A new Singapore-based research project, called the Accelerated, Manufacturing Platform for Engineered Nanomaterials (Ample), was launched in July. Funded by Singapore’s National Research Foundation’s Central Gap Fund, the project’s goal is to develop a manufacturing platform to speed up the manufacturing of nanoparticles, which are used in everything from Covid-19 vaccines to sunscreen and spacecraft, and which can be scaled up to produce up to 100kg worth of nanoparticles in a day.
The platform is expected to be commercialized in Singapore around 2024, and will initially focus on manufacturing antimicrobial zinc oxide particles, which are used in sunscreen and self-cleaning coatings. However, the technology used can also be implemented in the production of other products, such as biological capsules that are used to encase mRNA in Covid-19 vaccines, and advanced coatings for spacecraft.
Currently, nanomaterials are either made slowly in large containers with high temperatures, pressures, and toxic chemicals or are produced quickly yet imprecisely through techniques like the grinding or burning of larger molecules. This limits how many nanoparticles can be manufactured, resulting in a lead time of 10 to 20 years for a nanomaterial to enter the market, reducing their economic viability. However, Ample’s technology is expected to allow for the fast and accurate manufacturing of nanomaterials at a much lower cost, allowing for such materials to be adopted commercially.
(Source: Straits Times)