Nanotechnology in Georgia, USA: Market Report

Georgia, located in the southeastern United States, covers a total area of 153,909 km2. Georgia has a population of 9,815,210 as of 2011.

Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, has been experiencing tremendous economic growth in the service, communications and real estate sectors. Some of the major revenue industries in Georgia include tourism, agriculture and food production sectors. Georgia's GDP as of 2010 was $403.1 billion.

The main driving force for the nanotech industry is the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech. In 2007, Georgia Tech ranked third in the nation for the number of nanotechnology researchers that are “highly cited” in peer-reviewed publications, and in the top ten for the number of first authors publishing in such journals.

Georgia Tech is one of the key leaders of nanotechnology research in the southern USA, and has been active in trying to create collaborations and networks between the other top institutions in the South, as well as industrial and governmental partners.

Nanotechnology Companies

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

Micromeritics - Micromeritics was founded in 1962 to fulfill the analytical instrumentation needs of industrial and academic laboratories involved in the emerging field of particle science and technology. Micromeritics has become one of the leading global suppliers of materials characterization analytical laboratory instrumentation and services. The company manufactures a broad line of automated analytical laboratory instruments that measure the physical characteristics of powders and solids for fundamental research, product development, quality assurance and control, production, and process control applications, including the expanding area of nanoscience.

ClassOne Equipment, Inc - ClassOne Equipment is a leading supplier of high quality refurbished equipment to the semiconductor, MEMS, LED, wireless, and emerging technology markets.  Core expertise is in Semitool, SUSS Microtec, EVG, SPTS, Oxford Instruments, Plasmatherm, and KLA-Tencor™ equipment. All their semiconductor metrology equipment comes from the finest manufacturers, with highly desirable brands such as KLA-Tencor, Hitachi, Nanometrics, Rudolph, Therma-Wave, and others.

nGimat -  nGimat Co., founded in 1994, is an intellectual property company and a manufacturer of engineered nanomaterials in nanopowders, thin films and devices. The NanoSpraySM Combustion Processing technology for coatings and nanopowders, along with the Nanomiser® Device, was invented by nGimat's founder, Dr. Andrew Hunt. nGimat is focusing its product development, sales, and licensing in four target markets:

  • nanopowders and process
  • RF wireless components
  • electronic and optical coatings and devices
  • functional surfaces.

Colibrys - Colibrys is a world-leading supplier of standard and semi-custom MEMS-based sensors and actuators for  Harsh-Environment (Energy, Military and Aerospace), Industrial and Instrumentation markets.

Excellatron - Excellatron Solid State, LLC, a U.S. based technology company, is introducing innovative and enabling energy storage technology. Initial markets for this technology will be military applications, implantable medical devices, and other applications that require high performance. This technology will also enable a series of new products where existing battery technology cannot compete, e.g., Smart Cards, active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, and Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS).

Nanotechnology Education

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

Georgia Tech - The Georgia Institute of Technology is a leading research university that is home to a number of research laboratories and research centers. Some of the university’s research centers and laboratories involved in nanotechnology research as listed below:

  • Nanotechnology Research Center - Provides staff expertise, high technology equipment and appropriate training to carry out efficient research in nanoscale engineering and science research. The center offers the Georgia Tech-National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network which is a research program that promotes the use of nanofabrication to bioengineering and biomedicine.
  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Center carries out research in the following areas:
    • Synthesis and Characteristics of Nanomaterials
    • Properties of Nanomaterials
    • Nanoscale Modeling and Simulation
    • Nanodevices, Nanophotonics, and Nanosystems
    • Nanomedicine and Nano-biotechnology
  • Zhong Wang's Research Group conducts research in the following areas:
    • Piezotronics for smart systems
    • Nanogenerators and self-powered nanosystems
    • Hybrid cells for energy harvesting
    • Piezo-phototronics for energy science and optoelectronics
  • Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology - Provides improved Nano, Bio and Micro laboratories to support various research projects. These laboratories can be accessed by individuals from industrial, academic and government sectors.

University of Georgia - The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at the University of Georgia supports the university’s interest to enhance the nanoscale science and engineering fields through the following activities:

  • Organizing workshops and seminars.
  • Encouraging the participation of researchers from engineering and science backgrounds.
  • Transferring knowledge with other nanotechnology related institutes and also with industrial and business sectors.
  • Providing high-quality nanotech infrastructure facilities.                            

Some of the center’s research areas include:

  • Nano-biomedical engineering
  • Nano-catalysts
  • Nano-characterization
  • Nano-electric mechanical system (NEMS), Microfluidics/Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Nano-imaging
  • Nano-optics
  • Nano-related modeling and simulation
  • Nanoelectronics and molecular electronics
  • Nanomaterials and nanostructures
  • Nanotechnology for food and agriculture
  • Environmental effects, safety and toxicity of nanomaterials.

Recent Developments

A one-day symposium in February 2013 will mark the start of a collaboration among UGA, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University to transform Georgia into a major attractor and incubator for emerging nanotechnology-based industries, with a focus on the application of nanotechnology to infectious diseases.

Rich Dluhy, director of UGA's NanoScale Science and Engineering Center (NanoSec) said that the Georgia collaborations will target advances in nano-medicine and nano-pharmacology for pathogen- and disease-intervention strategies, applications of inorganic nanostructures and nanopatterned surfaces in food processing/food safety, applications of nano-devices in agriculture and horticulture, and applications of chemical and biological nano-sensors to detect zoonotic and emerging diseases associated with homeland security and biodefense.

Nanotechnology researchers at Georgia Tech have made significant contributions to the world of nanoelectronics recently. These include using self-assembled graphene monolayers to create field-effect transistors (FETs), fabricating graphene on a patterned silicon carbide substrate to create a semiconductor-like bandgap in the usually fully conducting material, and developing a method to connect multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to metal contacts on integrated chips, allowing them to be used as high-conductivity interconnects in advanced electronics.

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