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The 3rd edition of Bangalore Nano organized by The Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka under the guidance of Vision Group on Nanotechnology was inaugurated today at the Lalit Ashok. The focal theme of Bangalore Nano 2010 is "Frontiers of Nanotechnology: Impact on India. This TWO day event is featuring top global intellects, entrepreneurs and organizations in the field of Nanotechnology.
Speaking on Plastic Electronics: Nanotech at a Large Scale, Prof. Sir Richard Friend, introduced the audience to the study of organic polymers as semiconductors, and also demonstrated how these materials can be used in wide range of semiconductor devices, including light-emitting diodes and transistors. He co-founded Cambridge Display Technology Ltd in 1992 to develop light-emitting diode displays and Plastic Logic Ltd in 2000, to develop polymer transistor circuits that are now being developed as flexible active-matrix backplanes for e-paper displays. He is currently working on organic thin-film solar cells.
He said that Printed plastic electronics was very much a part of nanotechnology and offered an effective solution for various industry applications like printing and greater convenience as compared to lighting by silicon electronic displays. Since the demand of the future was to provide for panel lighting that would be spread over a large area as compared to focused LED lighting, there was tremendous scope for research in this field and tapping commercial opportunities too. He made a comparison between OLED and OTFT (organic thin film transistors) fields and the status and opportunities in each in the past, present and future. OTFT could be used in paper like flexible displays and could offer all polymer next generation display solutions for the future.
Cambridge University is currently collaborating with the printing giant Epson on various print technologies based on PE. However, future applications in the field would depend on the engineering practices adopted.
Sir Richard Friend then demonstrated a real e-reader that he described as "just made of plastic" in which the schedule for the day had been captured. Unlike a traditional silicon display board, it was light, flexible, tough and easy to carry or fix.
Prof. Yoshio Bando, Fellow, National Institute for Material Science (NIMS), COO, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) Japan, Nanotech R&D in Japan, presented an outline of NIMS. Introducing the audience to the role of nanotechnology and its importance in research in Japan, Prof. Yoshio Bando spoke about the impetus given by the government to research and development in the country. The Nanotechnology R&D Policy started as a Basic plan in FY 1996 with an investment of 17.6 trillion for the I S&T Plan period of 1996- 2000.The II S&T Basic Plan for FY 2001 -2005 saw an investment of 21.1 trillion yen and the III S&T Basic Plan for FY 2006-2010 had 25 trillion yen by the government.
The government of Japan has earmarked certain areas of research. Primary areas of research include Life Sciences, IT, Environmental Sciences and Nanotechnology and materials, Prof. Bando said.
Describing that Nanotechnology would encompass anything measuring 1-100 nm, it would help observe matter in atomic and molecular levels.
In Japan, a new leading concept titled "True Nano" has gained ground. This "True Nano" is defined as an abrupt jump in science and technology. It is expected to have a large impact on the fields of research and science.
The Nanotechnology Network Project sponsored by the government of Japan has six basic areas of i.e Basic Research, Commercial and Industrial Development, Infra development, Sector Linkage, Personnel Training and Research and Research and System Reforms. It is in the field of Research and System Reforms that MANA has been named among the top 5 research institutes in the world.
Speaking on the Ministries involved in the encouragement of science and nanotech in the country, Prof. Yoshio said that METI, MEXT and MHLW had a major role in the same. NIMS and RIKEN have been considered as major institutes for nanotechnology research by the Ministries.
The mission of the Nanotech Network Project is to provide opportunities to use nano facilities and to spread information and organize studies. There is a definite network building program of these research centers for reduction of Carbon Dioxide in the materials used for nanotechnology.
Tsukuba Innovation Arena is the brainchild of NIMS and is envisaged as providing public-private collaboration platforms in nanotechnology. There are various government Projects run for Societal Implications of Nanotechnology that involve MEXT, METI, NEDO and include research on scope, risks, innovations and applications of nanotechnology in everyday situations.
After Nano Tech 2009, that was one of the largest exhibitions in the world on nanotechnology, MEXT is sponsoring the next biggest expo on Nanotechnology i.e Nano Tech 2011 in which around 50,000 participants are expected from all over the world.
Dr. Hiran Vedam - Founder & CEO, NanoConsulting Pte. Ltd., MD, Nanoholdings Asia Pte. Ltd., Singapore Topic: Nanotechnology for Sustainability
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Hiram Vedam described NanoConsulting and Nanoholdings Asia Pte. Ltd as Asia based boutique consulting firms. She said they were focusing on meeting the goals set by UN Millennium Development Goals.
The firms are involved in transitioning technologies from research to market in the context of large multi-national corporations, SMEs and in academic settings.
Regarding the role of Nanotechnology in sustainability, nanotechnology can play a role in saving water, energy and environment, Dr. Hiran said. At a time when the world's supplies of water and fossil fuels are nearly depleted, cheaper, local, sustainable and efficient means of energy are the need of the hour. Nano based solutions can save sufficient amounts of energy, it is felt.
The reason why a majority of organizations/individuals fail in transferring research into commercial opportunities is because of various reasons like lack of IP Management, Comparative Analysis, lack of Engineering Projects Management, Industry interaction and PR skills, she added.
"Nanoholdings enters the scene at the research level in the university, identifies potential successes projects, take major stakeholding, grant equity to the researcher and monitor the project closely. Once the product is a success (or even a failure), the firm pulls out." she said.
Examples of intervention by Nanoholdings are NCI from Rice University where nanotechnology is applied for energy management, Paramata Intrinsic Sensing of failures in composites (useful in the aviation sector), Nirvision for combating disruptive night vision, nSolgel, an environment friendly cement and FishGil for energy efficient desalination.
Question Answer Session
Q1. One of the participants asked the speakers about the problems with use of carbon in nanotubes.
Dr Yoshio answered that there was no final answer and researchers were still looking for solutions.
Q2. Another participant asked about the life expectancy of OLED displays
Dr Richard Friend answered that they had a very long life i.e. more than 10 years.
Q3. Another participant asked about the infrastructure required for Nanotechnology
The speakers replied that there were various infrastructure requirements like soft and hard infrastructures.
Q4. Another participant asked about the research on the impact of nanoparticles on health and environment.
Dr Richard Friend clarified that the particles used in the process were responsible for such effects, but right now, none of the particles had exhibited much toxicological or environmental effects.
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