Nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage

With the impact that fossil fuel burning is having on our planet becoming increasingly evident, the development of clean fuels and conversion of abundant, renewable energy sources is imperative. Our group research in this area centres on nanomaterials, exploiting their mesoscopic properties for application as catalysts, electrode materials and other components for the production of clean fuels and conversion and storage of renewable energy.

Quantum Dots

Quantum dots are nanocrystals made out of semiconductor materials, grown at such small sizes that they become electronically confined in all three spatial dimensions. This causes the crystals to become fluorescent when they are excited by absorbed light, and that confined electrical energy can be harnessed to drive a number of interesting photochemical devices.

Nanomaterials for Bio applications 

Broadly, the field of Bio-Nanotechnology research is an evolving and expanding area. The blended fields of life sciences and nanomaterials have already led to improved and more custom-designed diagnostic tools, drug delivery systems and improved bioimaging. Our group specialises in designing bio-inspired nano-systems, producing improved sensing platforms using biology’s own nanoparticles - named extracellular vesicles.  We are also developing metal nanoclusters which are stabilised using biomolecules, such as protein and DNA.

Extracellular vesicles for drug delivery

Most cells release extracellular vesicles (nano-sized compartments) to deliver cargo to other cells. Additionally, bacteria-derived extracellular vesicles can deliver cargo to mammalian cells (intra-species communication) as well as bacteria. We are looking at how we can load these extracellular vesicles with nanomedicines that we synthesise within our laboratory.

DNA nanostructures

Thomas Nann Research group

University of Newcastle, Australia
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand