Nanotechnology, a bundle of crosscutting new technologies for the next years to come, deals with materials, systems and devices where something very small (below 100 nm) determines functions and applications.
Nanotechnology is an integral part of our everyday life: As an example, nanoparticles in suntan lotions protect the skin against UV radiation, nanoparticles are used to reinforce car tires; nanotechnology can help to produce easy-care scratch-resistant surfaces, and ultra-thin coatings are an important element in data storage media. The technology is already in use for a wide variety of applications across all sectors of industry, generating a worldwide sales volume of more than 200 billion euros.
Nearly a third of all Fraunhofer Institutes are active in this field. The activities of the Alliance focus on multifunctional coatings for use in such areas as the optical industries, the design of special nanoparticles for use as fillers and functional materials in biomedical applications, novel composites based on carbon nanotubes or graphs and other nanoscale hybrid materials. In national and european research projects the alliance also treats question regarding toxicology and operational safety at the dealing with nanoparticles.