Every day, Professor Frank Gu, a polymer engineer at the University of Waterloo, and his students create smart materials at the nanometer scale –that is one billionth of a meter. This cutting-edge technology offers not only more sustainable methods of extracting natural resources and precious metals, but also unprecedented enhancement of medical imaging and disease treatment.

According to Research2Reality, smart materials produced through nanotechnology are designed to respond to their environment. They respond to electrical current, magnetic fields, acidity, light or temperature. Recently, Professor Gu sat down with Research2Reality to discuss some of the exciting applications that nanotechnology is making possible.

In medicine, we always talk about something that can be used as a magic bullet: that does diagnosis, imaging and treatment all in one step. Now, with nanotechnology, we are at the right stage to build these multifunctional materials

– Professor Frank Gu, University of Waterloo

The Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo (U of W) is home to world-changing research and teaching that has earned its home, the Kitchener-Waterloo region, the title "Quantum Valley." Smart materials developed at U of W will lead to disruptive technology across countless sectors. Within the same interview with Research2Reality, Professor Gu gives an example of the impact his work stands to have on life sciences: "For example, in medical applications, the physician can inject a specific dye into the body that can allow us to image and diagnose where the diseased cells are, and then we can perform treatment on the same spot. This is something that we wouldn't be able to do right now, but it's coming."

Read about how nanotechnology makes materials smart and responsive on Research2Reality

 

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