Bionanotechnology is the study of biology, in particular biological machines, and the application of biological building blocks to solve engineering challenges and create new areas of technological development. Learning about the structure and function of the inner workings of biological systems such as cells, bacteria and viruses has been used to improve existing applications of nanotechnology and to develop entirely new applications.
Examples of bionanotechnological study include: mechanical properties of materials, such as cell interaction with surfaces, nanopatterns and nanoparticles, electrical and optical effects, such as electrical stimulation, energy storage, absorption, luminescence and fluorescence; and computing via chemical wet computers and DNA computing.
This module provides an introduction to the theory and practice of bionanotechnology, and the challenges of commercialising new technologies. It covers the types of macromolecules which form the building blocks of life, covering cell components such as DNA and proteins, describing how they are synthesised, interact and the role they play in cells. The structure and forms of the different molecules and the process by which they are constructed and how they exchange information will be framed within the context of the operation of machines and the potential engineering uses that the naturally occurring mechanisms can be put to.
ELEC3223 includes a coursework component focussed on the technological applications in the topical area of this module. This will examine the broader areas where bionanotechnology is found and used in industry and what novel areas are currently being researched for future potential commercial development. This will cover the unique issues of the bridging the technology gap between applied research and product development in this highly multidisciplinary field.