Clay minerals as 2D natural nanomaterials for sustainable applications

Jon Otto Fossum

Dec 5, 2023
11:00 am to 12:00 pm | Pierce Hall, 213

Clay minerals are among the most abundant and sustainable on earth, and due to this and their low-cost they are found in many traditional applications that exploit their physical and chemical properties, including their mechanical stability, their non-toxicity and in effect their underlying 2D nanoscale character. These traditional applications can for the most part be categorized as low-tech based on empirical knowledge, and they include use of clay mineral particles in bricks and pottery, clay mineral partivles as rheology modifiers, and clay powders or clay nanoporous structures as sorbents or catalysts.

Synthetic clays are of superior quality compared to natural clays, and they have opened up and enabled pathways towards new applications, such as clay minerals for structural coloration, for use in 2D electronic nanodevices, for targeted gas barriers or gas separation, for instance separation of H2 and CO2.

In this lecture such recent developments in natural nanomaterials science, discovered and investigated in our group, will be presented, pointing out that for instance clay minerals are unexploited materials for future sustainable technologies. 

Speaker Bio

Professor Fossum graduated with MSc in physics from NTH (presently NTNU) in 1978, and PhD in physics from NTH in 1983, followed by postdocoral appointments at Universite de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada (1984-85) and MIT- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chemistry and Physics Departments, USA (1985- 89). Since 2003 Fossum has been Full Professor at the Department of Physics, NTNU, including a number of sabattical stays: ESPCI-ParisTech, France partly invited to the Joliot Chair (2004 and 2016), UFPE-Recife, Brazil (2008), Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2011-12), and at PUC-Rio de Janeiro (2012-15) as part time visiting scientist under a Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico Ciência sem Fronteiras project.


Soft and Complex Matter Lab


Vinothan Manoharan


Vinothan Manoharan