Nanotech Industry in Southeastern Europe

IndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2009

The nanotech industry is moving from research to production with over 500 consumer nano-products already available. Though nanotechnology has long been seen as tomorrow’s technology, developers of nanoproducts are focused on today’s market opportunities. Nanoscale materials are used in a number of applications, including textile treatments, polymer composites for motor vehicle parts, performance additives for paints and coatings, and chemical mechanical polishing slurries and other electronics applications. Among the other major covered industries are aerospace, communications, construction, defense/military, electronics, energy, general machinery, metalworking, paper & pulp, etc.
Thanks to rapid advances and significant commitment to research and development by government agencies, universities and corporations, nanomaterials are expected to increase their market presence quickly. For the next decade or two, the majority of nanomaterial consumption will be accounted for by established products such as silica, titanium dioxide, clays, metal powders, polymers and chemicals produced in nanoscale versions. In many cases, these nanoscale versions will have different performance characteristics resulting from their smaller size, such as a higher surface-to-mass ratio, allowing for greater reactivity or greater strength relative to weight.
At the other end of the spectrum are new products such as nanotubes, buckyballs, dendrimers and quantum dots, whose broad commercialization is only beginning. These new materials are expected to become vital components of such products as flat panel displays and other electronics, drug delivery systems and pharmaceutical active ingredients, conductive polymers, batteries and fuel cells, superstrong aerospace equipment and highly specialized coatings.

Textile Industry
Even though nanotechnology is still in its infancy state, it already had an impact in textile industry. This new technology is opening new ways for textile manufacturers to develop increased performance fibers. Some of those applications include antimicrobial, flame retardant and dirt resistant fabrics. All of these applications can easily be adopted by existing textile mills without altering the feel of the fabric. The use of nanotechnology is allowing textiles to become multifunctional. For instance, plasma technology is being used to modify the top nanometer layers of textiles, allowing them to be made antibacterial, fungicidal and water repellent. Other areas of interest include heat resistant and mechanically resilient work wear, ballistic protection, sensors and camouflage.

Glass Industry
The glass industry is being pushed by competitive market conditions, and thus experiencing a mandatory innovation process, also related to rapid changes in customer expectations. Moreover, there is a fast growing demand for new product development programs. In this context, nanotechnology must be considered the most promising field. Several final properties (thermal insulation, conductivity, reflectivity, etc.) of glass can be improved by recent advancements in nanotechnology. Besides, bonus features like self-cleaning ability can be adhered to the current glass manufacturing technology as well.

Ceramics Industry
Traditional ceramic materials comprise a well-known technology with an extensive source of present and future applications. There is an increasing demand for advanced materials however, which causes a growing list of new material compositions. These mostly include inorganic materials with combinations of fine structures. Handling these materials call for a certain degree of technology that is far more sophisticated than today’s technology applied in conventional ceramics industry. Nanotechnology is the only way to reach the most outstanding high-technology applications whose ongoing momentum is therefore very critical to the future advances in ceramics industry, too.

Automobile Industry
Growing demand for high efficiency, high performance materials and increasing safety and emission standards have pushed big automotive producers to look for new technologies like nanotechnology. Through nanotechnology, the automotive industry will get its new growth potential and development momentum.
By adopting nanotechnology, the industry can reduce costs, particularly in the case of paints and coatings. For instance, the efficiency of a single layer of nanomaterial- based coating is comparable to that of three layers of conventional coatings. Nanomaterials are also projected to lower the quantity of highly expensive rare metals used in catalytic converters and fuel cells, yielding a saving of at least $1 billion per year by 2010.


