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Trinity College Dublin

Nature and the Environment

Naturally occurring
Many nanoparticles occur naturally in nature and the environment

Nanoparticles are being generated continuously by vegetation and sea spray in rural areas; volcanoes are also sporadic sources of huge numbers of nanoparticles. Large numbers of particles are also created by by vehicles and industries in urban areas.

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Image courtesy of McGimsey, Game [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Naturally occurring
Gecko feet
There are nano features on Geckos feet

These nano features enable them to climb and stick to almost any surface.

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Image courtesy of Guitarsandcars76 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Gecko feet
Butterflies
Some species of butterfly have nano features in their wings

The Morpho butterfly is one of these and many other butterfly species use nano-scale light-interacting structures on their wing scales to produce colour.

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Image courtesy of Steven G. Johnson, Copyright © 2004 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Butterflies
Solar cells
Nanotechnology can help solar cells become more efficient and accessible

Printable solar panels can be achieved using nano inks.

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Image courtesy of ChristofferRiemer (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Solar cells
Water filters
Nano filters can produce clean drinking water

Nano filters can be used for water purification to provide clean drinking water without the use of chemicals.

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Image courtesy of W.J.Pilsak at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Water filters