Scientists at the University of Bristol are turning to nature in their attempts to further their research into Nano-science.
Nano-science is the study of structures and properties at the nano-metre scale - a millionth of a millimetre - and the principle research tool is the Atomic Force Microscope. By looking at the ways in which insects "hear" very faint vibrations, the researchers at Bristol have been able to apply these techniques to Atomic Force Microscopes, significantly improving the sensitivity of these instruments, making it possible to record molecular structure with increased accuracy.
And at the nearby University of Bath they're applying Nano-science to investigate new lighting technology which could recreate natural sunlight in offices and homes, potentially saving billions on energy bills. Known as Solid State Lighting, researchers now estimate that in the next 20 years 90 per cent of the world's lighting will be provided by this technology.
Nano-science may be about the smallest things but its impact on our future will be very great indeed.