Posted: November 6, 2009

Austria showcases its nanotechnology initiative

(Nanowerk News) The "NANO: Wissenschaft. Wirtschaft. Wirkung. 09" event the exhibition for the Austrian NANO Initiative of the BMVIT on 9 November at Tech Gate Vienna has been fully booked for a number of days. Since 2004, 50 million euros has been invested in high-calibre research and commercially-oriented development work as part of the initiative. This approach has launched numerous patents and inventions onto the international market. These developments will be presented at the exhibition as part of a programme involving both Austrian and international experts.
Federal Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology Doris Bures is confident that the exhibition will demonstrate how investment in applied research really does "pay off" in the truest sense of the word. The Minister sees the keen interest in the BMVIT conference as an encouraging sign that business and research institutes are still prepared to invest in research and new technologies despite the tough economic times. "Research, technology and innovation are crucial to economic growth and increased employment levels", explains the Minister. "The best way to get results is to promote research through an applied, commercially-oriented approach. Today's developments are destined for tomorrow's market."
Bringing basic research and application-based research closer together a specific aim of the NANO Initiative programme has worked extremely well in terms of overall investment. The results are tangible and, after five years of the programme, the application has been catapulted into the limelight. Almost 30 percent of the total investment level, or 20 million euros, is being invested in nanotechnology by the companies and research organisations themselves.
Speakers at the event include Christos Tokamanis, head of the "Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies" unit in the "Industrial Technologies" directorate of the European Commission. His presentation will set out the European Commission's strategy in relation to nanotechnology, which facilitates the rapid commercial application of scientific findings. This key topic will also be taken up by Dr. Alex Dommann, CTO of the Centre Suisse d Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Other experts will also be reporting on the speedy development of the technology and how these new discoveries should be handled in a responsible manner: Dr. Alex Dommann, CSEM; Dr. Arno Köpf, Böhlerit GmbH & Co. KG; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Knoll, Director of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH; university lecturer Michael Nentwich, Director of the Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Alexander Pogany, BMVIT.
From semiconductor systems to coatings and medicine the NANO Initiative covers numerous aspects of nanotechnology. However, the eight project clusters are not solely dedicated to research. They are also aimed at developing concrete applications and their products have already met with great market success in key sectors.
For example, the Nano-HEALTH group is developing new multifunctional nanoparticles for use in the healthcare sector, whether in clinical imaging based on magnetic resonance, the early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases or the targeted administration of drugs.
In contrast, the ISOTEC project cluster has taken a different direction altogether and is focused on the development of a multi-analyte sensor. This technology can be used to monitor foodstuffs or ambient air and has a range of applications for workplace safety.
The NANOCOAT project, on the other hand, is focused not on sensors but on surfaces. By altering nanostructures, this group is developing new multifunctional surface properties. As a result, a new coating process can now be used to manufacture coatings for the automotive industry that are extremely strong, tough and dense and exhibit low coefficients of friction.
The NSI project cluster also focuses on surfaces. This group's work is centred on customized nanoparticles, nanostructured surfaces and nanocomposites for use in areas such as organ reconstruction, printable security markings and coatings with long-term UV protection.
In the PHONAS project, the term coating is associated first and foremost with transparent, self-cleaning and water-repellent properties. Thanks to this research, indoor and outdoor products can now be treated with special coatings, which could be particularly useful in the protection of historical monuments and the environment.
The NanoComp group is also working on material properties, although it is focused on nanocomposites. Improved fracture-mechanical behaviour, excellent wear resistance and optical transparency are the attributes of these new high-performance materials for the aviation and automotive sectors.
The NILaustria project cluster has achieved outstanding progress in the electronics sector. Exceptionally high resolution coupled with outstanding performance, fast and cost-effective-ion beams are used to create stamps with structures measuring just 50 nanometres.
The work of the PLATON project is most relevant to the environmental technology, solar cell, medical technology and atom chip sectors. Indeed, entirely new measuring devices and tools are already being used by Austrian companies.
Monday, 9 November, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The far-ranging achievements of the NANO Initiative will take centre stage during presentations and discussions at "NANO: Wissenschaft. Wirtschaft. Wirkung. 09" (NANO: Science. Business. Performance. 09) at Tech Gate Vienna. There will also be the opportunity to speak to the scientists and businesspeople involved in the groups in person and find out exactly what Austria's companies and research organisations have achieved to date as part of the NANO Initiative. What's more, the programme management section of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) will be on hand with advice about the various Austrian and European funding opportunities that are available for research and development projects.
Source: BMVIT