The Dutch government has published a nanotechnology roadmap for the Netherlands. From the Jan. 3, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,
A new nanotechnology roadmap for the Dutch industry sectors has been published: “Nanotechnology in the topsectors” (pdf).
As foundation for this document the Strategic Research Agenda of the Netherlands Nano Initiative (SRA-NNI) was used. By combining input of many industrial and academic parties, this SRA was updated to the new roadmap which is written from the perspective of knowledge and innovation opportunities.
The roadmap consist of two parts. The first is a supplementary memoranda which highlights the importance of nanotechnology within the different topsectors. The second part of the roadmap looks with more focus on specific content at the opportunities for nanotechnology. In this part, the areas which, for the Netherlands, could lead to important developments in the area of knowledge, innovation, and commercialisation are also explicitly mentioned.
I have taken a look at the Dutch nanotechnology roadmap and found this description of the importance of nanotechnology to Dutch industry (from the roadmap),
Nanotechnology is important to Dutch industry. At least 13 of the top 20 companies intensely involved in R&D perform research in the field of nanotechnology. Furthermore, the number of companies actively engaged in the nanotechnology sector is growing.
The number of nano-related projects in industry is growing fast by approximately 10% per year (2007-2010 indication Agentschap NL). Also, since 1998 MESA+ (the nanotechnology institute in Twente) alone has to date over 45 spin-offs in the domain of nanotechnology. Examples of starters (including the spin-offs of knowledge institutes) are Mapper Lithography (semi-conductor equipment), Micronit Microfluidics (‘lab-on-achip devices’) and Aquamarijn and Fluxxion (nanosieves for foodprocessing), Medimate (lithium detection in blood), LioniX (devices based on MEMs) and SolMateS (large area functional materials and nanostructures). (p. 2)
The roadmap also reveals where The Netherlands ranks internationally,
The global position of Dutch nanotechnology activities and development is difficult to quantify. Leading countries in nanotechnology are the US, Germany, and Japan. Figure 1 shows a 9th position on government funding of nanotechnology. The Netherlands, being a small nation, is not comparable to the large nations in terms of absolute numbers, but can still be specified as an important player. As is often the case, the Netherlands is the largest player among the smaller nations. On nanoscience the Netherlands belongs to the top three worldwide, together with Switzerland and USA. (p. 3)
They also make reference to bibliometric statistics,
Bibliometric research about the scientific output on nanotechnology over the period 1997-2008, commissioned by Technology Foundation STW, shows worldwide first rate scientific quality of nanotechnology research in the Netherlands. The number of Dutch publications on nanotechnology increased from 700 per year in 2005 to above 950 per year in 2010. The number of citations increased in the same period from 18,000 to 38,000 in 2010 (ISI, Web of Science). (pp. 3/4)
Here’s an edited listing of the nanotechnology priorities (from the roadmap),
Materials (advanced nanomaterials)
Technical textiles – Nanotechnology is one of the drivers for improved technical textiles. Nano fibres, nano particles and nano surface engineering will add new functionalities to many applications. This calls for the further development of advanced production technologies. For example plasma and laser treatment, pick and place robotics and inkjet technology will play a key role in the introduction of new products to the market. MEMS and conductive polymers are another example in this respect.
Graphene – Graphene is pre-eminently an enabling material and has numerous potential applications, such as electrodes for flat panel displays, touch screens, RF devices, MEMS, photo-electronic sensors, flexible electronics and CMOS replacement. It is a relevanttopic for multiple Top sectors: High Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM), Energy, Life sciences en Health, Water and Chemistry. The Top sector HTSM covers most of the topics for which graphene can be an enabling material and/or of which graphene is an integral part. A special ‘Graphene Flagship’ bidbook has been published about the possibilities for graphene in the Netherlands.
