single display News

What Are Nanoparticles? Early-Career Researchers Explain in a Video

Press release of the University of Bremen/ 27 november 2019 Meike Mossig

Nanotechnology is seen as being one of the most important key technologies. PhD students within the NanoCompetence graduate school at the University of Bremen are researching its chances and risks. In order to make the topic understandable, they have produced a playful explanation video.

Regardless of whether clothes, sun lotion, or plasters – nanoparticles are incorporated into many products nowadays. In some t-shirts, they create the so-called lotus effect. When the t-shirt is wet, the liquid simply rolls off. Specific nanoparticles in sun lotion ensure that your skin does not burn. Those in wound plasters function in an antibacterial manner and help with healing. The tiny particles are minute and range from one to one hundred nanometers in size. In order to get a feel for how small nanoparticles are: You have to place around 600 of them next to each other in order to attain the diameter of a hair. They are made up of different materials, for example metals. This is just some of the information included in the video, which was created by eight PhD students from the NanoCompotence graduate school using comic and Lego scenes.

How Do Nanoparticles Influence the Brain?

The film does not only offer playful insights into the complex field of nanotechnology. It additionally explains how the early-career researchers, who are split into three teams, deal with basic questions concerning the special nanoparticles copper oxide and cerium oxide. These have hardly been researched to date – especially in terms of the environment. For example, they investigate issues such as how nanoparticles influence the brain and how safety can be guaranteed when nanoparticles are used. 

Transporting Science into Society

One of the graduate school’s main aims is to transport science into society. “Therefore, at the start of our work we thought about filming a video in order to communicate our research,” says Jonas Fischer. The PhD student participated in the film and drew the comics. “After the video was finished, we decided to present it at an event at the House of Science (Haus der Wissenschaft) where we were to show our dissertations.” The video can now also be found online.

“Funny and Scientifically Correct”

“Thanks to working on the video, we were able to look at our research entirely differently with a focus on the aspects of comprehensibility and transferability,” says Jonas Fischer. The big challenge was breaking down research into the most important parts and still making the heart of the scientific work prominent. “The techniques that we learnt by making the video are now regularly applied to our presentations – whether in front of a scientific audience or the general public,” states the PhD student.

The video presents the whole concept of NanoCompetence in a funny manner,” says the graduate school spokesperson, Professor Juliane Filser. “Yet the PhD students still manage to communicate chosen aspects of their research in a scientifically correct and very clear way.”

The Hans Böckler Foundation, the City of Bremen, and the Chemical Industry Association fund the NanoCompetence graduate school.

Further Information:

You can watch the explanatory video on the University of Bremen YouTube channel:


Prof. Dr. Juliane Filser
General and Theoretical Ecology
Faculty of Biology / Chemistry
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218 63470
Email: filserprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

© Jonas Fischer/Universität Bremen Using comic and Lego scenes, PhD students from the NanoCompetence graduate school explain their research in a video.
Updated by: MAPEX