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2003 - Top Ten Nanotech products

Cerax Nanowax is one of the world’s first products using chemical nanotechnology which creates “smart” surface coatings with multifunctional properties.

Finally, at last! A list ranking the top ten nanotech products of year 2003. This will hopefully silence anyone who still claims that nanotech is still only in the lab – here is the list to prove them wrong!

1.     Stain repellent and wrinkle-resistant threads

Everybody who has popped by our office has been amazed. Watching beads of coffee running of a white pair of jeans just like water beads on a goose – is amazing! Stain-repellent but still with the feel of ordinary jeans or chinos as we have written about before, is so cool that we just simply had to put it as number one on this list. The American company Nano-Tex which attaches molecular structures to cotton fibres thus creating a barrier that makes liquids and stains to bead up on the surface and prevent absorption. A Swiss company has now taken up the competition and has launched Nano-sphere ™ which is not only suitable for clothing but also home furnishing and the medical sector. Nano-sphere™ is supposed to also be oil-repellent.


2.     High-performance Ski Wax

The Canadian National Ski team is already using it and soon it might be every amateur’s best friend –especially for those going for the Vasa-loppet for the first time like our publisher. Cerax Nanowax is one of the world’s first products using chemical nanotechnology which creates “smart” surface coatings with multifunctional properties. The wax is developed by the Germany-based company Nanogate and sold through Holmenkol. The ski-wax produces a hard, fast-gliding surface. This ultra-thin coating is much more long-lasting than traditional was leaving the base free of build-ups. The “smart” Nanowax hardens as temperature drop, adapting to the ski-bases and snow crystals. The Cerax Nanowaxes are produced in different formulations for different types of snow sports as well as for different levels of experience and conditions.


3.     Deep penetrating skin care

There is no secret that the cosmetic industry has been an important driver in the particle-industry. The goal is to find a deep penetrating delivery-system of various active substances. L’Oreal the largest cosmetic company in the world with brands such as Lancome, Helena Rubenstein and Armani perfumes introduced its first nanotechnology product in 1998 – Plenitude Revitalift anti-wrinkle cream. The cream uses a patented 200-nanometre nanotechnology process to incorporate vitamin A inside a polymer “capsule” The capsule acts like a sponge soaking up and holding the cream inside until the outer shell dissolve under your skin. According to L’Oreal women surveyed who used the Revitalift technology, 80% reported anti-wrinkle effectiveness, and 75% said that the product was effective in firming the skin. So who knows, perhaps nanotech is the path to eternal youth!



4. OLED Digital Camera

Digital cameras have grown immensely popular and were the Christmas gift of 2003. As more and more digital cameras will be released with OLEDS, it might even make it to the top on the Christmas gift-list for this year too. Organic Light Emitting Diodes are not only much brighter than LCD:s, liquid crystal displays, they also consume less energy since they do not require back-lightning as LCD:s do. OLED:s also have the advantage of having a very wide viewing angle. The first digital camera with an OLED display is the 3,1-megapixel camera EasyShare LS633 zoom digital camera by Kodak.


5. High performing sun-glasses

Some sun-glasses of the brand Smith, incorporate technology from the American company Nanofilm, a spin-off from Case Western Reserve University. Nanofilm uses nanotechnology to create protective and antireflective ultra-thin polymer coatings for eye-wear to give the glasses anti-reflection and scratch-resistance functionality. Nanofilm deposits coating layers of 150 nanometres and 20 microns thick, respectively. Then they use chemical self-assembly to form a polymer coating, three to ten nanometres thin on the outer layer of the anti-reflective lenses. This not only seals and repels dirt and skin oils but also makes the lenses more responsive.

Not yet out on the market, but still deservers a place on this list, since this Chameleon visor is more than likely to save hundreds of lifes.

6. Smart motorcycle visor

A great problem for motorcyclists is changing light conditions. Entering a tunnel for example can be a very risky business. Every year thousands of drivers are killed in accidents due to this. The Swedish company Chromogenics has solved the problem by developing a visor – the Chameleon visor – that rapidly changes transparency according to existing light conditions by using thin film or the EC foil, as Chromogenics has named it, which consists of thin oxide layers laminated between two flexible polymer sheets. OK the visor is quite not yet on the market but as we have seen it and touched it  and it's more than likely to save lifes – we still think it deserves a place on this list.


7. Nano-socks

No more athlete’s foot! More people suffer from it than admits it. A normal foot has 250 000 sweat glands capable of producing 500 ml of sweat per day! Athlete’s foot is caused by fungus that live and multiply between the toes and folds of skin. Now ordinary cotton socks treated with nano-silver particles – SoleFresh ™ are out on the market. The nano-silver inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus and thus preventing foot odour and itchiness.


8. Nanocrystalline sunscreen

Remember in the old days whenever you put sunscreen on you immediately turned into a white goofy looking clown? The common SPF (Sun Protecting Factor) rating system only rates protection against UVB rays. Zinc oxide provides protection against both UVA and UVB-rays but often makes the user all white. The main ingredient of NuCelle SunSense SPF 30 sunscreen is Z-COTE, a substance made with nanotechnology by BASF. According to BASF nano-dispersed zinc oxide is the basis of Z-COTE. The nanotechnology in Z-COTE produces a high-purity nano-crystalline zinc-oxide, which allows the sunscreen  to go on clear. Another advantage is that Z-COTE cannot be absorbed by the skin and won’t cause allergic reactions.


9-10.    High-tech tennis rackets and balls

Constant development in materials has now led the tennis racket manufacturers to use nanotechnology. The French manufacturer Babolat introduced already in 2002 the VS Nanotube Power and VS Nanotube Drive light-weight models made out of high modulus graphite with carbon nanotubes supplied by the French company Nanoledge. Carbon nanotubes are one hundred times stronger than steel and six times lighter and they increase the rigidity of the stabilizers on each side of the racket’s sweet spot. According to Babolat the VS Nanotube rackets are five times more rigid than current carbon rackets and pack much more power.


And of course, without a tennis ball there is no game. Wilson Double Core tennis balls with Inmat’s Air D-fense nanocomposite inside makes the balls playable for four weeks. InMat makes it harder for the air to escape by coating the balls’ inner core with 20 microns thick layered sheets of clay polymer nanocomposites, each 1 nanometer thin. There is no change in either weight or bounce. The balls cost about $1,50 more per can than conventional balls but have double life-span. The balls are now official balls of Davis Cup.





Nanotechnology in the Nordics: Sweden

Applied Nanoscience



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