Nanotechnology in Ohio, USA: Market Report

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Introduction
Nanotechnology Organizations
Nanotechnology Companies
Nanotechnology Research and Education
Recent Developments

Introduction

Ohio, located in Midwestern United States, covers a total area of 116,096 km2 and has a population of 11,544,951 as of 2011. The state's GDP in 2010 was $478 billion with 18.3% contribution from the financial and manufacturing sectors, respectively.

Manufacturing is the single largest contributor to Ohio's GDP. In 2011, Ohio's manufacturing sector ranked 3rd across the nation USA in terms of number of people that it employed.

Ohio is a leading producer of fabricated metals, rubber, appliances, electrical equipment, plastics and appliances. The state is also a national leader in the "green economy" and owns the largest bioscience sector in the Midwest.

According to Jobs-Ohio.com, Ohio is experiencing its lowest rate of unemployment since 2008 at just 6.9% (quoted at the time or printing, March 2013). It also has a business-friendly tax environment and low taxes on new capital investments. They also have an abundance of skilled labour and many of the public universities provide business services, resources and facilities to foster entrepreneurship.


Nanotechnology Organizations

A brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related organizations in Ohio is given below:

Nano-Network - Founded by financiers, entrepreneurs and scientists this organization focuses on improving and expanding nanotechnology commercialization and research. This organization also organizes a series of events such as meetings and sessions that allows members of the nano community to share their views on nanotechnology and also highlight the nanotechnology developments in Ohio.

Ohio Third Frontier - Provides funding to technology-based universities, nonprofit research organizations and companies in Ohio in order to promote the development of new technology-based industries, products, jobs and companies.

Nanotechnology Companies

The major nanotechnology-related companies in Ohio are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:

Angstron Materials - Angstron Materials are committed to helping you bridge the gap between innovation and application. Using a multi-level strategic approach, their company has established a strong foundation to ensure the success of their customers' nanotechnology applications.

Angstron is the first advanced materials company to offer large quantities of ultra-thin, pristine nano-graphene platelets (NGPs). Angstron is also significantly reducing production cost barriers with its high performance nano-graphene solutions. A new 22,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, based in Dayton, Ohio, allows their company to continue its research and development efforts while providing small to large batch processing and production.

Nanofilm Ltd - Nanofilm's history can be traced to the earliest pioneering of nanotechnology. In the early 1980s, Nanofilm co-founder, Dr. Scott Rickert, was already researching self-assembling thin films as part of his work as a professor at Case Western Reserve University. The company began as a spin-off of that research and was co-founded by Dr. Rickert and businessman Don McClusky in 1985. The company's initial expertise enabled the manipulation of coatings at the molecular level to enhance the durability, clarity, ease of use and performance of transparent materials.

Nanofilm's first commercialized product was in response to a need in the ophthalmic industry. A new generation of high-technology polymeric eyeglass lens materials made old-style coatings and conditioners obsolete and unacceptable. Recognizing the growing need for a new approach, Nanofilm developed ultra-thin coatings to protect, enhance and condition this new breed of optical surfaces and coatings.

Applied Sciences, Inc. - ASI is one of the leaders in the development of materials possessing exceptionally high thermal conductivity. Materials currently under development include vapor-grown carbon fibers, carbon nanofibers, conductive thin films, and nanomat. In addition to superior thermal performance, these materials possess various other desirable properties, including low cost.

ASI has a rich history of development work funded by Air Force, Army, Navy, National Institute for Science and Technology, and Ohio Department of Development. Additionally ASI has worked on product development projects for companies such as Northrop Grumman, GE Aviation and Polyone.

Microfabrication Solutions - Microfabrication Solutions Inc. is a rapidly growing company that provides quick, accurate, and cost effective opportunities for micro and nano scale device prototyping. With a primary focus on MEMS Product Development, the company enjoys providing design and fabrication services to a customer base with a wide range of application needs. Current work includes nano-fluidics, micro-gravity, aerospace, telecom, bio-medical, drug delivery, life sciences, and commercial microelectronic packaging products.

MetaMateria Partners - Provides innovative high performance materials for the energy, environmental and infrastructure markets, with a special emphasis on the use of nanomaterials. Core Capabilities are used to make nanomaterials for many applications where product performance is enhanced or new products are developed. Products ready for commercial use include:

  • Environmental Cleanup Media
  • Nanoparticle Colloids
  • Nano-Enabled Cement Additives
  • Complex Ceramic Parts Fabrication

Nanotech Innovations - Located in Oberlin, Nanotech Innovations is at the forefront of nanotechnology research in northern Ohio. Their goal is to bring carbon nanotube technology to the small laboratory. Their benchtop system for producing high-purity nanotubes provides affordable and convenient access to these exciting materials and enables their utilization in education, research, and product development projects.

SNS Nano Fiber Technology - SNS Nano Fiber Technology was founded in January 2007. It originated as a result of a cooperative effort between the University of Akron and Schill & Seilacher, a German family owned chemical company with a history of innovative research.

The main goal of SNS originally was to scale up the process of electrospinning in such a way that large particles could be added directly to the spinning solution, in order to achieve optimal dispersion. Once this goal was achieved, further development and optimization of the process was necessary.

SNS now has the capability for full scale continuous production of nanofibers, up to 1 meter wide. The fibers can be spun onto a substrate, such as a nonwoven or netting, or they can be fabricated as a self-supporting mat of nanofibers. The facility was certified to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 in February 2011.