Devices & Components (nanoelectronics)
Autonomous sensors and sensor systems – Interfacing: wireless powering of and data-transfer from/to large systems, energy harvesting; systems architecture, system control and reliability; local signal and data processing; maintenance and regeneration; packaging, fabrication and deployment;
Degree of freedom and dynamic range – Large multi-parameter systems for fingerprinting;
Materials and fabrication technology for sensing – Graphene, carbon nanotubes, diamond and other nanowires and their functionalisation and integration; low cost, printable sensors; large (waver) scale / high volume sensor production;
Systems & Equipment (nano-patterning & nano-inspection)
Nano-patterning – Main drivers continue to be the fabrication of ever smaller structures at an ever increasing speed. ‘Smaller’ now means sub-20 nm however with precision and accuracy down to 0.5 nm. In addition, the need has arisen for much more flexibility as many more types of substrates, materials and processes are being explored in very different nanotechnology domains. This means that besides extreme UV lithographybased processes, also direct-write technologies will play a larger role. Beam / matter interactions have to be modelled extensively to anticipate the desired resulting structure. In the area of macromolecules we can use stamping techniques to manufacture nanostructures efficiently and cheaply. For applying lab-on-a-chip, instruments are also needed that are capable of working with either minute volumes or extremely small signals. Double and multi-exposure techniques must also be mentioned. With plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) high quality layers can be produced at significantly lower temperatures.
Nanomechanics: mechanics of nanostructured materials and their interaction with molecules, optics and electronics
Nanomechanics – The interaction between nano structural motion and electrical, optical and magnetic fields. On-chip integration in nanomechanical systems.
Nanotribology- Friction and wear phenomena between surfaces at the atomic scale.
Origin of energy dissipation, role of coatings and novel lubricating nanostructures to reduce friction and/or wear, but also the opposite: Nanoglues.
Nanofluidics: towards single-molecule control and manipulation and sustainable technologies
Nanopore/nanogap/nanowire sensing – Label-free detection of molecules and their reaction in solution using nanostructures (protein-protein interaction and DNA) in combination with (near-field) optical spectroscopy.
Zeptolitre reactor – Preparation of extreme small volumina (droplets) containing a few molecules (single molecule) to study their reactions when combined with other droplets.
Nanopipette – Local deposition of small (Zepto to attolitre) droplets of reagents on surfaces to initiate local chemical reactions, material deposition for 3D nanostructuring or injecting them into cells, cell-nuclei, micelles to initiate (bio-)chemical reactions.
Nanopumps, -valves and sensors – Means to propel (pump), stop, switch directions of fluid streams, and measure their volumina, mass, flow speeds, molecular composition in nanochannels.
Nanofluidics for energy – Streaming current in nanochannels, transport through nanoporous membranes
Nanofluidics and high surface area materials – Capacitive desalination, electrochemistry at nanoscale, study of nanostructures for batteries/supercapacitors/water desalination
Nanomaterials: nanostructured materials and structures with novel functions/applications
Theory of nanomaterials – Development of new concepts and prediction of new phenomena in nano-structured materials.
Quantum Matter – Exotic states in nanostructured solids, such as topological insulators, nano-structured superconductors and nanomagnets.
Nano-electronics: quantum- and nanodevices of functional materials (rather than functional nanodevices of common materials)
Quantum information processing – Use of entanglement and quantum super positions for safe information transport and computing.
Quantum Devices – Manipulation and control of the quantum state of systems using single spins, electrons, photons, plasmons, phonons; Quantum sensors – sensitivity enhanced by entanglement. …
Detection and visualisation of (dynamic) processes in a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum and in a variety of environments at the nanoscale
Nano-imaging – Novel techniques for high resolution (spatial and temporal) microscopy in a wide range of environments, ranging from biological to UHV environments. Techniques may rely on tunnelling effects, nano-mechanical interactions, novel nanoprobes, optical spectroscopy using electron beam excitation, etc. Super-resolution microscopy (X-rays, advanced optical microscopy,…).
Control, understanding and application of light at the nanoscale
Nanoscale light harvesting – Controlled nanoscale confinement, guiding and conversion of light for novel LEDs, lasers and solar cells (organic, inorganic and hybrids)
Optical magnetism – Exploring the magnetic field of light at the nanoscale. Optical metamaterials.
Quantum nano-optics – Exploring quantum phenomena in e.g. light scattering in nanoscale complex media.
… (pp. 21 – 26)
Here’s an edited listing of nanotechnology and the topsectors (from the roadmap),
Chemistry for the construct of nano-architectures – For a further development of this area new supramolecular methods need to be created and new design principles are called for: development of nano-assemblies, functional interfacing of nanostructures with surfaces and nanoparticles, control over position, specificity, orientation and function of nano structures, the development of multivalent ligands for organic detection and for influencing cell growth, the development of probes for monitoring cellular processes, etc.
Methods must also be developed to fabricate the new materials in a controlled way. In this context, it is a major challenge in supramolecular chemistry to develop a better understanding of the complex processes of hierarchical self-organisation.
