An NNCI Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology
The mission of NanoEarth is to support scholarly applications of nanoscience and technology to improve understanding of nanoscale interactions, involving both natural and manufactured nanomaterials, within Earth systems, as well as to enhance our ability to apply nanotechnology to solve challenges in the Earth sciences and far-reaching and critical environmental issues.
We are part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), an NSF-funded network of 16 centers spread throughout the United States serving as user facilities for cutting edge nanotechnology research. See the NSF announcement here!
TEM tomography recontruction of
~ 30nm hemitatite (Fe2O3) particles with ~3nm wide channels (green).
The scientific and engineering investigations and understanding of ultra-small objects, known as nano-materials, is not only revolutionizing critical fields such as medicine, personal electronics, and national security, but it is also sharpening the understanding of how the Earth works.
The air one breathes, the soil in which crops are planted, the metals from minerals that build industries, and the contaminants that can profoundly harm one (from arsenic to dangerous bacteria), are all related to and/or influenced by the vast store of nano-materials that make up key portions of the planet.
These nano-materials must be studied and understood, despite great difficulty due to their minute size, to safely and efficiently clean the air, purify water, and allow the responsible use of Earth's vast store of life-sustaining resources.
VT NanoEarth is housed in two facilities at the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS):