In the realm of the very, very small

Nanotechnology is regarded as a technology of the future. The name comes from the Greek word «nanos», which means «dwarf». One nanometre is equal to one billionth of a metre and is therefore about 2000 times thinner than a hair. Because of their minuscule size, synthetically manufactured nanomaterials acquire new properties and functions.

Nanotechnology can, for example, be used in cancer therapy. It is also playing an increasingly important role in electronics and in the packaging industry. But the use of synthetic nanomaterials also raises questions. Are these new kinds of materials harmless to humans and the environment?

Research efforts are focussed on examining questions about toxicology or environmental impact. But these proofs are not easy to produce and are therefore not universally available. In spite of this, synthetic nanomaterials are already in use, sometimes without the knowledge of the consumer.

TA-SWISS monitors topics from the field of nanotechnology that could be socially controversial. This covers in particular the fields of medicine, nutrition and the environment. In public discussions, with participatory methods and with recommendations from studies, TA-SWISS encourages dialogue between science, industry and society.

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