Nanotechnology development and manufacture facilities in South-East Europe

Bulgaria
Innovative Solutions Bulgaria

Founded in 2001, Innovative Solutions Bulgaria Ltd. (ISB) joined the Swiss NanoWorld Holding AG in 2005. At present date, ISB is part of a large international holding being the global market leader in one of the most promising fields in Nanotechnology. Next to production and distribution activities, directly connected with the core business of NanoWorld Hodling AG, ISB is the internal source of design, web marketing and programming services of the Holding’s subsidiaries and partners. At the same time, ISB is offering services to external clients as well. The client basis of ISB includes well established companies and market leaders from Bulgaria, USA, Germany, UK and Australia.
Innovative Solutions Bulgaria offers a variety of AFM Probes under the trade mark BudgetSensors®. The BudgetSensors® product range features different AFM probes for various measuring modes: dynamic, force modulation and contact mode, also available with different coatings like aluminium reflex and overall conductive Cr/Pt coatings for conductive measurements. The NEW Silicon Nitride probe, which is mainly used for soft contact purpose and in the field of Bio applications, has been introduced by ISB at the beginning of 2005.
Bulgarian Nanotechnology Center
IBM will support the creation of First Nanotechnology Center in Bulgaria. The initiative is a part of Bulgarian government’s three-year program, aimed at creating different nanoproducts, micromachines and microsystems. IBM technology and business consultants will assist the Bulgarian government in establishing a new nanotechnology research facility which will use state-of-the-art equipment to explore and develop new innovations in nanoscience. To enable the computing-intensive projects, the new laboratory will draw on IBM’s Blue Gene — the most powerful Bulgarian supercomputer, owned by Bulgarian State Agency for Information Technology and Communications.
Once the center is created, the Bulgarian government intends to conduct applied research in the following areas:
• Microfluidics and nanofluidics - to gain a better understanding of cells and tissues and other biological specimens to support drug toxicity testing and the development of new medicines.
• Nanosystems for electronics and sensing - using nanoscale sensors and actuators to support the development of point-of-care diagnostics, environmental monitoring (such as atmospheric pollution analysis) and security.
• Nanomaterials - advanced virtual substrates for compound semiconductors which could pave the way for future, nanoscale electronic circuitry.
Due to be completed next year, the Bulgarian Nanotechnology Center will occupy nearly 500 square meters of laboratory space and will support researchers and engineers working in close collaboration with Bulgarian universities.

Greece
Nanothinx S.A.

Nanothinx (NTX) is a spin-off enterprise located in Rio-Patras, Greece. The activities of Nanothinx mainly lie on the development of methods for the large-scale, high-yield production of carbon nanotubes (CNT), using novel nanostructured catalysts on suitable supports. The proprietary methods of nanotubes production used by NTX are based on the catalytic chemical vapor deposition of carbon (CCVD or CVD) from hydrocarbon feeds using metallic catalysts on suitable supports. Nanostructured mixed (multi-component) oxides are employed as precursor materials for the CCVD catalysts. As a result, NanoThinX possesses and is developing expertise on the production of nanostructured mixed oxides by the use of various processing methods ranging from combustion synthesis to flame pyrolysis.
Company’s work is also carried out on the development of methods for the production of nanostructured materials in which nanotubes are one of their constituent components, such as composite materials. A pilot unit of NanoThinX is dedicated to the production of multi-wall and single-wall carbon nanotubes for evaluation from research laboratories and private industrial partners.

SLOVENIA
NANOTUL d.o.o.

Nanotul d.o.o. is a company for development and production of new materials for technologies in the fields of lubricants, sensors, composite materials and catalysis. The main area of work is development, synthesis and commercialization of new nanomaterials based on transition metals, which have been developed at Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI) by inventors, which are founders of the Nanotul. The knowledge is right protected by national patent applications; PCT right protection is in a process.
Company’s product line includes MoS2 coaxial nanotubes, Mo6S2I8 nanowires, MoO3 nanowires.
As a Spin-off of Jozef Stefan Institute, the Company performs also activities in research and development and participates in education.

TURKEY
SAMPAS NANOTECHNOLOGY

Sampas is a group of companies that was founded in 1981. Sampas Nanotechnology provides technological consultancy to the industrial players at Turkish market. Its greatest interest is about custom design of solutions that are completely based on recent advancements acquired in nanoscience and technology. Sampas is providing solutions to industrial clients in their manufacturing projects in order to improve their productivity and innovativeness race against the global competitors. Its target markets are textile, ceramics and automotive industries.

