Advanced Nanotechnology Thin Film Approaches for the Food and Medical Industry: an overview of current status

By Vasco Teixeira

University of Minho

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In the field of nanotechnology-based thin films and coatings, new approaches using nanoscale effects can be used to design, create or model nanocoating systems with significantly optimized or enhanced properties of high interest to the food, health and biomedical industry. With the development of nanotechnology in various areas of materials science the potential use of novel surfaces and more reliable materials by employing nanocomposite and nanostructured thin films in food packaging, security pharmaceutical labels, novel polymeric containers for food contact, medical surface instruments, bio-implants, and even coated nanoparticles for bionanotechnology can be considered.

The use of plastic containers in the food and beverage market has dramatically increased because they are lightweight, unbreakable, convenient, resealable and they may be clear. PET bottles have gradually replaced glass bottles and metal cans as the most common packaging for liquid foods, such as carbonated soft drinks, tea, water, soy sauce and edible oil.In this field of new packaging technologies, nanostructured architectures coatings such as nanocomposite films are given the unique role of enhancing food impact over the consumer’s health. For example, the unique properties of diamond like carbon (DLC) film, including its chemical inertness and impermeability, make it possible for new applications in food, beverage and medical market segments.

In this presentation it will be presented an overview of the nanotechnology approaches to produce nanostructured materials for food and health industry. Topics to be discussed include introduction to nanocoatings concepts (from functional nanocomposite and graded coatings to smart nanomaterial surfaces used in packaging and biomedical industry) produced by clean PVD technologies (Physical Vapour Deposition) and other deposition techniques. An overview of the current research, existing technological applications and future industrial materials and components will be highlighted.


Vasco Teixeira is Associate Professor and has a PhD degree by University of Minho, Braga-Portugal in Applied Physics. His speciality is science and technology of multilayered and nanocomposite functional coatings. He was since January 2001 till January 2005, the Head of the GRF-Functional Coatings Group at Institute of Materials and he is, since the group foundation the leader of the research line: Advanced Coatings for High Efficient Energy Systems. He is author and co-author of more that 60 scientific papers. He organised and participated in several scientific committees of several national and international conferences. He is Vice-President of the SOPORVAC-Portuguese Vacuum Society. He is member of the Executive Council (Councillor)-2004-2007 Triennium da IUVSTA-International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique, and Applications. He is member of Directive Council of the Portuguese Materials Society. He is Coordinator of TTES-Surface Engineering and Heat Treatment Division of the SPM-Portuguese Materials Society and Technical Advisory Member of Tribological and Decorative Coatings of the SVC-American Society of Vacuum Coaters He was the national delegate for European Action COST 522 and member of the management committee of the COST 522. He is evaluator for FP European projects, INTAS projects, Portuguese Innovation Agency (ADI) in the field on nanoscience, nanotechnologies, advanced surface treatments and characterisation techniques.

He has specific interest in Advanced Coatings for High Efficient Energy Systems, Functional and Protective Coatings for Industrial Components and Nanotechnology-based Thin Films for Smart Materials. Involved in: i) Production and characterisation of thin coatings for industrial applications using Physically Vapour Deposition (PVD) techniques. ii) Experimental study and numerical modelling of residual stresses and adherence of ceramic multilayered coatings for protective and decorative applications. iii) Deposition and modelling of optical behaviour of thin oxide and oxy-nitride coatings for spectrally selective solar energy applications, such as nanocomposite solar absorbers, thermochromic coatings and layered electrochromic devices for smart windows. iv) Thin films and nanostructured coatings for solar photovoltaics, security label in food, health and defense.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Vasco Teixeira (2007), "Advanced Nanotechnology Thin Film Approaches for the Food and Medical Industry: an overview of current status,"

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