Nanotechnology in Pennsylvania, USA: Market Report

Pennsylvania is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, and the Great Lakes region. With a population of 12,742,886 as of 2011, Pennsylvania covers a total area of 119,283 km2.

Pennsylvania ranks 19th in overall agricultural production and the state’s GSP as of 2010 was $570 billion. Finance and insurance are the major sectors in Pennsylvania and the state is also home to several Fortune 500 companies.

Pennsylvania’s advanced manufacturing and materials industry has recently begun another renaissance in its development. The state ranked 5th in overall manufacturing value added with $98.2 billion in 2010 — five percent of the national value, and has the 6th largest manufacturing Gross State Product (GSP) in the U.S. Manufacturers in Pennsylvania now account for more than 12 percent of the total output in the state, and are experiencing the best production levels in the state’s history. Employment has risen substantially in the last two years — 12,100 jobs were created in 2011 alone. Governor Tom Corbett’s Jobs First PA initiative, which focuses on a two-pronged approach of investing in Pennsylvania workers and partnering with job creators, aims to add to this rising employment trend. Manufacturing productivity outpaces all other sectors with a 259% increase over the last 40 years, and it shows. Total output from manufacturing has ranged from $64 to $71 billion for the past several years — it was $71 billion in 2011.

Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry is highly diverse, with no one sector dominating. Pennsylvania’s core manufacturing sub-industries lie in chemical manufacturing, fabricated metals manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, primary metal manufacturing, paper products manufacturing and plastics and rubber manufacturing, with paper and primary metals ranked 2nd and 3rd in the country respectively in terms of GDP.

Pennsylvania contains many nationally and internationally recognized research universities, as well as life science and medical research and device clusters. Manufacturing accounts for 70% of all research and development expenditures in Pennsylvania, boasting a total annual research and development investment of $9.8 billion. In addition, manufacturing accounts for 60% of more than 9,500 patents issued from 2001 to 2010.

In 2010, Pennsylvania directly exported $3.7 billion in primary metal manufacturing products to the rest of the world. Advanced manufacturing products are one of Pennsylvania‘s biggest international exports, accounting for 90% of all exports and supporting 18 percent of the state’s manufacturing jobs. It has ranked as the commonwealth‘s 4th (or higher) largest export industry in the last ten years, and has seen faster growth than Pennsylvania exports in general, more than doubling in value from $1.4 billion to $3.7 billion between 2001 and 2010.

Nanotechnology Organizations

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

Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center - This center is involved in promoting the commercialization of research on nanomaterials in order to fulfill the market requirements from the defense and commercial sectors. The center helps in transforming the ideas of various researchers, companies and entrepreneurs into new products and companies. The center is also involved in developing prototypes of nano products and processes.

ASTM International - The Committee E56 on Nanotechnology is a technical committee that aims at developing standards for nanomaterials and nanotechnology through workshops, conferences and training programs.

The Nanotechnology Institute (NTI) - Supports research, development and commercialization of various nanotechnology applications by providing commercialization, intellectual property and funding assistance.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development - The Pennsylvania Initiative (PIN) for Nanotechnology focuses on establishing the state of Pennsylvania as a leading nanotechnology state in the world. To attain this standard PIN focuses on combining resources from research studies, workforce development assets and industry.

Nanotechnology Companies

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

Industrial Science & Technology Network Inc - Industrial Science & Technology Network, Inc. (“ISTN”) is an advanced innovation company specializing in the development of nanotechnology-enabled products. They are committed to providing valuable solutions and products that allow their customers to maximize performance and cost efficiency in industrial, optical and biomedical applications. Their proprietary technology platforms are the product of world-class polymer chemistry expertise and development funding from the United States Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health.

Nanomaterials Company - Nanomaterials Company is the Philadelphia metropolitan area's first nanotechnology company. They are dedicated to the development of nanomaterials, nanomaterials processing and applications, and associated enabling technologies.

Nanomaterials derived its process technology from key technical achievements at Los Alamos National Laboratory and has continuously expanded its technology base since then. Their business is devoted to the exploitation of size-dependent materials properties exhibited when its architecture is on the nanometer scale and to the design and manufacture of proprietary enabling processing equipment.

