Testing sunscreens and photocatalytic test Creative Commons, Attribution alone (BY)
Authors: Jožef Stefan Institute
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Nanoscience and nanotechnology have for a long time now been extremely interesting in terms of the development of new materials. Due to their small size (between 1 nm and 100 nm), materials in the so-called nanoform or nanosize have special physical and chemical properties and a large specific surface area (i.e. a large surface area in relation to volume). Nanomaterials are increasingly used in cosmetic, textile, food and construction industries as well as in medicine. This means that we are already seeing commercially available nanosize materials such as titanium dioxide, silver and silicon dioxide in our homes. Titanium dioxide is added to a broad range of products. It is very often found in cosmetic products such as powders and creams, particularly in sunscreens, which protect us from UV light. TiO2 scatters and reflects unwanted UV rays. It is found in food in micro and nano sizes – as the additive called E171. It is also used as a bleaching agent in the coating of chewing gums and in sweets, dry foods, etc. Increasingly, it is gaining prominence as a self-cleaning coating for windows and facades. TiO2 becomes hydrophilic under UV light and does not soak the surface, which prevents misting and simultaneously cleans the surface.

In medicine, nanomaterials are increasingly used as radiocontrast agents in nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and for delivery of active substances. The latter uses magnetic nanoparticles whose surface has been processed so as to bind the active substance to it. These magnetic particles can then be led to the affected area using an external magnet. Besides the numerous positive properties of nanomaterials, we should, however, also take note of the negative aspects of these small particles. Nanotechnology is a very complex field, and we often encounter various nanomaterials unknowingly. Since they are present everywhere, we can ingest or inhale them, or they can enter our body through the pores of the skin. Due to the possibilities listed above, researchers are not only developing new nanomaterials but also studying the impact nanoparticles have on our body and health. Studying the toxicity of nanomaterials tells us what happens to them in our body and whether they can harm us.

Workforce in Chemistry

Chemistry is everywhere in our daily life and there are many jobs chemistry graduates do. Around 540,000 students study chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth science in the EU. Chemistry graduates work as analysts, healthcare scientists, clinical chemists, forensic scientists, nanotechnologists, pharmacologists and toxicologists among others. Jobs for chemists, other scientists and engineers grew by 7% in the past five years. Jobs for technicians in the field grew by 2%. Overall, they account for 7% of all jobs in the EU. As of 2016, around 15 million European science and engineering workers are employed. They work in a variety of sectors, many of which related with chemical industry, such as agrochemicals, metallurgical, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and plastics and polymers. Many also work in professional services, utilities, and in the education systems. In the next years, jobs for chemistry scientists, other researchers and engineers will increase by 13%, and jobs for science and engineering technicians will increase by 2%.

  45 min
Number of staff
Education Level
15-18 years
Science Discipline
Home use
Classroom use
Supervision required
Parent (legal guardian supervision required
Teacher supervision required
Knowledge prerequisites
Technical requirements
Internet connection during class required
You'll need to buy some materials
Printed materials required
Installation effort
No installation required on typical computer

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