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Nanotechnology Education and Research
Romania is located in Southeastern Europe between Ukraine and Bulgaria, with a border on the Black Sea. It covers an area of 238,391 km2 and had a population of 21,848,504 as of 2012.
Romania became a part of the NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007. The country exports commodities such as cars, raw materials, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, software, clothing and textiles, metallurgical products, military equipment, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural produce. The GDP of the nation in 2012 was reported as $274.1 billion.
Romania has a couple of organisations and networks committed to promoting nanoscience as well as exploring the challenges and future of nanotechnology. A brief introduction to these organisations is provided below:
- MINATECH-RO Consortium- The Consortium includes the IMT-Bucharest and the Polytechnica University of Bucharest (PUB). The key objectives are assistance and consultancy activities for SMEs and small innovative enterprises, facilitating the access of Romanian innovative SMEs to European networks and partnerships and technology transfer.
- ROMNET.NANO – is a web page dedicated to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Romania.
Nanotechnology is a versatile field that finds applications in a myriad of industries. The nanotechnology companies in Romania that cater to these diverse sectors are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:
DAVO STAR - DAVO STAR is a successful family-run enterprise whose main activity is offering integrated services for the clothing industry. Their latest achievement is the certification from the National Authority for Scientific Research which allows them to participate in collaborative projects funded by the European Commission. Together with prestigious research institutes, universities and other European entities, they are currently involved in scientific and innovative activities such as nanotechnology and smart textiles.
SITEX 45 - SITEX 45 has had over 15 years of involvement with successful R&D projects such as developing new materials and dedicated applications for micro & nanotechnologies. Their key products include silicon sensors for fine pressure, ceramic capacitive sensors for low pressure measurements, semiconductor strain gauge sensors for high pressure and cleanroom technologies.
Diagnosis DDS - Diagnosis DDS is the only Romanian producer of kits for agarose gel electrophoresis, latex rapid tests and ELISA tests. They are a private company that operates in the research, production and sale of reagents for clinical laboratories. The company is certified by the National Authority for Research and Development (NASR) for research and development. Their projects include nano-biotechnology research, processes and innovative products, which were developed in partnership with major universities and research institutions in Romania.
ROM QUARTZ SA - ROM QUARTZ SA started its activities in the field of electronic devices with quartz in 1980, acquiring equipment and technology from COMTEC INC. USA. ROM QUARTZ SA has been involved in recent years in numerous scientific studies and research activities on the development of devices BAW (bulk acoustic wave) and SAW (surface acoustic wave) based on alternative piezoelectric materials.
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Romania is home to numerous universities that offer research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. These institutions and their areas of involvement are listed below:
National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnologies (IMT-Bucharest) - is involved in various nano-based activities. The following are some of its major contributions:
- MICRONANOFAB is a microfluidic factory for “Assisted Self-Assembly” of nanosystems
- Research Center for Nanotechnology is a center dedicated to integrated systems and advanced carbon-based nanomaterials
- Romanian Nanomedicine Network (RO-NANOMED) is an integrated research network devoted to nanobiotechnology for healthcare.
- NANOMATFAB - is a nanotechnology research center for new MATerials and FABrication processes
National Institute For Lasers, Plasma And Radiation Physics (INFLPR) - INFLPR is an independent, national importance research institution established by the Government of Romania. The institute employs 447 researchers and administrative staff to conduct frontier research ranging from basic photonic materials and high power lasers, nanomaterials and nanotechnologies, quantum dots and information technologies, plasma physics and X-ray microtomography to industrial photonics, biophotonics and plasma coatings.
Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN HH) - The research Department of Theoretical Physics (DFT) operates via IFIN HH. The research activities here include areas such as Condensed Matter Physics, Exotic Nuclei and Astrophysics, Fields and Particles, Mathematical Physics, Nanophysics and Emerging Materials, Nuclear Structure and Reactions, Nonlinear Optics, Open Systems and Physics of Quantum Information.
National Institute For Chemical-Pharmaceutical Research and Development (ICCF Bucharest) - The main mission is to develop and supply new technologies, products and services for the pharmaceutical industry and therapeutic practice. They conduct research that includes pharmaceutical nano-based technologies.
