DST/MINTEK

Nanotechnology Innovation Centre

Innovation through nanotechnology

Nanominerals

The purpose of the Nanominerals Nanotechnology Unit is to facilitate scientific breakthroughs and maintain DST/Mintek NIC competitiveness in nanoscience and nanotechnology.  The goal of this program is to ensure that nanotechnology research leads to the responsible development of beneficial applications by harnessing the mineral wealth and by giving priority to research on societal implications, human health, and environmental issues related to nanotechnology.  Thus, identifying critical issues related to possible hazards of nanomaterials.  In this group we recognize that an early and open examination of the potential risk of a new product or technology is not just good sense - it is good business strategy.

The focus here is to fabricate mineral based nanostructures with important functionalities such as electronic or photonic properties, or biomolecular responses.  Without being too prescriptive or application-orientated we have proposed five themes which should capture the philosophy of our approach and which form a practical guiding framework within which we can organize skills and starting points coherently.  These themes are:

1)  Computer modeling and simulations of nanoscale-systems and interfaces,  2)  Nanoscale fabrication and characterization 3)  Clean room facility and lithography, (4) Toxicological studies and risk and exposure assessment, and (5) Characterization facility


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TEM SEM AFM E-Beam Lithography Cleanroom R&D Computer Simulations

Computer simulations are an attempt to simulate a digital representation of a system using computers and computer programs, based on the known laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry.  While computer modeling and simulations have many applications across various fields and industries (for example weather forecasts and tornado or fire warnings), they play an important part in constructing mathematical models that can be used in engineering, chemistry, physics as well as material science.  This allows us to analyze systems before they are even built or applied.  With the aid of simulations we can observe systems on an atomic scale and therefore develop a better fundamental understanding of how and why systems work the way they do.

This allows us to come up with new innovations that can further improve the current levels of knowledge and technology.  The modeling and simulating of nanostructures plays an important role in unlocking and discovering fundamental properties and understanding reaction mechanisms.


Nanomaterials are produced in large quantities to meet industrial demands.  Semi-commercial products are available on request.  Our nanoparticles are extremely stable, functionality of choice, biocompatible, less toxic and highly pure.













Electron-beam Lithography

Our Raith ELPHY Electron-Beam Lithography system (ELPHY Quantum) is the most widespread and universal lithography attachment for SEM.

All required functions are fully integrated into one software package;  from pattern design, exposure parameter management, pattern overlay alignment to step and repeat exposures.










ISO 3 Cleanroom

Mintek’s NIC has a world class facility for design, synthesis and fabrication of micro- to nanometer scale structures.  The cleanroom facility (under construction) is designed towards enabling researchers and industrialists to perform research and development activities in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, electronics etc.  under the environments that are appropriate to preserve the integrity of the products (and devices) and limit exposure of personnel to the nanomaterials and biomaterials (microbial agents) beings used.



Computer Modeling and Simulations

Materials Synthesis


TEM

Mintek owns a JEOL JEM-2100F, Field Emission Gun (200kV),  Transmission Electron Microscope (FEG-TEM) capable of providing high spatial resolution, atomic imaging and micro- and nano-structure analysis of materials.






HRSEM

Our FEI Nova Nano-SEM 200 Field Emission High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (HRSEM) enables both high and very low kV imaging and analytical capabilities of specimens in and below lens configuration with the option to operate in either high or low vacuum conditions.  It is equipped with an Everhardt Thornley Detector (EDT), backscattered electron detector (BSED), through-the-lens detector (TLD) for high resolution imaging as well as a X-ray spectrometer (EDXS) for X-ray analysis.

AFM

Mintek-NIC owns the Nanoscope and Enviroscope multimode Atomic Force Microscopes.  Our multi-mode AFMs use both contact and tapping modes to analyse amples with the resolution in the nanometer range.  The samples can be analysed under high vacuum and conditions like temperature can be altered whilst the analysis is performed.





Materials Characterization

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General Contact Info

Mintek, SA, Johannesburg

GPS: -26,5º25.77;  -27,58º45.27 E

Private Bag X3015

Randburg

South Africa

Tel:  +27 11 709 4111

Fax: +27 11 793 2413

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Dr. Richard A. Harris in the ISO 3 cleanroom

“Nano-art” produced by Dr. Richard A. Harris and Mr. S. Nyembe via E-beam lithography.

By Dr. Richard A. Haris

- Dr. Richard A. Harris

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