Tag Archives: ACAMP

Alberta’s (Canada) Ingenuity Lab and its nanotechnology dreams

I believe the Nov. 6, 2013 news release from Alberta’s Ingenuity Lab was meant to announce this new lab’s existence (why does Alberta need another nanotechnology-focused institution?),

Alberta’s first accelerator laboratory brings together some of nanotechnology’s leading players to make small science have a big impact in Alberta, by harnessing and commercializing emerging technologies, and simultaneously addressing some of the grand challenges faced by our province.

“We still have an incredible amount to learn from nature. This we know,” says Ingenuity Lab Director, Dr. Carlo Montemagno. “The opportunity in front of us is the potential to create a bio-enabled, globally-competitive and value-added industry while training the next generation of researchers and innovators in Alberta.”

With a research team of 25 strong and growing, Ingenuity Lab is focusing its research on the mining, energy, agriculture and health sectors, and is a $40 million provincial government led initiative working in partnership with the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), Campus Alberta and industry.

Alberta already hosts the National Institute of Nanotechnology (which was and perhaps still is partially funded by the province of Alberta) and there’s ACAMP “(Alberta Centre for Advanced MNT Products) is a not for profit organization that provides specialized services to micro nano technology clients. Clients have access to world-class equipment, facilities …” Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary have any number of labs dedicated to nanotechnology research and then there’s nanoAlberta which now lives on as part of  Alberta Innovates where* it’s listed on their Programs and Services page. It seems to me they have a number of organizations devoted to nanotechnology research and/or commercialization in Alberta. By the way, Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT) can still be found on two different websites; there’s the NINT on the National Research Council of Canada website and there’s the NINT on the University of Alberta website.

While the lab’s Nov. 19, 2013 news release (h/t Nanowerk) explores the lab’s goals, it doesn’t really answer the question: why another one?,

Dr. Carlo Montemagno and a world-class team of researchers are working across disciplines to identify innovative solutions to some of the province’s most difficult issues, including optimal resource extraction while enhancing environmental stewardship of Alberta’s signature natural resources [oil sands].

“Nanotechnology will have a significant impact on Canada’s economic prosperity and global competitive advantage,” says Ingenuity Lab Director, Dr. Carlo Montemagno.  “This enhanced understanding of matter will provide the necessary underpinning for revolutionary discoveries across disciplines that will forever change the way we envisage the future.”

Ingenuity Lab is applying recent advances in targeted drug delivery and other areas to develop novel technologies that will enable the recovery of valuable materials, currently discarded as waste, from our industrial operations and the environment.

The Ingenuity research team is engineering new materials that have the capability to detect, extract and bind to rare earth and precious metals that exist in nature or synthetic materials. As this approach is refined, it will spawn a variety of applications like reclamation of trace amounts of valuable or harmful materials from soil, water and industrial process streams, including tailing ponds.

“Our molecular recognition techniques, what we call biomining, offer the ability to maximize the utility of our resources, establish a new path forward to restore damaged lands and water and to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to societal and economic prosperity,” says Dr. Montemagno. “The further we delve into the very makeup of the natural and inorganic components of our universe, the more opportunities we uncover. This radical shift away from conventional thinking means that we leverage research gains beyond their intended purpose. We achieve a multiplier effect that increases the capacity of nanotechnology to address the grand challenges facing modern industrial societies.”

I became a little curious about Dr. Montemagno and found this on the Ingenuity Lab’s About the Director page,

Dr. Carlo Montemagno

“The purpose of scientific study is to create new knowledge by working at the very edge where world-changing knowledge unfolds.” – C. Montemagno

Driven by the principles of excellence, honor and responsibility and an unwavering commitment to education as an engine of economic prosperity, Dr. Montemagno has become a world-renowned expert in nanotechnology and is responsible for creating groundbreaking innovations which solve complex challenges in the areas of informatics, agriculture, chemical refining, transportation, energy, and healthcare.

He was Founding Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at University of Cincinnati; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and Bio Engineering from Cornell University; a Master’s Degree  in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences from Notre Dame.

“Research and education are critical to success because the transfer of knowledge creates economic prosperity.” — C. Montemagno

Dr. Montemagno has been recognized with prestigious awards including the Feynman Prize (for creating single molecule biological motors with nano-scale silicon devices); the Earth Award Grand Prize (for cell-free artificial photosynthesis with over 95% efficiency); the CNBC Business Top 10 Green Innovator award (for Aquaporin Membrane water purification and desalination technology); and named a Bill & Melinda Gates Grand Challenge Winner (for a pH sensing active microcapsule oral vaccine delivery system which increased vaccine stability and demonstrated rapid uptake in the lower GI tract.)

Despite my doubts, I wish the Ingenuity Lab folks good luck with their efforts.

