Researchers at the University of Queensland have developed a new chemical process to make the molecules that are the building blocks of life-saving drugs, vaccines and energy storage materials.
Professor Matt Trau from UQ The Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) has been awarded an ARC Laureate scholarship worth $2.9 million to better understand and develop the process.
We were able to speed up and control the chemical reactions on a tiny nanoscale chip.
This could enable on-demand, miniaturized and remote manufacturing in a much more economical and environmentally friendly way.
Just as 3D printing disrupted larger-scale manufacturing, it could change modern manufacturing at the molecular level.”
Professor Matt Trau, Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at UQ
Professor Trau and his team at AIBN have invented a unique way to synthesize molecules on a tiny electronically controlled chip, or silicon wafer.
“This nanotechnology platform can speed up chemical reactions in a way that is not possible in conventional large-scale factories,” he said.
Professor Trau said the technology could be applied to the production of lifesaving products.
“The more research we undertake to understand exactly what happens to these molecules at the nanoscale, we increasingly see applications for entirely new ways of making products such as drugs, vaccines and building materials. energy storage,” he said.
The project builds on Professor Trau’s previous research on nanoscale chips.
“It was a left-field spinoff of to research where we used nanoscale chips to detect rare molecules in the blood, to diagnose cancer and dysregulated aspects of the immune system,” he said.
“I am proud that our research team has committed so strongly to what was originally an extremely risky idea.
“It has now paid off and could potentially contribute to local and global manufacturing of essential molecules.”
The University of Queensland