Solar energy for generating heat – Solar collectors can be improved by applying spectral selective layers (extremely high light absorption in combination with low heat emission) or heat transferring layers (excellent transfer of heat between different media).
Solar energy production of fuels – Hydrogen is a good case in point. Nanotechnology plays a role by applying catalytically active, nanostructured materials. These materials will suppress the degradation of catalysts and improve the yield. Naturally, the trend is increasingly in favour of applying microreactors.
An important new development is the conversion of sunlight to fuel by means of integrated nanosystems based on efficient multi-electron catalysis processes derived from the photosynthesis processes in real-life nature. The fundamental challenge is to find the scales for energy, time and length in which the catalysis works efficiently, and which can be applied for making photo-anodes for separating water and photocathodes for the synthesis of hydrogen and methanol from carbon dioxide. This is dubbed ‘The Artificial Leaf’. The low efficiency of biomass conversion can be improved by the direct conversion of sunlight to fuel in vivo. To that effect, it will be necessary to achieve an engineering platform for quantitative system biology as a foundation for the continuous improvement with synthetic biology, biobricks and hybrid systems, based on life as well as on artificial systems. This is about fundamental breakthroughs which are also extremely important for the provision of food and the reduction of water consumption in the future.
Wind energy – With this form of energy we can expect developments in ‘self-healing’ and self-cleaning materials ensuring a longer economic life and improved behaviour. For example, corrosion sensors will become important in sea-based wind parks.
Efficient energy consumption through the secondary conversion of energy and the separation of substances – An essential component within this topic is the study and application of nanostructured materials for separation applications, including carbon dioxide recovery and pervaporation (separation of mixtures). Nanostructured materials also form the basis for new catalysts for fuel extraction from biomass. Nanomaterials will be applied for the upgrading of cellulose (biomass from woody plants) and for biocatalysis, for the preparation of products from biomass and the influencing of bacteria to improve ethanol synthesis.
Nanotechnology for energy storage – Nanostructures that can absorb and release large quantities of heat quickly and efficiently. Nanostructures for lithium-ion batteries: extension of economic life and increase of storage capacity. Nanostructured materials for hydrogen storage as well as catalytically active materials for hydrogen production.
Anorganic and organic LEDS with extremely high efficiency – LEDS are nanostructures within which electronic power is converted into light. Nanotechnology offers opportunities to further increase the efficiency of LEDs, using economically attractive production methods.
Nanoscale studies of the molecular origins of disease – The goal of this area is to use the nanotechnology toolbox to unravel molecular mechanisms in disease, devoting specific attention to biomolecular interactions at the nanometre scale. Nanoscale imaging, including recent advances in optical super-resolution imaging and high-speed atomic force microscopy, nanomanipulation, and nanoscience and nanotechnology-based technology platforms for measuring molecular interactions play a crucial role in understanding specific molecular mechanisms involved in disease.
Drug Delivery/Targeted Therapeutics – Many candidate and established drugs developed for the treatment of life-threatening and serious chronic diseases have inferior properties with consequently unfavourable therapeutic implications. Nanomedicines (i.e. advanced drug delivery systems) of a particulate or macromolecular nature are beingdesigned to improve the therapeutic behaviour of such drugs. Nanotechnology-inspired approaches to system design and formulation, an improved understanding of (patho)physiological processes and biological barriers to drug delivery, as well as the lack of new chemical entities (NCEs) in the ‘pipeline’ of large pharmaceutical companies, indicate that there is a bright future for nanomedicines as pharmaceuticals. In principle, nanomedicines are comprised of a DRUG associated with a CARRIER system. The carrier system serves to modulate the pharmacokinetics, tissue distribution and/or target site accumulation of the drug in a beneficial way, i.e. to enhance therapeutic activity (by ‘site-specific’ delivery) and/or to decrease side effects (by ‘site-avoidance’ delivery).
Novel carrier materials will need to be developed, and proof of drug delivery capability will have to be properly demonstrated. These novel materials are expected to have beneficial properties for application in patients as compared to currently used materials, for example in terms of interaction with target cells or safety profile. The challenge is to ‘shape’ these new carrier materials for drug delivery applications.
It is mandatory that promising nanomedicines, which are selected for clinical testing, are evaluated with respect to their preclinical safety profile. This requires close interactions with pharmaceutical and clinical scientists, pharmaceutical SMEs and majors, and toxicologists. The results will either be used to optimise the formulations and/or to decide whether the selected formulations will be further evaluated as candidates for the development of pharmaceutical products. These non-clinical safety studies are a prerequisite to obtain permission to conduct human clinical trials.
