Nanotechnology in Taiwan: Market Report

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Introduction
Nanotechnology Organizations
Nanotechnology Companies
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Recent Developments

Introduction

Taiwan, located in Eastern Asia, covers a total area of 35,980 km2 and has a population of 23,234,936 as of 2012.

Taiwan has a capitalist and export-driven economy with the industrial sector playing a major role. The key industries in Taiwan include pharmaceuticals, electronics, machinery, communications and information technology products, chemicals, armaments, petroleum refining, food processing, consumer products, iron and steel, textiles, cement and vehicles.

Towards the latter half of the 20th century, Taiwan experienced a steady and rapid growth in its economy and industrial sector. The chief exports in Taiwan include measuring, photographic, optical and medical instruments, electronics, chemicals, machinery, plastics, flat panels, textiles and metals. The key imports include precision instruments, metals, crude petroleum, organic chemicals, machinery and electronics. Taiwan’s GDP in 2011 was $875.9 billion.

Nanotechnology Organizations

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

TANIDA - A non-profit organization that aims to facilitate the integration of R&D efforts at research institutions, universities and industry to accelerate the commercialization of nanotechnology and meet the industrial requirements of developing high valued-added products and technology.

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) - An applied research organization that spans multiple industrial technology fields. The materials, chemical and nanotechnology sector is one of the current key research areas of this organization. Research in this key area involves collaboration with competitive industries in Taiwan to develop key materials and components in the field of electronics, optoelectronics and panel displays. ITRI aims at developing high-end materials and components through the integration of nanotechnology and materials/chemical technologies.

Taiwan Nanotechnology EHS Database - Focuses on the environmental applications of nanomaterials and conducts nanotechnology research on the following topics:

  • Nanotechnology Applications
  • Nanotechnology Implications in Environments
  • Nanomaterial Occupational Health and Safety
  • Nanomaterial Toxicity
  • Risk Assessment and Medical Surveillance

Nanotechnology Companies

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

ARDIC Instruments - ARDIC, short for Applied Research and Development Integration Company, was founded as a platform for technology commercialization. They partner with leading research institutions to commercialize their cutting-edge research and allow them to effectively reach the market by leveraging ARDIC's expertise in market-driven product development.

Through a deep understanding of the technology and user relationship, ARDIC take a holistic perspective in developing instruments that are not only technologically advanced, but also perfectly suit the needs of the end users.

Advanced Nanopower - Advanced Nanopower (ANP) Inc. was established in 2004. ANP is devoted to the production of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWNT) and the development of the CNT related products. Advanced Nanopower (ANP) Inc. has successfully developed many types of high purity carbon nanotubes. Depending on the needs of the product, they offer different types of CNT's to their customers in many forms such as powders, solutions, slurries and pastes.

Chin Shaing Light Ray Co., Ltd - Their focus areas include:

  • Nanotechnology R&D for industrial application
  • Provides nanomaterials for industries and consumer industry
  • Chinese nano production and innovation center
  • International nano leading R&D center
  • Asian Pacific nano industry product production center        

Polytron Technologies - Polytron Technologies, Inc. located in Taiwan, is committed to offering the best products at competitive prices to all customers in the international community. One of these products is Polynano, carbon nanotube field emission device that makes a perfect display.

SINO Nanotechnology Corporation - SINO TECH CORPORATION has been dealing with research and sales of inorganic nano coating systems, coating materials and other chemical products for more than a decade. 

Teco Nanotech - Focuses on the research, development and manufacturing of carbon nanotube field emission displays. they are also developing carbon nanotube and other nanocomposite applications.

Xin Nano - XinNano Materials, Inc., a joint venture of Xintek, Inc. in USA and TECO Nanotech Co., Ltd. is the world leader in producing high quality carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for field emission (including field emission displays, back light units and X-ray sources, etc), thermal and electrical conducting applications.

Their CNT based field emission cathodes are cold cathodes that can be turned on and off instantly and have multi-pixel capabilities. They also offer many new device design ideas that enable development of next generation of high speed, more compact and energy efficient vacuum electronic devices (such as medical and security x-ray CT scanners).

Nanotechnology Research and Education

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

University system of Taiwan - Promotes research in the field of nanotechnology through the below mentioned research center:

  • Center for Nano Science and Technology - Trains researchers and practitioners in the field of nanotechnology and nanoscience and provides high-quality research that will enable Taiwan becoming a leading country in the nanoscience and nanotechnology. This center also concentrates on commercialization of nanotechnology in Taiwan.

