The history of the Nanotechnology centre began in 1992 with the establishment of the Central Analytical Laboratory (CAL) at VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava lead by professor Zdeněk Weiss. Laboratories were equipped with – then – state-of-the-art apparatus purchased via the European PHARE project and their main objective was to offer services to VŠB-TUO and customers from the industrial, business and legislative sectors. In 1997, the laboratory services were accredited by the Czech Accreditation Institute and this accreditation is still being prolonged and extended.
Simultaneously with the service activities, the educational activities were also pursued – in the collaboration with the Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering and the newly established Faculty of Civil Engineering – as well as scientific activities in the field of clay, carbonaceous and friction materials. Therefore, Institute of Materials Chemistry (IMACH) was established in 2003 on the foundation of CAL. The first director was professor Zdeněk Weiss who led the Centre until the May of 2005 when he died after a brief illness. The scientific activities of the Centre were fully developed with the research project MŠMT MSM6198910016 “Synthesis, Structure and Characteristics of Nanomaterials Based on Intercalated Phyllosilicates” in 2005-2011 the results of which were very positively received.
In 2005, professor Pavla Čapková was appointed as director and she both developed the existing activities of the Centre and realized the vision of its founder – by laying down the fundaments of Nanotechnology centre which was established in February 1st, 2007 by its transformation from VÚCHEM. Since then, the activities of the Centre are focused on the research in the field of preparation, characterization and application of nanomaterials while the original line of work involving service, development and research activity in the field of chemical, phase and structural analysis was preserved and has been also developed further.
Research in the field of nanotechnology was further supported by the establishment of the study programme “Nanotechnology”, which was developed in a close collaboration with the Institute of Physics (Faculty of Mining and Geology, VŠB-TUO). VŠB-TUO was the first University in the Czech Republic to be accredited for such a programme and, in 2007, first students entered both bachelor – and master study programmes. After the successful accreditation of the doctoral study programme in 2012, several students have already successfully graduated.
In 2010, professor Jaromír Pištora was appointed as director of the Centre and he further develops the activities on which the Nanotechnology Centre was established and, simultaneously, builds new opportunities for young scientists and researchers, e.g. by the support of the “double-degree” studies in nanotechnology in cooperation with Universities and Colleges in France, USA and Canada.