Polysciences, Inc - A leading manufacturer of specialty and fine chemicals, laboratory products, monomers, polymers, microscopy, histology, biotechnology, electronics and specialty products for pharmaceutical and personal care industries. Their nanotechnology products include Carboxyl PEGylated Gold Nanoparticles, Cholesteryl Nonanoate and Amino PEGylated Gold Nanoparticles.

Y-Carbon - Y-Carbon serves diverse customers across a variety of industries including the filtration, energy, defense, pharmaceutical, and biomedical sectors. Their mission is the development, production and supply of porous and activated carbon materials. Their consultative process leads to custom materials tailored to each customer's precise needs.

They are located in Bristol, PA. Their staff includes engineers trained in nanotechnology, organic and inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, materials science and metallurgy. Y-Carbon has gained wide recognition for its innovative processes and products. They are a portfolio company of Pennsylvania Nanomaterials Commercialization Center and the Nanotechnology Institute of Ben Franklin Technology Partners - Southeastern PA. Their technology has received the R&D 100, MIT's TR35, Nano 50TM and other prestigious awards.

Aerotech Inc - Since 1970, Aerotech has designed and manufactured the highest performance motion control, positioning tables/stages, and positioning systems for their customers in industry, government, science, and research institutions around the world. Aerotech's precision motion control products provide the critical performance for today's demanding applications in markets such as medical device and life sciences, semiconductor and flat panel, photonics, automotive, data storage, laser processing, military/aerospace, electronics manufacturing, test, assembly, research and development, and other markets requiring high precision, high throughput motion solutions.

Aerotech used its considerable experience acquired over 40 years in the field of mechanics, magnetics, electronics, computing, digital control systems, and electromechanical systems engineering to develop a line of products to meet the current and future requirements of the nanotechnology industries. Aerotech's unique long-travel nanopositioners are for applications requiring nanometer and sub-arc-second accuracies and are suitable for both laboratory and industrial applications.

Nanoscience Labs - Tim Irwin, Co-founder and CEO and Troy Houston, Co-founder and President, brought Nano Science Labs to life from the initial steps of “just talking”, all the way to the “requirements and hurdles” associated with creating the Next Generation – Carbon Nanotubes. Tim started working on the initial phase and analyzing “market needs” for better quality Carbon Nano Tubes (CNT). Specifically, could higher yields and greater purity be possible such as the Nanotechnology industry has not been accustomed to obtaining from manufacturers.

Supported by NASA and a strong board of directors, the company is equipped with state of the art technology and personnel who have certification to manufacture high quality CNTs. They offer a specific array of products tailored to meet and exceed the growing industry demand for purity and cost reduction. They are producing the Next Generation – Carbon Nano Tubes (NG-CNT).

NanoHorizons Inc - NanoHorizons combines science and technology to invent, design, and manufacture advanced nanoparticles that provide permanent, safe, effective, and economical antimicrobial protection in a variety of products. The early work of the company included the development of high performance flexible electronics, and nanomaterial-based sensors and analytical chemistry devices for drug discovery.

Today, NanoHorizons invents, designs, and manufactures advanced nanoscale silver additives that add permanent, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly antimicrobial and performance-enhancing characteristics to consumer, commercial, and industrial products. They are committed to applying innovative research to produce new technologies that have practical, beneficial applications and provide value to both manufacturers and consumers.

NanoLambda – NanoLambda was founded in 2005 focuses on plasmonic nano-optic based sensor device development. They form nano plasmonic sensor platforms for personal everyday applications.

Versilant Nanotechnologies - Versilant Nanotechnologies (VN) is Southeast Pennsylvania's first materials-based nanotechnology company. Led by Dr. Cynthia Kuper, the company buys raw nanotechnology materials and uses patent-pending processing methods to develop these materials for commercial usage in industries such as avionics, sporting goods, automotive and aerospace.

Keystone Nano - Keystone Nano creates new nanoscale products to diagnose and treat human disease and improve the quality of life. Their nanoparticles can deliver your chemicals or pharmaceuticals to sites of interest more effectively and precisely than other methods, using stable, nontoxic technology. They work with a wide range of active ingredients and can manufacture nanoparticle surfaces with either passive or active targeting strategies. Actives can be water soluble or sparingly soluble, and can be already approved or novel chemical entities.

