Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Florida, USA: Market Report

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Florida is situated in the southeastern region of the United States and covers an overall area of 170,304 km2. As of 2011, it had a population of 19,057,542.

Although the agricultural sector has played a pivotal role in Florida’s economy for a very long time, other sectors are quite strong as well, including international banking, construction, industry, tourism, healthcare research, and commercial space travel. With the contributions of these diverse sectors, Florida’s 2010 GDP was $748 billion. The state was said to be the fourth-largest exporter of trade commodities in 2010.

Florida is also making calculated investments in the promising domain of nanotechnology. About three dozen companies are involved in the nanotechnology cluster in the state. Furthermore, Florida universities are making crucial contributions to the R&D infrastructure and the repository of knowledge available to nanotech industrialists and investors in the region.

Nanotechnology Companies

The key nanotechnology-related companies functioning in Florida are listed below together with a short introduction to each of them.

Nanotherapeutics—The company has substantial expertise in product formulation, pre-clinical and clinical development, scale-up, and cGMP manufacturing, leveraging proven as well as proprietary methods such as NanoDRY®, NanoQUAD®, and GelVac™. The company’s specialized proprietary methods can enhance the release rate, improve both the rate and extent of drug uptake, and/or increase bioavailability.

The consequences of these variations include more consistent drug therapy with potentially lower dose and dose frequency necessities, as well as fewer side effects. Nanotherapeutics guarantees the integrity and quality of products and data generated, and constantly enhances quality at the source by way of supplier evaluation and employee involvement.

NanoBlox—Was established to market nanodiamonds which are very small (nanometer) sized diamond particles. Diamond has a number of exclusive properties, for example, thermal conduction, hardness, high refractive index, electrical insulation, and biocompatibility. NanoBlox’s exclusive detonation synthesis process enables the regulated production of nanodiamonds.

Purification and modification of nanodiamonds facilitate compounds to be attached to the nanodiamond surface. This permits NanoBlox to design nanodiamond particles for specific purposes.

nanoStrata—It is a small company set up in 2000 to commercialize technology developed at Florida State University. The company’s technology streamlines the processes involved in creating and regulating multilayer spin coatings and polyelectrolyte multilayer films.

Radiation Shield Technologies (RST)—It is the international leader in the design, research, and production of personal protection systems for ionizing and nuclear radiation. The company’s fundamental technology, Demron™, is particularly engineered to combine radiation protection with “ease of use” so as to maximize effective radiological defense. RST’s major goal is to make certain that all Demron™ products are of the maximum protective quality.

This is realized by working closely with its end-users, creating new standards of personal radiation protection, and meeting the particular requirements of those groups most at risk of exposure. After nearly 10 years of development, RST is pleased to launch Demron™ to the governments, industries, and everyday people who, until now, have had no choices for real personal radiation protection.

RAVE LLC—A technology-driven company with several years of groundbreaking contributions to the photomask, semiconductor, and nanotechnology industries, RAVE is a worldwide supplier of sophisticated equipment for cutting-edge semiconductor and nanotechnology applications. RAVE’s remarkably talented team is well known for the development and on-time delivery of novel, cost-saving process solutions to customers worldwide.

Melstream Industries—The company was instrumental in introducing molecular nanotechnology to the water treatment industry. Through the integration of nanotechnology in the manufacture of water conditioning media, Melstream Industries has created a line of media that are multifunctional and highly efficient. Molecular nanotechnology is engineered to substitute traditional media and permit commercial, domestic, public, and industrial water treatment companies to develop more efficient, cheaper, and eco-friendly treatment systems.

Dais Analytic Corporation—Offers industry-changing, nanotechnology-based applications for heating and cooling, energy storage, and water treatment. These applications are reshaping traditional notions of economics, energy efficiency, and eco-friendly products by reducing environmental impact use as well as minimizing costs. Dais was set up in 1999 as a nanotechnology polymer materials and processes company.

Dais is set to have a considerable global impact in applied nanotechnology within the water and energy sectors. Products including Dais’ nanotechnology allow users to lessen the consumption of irreplaceable natural resources and restrict environmental destruction.

