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December 16th, 2010

Industries of the future

Abstract:
Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology, the science of ultra-micro electronics and pharmaceuticals at a sub-atomic scale, has the potential to be a major engine of growth in the Irish economy and exports could be doubled from €15bn today to €30bn by 2015.

The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), based at Trinity College Dublin, has secured €8.1m in non-Exchequer funding over the past 12 months and has provided employment for more than 50 people.

While these 50 are just a fraction of the thousands of people working in electronics and pharmaceutical firms across the country, nanotechnology could make Ireland a leader in the future of technology and future wonder drugs.

Dr Diarmuid O'Brien, executive director of CRANN, says that already 10pc of Ireland's exports are coming from products enabled by nanotechnology and these would transcend three core industries: ICT, medical devices and biopharmaceuticals.

"Companies like Intel are working on 65-nanometer transistors which are changing the entire future of computing. Firms in medical devices are seeking to make devices like stents, which are stronger and lighter, and, in the future, deliver drugs to patients in tiny nanoparticle packages. In terms of biopharmaceuticals, companies like Elan and Glaxo-SmithKline are looking at changing the dynamics in terms of what future drugs can do.

"Look at up-and-coming Irish technology companies like SolarPrint, for example, a firm making solar technology panels that can be put on any surface in any shape or size. A key ingredient in this is nanoparticles. We're beginning to see a whole new generation of companies engaging in nanotechnology to create future computers or healthcare products and at the same time seeing more mature Irish indigenous businesses re-energise their business," says O'Brien.

Source:
siliconrepublic.com

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