*where’s changed to where, Feb. 3, 2014

WAVE in Alberta (Canada); bringing your technology products to market

May 5 – 8, 2013 are the dates for WAVE 2013, Alberta’s technology commercialization conference, being held at the Fairmont Chateau in Lake Louise, Alberta. The conference features 12 keynote speakers from industry (including Dr. Wagiuh Ishak of Corning Inc, Dr. Sergio Kapusta of Royal Dutch Shell, Stephen Graham of Maple Leaf Foods, and Travis Earles of Lockheed Martin) discussing 6 market areas (including health/medical, cleantech/conventional energy and agriculture/forestry).

The conference host and organizer is ACAMP (Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro and Nano Technology Products) a not-for-profit centre offering business support to micro and nano technology businesses. WAVE 2013 is the second such conference, the first being held in 2011. From the About WAVE page on the conference website,

From a Ripple in Research to a Powerful Wave in Marketing

The WAVE 2013 Conference and Exhibition builds on the success of our last conference WAVE 2011. WAVE 2013 exists to enable and encourage companies with investable hardware product technologies to showcase their state-of-the-art capabilities and bring them to market. There will be no poster sessions, academic papers, or student presentations.

Professionals representing domestic and international corporations are invited to take exhibitor space in order to network with other market strategists, distributors and representatives, manufacturers, materials producers, equipment suppliers, and investors.

This is an opportunity to expand your market and showcase your products. Networking areas are available free of charge and designed to allow attendees to meet privately to discuss business opportunities.

The bottom-line goal is bottom-line success.

The WAVE home page description offers more specifics as to how this conference is organized to maximize contact between participants,

Take your investable tech products to market

You may have a great investable technology product and not know it yet. Or you may know it, but can’t find partners and markets. In either case, it’s a big challenge to connect innovators with larger corporations and funding to help develop products and take them to market.

That’s what the Wave 2013 conference is all about… and we’re doing it in a very different way.
Connect with the right exhibitors

Typically, at large international conferences the exhibitors exhibit. The presenters present. The attendees listen and walk around exhibits looking for opportunities. Everyone is left to their own devices to make the right connections.

But at Wave 2013, we’re going to change all that. Every company that exhibits will also present to the entire audience. So exhibitors and attendees will understand where the opportunities are without all the frustration.
Actually meet the keynotes one-on-one

What about the big keynotes? There will be outstanding keynotes from a who’s who in the international tech space. And get this… they won’t just present and go home. At the presentations you’ll learn what they’re looking for and then they’ll be available for one-on-one meetings with you during the three days.

Plus, government officials from Alberta and across Canada will be in attendance, looking for new opportunities to invest and collaborate.
Find the right partners

So come. Exhibit. Present. Or join us as an attendee and pitch your product in one-on-one meetings. Some of the world’s most important companies in the tech space want to tell you what they’re looking for and hear about what you’re working on.

You can find more information about the conference in a brochure which oddly enough is on the NanoQuébec website here (scroll down about 1/3 of the way). I couldn’t find the brochure or the list of industry keynote speakers on the WAVE 2013 conference website (?)

Alberta researchers at the National Institute of Nanotechnology create nano coating for stainless steel implants in bid to trick body’s immune system

A research team in Alberta has found a way to coat stainless steel with glass silica and carbohydrates so the metal (already in general use) can be more effective in implanted biomedical devices. From the April 27, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

Implanted biomedical devices, such as cardiac stents, are implanted in over 2 million people every year, with the majority made from stainless steel. Stainless steel has many benefits – strength, generally stability, and the ability to maintain the required shape long after it has been implanted. But, it can also cause severe problems, including blood clotting if implanted in an artery, or an allergenic response due to release of metal ions such as nickel ions.

This particular initiative, devising a means to trick the body’s immune system into better acceptance of implants, is part of a larger project where the goal is,

… to allow cross-blood type organ transplants, meaning that blood types would not necessarily need to be matched between donor and recipient when an organ becomes available for transplantation.

In the meantime, the team has found a means that they hope will make the stainless steel implants easier for the immune system to accept,

… sophisticated carbohydrate (sugar) molecules needed to be attached to the stainless steel surface to bring about the necessary interaction with the body’s immune system. Its inherent stainless characteristic makes stainless steel a difficult material to augment with new functions, particularly with the controlled and close-to-perfect coverage needed for biomedical implants. The Edmonton-based team found that by first coating the surface of the stainless steel with a very thin layer (60 atoms deep) of glass silica using a technique available at the National Institute for Nanotechnology, called Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), they could overcome the inherent non-reactivity of the stainless steel. The silica provide a well-defined “chemical handle” through which the carbohydrate molecules, prepared in the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Carbohydrate Science, could be attached. Once the stainless steel had been controlled, the researchers demonstrated that the carbohydrate molecules covered the stainless steel in a highly controlled way, and in the correct orientation to interact with the immune system.