Societal and Economic Relevance – The societal relevance of the theme Nanomedicine and Integrated Microsystems for Healthcare primarily is determined by the tremendous anticipated impact of the products, which may be created as a result of the projects. The changing demography of the Dutch population as a result of the double ageing process and the baby boomers, which are starting to reach retirement age, cause significant strain in the healthcare system. The topics addressed in the theme offer breakthrough solutions to alleviate these strains through technologies enabling prevention and early diagnosis of disease, personalised and more effective targeted treatment and inroads into regenerative medicine. The focus on important diseases is strengthened and focused by the active involvement of researchers of academic medical centres. The theme includes both projects involving broadly applicable technology-driven projects, and also a large number of projects dedicated to important clinical questions in cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Nanomedicine not only provides an answer to the challenges in healthcare, it also offers a tremendous commercial opportunity. Healthcare represents the largest global service ‘industry’, with annual revenues in the order of $4 T, with a number of areas showing large growth rates, far beyond a single digit, and ‘recession-proof’. These ‘granules of growth’ in the healthcare industry coincide very well with the subjects covered by the theme Nanomedicine and Integrated Microsystems. Molecular diagnostics, for instance, shows a healthy 15% cumulative annual growth rate, CAGR, with a present global revenue of about $4 B. Dutch industry is in a very good position to benefit from the research programme, and subsequently to bring products to market. Particularly Philips is a leader in medical technology with a global footprint, and core R&D and production facilities in the Netherlands. NXP is a leading semiconductor company, Dutch-based but also with worldwide activities. A large number of SMEs are involved in all aspects of the science and technology related to Nanomedicine and provides a fertile ground for the generation of economic and knowledge capital.
Sensoring and monitoring during process- and drinking water purification –
Remote monitoring is necessary as well as the development of efficient and economic sensing equipment for the re-use of slightly contaminated domestic water.
Catalytic water cleaning strategies – In addition to separation processes, catalytic methods can be developed for reactive purification of water. Nanoparticles and coatings that display selective adsorption and catalytic activity towards removal of harmful components are foreseen as next generation cleaning strategies.
Energy from water – Contaminated water can be regenerated while simultaneously producing energy (electrical or chemical). Further development of biocompatible electrodes, selective membranes, and activated electrodes are subjects where nanotechnology can contribute greatly.
Re-use of salt water – The treatment by bioconversion under high salt concentrations, in order to re-use clean salt water or safely dispose clean salt water. Nanotechnology can provide corrosion resistant materials and surfaces that are required for these processes.
Desalination – The development of selective membranes for ion selective processes.
Here, additional fundamental insight is required to understand charge selective separation processes better. Alternative desalination processes, including adsorption processes that exploit functionalised nanoparticles and coatings, are also considered.
Sensor/detection systems and processing – The development of sensors and diagnostic kits able to measure the quality of food faster and cheaper than existing methods, to monitor the production process and to detect microbial and other types of contamination in time. Secondly, the field engages in the downscaling of the production and preparation of food. This can be done in the form of devices that are operating locally, on the farm or at the consumer’s home (filtering, mixing, emulsifying, individualised food). Installing those units in parallel allows upscaling, creating flexible central production units.
Emulsions, texture and delivery systems – The manufacture of foodstuffs with a different texture and/or composition. It may be done through double emulsions (waterin- fat-in-water). It thus becomes possible to prepare ingredients with a very low fat content. Delivery systems are applied for which functional ingredients such as vitamins are released in carefully controlled doses, under control of a programme, for example during eating (aromatic substances) or in the body (delicate nutrients). In addition, improving the solubility of nutrients or medicines through nano-encapsulation can boost their effectiveness.
Packaging & Logistics – This topic is approached in two different ways. The first approach focuses on ingredients for the improved wrapping of food, for example to protect it against oxidation or light. The second one couples the packaging to sensors and/or RFIDs. Sensors can point out the status of the product in the packaging and, where possible, even correct it in combination with actuators. RFIDs can carry data about the composition, origin and/or actual status of the food (such as vitamin content or hardness of fruit). (pp. 26 – 31)
The roadmap gives a pretty comprehensive overview given that it’s only 38 pp. long. There’s also a section on Risk Analysis and Technology Assessment but this post is already so you’ll have to check that out for yourself.