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GAIKER-IK4 invests 2 million euros in new laboratories and equipment

The new installations are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and will bring together nanotechnologies, biotechnology and plastics and composites technologies and the development of new fireproof materials.

2011/03/18  With the aim of obtaining the maximum benefit from the internal connections of its organisation and achieving high-value technological developments, Gaiker-IK4 technological centre has built eight laboratories (450 m2) and fitted them out with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, with the goal of converging nanotechnology, biotechnology and the technologies of plastic materials.

Moreover, Gaiker-IK4 technological centre has fitted out a new fire laboratory at its premises. The new installation is fitted with the latest state-of-the-art equipment which will enable developing new innovative materials with fireproof characteristics. This laboratory was conceived according to the new European regulations on tests for reacting to fires for the construction and transport sectors.

With these recently inaugurated laboratories, the technological centre has gone one step further in its technological specialisation, committing itself to the convergence of technologies in its areas of knowledge: Biotechnology, Environment and Recycling, and Plastics & Composites.

Results of convergence
This new challenge, involving a total investment of 2,165,000 euros, will enable Gaiker-IK4 to work, for example, on developing complex systems of therapy and diagnosis of illnesses such as cancer, involving the immobilising of bio-recognition molecules in gold nanoparticles. The combination of materials with nanotechnology and bio technologies is making the development of biosensors possible to enable diagnoses to be made in a matter of minutes and which today take several days and, moreover, the need for specialised personnel will not be required.

Moreover, the new installations enable researchers at the centre to develop materials with bioactive properties y biocompatible materials. The new equipment acquired, on the other hand, such as the TEM electronic microscope — capable of resolving to 0.24 nanometres — for example, the characterisation and elucidation of the most detailed structure of nanoparticles, their composition and their distribution in materials or in tissues and cells, in order to be able to design therapeutic systems and diagnostic biosensors for diseases. The behaviour of compounds at a nanometric scale is completely different from that at a macro level, apart from being unpredictable, and is opening up fabulous possibilities in the field of health and materials.

As regards active and intelligent materials based on nanoparticles incorporated into polymer materials, they are equipped with functions to act in response to external signals. Conducting polymer materials could be designed which emit an electrical or luminescent signal as a response to an increase in temperature or materials that act modifying the way in which they close and open gates depending on the temperature or intensity of light or sending signals to activate a computer.
 
info:  Clara Bilbao,  bilbaoc@gaiker.es

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