Skip to main content »

Trinity College Dublin

BT Young Scientist

Each year CRANN join Intel Ireland at their stand in the exhibiton hall at the RDS, and 2014 was no different. This year we had over 20 nano related demonstrations and 13 helpers over the three days to engage and excite students about nanoscience. We spoke to 2500 students and many parents and teachers.


2013-12-18-15-44-53.jpgThis year students from two schools St. Josephs College, Lucan, Co. Dublin  and  Loreto Secondary School, St Michaels, Navan, Co Meath, used content from CRANN's "Nano In My Life" resource pack as inspiration for the BTYSE project.


What is Nanoscience?


  • Nanoscience is about studying materials at tiny dimensions – just a few atoms in size; or about 50,000 times smaller than the width of one human hair.
  • Nanomaterials are of huge interest around the world because they are changing everyday products, making them smaller, yet more efficient and smarter – think of your mobile phones and tablet devices. They have become smaller and lighter, yet more powerful.
  • What make nanomaterials special are their properties. Take Graphene for example – a one-atom thick layer of carbon in the shape of chicken-wire - it is very strong (about 200 times stronger than steel), it is very conductive, it is impermeable. So graphene could be used in the future in everything from reinforced concrete and structural items to computer chips to gas sensors.

Nano fab facts-

  • Some of the strongest materials ever found are nano materials like graphene and nano wires.
  • A beard will grow 1 nanometre in the length of time it takes to lift a razor to your face.
  • Comparing 1 nanometre to 1 metre is the same as a marble to the size of the earth.

How can I become a nanoscientist?Jason-Just-Say-Nano.JPG

  • There are just 2 science degree courses that specifically include nanoscience
    • NPCAM (Nanoscience – Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials) in Trinity College Dublin (TR076, 515 points in 2012). Students get to spend time in CRANN.
    • BSc (Science with Nanotechnology) at DIT (4 years honours degree, DT227; 375 points in 2012)
  • As nanoscience is multidisiplinary you could study science, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, or medicine and find yourself doing nanoscience at some point in your career.

Why is Nanoscience important?

  • By understanding more about materials and their properties, we can design new technologies and improve existing products, e.g. use less plastic in aeroplane design; personalise healthcare delivery; improve ICT devices.
  • At present it is estimated that 10% - about €15B - of Irelands annual exports are associated with nanotechnology.
  • Ireland is good at this research – we are ranked  6th globally for our research in nanoscience and 8th globally for materials science research.

More about CRANN

  • Researchers working in CRANN come from a range of backgrounds – Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, and Medicine. Nanoscience is interdisciplinary.IMG_1259.JPG
  • We are funded mainly by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and the institute was formed to couple world leading research with effective and flexible industry engagement.
  • CRANN works with over 100 companies, including the major ICT companies such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard, as well as medical device companies like Merck-Millipore, DePuy and other smaller companies.

Find out more:

On Facebook, Twitter and YouTube