Nanotechnology Education

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

Lehigh University - The Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology provides research in the following areas:

  • Nanocharacterization
  • Nanoparticles
  • Sustainable Nano
  • Nanofabrication

Drexel University - Promotes the study of nanotechnology through the following centers.

A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute offers interdisciplinary research education, research and outreach in nanotechnology. The institute’s Nanomaterials Group deals with applied and fundamental aspects of characterization and synthesis of the following materials:

  • Ceramic nanoparticles
  • Composites
  • Nanoporous carbons
  • Nanodiamonds
  • Nanotubes

BioNanoTechnology Research - Provides nanotechnology research in the following areas:

  • NanoScale Imaging & Sensing
  • NanoBiosensor
  • Nanoscale Micro- encapsulation
  • NanoScale Skin
  • NanoScale X-Ray Imaging
  • NanoScale BioMechanics
  • NanoTissue Engineering

College of Engineering Carnegie Mellon University - Promotes the study of nanotechnology through the following centers.

Carnegie Mellon Nanofabrication Facility is a university based facility for the development of thin films and micro/nano devices. This facility conducts research in the following areas:

  • Integrated electro-optics
  • Quantum structures
  • MEMS
  • Semiconductor materials
  • Process development of data storage devices and materials.

Nanorobotics Lab - Develops new techniques to design, manufacture and control high impact micro/nano-robotic systems in bio-inspired fibrillar adhesives, miniature mobile robots and micro/nano-manipulation systems.

Center for Nano-enabled Device and Energy Technologies (CNXT) conducts nanotechnology research activities and offers the following nanotechnology courses:

  • ECE 18-817 Fundamentals of Semiconductors and Nanostructures
  • ECE 18-819 Nanoscale Electronic Devices: Science, Materials, and Potential Applications
  • Phys 33-398 Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Chem 09-723 Proximal Probe Techniques: New Tools For Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Pennsylvania State University - Promotes research on nanotechnology related areas through the following centers:

Center for Nanoscale Science offers nanotechnology research in the following topics:

  • Complex oxide thin films
  • Nanomaterial synthesis and fabrication
  • Integrated optical metamaterials
  • Low-dimensional electronic nanostructures
  • Nano- and micro-motors

PennState Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) - Offers research, education and development in micro and nanotechnology related areas. The CNEU provides workshops, nanofabrication displays and various other presentations for educators and students.

PennState NanoFabrication Facility (Nanofab) - Conducts research in following areas:

  • Piezoelectric, Pyroelectric, and Ferroelectric Complex Oxides
  • Electronics, Solar Cells, Fuel Cells
  • Graphene, Carbon Nanotubes
  • Materials, Metamaterials, Chalcogenide Glass
  • Sensors
  • Micro-electromechanical Systems, Nano-electromechanical Systems
  • Microfluidics
  • Directed Self Assembly, Self Assembly
  • Chemistry, Physics, Optics, Plasmonics, Electro-chemical
  • Bioengineering, Biological

Biofunctionalized Nano-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (BioNEMS) Laboratory explores nanotechnology and nanoscience focusing on biology, engineering, materials and physics.

Recent Developments

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania were recently recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for bringing about improvements in nanotech design principles focusing on drug delivery. The researchers hoped to attack diseases in a much easier manner using this new technology that will enhance the usage of nanotechnology in drugs.

The very first all-optical photonic switch was invented by a team of Pennsylvania researchers using cadmium sulfide nanowires. Through this discovery, the researchers highlighted that the future will see a change from “consumer electronics” to “consumer photonics”.

Another recent research in nanotechnology led to the discovery of a process to avoid defects or cracks when depositing thin films of nanoparticles. This research was supported by the Penn Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the National Science Foundation.

With these new discoveries and innovative research in the field of nanotechnology, Pennsylvania is likely to see increasing developments in nanotechnology in the coming years, from various companies, educational institutions and research centers.

Sources and Further Reading

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