A man in a lab coat standing in front of equipment.

From Earth to Space – Endless Opportunities

Health and Life Sciences
Published On
June 9, 2022

Dr. David Antoniuk, P.Eng. is the CEO of Applied Quantum Materials Inc.

When it comes to unlocking the future of technology, few areas hold more potential than nanotech. The NanoCanada conference showcases the field’s cutting-edge developments, emphasizing sustainability, health, and space technology.

We’ll be streaming the event live on all of our social media channels on the 9th of June.  Dr. David Antoniuk, CEO of locally-based Applied Quantum Materials (AQM), will join Edmonton Global to discuss examining the possibilities of this emerging future.

Clean Energy Nanotech

We chatted with David a little over a year ago to learn more about his company and his experience in the nanotechnology ecosystem in Alberta. 

David believes that nanotechnology is vital to the clean energy sector of the Edmonton region. “Nanotechnology supports many initiatives to diversify our economy,” Dr. David Antoniuk explained. “A great example is clean tech. Clean tech doesn’t exist without nanotechnology.”

AQM has developed a technology that turns windows into power-generating units. One of the challenges with solar energy is the limited supply of surface area that cities can make use of to build this type of infrastructure. Innovations like this will allow companies and cities to utilize existing buildings and windows and convert them into power-generating machines.  cities will need to make innovative use of space like this to realize their carbon neutral 2050 goals.

Dr. Antoniuk also explained how the infrastructure and talent that exists in the  Edmonton region demonstrates its strength and expertise in nanotechnology. The Edmonton region’s long history of experience in nanotechnology is one of our best-kept secrets, with it being supported by a vast range of engineers, scientists, manufacturers, and innovators, he adds. 

In 2001, the National Research Council established a national nanotechnology lab at the University of Alberta. Alberta developed a nanotechnology strategy more than 20 years ago, explains Dr. Antoniuk. The infrastructure that exists here, as a result, makes it a great place to build a company like AQM. 

“The University of Alberta has world-leading nanofabrication facilities and researchers,” says Dr. Antoniuk. “And back when we started, we were the world leaders in this type of technology. People were coming from all over the world to learn from what we were doing here. My team benefits from having access to these great facilities.”

Medical Nanotech

AQM made its name in health sciences when it partnered with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to provide nucleic acid extraction kits to improve COVID-19 testing.

AQM also produces silicon quantum dots, a photoluminescent semiconductor that are key to other potential medical products. Seen here under ultraviolet light.

As a world leader in nanoparticle technology, AQM has developed an extensive body of research in the nanoparticle field. Before COVID-19, the application of this knowledge was broad, delivering products to international customers with interests in science, nanotechnology and deep tech. The pandemic drew AQM toward developing testing kits for COVID-19. According to David, it took some time to secure the AHS contract; creating the kits was relatively straightforward. 

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) has fully supported this endeavour through funding, research, and advisory services. Investors also recognize the potential for new advances in this promising field.

Throughout the pandemic, several manufacturers, institutions, and developers joined forces in Edmonton’s nanotech industry to improve COVID testing with the benefits of nanotechnology.  Conventions like From Earth to Space are a great opportunity for leaders to meet, collaborate, and showcase advances being made by innovators in this field.  

It’s not too late to join Edmonton Global at the NanoCanada From Earth to Space conference in person. Or, tune in to Edmonton Global’s social media channels, where conversations and panel discussions with industry experts and leaders will be streamed live from inside the Edmonton Global booth.