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Nanotech: Making Drinking Water without Chlorination

Demonstrating considerable science communication skills, current AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow Jennifer Gil-Acevedo and Abelardo Colon took top honors this June in a new contest designed by Quinn Spadola, 2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. The contest is designed to highlight the accomplishments of and build community around the the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), and educate the public about nanotechnology.

Gil-Acevedo and Colon, of the University of Puerto Rico, won top place for their video, “Chlorination-less.” In it, they explain a new method for disinfecting drinking water using a nanodiamond powder. Access to clean water is a major international issue and most drinking water is chlorinated, which can be harmful to human health. As a potential alternative, this nanotechnology-enabled method can kill bacteria, is biocompatible, and is reusable.

Jennifer Gil-Acevedo and Abelardo Colon in their winning video.

Videos submitted by students at U.S. universities are posted on NanoTube, the YouTube channel of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Students were asked to submit videos that demonstrate how their nanotechnology research will bring solutions to real-world problems. More information about the contest can be found at The second round of the video contest is now open; submissions will be accepted through November 12.

“The winning videos were spotlighted on the NNI webpage and may also be featured at symposia and technical conferences,” said Spadola.