Posted: May 14, 2008

Italy and Israel partner on nanotechnology research and development

(Nanowerk News) Italy and Israel are set to establish a joint nanotechnology lab, that will focus on nano-photos, quantum computers and ultra-cooled atoms.
The lab will be jointly operated by the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel) and LENS lab (Florence, Italy). The two sides, which have signed a memorandum of understanding, hope that the initial investment in the project will be Euros 250,000 Euro ($388,000).
According to Weizmann Institute's Professor. Nir Davidson the joint research in the lab can target advanced applications in areas such as atomic clocks, time and frequency products and precise measurement instruments, which could enhance the performance of navigation products such as GPS. They can also be useful for applications such as oil discovery, prediction of earthquakes and potentially for the development of a quantum computer that can process massive amounts of data.
Prof. Davidson told EETimes Europe that several years ago many researchers were very excited of the possibility that cold atoms could help build nano-structures. "At that time, dozens of research groups tackled that issue, but today this activity is less prominent and more specific. Some people think that some of the microstructures that will be produced as a result of this research might become useful for semiconductor manufacturing processes. Personally, I think this idea does not have high chances of success."
According to Dr. Stefano Boccaletti, scientific attaché at the Italian Embassy in Israel, cooperation between Israel and Italy has already led to 30 joint scientific-industrial projects, which received around 6 million Euro ($9.3 million) support from the Italian government. Boccaletti expressed the hope that the two countries will set up a bi-national scientific fund.
Israel's nanotechnology program, called the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) provides 3-to-1 matching funds for all private donations to nanotech centers, effectively producing over $230 million in funding for Israeli nanotech centers through 2011.
According to Eli Opper, the chief scientist of Israel's ministry of industry, trade and labor, one third of the money will come from Israeli ministries, one third from donors residing outside of Israel and the rest will come from the funded universities or institutes.
Source: EE Times France (Amir Ben-Artzi )
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