Frontier Education Program for Nanotechnology in Eastern Taiwan - Focuses on the study of nanobiometrics and molecular mimics. Some of the key nanotech areas include:

  • Nanostructured electrode materials for energy applications
  • Metal oxide nanowires for sensing and device applications
  • Synthesis and application of ZnO nanowires.
  • Spectroscopic & microscopic studies on nanostructural materials

Nano Optoelectronics Laboratory - Located at the National Taiwan University, the laboratory’s key nanotechnology-based research areas include:

  • Carbon Nanotube
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanoimprint & Nanofabrication
  • Organic Solar Cells
  • Silicon Solar Cells & Antireflection Coating

Molecular Anti-Cancer Laboratory - Promotes nanotech research on the topics including:  

  • Molecular reaction and biomedical application of nanodiamonds
  • Biocompatibility and application of nanodiamond in cardiovascular system
  • Preparation and biomedical applications of multi-functional drug nanocarriers
  • Molecular endocytic mechanisms, chase, separation and applications of diamond nanoparticles in human cancerous cell and xenograft tumor mouse models.
  • Nano-diamond-protein complex development, manipulation and applications in biological and medical systems. 

Taiwan International Graduate Program on Nano Science and Technology - A collaboration between Academia Sinica, the National Taiwan University and National Tsing Hua University offers training and research opportunities to Ph.D. students interested in exploring nanotechnology areas such as new nanomaterials and structures, characterization of nanostructures and nanomaterials, nanodevices engineering, theoretical modeling and nano-biotechnology.

Recent Developments

Researchers at the Taiwan's National Defense University recently developed tubes and light bulbs by using nano-carbon materials. In comparison with the currently used bulbs these new light bulbs are more environment friendly and a lot more energy efficient. The researchers highlighted the fact that nano-carbon materials can be used to manufacture mercury-free light sources.

A memorandum of understanding was recently signed by Taiwan with a European research consortium at the Taiwan Nano Exhibition tech to promote and improve the interaction on transnational nanotechnology research in engineering and materials science.     

Along with these nanotech-based discoveries and initiatives to promote the significance of nanotechnology, experts are hoping to see a 6.7% increase in the output value of products made in Taiwan using nanotechnology.

According to a press release, Foxconn, the manufacturer largely responsible for many of the latest Apple products is planning to spin off its CNTouch business that manufactures CNT products for touch applications, sensors, cables and LED lighting.

Researchers from the National Taiwan University have coated platinum onto tellurium nanowires which have been used to make modified carbon fiber microelectrodes using a galvanic displacement reaction, resulting in highly electroactive electrodes for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC).

Despite an uncertain global economic climate in recent years, Taiwan's economy has registered an annual growth rate equal to 4% over the last 5 years. A formal economic relationship with China has also helped to see Taiwan come through the financial crisis more quickly.

An emphasis on services, technology and elements of manufacturing have seen Taiwan's economy become one of the richest in Asia. Their expenditure on R&D reached 3.02% of GDP exceeding their target of 3% in 2011 and up from 2.45% of GDP in 2003. Despite this gain, they lag behind Japan and South Korea and hope to increase R&D expenditure to 5% of GDP in 2012.

2012 data indicate that manufacturers accounted for 95.9% of R&D expenditure, with Taiwan Semiconductor Company (TMSC), the world's largest contract chip manufacturer spending US$1.4 billion on R&D, the largest commitment from a single Taiwanese company. It will however be interesting to see if TMSC's R&D expenditure continues to grow following the recent announcement that they have lost the contract to manufacture chips Apple, with Samsung set to become the preferred supplier after 2015.

With cheaper labour available in China, Taiwan will need to transition to a more high technology, service oriented economy. If they make this transition and continue to increase expenditure on R&D and increase output of products using nanotechnology, there is little doubt that the nanotechnology sector will benefit greatly and become a global force.

References

  1. Foxconn EPS to Record Beyond NT$8.03 (US$0.27) in 2013
  2. Te/Pt nanonetworks enable cost-effective electrocatalysts for methanol oxidation
  3. Taiwan R&D spend hit 3.02 percent of GDP
  4. TSMC spends most in R&D among Taiwanese businesses
  5. Apple to use Samsung chips in 2015 devices

 

Date Added: Jul 19, 2013 | Updated: Aug 30, 2013
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