ENTEKNO Industrial Technological and Nanomaterials Inc.
ENTEKNO is an innovative spin-off company founded in March 2008 at the Eskisehir Technological Development Region to perform high quality research and hence, to develop and commercialize novel functional, environmentally friendly advanced materials  including nanomaterials and materials systems for sustainable growth. ENTEKNO main activities are: Production of inorganic powders; Modification of powder surfaces, Preparation and development of ready to use suspensions and mixtures for the material production; The development of the production systematic and production of specific materials; Production and development of composite materials; Assessment of the physical, chemical and thermo chemical properties of the materials production and development of Nanomaterials. Besides, these the company is currently working on Lead free piezoelectric ceramic systems, Safe nano powder synthesis and Fabrication of advanced ceramics with tailored microstructures.

Yuksek Teknoloji Malzemeleri Arastirma ve Gelistirme Inc.Co.
Yuksek Teknoloji was established in Istanbul, Turkey in 2001. The company’s key strategic approach is research and development on nanostructured powders and their industrial applications. Its research and Technology Development (RTD) Center is located in the area of TUBITAK MAM Technology Free Zone in Gebze - KOCAELI, which is a neighbouring town to Istanbul. Production facilities are also situated in the vicinity of RTD Center.
Recognizing the importance of nanotechnologies, the early mission of Yuksek Teknoloji was focused on handling of Ultra Dispersed Diamond Powder (UDDP), Dispersed Diamond Powder (DP), Cubic Boron Nitride (cBN) and Hexegonal Boron Nitride (hBN), patented by Prof. Stavri Yane Stavrev. These materials are now being produced in its modern production facilites and ready to be used for industrial purposes. Company continues to study on the other nanometarials as polishing pastes and liquids, antifriction additives, plastic lubricants, reingforced metal composite meterilas, coatings and their applications.

National Nanotechnology Center (UNAM)
Turkish government started new programs to initiate research in nanotechnology. The most important step was the establishment of National Nanotechnology Center (UNAM) in 2007. Prof. Salim Ciraci explains the aim of this center as:
“At the end of last decade, rapid developments in information and communication technologies initiated the interest in nanotechnology. While governments were investing in nanotechnology research at the universities and industry, the idea of establishing a center for nanoscience and nanotechnology was initiated by Prime Ministry State Planning Organization (DPT) and Bilkent University National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM) was decided to be established. The Project is being supervised by a group of very important scientist from physics, chemistry, molecular biology and genetic and electronic engineering departments. Some of those scientists did contribution on the development of nanoscience and they helped to shape nanotechnology programs in Europe. National nanotechnology Research Laboratories are opened to all scientists and researchers from Turkey. At specific time periods, research topics are announced and scientists who are interested in apply with their projects; projects that are qualified are able to use the laboratory facilities to develop new nanotech products. We are expecting the participation of scientists working abroad too. Apart from research and development, the center are acquire an active role in educating specialists in nanotechnology. In the project, the most important research and development activities are focused on nanotextile, fiber, nanophotonic-nanoelectronic, fiber lasers, spectroscopy, nanodetectors and nanosize characterization instruments. Our biggest wish is ultimately master and doctorate students’ thesis becoming products and we are expecting our students to establish their own company and get into the nanotechnology market. Thus, in stead of the immigration of very valuable brains to foreign countries, they will contribute to our country’s welfare and our country will move forward in science.

CROATIA
Plenti d.o.o.

Firm Plenti d.o.o. participated in development and distribution of nanoproducts together with German partners from a center of nanotechnology development in Saarland, Germany. It’s been founded in 1993, in nanotechnology business is since 2004, and it was the first firm in Croatia engaged in practical use of nanotechnology based products. There are several experts of a different profiles employed in the firm.
That, in combination with the constant work on offering new practical products and following the development on the world level is what makes Plenti d.o.o. one of the leading companies for nanotechnology in the Eastern European area.




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