In trying to find out a little more about this project, I found a presentation* from 2008 (or earlier) made by Todd Lowary, Jillian Buriak, and Lori West, presumably for investment purposes, about another initiative associated with this project titled, Infant Heart Transplants and Nanotechnology. Here’s the hypothesis from slide 3 of the presentation,

Hypothesis: Exposing a newborn to ABO antigens attached to a nanoparticle or stent will induce tolerance during immune development and in turn allow transplants across the blood-group barrier.

Since a baby’s immune system isn’t fully developed at birth, exposing a child in need of a cardiac transplant to a suitably nanoparticle-coated stent would theoretically allow the child to develop tolerance for blood group types other than its own thereby allowing a cross-blood type organ transplant. Towards the end of the presentation (which isn’t dated), they have a timeline which includes filing for various patents and a proposed date of 2013 for human clinical trials.

*The presentation is on the Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems and Nanotechnology Products (ACAMP). According to their About page,

ACAMP (Alberta Centre for Advanced MNT Products) is a not for profit organization that provides specialized services to micro nano technology clients.

ACAMP’s services encompass key areas identified as critical for the commercialization of MNT products – Marketing & Business Development, Product Development, Packaging and Assembly, Test and Characterization.

That’s it for today.

ETA July 4, 2011: There’s a May 16, 2011 news item by Cameron Chai on Azonano about this team which offers additional information.

Mark your calendar for Oct. 2, 2011 and the WAVE Conference

Shortly after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement of $2M in funding (noted in my Oct. 11, 2010 posting) for ACAMP, or the Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems and Nanotechnology Products as it’s known more formally,  the organization announced a conference for 2011. From the Oct. 12, 2010 news item on Nanowerk,

Products incoporating micro and nano technology, play a powerful role in reducing cost and integrating new functionality for the world market. On Oct 2nd 2011, a three day global gathering of stakeholders bent on taking state of the art products incorporating MNT (Micro & Nano Technology) to market will be converge on Lake Louise.

This business to business event, the WAVE2011 conference and exhibition theme is bringing products to market incorporating MNT. Over 125 exhibitors will demonstrate and present new technologies to an international audience.

“This three day event brings together the stakeholders involved in the value chain from materials supply through end product, including distributors and sales representatives, manufacturers, materials producers, equipment suppliers and investors.” explained Ken Brizel, CEO of ACAMP, “The event will focus on five primary market area’s Cleantech, Health & Medical, Agriculture & Forestry, Conventional Energy, Consumer & Commercial, with a global perspective.”

I realize it’s early days yet but if ACAMP’s upcoming WAVE conference interests you, the website can be found here.

Thanksgiving in Alberta and Canada

The Thanksgiving holiday started early in Alberta. Friday, October 8, 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a gift of almost $2M to Alberta’s nano and microtechnology industries. From the news item on CBC News,

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an $1.95 million investment in the Alberta high-technology sector during his visit to Edmonton Friday.

The funding will go to the Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems and Nanotechnology Products (ACAMP) in Edmonton, a not-for-profit organization that companies helps bring products to market.

“This support is to help western micro and nanotechnology firms market their exciting new products in rapidly emerging markets,” Harper said.

The world market for such products should exceed $3 trillion by 2015, he added.

ACAMP’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ken Brizel noted that ACAMP had six lead companies when it opened its doors in 2008 and now boasts over 50 clients and 30 more future prospects. I imagine you can get more information about both ACAMP and Alberta’s nanotechnology sector by checking out Alberta’s Nanotechnology Asset Map by going to this page (the downloadable PDF is in the column to the right of the page).

The Edmonton Sun also covered Harper’s announcement in an article by Richard Lebrecht. Oddly, I have not come across any mention of this announcement from the folks at Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology which is situated in Alberta or from the Alberta Innovates — Technology Futures folks.

Nano happenings in Alberta (Canada); smart windows, again; reading postage stamps

The first Nanotechnology Systems Diploma programme in Canada is going to be offered through the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is September 2010. Alberta as I’ve noted previously is home to Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology and its provincial government is providing substantive  support to an emerging nanotechnology sector. From the news item on Azonano,

The Canadian nanotech sector is just beginning to emerge, and Alberta is a major player. The Alberta government unveiled a nanotechnology strategy in 2007, outlining an investment of funds and infrastructure aimed at capturing a $20 billion share of the worldwide nanotechnology market by 2020. Alberta now boasts a growing nanotech enterprise sector of more than 40 companies, with many located in the Edmonton region.