National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies (INCDTIM Cluj-Napoca) - INCDTIM is the only national institute for research and development in the northwestern region of Romania. Having facilities conforming to European standards, the institute offers a favorable environment for young people who aspire to a research career in mass spectrometry, chromatography and ion physics, physics of nanostructured systems, molecular and biomolecular physics and technology of stable isotopes. Main areas of research and development include multifunctional nanostructured materials (carbon nanotubes, fictionalised metallic, polymeric, magnetic and composite nanoparticles, nanogels).
National Institute of Research and Development for Technical Physics (IASI) - is the Romanian chapter of the Network for Nanostructured Materials of Associate Candidate Countries (ACC), which is a Specific Support Action Project within the thematic priority 3 of Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences of the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission.
National Institute for Advanced Research in Electrical Engineering (Sc Icpe-Ca) – is involved in several nano-based activities via its departments.
Advanced Materials Department- The key areas of research includes micro and nano crystalline powders; Unconventional methods to obtain nano structured ceramic materials with controlled electrochemical properties; Biomaterials; nano powders of hydroxyapatite obtained by sol-gel.
Department of Micro-Nano-electrotechnology (MNE)- The key areas of research include Magnetic materials based on rare-earth nanocomposites; the structure of magnetic nano particles "core-shell" for applications in nanomedicine and micro sensors; New semiconductor nanostructured diluted magnetic semiconductors; multifunctional nanostructured materials for sensors and actuators applications; Micro and nano systems such as magnetic perovskite; and Determination of the fungi toxic properties of silver nano powders introduced in various materials.
Ovidius University – is a higher education institution in Constanþa, that hosts the Institute for Nanotechnology and Alternative Energy Sources. The Institute’s mission is to achieve excellence in scientific research and provides masters and doctoral programs.
The European Congress of Molecular Spectroscopy (EUCMOS) was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania between 26 and 31, August, 2012. EUCMOS is held every two years, and the primary focus is on spectroscopic methods and applications, and computational and theoretical approaches for the investigation of structure, dynamics and properties of molecular systems. EUCMOS will also cover various scientific topics including New materials (nanostructured and supramolecular systems, materials for molecular electronics and optoelectronics and magnetic materials).
In January 2012, the National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies Cluj-Napoca (INCDTIM) in Romania acquired and installed a new DPN 5000 System from NanoInk's® NanoFabrication Systems Division. The device is now a part of the Department of Molecular and Biomolecular Physics at INCDTIM. The Institute plans to use the new device to fabricate and characterize supramolecular structures with controlled architecture, study molecular recognitions, and promote self-assembling processes. INCDTIM believes that these application areas have the potential to initiate advancements in printed electronics, sensor devices, and biotherapeutics fields.
A team of students coordinated by the head of of the micro-nano-electro-technology department at INCDIE ICPE-CA won a silver medal at International Environment and Sustainability Olympiad (INESPO) for their work on an adhesive derived from garden spiders that could be used as a biomaterial.
Romanian researchers from the Center for Surface Science and Nanotechnology of Bucharest Polytechnics University have produced 3rd generation solar cells based on carbon nanotubes.
After joining the EU in 2007, Romanian researchers hoped to shed 40 years of communism rule and minimal funding to be able to build research careers. These positive changes failed to materialise and following the economy slipping into recession in 2008, 2009 research budgets were slashed by almost 50%. A change of government later that year restored budgets to close to 2008 levels and have continued to bolster research infrastructures as well as introducing legislation to ensure new funding is well spent. The government has also taken measures to ensure that Romanian science is competitive in the international arena.
Despite well placed intention, in April, 2013, grantees of the National Research Council, Romania's primary finding agency for federal research slashed the budgets of some multi year research projects awarded in 2011. This resulted in 19 Council member resignations and 568 Romanian researchers signing a protest letter addresses to the government.
Romanian research remains in the balance. Recent events could see quality researchers lost to other countries as opportunities evaporate. This does not bode well for the development of their nanotechnology sector which will no doubt suffer.
- Spider project brings Romanian students silver medal at international Environmental Research Olympiad
- First solar cells of 3rd generation based on carbon nanotubes, made by Romanian researchers
- Science fortunes of Balkan neighbours diverge
- Turnover at Romanian Funding Agency