Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Purging nano’s innovation bottleneck

Abstract:
There is plenty of innovation in micro- and nanotechnologies, but bringing new devices to market is often prohibitively expensive. Many micro devices have small production volumes, while design, packaging and testing are costly. Now European researchers are breaking down the barriers by developing design methodologies that focus on manufacturing, packaging and testing.

Purging nano’s innovation bottleneck

Europe | Posted on January 10th, 2008

In laboratories dotted across the continent, dedicated and ingenious researchers work feverishly for years, or even careers, to increase our understanding of science at the small scale. Along the way, they develop new, innovative devices to detect pressure, acceleration, temperature or direction - and that's just the beginning.

Researchers now explore tiny devices that eject a dose of medicine at pre-determined intervals. They create entire, micron-sized laboratories or computer systems on a chip. They are discovering just how much room there is at the small scale, as physicist Richard Feynman famously predicted almost 49 years ago.
Ugly, but it works

But innovation at the sharp end lags behind scientific advances. Often the devices only exist in the laboratory as a demonstration. These prototype lab demonstrations look ugly, but often work and they prove functionality at the nano- or micro-scale. They also often determine whether the invention will ever see the light of day.

"For certain types of device, targeting very large volumes in sectors like the automotive and, more recently, the computer gaming industry, there is a promising future," reveals Patric Salomon, a partner with the PATENT-DfMM network of excellence (NoE). "But for many others, the lab is the only place where these devices are ever really used."

The reason? Up to 80 percent of the unit cost for micro- and nano-devices is in the packaging and testing phase, and the unit cost must often come in under a euro. "Many innovations are just too expensive to commercialise," notes Salomon.

But not, perhaps, for much longer. The PATENT-DfMM network was set up to find a way to cut the cost of packaging, testing and manufacturing micro and nano-devices. To do it, the 22-strong consortium had €6.2 million funding from the EU.

"We had a lot of control over how we assessed projects for funding within the network," says Salomon. "As a result, we were able to get quite a significant impact." In the end, the NoE supported over 60 small-scale projects.

These looked at ways to simplify the "Design for Micro Manufacture" process. In essence, researchers learn about manufacturing constraints before starting a design and they take these into account during the concept phase, to optimise units for manufacturing processes. This drives down costs and the time to market.

The network funded research into ways of re-using one design, or its building blocks, for a different type of product. It also studied more efficient ways to test for robustness and perform quality control. Already, these projects have had an important impact, though Salomon admits that they are difficult to quantify.
The end of the beginning

But that's just the beginning. PATENT-DfMM also conceived a series of service clusters, groups of specialists in particular areas of micro- and nanotechnology, offering services in design for manufacture, testing and reliability.

"These target specifically SMEs and can provide help for companies seeking to commercialise a nano- or microtechnology," notes Salomon. So far, PATENT-DfMM has set up two; one specialised in miniaturised health-monitoring systems (HUMS), while another focuses on reliability (EUMIREL).

In all, it offers hope of a commercial life for the thousands of lost innovations gathering dust in labs across the continent, and more importantly, to make sure future inventions are "designed for manufacture" from their initial development phase.

####

About ICT Results
The ICT Results service was developed in 2003 for the European Commission's Directorate-General Information Society and Media. It changed names in 2007 and is now operated by a consortium with experience in research, editing, communication and marketing services, led by ESN and partners Assystem.

ICT Results features online news and analysis on the emerging results from information and communications technology research. It reports on prototype products and services ready for commercialisation, as well as work in progress and interim results with significant potential for exploitation.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
NoE Patent-DfMM Co-ordinator:
Andrew Richardson
Director, Centre for Microsystems Engineering
University of Lancaster, Dept. Engineering
Lancaster LA1 4YR, UK
Phone: +44 1524 593018
Fax: +44 1524 381707
E-mail:

NoE Patent-DfMM Networking and Dissemination:
Patric Salomon
Managing Director
4M2C PATRIC SALOMON GmbH
Cranachstrasse 1, 12157 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 30 2435 7870
Fax: +49 721 1515 82528
E-mail:

Copyright © ICT Results

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

NRL charters Navy’s quantum inertial navigation path to reduce drift April 5th, 2024

Discovery points path to flash-like memory for storing qubits: Rice find could hasten development of nonvolatile quantum memory April 5th, 2024

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Getting drugs across the blood-brain barrier using nanoparticles March 3rd, 2023

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Metasurfaces control polarized light at will: New research unlocks the hidden potential of metasurfaces August 13th, 2021

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Closing of Agreement with Takeda November 27th, 2020

Alliances/Trade associations/Partnerships/Distributorships

Manchester graphene spin-out signs $1billion game-changing deal to help tackle global sustainability challenges: Landmark deal for the commercialisation of graphene April 14th, 2023

Chicago Quantum Exchange welcomes six new partners highlighting quantum technology solutions, from Chicago and beyond September 23rd, 2022

CEA & Partners Present ‘Powerful Step Towards Industrialization’ Of Linear Si Quantum Dot Arrays Using FDSOI Material at VLSI Symposium: Invited paper reports 3-step characterization chain and resulting methodologies and metrics that accelerate learning, provide data on device pe June 17th, 2022

University of Illinois Chicago joins Brookhaven Lab's Quantum Center June 10th, 2022

Research partnerships

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Discovery points path to flash-like memory for storing qubits: Rice find could hasten development of nonvolatile quantum memory April 5th, 2024

Researchers’ approach may protect quantum computers from attacks March 8th, 2024

How surface roughness influences the adhesion of soft materials: Research team discovers universal mechanism that leads to adhesion hysteresis in soft materials March 8th, 2024

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project