Prof Hendrik Swart Video
Prof Hendrik Swart
Photo: Johan Roux

‘Nanotechnology will change life in rural areas’

Prof Hendrik Swart Video

Prof Hendrik Swart introduction: video

“Nanotechnology will provide tools for high-tech development as well as development in rural areas. The fabrication of phosphors will provide affordable lighting for those people, assisting with national infrastructure development, but it may also be used in high-technology plasma and field emission television screens,” says Prof Hendrik Swart, SARchi Chair and senior professor in Physics.

Over the past 20 years, he has led research in the area of the degradation of phosphors for field emission displays, as well as in developing materials for nanosolid-state lighting. He has played a key role in the development of processes to synthesise and deposit thin films of various types of semiconductor nanoparticles, which will enhance the colour, luminescent intensity, and lifetime of such displays.

The number of research papers is proof that he and his team have been able to produce good quality phosphors and thin films. They are very excited about the phosphors fabricated for LEDs. They were able to synthesise white phosphors with and without rare earth elements.

The main objective of the research associated with the research chair is to develop micro- and
nanophosphors for applications in infrastructure and high-technology flat panel displays. The main challenge will be the fabrication and the testing of these phosphors with a long afterglow for infrastructure development, and phosphors which will withstand degradation for flat panel display applications.
Prof Swart says, “The main aim of this research is to push the frontiers of knowledge within or between disciplines, and to ensure recognition nationally and internationally for the high quality of the research.”

“Specifically, the development of nanophosphors which may be excited with sunrays during the day and brought inside at night, giving light to read and study by, is an example of how the research may assist in reducing vulnerability, and contribute to poverty alleviation. Nanotechnology development will help South Africa to compete internationally, bring about new innovations, take South Africa to a higher level of science and engineering, and will also help build capacity in technology, human resources, and transformation,” he says.

The International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) honoured him with the prestigious IAAM Scientist Award for 2014 at the SETCOR International Conference on Smart Materials and Surfaces, in Bangkok, Thailand. He received honorary membership of the Golden Key Association (2012). Nationally, he received the South African National Science and Technology Forum Award 2009 for the research-capacity development of students in nanophysics.

Hendrik Swart serves on the editorial board of Journal Critical Reviews in Solid State and Materials Sciences and on the editorial advisory board of Recent Patents on Material Science, of Applied Surface Science, Advanced Physics Letter, and the editorial board of Open Journal of Modern Physics. He is one of the editors of Journal of Nano Research.

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