Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swiss Nanotech Report 2010 Shows Growing Economic Importance and Bright Future of Alpine Nano Companies and Research

Organic excitonic photovoltaics that rely on nanostructured elements to convert light into electricity are among the many discoveries being made in nanotechnology in Switzerland. A newly issued report by Swiss research laboratories and partners lead by Empa tracks nanotechnology developments in the Alpine country. 
 Image Credit: EMPA

The "Swiss Nanotech Report 2010” provides for the first time a comprehensive overview of current developments in the nanotechnology sector in economic and research in Switzerland. Switzerland's is among the most innovative countries in this area. The report, prepared by the numerous contributors from Empa, gives an insight into local conditions for research and development, technology transfer activities, cost-effective implementation and funding opportunities.
Whether sun-protection creams, computer chips and coatings for cars, or glasses - Innovations from the "nano-labs affect" our daily lives more and more. For the Swiss economy, this new and growing technology plays an increasingly important role, but is nanotechnology as a sunrise industry with enormous commercial potential. This requires an efficient and smooth as possible knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) from the laboratories in the industrial enterprises, a process that is just for the Empa is of central importance.
International Leaders role of Switzerland's innovation 
The aim of the "Swiss Nanotech Report" is to convey the first time a comprehensive picture of the Swiss nanotech landscape. In international comparison, Switzerland is among the most innovative countries in the field of nanotechnology: In 2006 alone there were in Switizer ten, "nano" inventions for patenting per million population."This demonstrates once again the high level of innovation within the research site Switzerland, which has greatly increased in recent years," said Heinz Muller from the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Bern, one of the initiators of the report.

Well positioned in the research and application 
A striking feature of nanotechnology is that it is a very interdisciplinary field of research. Innovative applications in the nanotechnology sector is far from confined to one sector, the opposite: How can nano-structures, for example, used to provide a more efficient use of solar energy to bring about a better water, or even to a more accurate diagnosis in health care - contribute, therefore applications that affect many different markets and sectors. More and more commercially successful products have been nano-components. The economic benefits of this technology is already out of question now, and is likely to become even more important in the future.

To ensure the release of the latest knowledge and technologies from research laboratories into new products continue to be the closest possible cooperation between research institutions such as the Empa and industrial partners is necessary. Empa's contribution to the "Swiss Nanotech Report" highlights then just the knowledge and technology transfer. "Three things are essential in our view: attractive platforms to the contact between researchers and industry partners to facilitate a holistic view that says the varied forms of technology on projects, licensing, training and much more, and includes" clear cooperation models, Gabriele Dobeneck , Head of Marketing, Knowledge and Technology at Empa and a co-author of the report.

In addition, Switzerland has also started early to deal with the potential impact of nanotechnology on health and the environment. Empa researchers are investigating how the possible effects of free nanoparticles on human cells and tissues, but also to different ecosystems and engage in public debate about the "pros and cons" of nanotechnology. One thing is clear: For the development of nanotech applications are a conscientious approach to the still-young technology and a broad social and political acceptance is essential.

The Swiss Nanotech Report is a report on the latest developments of the Swiss nanotech industry. It reflects the growing importance of this new technology for the Swiss economy. As one of the pioneers in this field, Switzerland is an important location for research and development of nanotechnology applications. The report shows that nearly 21% of Swiss patents are related to nanotechnology. 
Source: Swiss Nanotech Report 2010

Swiss Nanotech Report 2010 is published by the project partners, which together with Empa, include the Adolphe Merkle Institute, the Ministry of Economy and Labor Basle-City, CSEM, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, IBM Zurich Research, i-net BASEL NanoLab / EPFL, the OSEC, the Swiss National Science Foundation, SIX Swiss Exchange, the State Secretariat for Education and Research and the Suva belong.

Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research Empa is a materials science and technology research institution. It belongs to the ETH domain and as such is an important element in education, science and innovation in Switzerland. It specializes in applications, focused research and development, and provides high-level services in the field of sustainable materialsscience and technology. Its core tasks are innovative collaboration with industry and public institutions, ensuring the safety of people and the environment, knowledge propagation and university-level teaching.

Empa engages in interdisciplinary work in a large number of specialized disciplines. Its key areas of research are grouped in five programs entitled Nanotechnology, Adaptive Materials Systems, Materials for Health and Performance, Materials for Energy Technologies and Technosphere – Atmosphere.

Empa, Material Science & Technology
Duebendorf, Ueberlandstrasse 129, Switzerland, 8600
TEL : +41 44 823 4004 
 FAX : +41 44 823 62 44 
URL : 
Media Release (PDF File, 78 KB)
Dr. Christian Soltmann
Eidgenössisches Institut für Geistiges Eigentum
Tel. +41 31 377 70 89
Gabriele Dobenecker
Empa, Marketing, Wissens- und Technologietransfer
Tel. +41 44 823 44 21

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