Fractal Systems, Inc. (FSI)—The organization was set up in 1997 to conduct progressive research and development (R&D) on nanomaterials, conductive polymers, and nanocomposites for electrochemical and electronic applications, including sensors and power sources for the Federal Government and Private Sector customers, as well as to create commercial products out of this R&D effort.

Argonide Corporation—Manufactures a complete line of high-quality filter cartridges for almost every aqueous application. With its unique qualifications as the inventor of the NanoCeram Electropositive Filtration technology, its expertise allows effective engineering of efficiencies, flow characteristics, and dirt-holding capacities targeted by customers to solve most of their filtration needs.

Quantachrome Instruments—It is a prominent innovator of ideas for today’s porous materials requirements. For over 35 years, Quantachrome’s researchers have transformed measurement methods and designed instrumentation to allow the precise, accurate, and dependable characterization of porous and powdered materials.

Particle Sizing Systems (PSS)—For more than 35 years, the company has been dedicated to aiding customers to locate solutions to their particle sizing issues. PSS delivers products with distinctive capabilities that can size particles from single-digit nanoparticles to particles that are thousands of microns in diameter.

Microtrac—In 1970, Microtrac pioneered the application of laser diffraction to measure particle size. Since inventing its first instrument, Microtrac has dedicated the last 50 years enhancing its technology.

Nanotechnology Education

Some of the top academic institutes in Florida offering courses and research programs in nanotechnology and nanoscience are mentioned below:

University of Florida—Researches at the Nano Group at the University of Florida are working on nanoelectronics and nanotechnology, including nanomaterials synthesis and growth, device nanofabrication, optical and electrical measurement/characterization, structural characterization, and simulation/modeling.

Florida International University—The Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute’s Motorola Nanofabrication Research Facilities comprise nanofabrication capabilities including e-beam lithography and optical photolithography together with a class 100 clean room.

Florida State University—Integrative NanoScience Institute offers research and teaching facilities on bio-nanoscience. The university promotes discoveries and technological enhancements in domains associated with bio-nanoscience. It aims at developing a bio-nanoscience program at the interface of physics, chemistry, device engineering, molecular biology, materials science, sensing, and imaging.

Florida International University—The Nanobioengineering and Bioelectronics Laboratory offers projects handling biofuel cells and nanoelectronics, biosensors that will be beneficial to combine nanotechnology with biology, advanced MEMS technology, and electrochemistry. The lab also conducts research in cytotoxicity and nanotoxicity.

University of South Florida—The Nanotechnology Research and Education Center offers multidisciplinary research in nanomanufacturing techniques and nanomaterials associated with integrated nanoscale systems, medical products, optics, fundamental materials science, actuators, electronics, and sensors.

New College of Florida—The Optical Spectroscopy and Nano-Materials Lab carries out research activities in nanotechnology.

University of Central Florida—The Nanoscience Technology Center conducts research on the following subjects:

  • Nano-Electrochemistry
  • Nanoscale Optoelectronic Materials and Devices for Energy Conversion
  • NanoScale Quantum Transistors
  • Nanomaterial Chemistry: The Building Blocks of Functional Nanoparticles

Center for Nano-Bio Sensors—The CNBS strategic research program involves the following nano research projects:

  • Traumatic brain injury nanosensor
  • ZnO nanowire nanosensors for biodetection and identification
  • Biocompatibility assessment of nano-bio sensors
  • DNA aptamers as cancer-specific sensors and nano-carriers
  • Photocatalytic nanocomposite based destruction of microbes

Recent Developments

A $1.5 million NSF grant was given to a chemistry professor from the University of Florida for the development of a nanotechnology center in 2010. This center will examine and develop a number of methods to produce nanoscale electronics.

In October 2012, a new method for growing materials from nanorods was reported by scientists from the University of Florida. The key aim of the research was to apply thermodynamic forces to regulate the growth of nanoparticles into superparticles. Through this research, scientists aim to prove the efficacy of these particles for early-stage cancer detection.

In 2012, Florida International University started a collaborative project with several other institutions to develop personal health monitoring devices, such as wearable devices like watches, tooth caps, or patches for clothes, making use of the participants’ nanotechnology expertise to develop compact energy storage systems, state-of-the-art biosensors, and efficient wireless transmission units.

With such encouraging developments and discoveries in the field of nanotechnology, Florida is set to experience fast growth in its nanotechnology sector in the future.

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