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Nanotechnology Education and Research
Poland is located to the east of Germany in Central Europe, and covers an area of 312,685 km2. Its population was 38,415,284 as of July 2012.
Poland’s market-based economy is one of the fastest growing within the EU. It was the only country in the EU to avoid the 2009 global recession. The GDP of Poland was $771 billion in 2011. Its economy has been helped by the government’s move to privatize many small and medium state-owned companies. The laws relating to establishing new firms have been relaxed, thereby allowing the development of a strong private sector.
Poland has a couple of organisations and networks committed to promoting and exploring nanoscience. A brief introduction to them is provided in the following section:
- Clusterland - The organization was founded in Austria and has a branch in Poland. The aim of the organization is to support, integrate and develop nanotechnology and nanoscience.
Nanotechnology, being a versatile field, finds applications in a myriad of industries. There is a vast scope for companies in Poland to use nanotechnology and make an impact in the country. Some of the nano-based companies in Poland are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:
Aerogels Poland - Aerogels Poland was created to be the exclusive distributor for US-based Aspen Aerogels, Inc. products. Their products are manufactured using nanotechnology-based processes and they offer the best thermal insulation materials in the world. The property that distinguishes them from their competition is their extremely low thermal conductivity.
Nanotechnologia - Nanotechnologia has entered into the world of the newest and fastest growing areas of modern science, nanotechnology. They have their own technology which can be modified and adapted to suit the requirements imposed by the manufacturers. They produce nanoparticles for use as stand-alone products or can be used in materials or as a raw material for the production of finished products.
Amepox Company Ltd - Amepox was established in 1988 and its staff was based mainly on former Technical University of Lodz personnel. From the very beginning, their activity has been focused on manufacturing special materials for two primary sectors: the construction and electronics/microelectronics industry. Their nano-based products include: NanoCu 1000B a unique, water - ethanol based formulation with nanosized copper particles; NanoSilver 800 Plast, NanoSilver Hx, NanoSilver Ip 1000, NanoSilver PVP 1000, NanoSilver OP 1000, and NanoSilver Bl 1000.
Dental Nanotechnology (DNT) - The company is focused on the implementation of various programs for modern dentistry. The company manufactures materials called “Nanocare”, designed to protect patients against dental secondary infections. They also have produced Nanotec Endo, a patented system for rinsing root canals.
Ertec - Ertec Poland are manufacturers of microwave reactors designed for synthesis of nanoparticles.
Ammono Ltd.- Ammono is the world leader in truly bulk Gallium Nitride (GaN) manufacturing. Technology development started in 1992 and led to the creation of best in class products characterized by a perfect crystalline quality. Technological breakthroughs in ammonothermal technology mean that they can now produce up to 2-inch diameter high quality bulk C-plane GaN substrates as well as non-polar M-plane, A-plane and semi-polar GaN wafers.
OPTICON Nanotechnology Ltd. - Opticon produces several types of electron microscopes enabling study of nanomaterials.
LaboSoft - LaboSoft was established in 1997 as a company for complex and detailed research of crystallographic textures. The professional power of the LaboSoft company was built on 25 years of research experience of scientists being the company staff members and consultants now. LaboSoft s.c. provides high quality software solutions for crystallographic texture calculations and analysis as well as the hardware modifications of x-ray texture measurement devices. products include LaboTex, a precise and complex tool for analysis of texture of crystalline nanomaterials.
Nanotech Group - operates in areas of innovative technologies with the main focus on nanotechnologies and medical applications. The Group's companies develop and commercialize products in the lucrative markets of metallurgy and nanometallurgy, document security and brand protection, medical devices, cabling industry and microelectronics. The Group develops and commercializes revolutionary technologies in the area of nanometals and metal oxides production. This unique approach offers an unprecedented ability to economically produce nanometals according to customers specifications' in terms of particle size, shape, purity and structure.
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Poland is home to several universities offering research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. These universities and institutions are briefly outlined below:
Adam Mickiewicz University – offers Ph.D. programme in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The PhD programme aims to develop research in the field of nanomaterials and nanostructures and their applications in biology and medicine. It also hosts:
University of Warsaw (UW) - is also a leading research centre in Poland.
- The Faculty of Chemistry offers a course titled Introduction to Nanotechnology.
- The Faculty of Physics offers courses titled Measurements techniques in nanotechnology, Physical Foundations of Nanotechnology – Nanospintronics, and Physical Foundations of Nanotechnology - Quantum Transport in Nanostructures.
- NanoCentre - is a part of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering. The centre’s main focus is on processing, modeling and characterization of structures and properties of nanomaterials.
Jagiellonian University - It is the oldest university in Poland. The Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science offers courses in advance materials and nanotechnology, taught in collaboration with the Faculty of Chemistry.
Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science - offers research opportunities in the field of nanotechnology with the core focus being amorphous, nano- and micro crystalline materials.
Polish Academy of Sciences - is the host for:
Institute of Electron Technology (ITE) - is a major Polish research centre that focuses on semiconductor micro- and nanotechnology. ITE is also responsible for opening two research centres, namely, CEPHONA (Physics and Technology of Photonic Nanostructures) and MANTARC (Micro- and Nanotechnology Applied Research Centre).
University of Silesia – offers a MSc program in Physics with core specialisations including Nanophysics and Mesoscopic Materials - Modelling and Applications. The course is available in Polish, English and French.
In October 2011, Daunpol of Warsaw was the first company to start applying metallic nanoparticles in its chemicals- NanoClean chemical products. Experts believe that this move is likely to gain global recognition for Poland and further the development of nanotechnology.
In August 2012, a team of Polish researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry synthesized high purity aligned nitrogen doped multi walled carbon nanotubes using the catalytic chemical vapor deposition method involving pyridine and Fe/Co (2:1 volume ratio) as the single C/N precursor and catalyst material. The average diameter of the synthesized tubes was in the range of 29-57 nm and the nitrogen content of the tubes reached a maximum of 9.2 (at.)% nitrogen. Their study will aid in providing further insight into nitrogen doping effects and the relation between type of nitrogen inclusion and nitrogen doping levels.
While he Polish economy weathered the global financial crisis well, the business sector innovates very little and the academic system is weak. Furthermore, links between industry and academia are poor meaning that only a small proportion of public research is funded privately. In 2010 GERD (government expenditure on research and development) equated to 0.74% of GDP having grown a respectable 10.3% a year between 2005 and 2010. Their aim is to reach a GERD of 1.7% by 2020 and they also have long term plans to help a move towards a knowledge-based economy based on on current strengths, emerging technologies and smart specialisation.
If Poland executes this long term plan well, sectors such as nanotechnology could come to the fore. However, to be really successful, stronger ties need to be forged between industry and academia to help drive applied research aimed at commercial outcomes.
- OECD - Science and Innovation (PDF)