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Texas is located in the south central part of the United States of America. It is the second most populated state in the United States with a growing population of 25.7 million people. The state covers a total area of 696,200 km2 and shares an international border with Mexico. Its capital is Austin and its largest city is Houston.
As Texas is large, it intersects many climate zones, thereby providing it with highly varied weather conditions. The economy of Texas is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. In 2011, the Gross State Product of Texas was $1.332 trillion, making it the second highest in the U.S.
Texas has a strong and diverse economy, due to its abundance of natural resources and large number of higher education institutions. Key industries include agriculture, petrochemicals, mining, aeronautics, finance, electronics and information technology.
Texas has many organisations and networks committed to promoting and exploring nanoscience. A brief introduction to the chief nanotechnology-related organisations in Texas is given below:
- Texas Nanotech Ventures L.L.C. - created the Texas Nanotechnology Ventures Fund to provide investment opportunities to encourage future inventions in nanotechnology as it is one of the driving forces for technology, business, Life Sciences and engineering in the future.
- Nanotechnology Advancement Center (NAC) - works to assess nanotechnology activities, monitor competence in the field of nanotechnology, explain effects of nanotechnology on both humans and environment. It aims to partner with similar organizations locally and internationally.
Nanotechnology being a versatile field finds applications in a myriad of industries starting from water treatment and food industry to medicine, information technology and space research. The major nanotechnology companies in Texas that cater to these diverse sectors are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:
Southern Clay Products, Inc. - Southern Clay Products, Inc. was founded in Gonzales, Texas in the late 1940s. They later became part of the Rockwood Specialties, Inc. team located in Princeton, New Jersey in 2000.With the December 2005 acquisition of Süd-Chemie’s rheological additives and carbonless developers businesses by Rockwood Holdings, Inc, which includes both Southern Clay Products, Inc., and Rockwood Additives Limited, they are now positioned to reach for the next level of success and gain a stronger market hold in the years to come. They produce Cloisite® and Nanofil® additives, which are nano-scale additives for reinforced plastics.
NovaCentrix - NovaCentrix develops, patents, and commercializes new technologies in printed electronics, nanoparticle manufacturing, pulsed power equipment, and related fields. Their science and engineering team has decades of cumulative experience. They strive to create class-leading technologies, such as the PulseForge® tools and the Metalon® inks. NovaCentrix launched New PulseForge Model at drupa 2012. In April 2011, NovaCentrix received AIMCAL Award for low-cost copper-based screen ink.
Xidex Corporation - Xidex was founded in 1997 as an Austin-based Texas Corporation. Their mission is to enhance the R&D productivity of nanoscientists and nanotechnologists in both industry and academia. They offer best-in-class turnkey solutions to customers with well-defined requirements that are stable over time, and highly adaptable solutions to customers who need a system that can easily be augmented with additional plug-and-play nanopositioners and end-effectors as their needs evolve. Xidex manufactures and sells the NanoBot® system, an easy-to-use, highly versatile, user programmable nanomanipulator featuring specialized end-effectors for nanodevice fabrication and testing inside scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and focused ion beam (FIB) tools.
Liquid Minerals Group, Inc. – LMGI is a global leader with 30 years of experience in oil soluble magnesium fuel additive products using nanotechnology. LMGI’s focus is directed towards enhancing refining operations and treating heavy fuel oils used for operating turbines, boilers, and diesel engines. LMGI manufactures oil soluble organometallic magnesium fuel additives with the finest chemical components available. Therefore, their lmg-30e® turbine-grade additive passes ge-gek specifications.
IXRF - IXRF company originally began by upgrading Kevex bulk X-ray Fluorescence systems to modern Windows based systems. It is from these XRF beginnings that the name IXRF is derived. IXRF quickly expanded it's product offerings to include Microanalysis systems. Today, Microanalysis systems make up the majority of IXRF's business, however adding XRF (X-ray Fluorescence) is being accepted rapidly, coining the phrase "iXRF" meaning "Integrated XRF" in the SEM.
Quantum Logic Devices - QLD uses nanotechnology to bring together “wet” biology and “dry” semiconductor electronics to create radically new products to improve healthcare. Their patented nanoelectronic platforms will accelerate knowledge generation in such fields as genomics, proteomics, and drug discovery. This understanding will produce innovations such as "personalized" drugs and molecular diagnostics that will make the practice of medicine more efficient and more successful. QLD's technology provides direct observation of molecular reactions without optical labels, which greatly simplifies bioassay procedures and removes much of the error associated with label-based technologies.
Nanospectra Biosciences - Nanospectra is a private company founded in 2002. Nanospectra has an exclusive license from Rice University to eleven issued US patents related to nanoshells and related commercial uses of these and other nanoparticles. While there are numerous therapeutic, diagnostic, and industrial commercial applications, Nanospectra is focused on the development of AuroLase® Therapy utilizing AuroShell® Particles (also referred to as nanoshells) for the precise, particle-based thermal ablation of solid tumors.
Zyvex - Zyvex was founded in 1997, as the first molecular nanotechnology company, with the vision of developing atomically precise manufacturing. By 2007, Zyvex research had been commercialized in several products. As those product lines grew, Zyvex restructured into separate companies so that each company could independently focus on its industry leading technology and products.
Texas is home to a number of universities offering research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Given below is a list of universities in Texas and the academic courses or research opportunities offered by them in various aspects of nanotechnology.
Early this year, NANOTEX, a German-American Nanotechnology Conference, was held in Düsseldorf with the aim of studying the market potential of nanotechnology in Texas. It also aimed to provide opportunities for networking, trade, joint ventures, and investment between Texas and German nanotech companies.
In October 2012, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a grant of $2.7 million to conduct a five-year cooperative research agreement with scientists at Rice University and its Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, to study how nanoparticles (fullerenes, nanotubes and graphene) function and interact with other materials at the molecular and atomic scale.
In the same month, another group of Rice University scientists has created a method to produce nearly transparent films of electrically conductive carbon nanotubes. It is possible that these films might be used for flexible electronic displays and touchscreens.
Texas’ nanotechnology sector is buzzing with activity and is sure to flourish in the coming years.