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Australian research delivers Nano-tech sunscreen

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June 4, 2004

As a global hotspot for skin cancer problems, its not surprising that Australia is at the forefront of research into UV protection for the skin. What is surprising is the technology being applied to this end - by developing a process where particles one billionth of a meter long can be produced, Advanced Nano Technologies has manufactured a transparent zinc oxide that not only protects the skin, but also lets you see it.

ZinClear is a zinc oxide base for use as a UV absorber in sunscreens and cosmetics that produces the same broad spectrum UV protection as the white zinc creams we are familiar with. These conventional zinc oxide sunscreens are white because they consist of large particles and agglomerates that scatter and reflect visible light. The tiny particles in ZinClear remain discrete (ie. they don't stick together) and minimise the scatter of visible light, so the resulting skin cream remains clear in appearance while still blocking UV light.

Currently available in sunscreens such as Wet Dreams, the future of the product is seen as next generation of cosmetics that incorporate "hidden" sunscreen.Because it contains no chemical UV absorbers, the resulting sunscreen is a natural product that is suited to people with sensitive skin.

Applications for the "Nano Powders" produced by Advanced Nano Technologies patented Mechanochemical Processing go far beyond cosmetics however. Because the particles are on a quantum scale, the weird predictions of quantum physics start to become a reality, leading to enhancements in chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and magnetic properties.

Advanced Nano Technologies was formed in 2000 as a joint venture between Samsung Corning and Advanced Powder Technology (APT), a spin-off from the University of Western Australia in Perth.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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