University of Toronto

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering


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Nanotechnology, the study of structures at a molecular scale, allows for incredible application to areas such as medicine, electronics and energy. U of T Engineering is poised to lead nano research with cutting-edge facilities.

Durable and Sustainable Concrete

Professor Daman Panesar in the Department of Civil Engineering applies principles of nano, material and environmental science to concrete technology. As the most commonly used building material in the world, it is important to maximize the life of concrete structures—especially in a world of aging infrastructure. Professor Panesar's research will enable the development of next generation cement-based building materials that will not only yield greater strength and durability, but also reduce the environmental impacts and carbon footprint of concrete structures and infrastructure. For instance, Professor Panesar is exploring the use of nano-sized titanium dioxide particles in cement, allowing photocatalytic phenomenon to occur within the material itself. This innovative advancement in concrete technology has strong potential to reduce airborne pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Her research group also explores the use of naturally occurring pozzolanic materials for sustainable and economical cement-based building alternatives in developing countries.

Cancer Detection

Professor Ted Sargent in the The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering recently made headlines with the development of a microchip that will help medical professionals detect and diagnose cancer. Using nanotechnology, the chip not only detects chemical markers that are present in patients with cancer, but can also distinguish between different types of cancer. Leaders in nanotechnology, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is able to innovate in this area through state-of-the-art facilities, such as the new electron beam nanolithography facility within the Emerging Communications Technology Institute (ECTI). Built and equipped with contributions from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation, this research lab is one of only two in Canada.

Recyclable and Lightweight Automotive Parts

Principal Investigator of the Smart and Adaptive Polymer Laboratory (SAPL), Professor Hani Naguib (jointly appointed in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) is applying his research in functional polymers to the nation-wide initiative, AUTO21. Sponsored by the Government of Canada, AUTO21 seeks to build a stronger automotive sector in Canada through collaborative research. Naguib is leading a project called, Recyclable, Lightweight Polymeric Nanocomposites, which will explore the development of recyclable and biodegradable polymers with nano-particulates to form lightweight automotive components. Due to the ultra-fine dimensions of polymeric nanocomposites, this relatively new class of material provides greater mechanical strength with less weight. The potential for this material to also be recyclable and biodegradable presents an incredible range of possibilities for the automotive industry to reduce energy consumption during the automotive production process and to reduce overall cost. Click here to read the full article about U of T Engineering's involvement in AUTO21.    

To learn more about U of T and nanoengineering, please visit our nano website.
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