Meanwhile, the Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro Nano Technology Products (ACAMP) is holding a seminar for Alberta’s conventional energy sector about nano and micro technology products. From the news item on Nanowerk,

Today at ACAMP’s latest seminar, Alberta’s conventional energy industry learned how nanotechnology, micro-systems and micro-fluidics can play a powerful role in enhancing operational performance, reducing costs and promoting efficient extraction of oil and gas resources, while opening new markets for Alberta companies worldwide.

“Micro and Nano technologies for conventional energy applications are extremely important in Alberta,” said Ken Brizel, CEO of ACAMP, “enhancing operational performance allowing for efficient extraction of oil and gas resources. Innovative new products are being developed and used locally enabling Alberta companies to compete worldwide.”

As for other parts of the Canadian nanotechnology scene such as the proposed new legislation by NDP (New Democrat Party) Member of Parliament, Peter Julian, I have sent his office some questions for an email interview and will hopefully be able to publish his responses here. (The proposed legislation was mentioned in yesterday’s posting, March 10, 2010.)

As I speed through this posting, I will take a moment for one of my pet interests, windows. Kit Eaton at Fast Company recently wrote a piece about a Dutch company that’s created ‘smart windows’ (from the article),

Whereas every home has windows. And this fact has led Dutch company Peer+ to create Smart Energy Glass panels that generate current from the sun while also acting as like those old-fashioned devices that lets you see right through a wall. But that’s not all. Similar to the other up-and-coming LCD glass treatments that let you blank a window at the flick of a switch (removing the need for curtains, blinds or shutters,) these smart windows also have selectable darkness. Darkest is the highest privacy mode, and thanks to a trick of the optics concerned, also leads to the most efficient power generation from solar input. And you can even choose between a range of shades for the glass and also incorporate logos or text into the panels, which will appeal to countless businesses.

There are some images of these windows embedded in the Fast Company article. As Eaton notes (and I heartily concur), adoption of technologies of this type will occur readily as the products become  more attractive or more stylish.

Still with the windows, the US Department of Energy has made an additional investment in SAGE Electrochomics with a $72M conditional loan guaranteed. From the news item on Nanowerk,

SAGE will transform the way buildings use energy by mass producing a revolutionary new kind of dynamic glass that can change from a clear state to a tinted state at the push of a button. Windows using SageGlass® technology control the amount of sunlight that enters a building, significantly reducing energy consumed for air conditioning, heating and lighting. The company will tap the DOE funding to build a high-volume manufacturing plant next to its headquarters in Faribault, Minn., ramping up production for commercial, institutional and residential applications.

I notice these windows do not include  self-cleaning component. Ah well.

Getting back to the Dutch for my final bit today, a postage stamp you can read like a book or use for a letter. From the William Bostwick article on Fast Company,

“Hey, did you read the stamp I sent you?” There’s no need for a letter when the stamp you use is a book. Rotterdam designer Richard Hutten has designed a new stamp for Royal TNT Post, in honor of this year’s Dutch Book Week, that doubles as a tiny tome. The 3×4 centimeter stamp opens up into an 8-page, 500-word story by Joost Zwagerman.

That’s it for today as I get ready for the PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) webcast.

The Canadian federal government invests $3.5M in Alberta nanotechnology sector

Rona Ambrose, the  (Canada) Minister of Labour, announced $3.5M for Alberta’s Centre for Advanced Microsystems and Nanotechnology Products (ACAMP) yesterday, May 20, 2009. She made the announcement on behalf of Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD). (Under the liberals, the WD portfolio was held by Stephen Owens.)

Under the project, ACAMP will acquire the first low temperature ceramic packaging equipment in Canada that is able to support sensing and monitoring systems in oil and gas, bio-medical, environmental, agricultural and forestry applications. Equipment such as this will allow ACAMP to promote technology commercialization in promising areas within micro and nano technology and assist companies in getting products to markets.

There’s more about the nanotechnology commercialization that’s to take place in Alberta here.

The issue of commercializing scientific discoveries is a hot topic and I will be writing more about this soon.

Meanwhile and following on yesterday’s post, I’ve found a couple of ananlogies to describe the same thing. Here’s the title of the article, ‘DNA sculpture and origami – a meeting of art and nanotechnology‘. It’s an interesting article which has a good description of the process and can be found here on,’Not Exactly Rocket Science; science for everyone‘. The process the author is decribing reminds me of a project at Simon Fraser University (Canada), where sculptor and publisher, Robert Chaplin, created the smallest book in the world (at the time) with a focused gallion ion beam. The book is called ‘Teeny Ted in Turnip Town‘ and was produced in a laboratory run by scientist Karen Kavanagh. They were working with silicon tablets and not DNA still, there are similarities as both projects require that material be cut away in order create (or reveal as sculptors like to think) another structure. There’s more here about Teeny Ted.