutionise its products, develop new products and address the grand challenges facing the nation such as health and ageing.
“Concerted effort must also be put into promoting Australian nanotechnology capability on the international stage,” he said in a statement.
The plan’s vision statement says assessments of the impact of nanotechnology on society by 2020 suggest Australia needs to invest more.
“The strong implication is that economies and industries that fail to invest in nano-inspired technology will be left behind as new products with improved or entirely new functionality replace the old,” it says.
China in particular has made nanotechnology research and funding a priority.
Nanotechnology has applications in other areas, such as improving community health, remediation of the environment, clean energy solutions and national security.
The strategy makes eight recommendations, including the setting up of mechanisms to bring industry and researchers together and national coordination by researchers to ensure it all remains on track.