Tesla Nanocoatings - Tesla NanoCoatings Inc. is a protective coating (paint) formulating company. Tesla manufactures Teslan® Carbon NanoCoating in a 2-coat system that replaces a traditional 3-coat system used extensively for corrosion protection of steel. Tesla's coating uses carbon nanotubes which self- assemble into rope structures, making them highly conductive, tough and flexible. Tesla's coating provides unequaled corrosion control and extends lifecycle of the coat, providing cost savings and increasing safety.

Nanotechnology Research and Education

Some of the leading academic institutes in Ohio offering courses and research programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology are listed below:

The Ohio State University - Promotes the awareness and significance of nanotechnology through the following research centers and Laboratories:

  • Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND): Concentrates in developing nanostructures and manufacturing protocols for new polymer photonic devices and components, industrial polymeric nanocomposites and for biomedical systems and devices with nanoscale properties. CMPND conducts research on biomedical devices, polymer photonics and nanocomposites.
  • Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices: Develops nanoengineering technology and nanomaterials that are cost effective and polymer-based in order to manufacture high-quality multifunctional polymer-nanoparticle-biomolecule nanostructures, medical diagnostic devices and cell-based devices used in pharmaceutical and medical sectors. The core and elective courses offered by this center are given below:
    • The Core course provides an introduction about current research in the field of nanotechnology. This is seminar-style class that includes guest lectures, presentation by students and written assignments.
    • The elective course includes:
      • Mechanical Engineering-Nanotribology, nanomechanics, and nanomaterials characterization for nanotechnology.
      • Biomedical Engineering-Fundamentals of biomedical microscopic imaging.
      • Biomedical Engineering-Bio-interfacial phenomena and surface functionalization
      • Physics-Organic electronic, photonic, and magnetic materials.
  • Electronic Materials and Nanostructures Laboratory (EMNLAB): Provides the following nanotechnology research facilities:
    • Nanoscale SIMS and MBE Facility
    • Surfaces and Interfaces Laboratory
    • Interdisciplinary Nanoscale Materials Laboratory
    • Cleanroom Facilities
  • ENCOMM NanoSystems Laboratory - Provides industrial and academic users with access to improved material fabrication and characterization tools for use in various development and nanotechnology activities.
  • Nanotech West Laboratory: Focuses on the usage of micro- and nanotechnology and the laboratory's current research programs deal with the following fields:
    • Optics
    • Medicine
    • Electronics
    • Advanced materials and characterization
    • Energy
    • Biology

University of Cincinnati - Promotes the development of nanotechnology through the following center:

Ohio University - Promotes the significance of nanotechnology through the following nanotechnology research centers.

Miami University - Promotes the significance of nanotechnology through the following nanotechnology research center.

  • The Miami University Center for Nanotechnology (MUCN): Deals with issues relating to the research, education, commercialization and safety of nanotechnology. As part of their work the MUCN conducts the following activities:
    • Provides nanotechnology-based talks, workshops and exhibits to highlight the significance of nanotechnology to K-12 students and teachers.
    • Conducts research on safety and commercialization of nanotechnology and also on other nanotechnology areas.
    • Provides nanotechnology-based to engineering and scientific professionals.

University of Dayton - Promotes the significance and awareness of nanotechnology through the following nanotechnology-based summer institute:

  • Nanotechnology Summer Institute: Offers a course on nanotechnology to middle-school and high-school mathematics, engineering, science and technology teachers. The course will cover the following topics:
    • MEMS
    • Nanoscience
    • Biomimetics
    • Carbon nanotubes
    • Nanofabrication
    • Electron microscopy
    • Metamaterials
    • Cleanroom tour
    • Lesson planning and curriculum integration

Recent Developments

Researchers from the Ohio State University recently discovered how the Blue Morpho butterfly's wing can help prevent the growth of bacteria in medical equipment. The researchers first ventured out in studying the microscopic textures of the wing of this particular butterfly and also the texture of leaves of the rice plant called Oriza sativa. Plastic replicas of both these microscopic textures were formed and later on compared to the replicas of shark skin, fish scales and plain flat surfaces in order to test the ability of the wing and the rice leaf to repel water and dirt.

After this analysis, the researchers made molds of these in cast plastic and silicon replicas and covered their surfaces with a specific coating of nanoparticles. Following a series of tests, the researchers concluded that the texture of the rice leaf can be used to promote the flow of fluid in oil pipelines or micro-devices. The clapboard roof texture of the butterfly's wing, on the other hand, will help prevent bacteria growth in medical equipment.

Another discovery in the field of nanotechnology was brought by scientists from the University of Akron. These scientists created a synthetic technology based on the study of a gecko's ability to scale walls and stick to surfaces of any kind. The microscopic hairs under the gecko's foot provide high friction adhesion that plays a significant role in the gecko's movement. An attempt was made to replicate these microscopic hairs after understanding the biomechanics of the gecko's feet. Based on this concept, ADAP Nanotech developed a thermal pad called Nano TIM containing millions of carbon nanotubes that are placed on extremely thin polymer and silica layers. The carbon nanotubes in this thermal pad will thus have the ability to repel dirt and moisture and provide safe air travel.

Ohio University researchers led by Saw-Wai Hla have used bottom-up production technology to create a molecular motor

Ohio has a healthy nanotechnology industry, with products that are already market ready. They also have a strong culture of nanotechnology education and research that will no doubt help expand the nanotechnology industry in Ohio.

References

Date Added: Mar 7, 2013 | Updated: Mar 15, 2013
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