Sustainable bionanotechnology in the works at U of A

Sustainable bionanotechnology in the works at U of A
A University of Arkansas (U of A) doctoral student and member of the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering bionanotechnology research group, Joseph Batta-Mpouma, is working to make science fiction into science fact.

He is developing methods of fabricating nanofibers and films from cellulose.

"Cellulose is one of the most abundant sources of natural materials we have in nature," Batta-Mpouma said. "Because of its abundance, it is relatively cheap. So, we can make the same materials others are making with petroleum-based products, except ours will be more cost affordable and eco-friendly."

Batta-Mpouma is focusing on cellulose nanocrystals to make nanofibers. The ready availability of cellulose would make the final products, including wearable bioelectric fabrics, affordable for the average consumer. As he pointed out, the process of manufacturing the fibers is in its infancy, but he has made significant progress in the lab.

"We are developing the process of creating the cellulose materials needed, but the procedure for making fibers out of those materials is still in its infancy," Batta-Mpouma said.

The technology could be used to make "smart" fabrics which could monitor and transmit athletes' heart rates and temperatures to the sidelines or monitor an infant while sleeping. Other possible uses for cellulose-based nanofibers include smart phone screens and other photovoltaic products.

Batt-Mpouma is a native of Cameroon. He earned his bachelor's in physics and engineering from Southern Arkansas University. He earned a master's in microelectronics-photonics from the University of Arkansas.  

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