Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Louisiana, USA: Market Report

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Louisiana, situated in the southern region of the United States, encompasses a total area of 135,382 km2. As of 2011, it has a population of 4,574,836.

The state’s economy relies a lot on tourism and culture, as these two areas earn revenues amounting to approximately $5.2 billion annually. The agricultural production of Louisiana also contributes considerably to the economic sector.

The industrial sector’s contribution to the state’s economy includes generating chemical, petroleum, and coal products; processed foods; transportation equipment; and paper products. The 2010 GSP of Louisiana was US$213.6 billion and its per capita income is $30,952.

Louisiana is home to robust conventional industries, such as shipbuilding and petrochemicals, accompanied by newer growth industries with firm foundations in technology and research. The state is an ideal location for sophisticated manufacturing businesses to locate through competitive business costs, established and skilled workforce, a business-friendly tax environment, and a solid university program offering groundbreaking research opportunities.

They also have a solid composite manufacturing presence, manufacturing one-third of all composites produced in the United States, and have strong connections with NASA through the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

Nanotechnology Companies

The main nanotechnology-related company in Louisiana is listed below together with a short introduction.

Nano Pulp and Paper, LLC—It is a spin-off company of the Louisiana Tech University and provides the following services:

  • Tailored nano-coated pulps
  • Permeability modifications
  • Nano-coating of paper and other wood products
  • Drug nano-coating and microencapsulation
  • Development of ultra-thin polymer coatings
  • Analytical characterization of samples of pulp, paper, and wood products
  • Supply of materials
  • Training personnel

Nanotechnology Research and Education

Some of the top academic institutions in Louisiana that offer research programs and courses in nanotechnology and nanoscience are mentioned below.

Louisiana Tech University—This university provides the following nanotechnology-based programs and facilities:

  • Research Programs
    • BS in Nanosystems Engineering
    • Molecular Science and Nanotechnology Program that concentrates in interdisciplinary applied research in micromanufacturing and nanotechnology.
    • Nanosystems Engineering Program
    • PhD in Engineering program covering the areas related to Micro/Nanoscale Systems Concentration.
  • Louisiana Tech University Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM)—An R&D facility that assists research in nanomanufacturing and micromanufacturing and also on education and commercialization of micro/nanoscale technologies. The various nanomanufacturing capabilities comprise:
    • Nanoassembly methods
    • Nanopatterning methods
    • Electroless deposition methods
    • Protein nanoengineering methods
  • IFM’s critical research areas are listed below:
    • Nanotechnology research thrust area: Concentrates on the development and application of nanoassembly and nanofabrication approaches
    • Biomedical nanotechnology research thrust area: Designs nanotechnology-based systems for biomedical applications and also for use in glucose sensors and drug delivery systems
  • Micro/Nanosystems Teaching Laboratory: Supports a microfabrication laboratory course for students keen on a Master’s degree and also supports the newly started BS in Nanosystems Engineering degree.

Louisiana State University—Promotes nanotechnology-based study and research via the below-stated facilities.

  • Nanofabrication and Nanomaterials Facility: Undertakes nanotechnology-based research on the following topics:
    • Polymer micro-reactors for synthesis of nanomaterials
    • Magnetic nanomaterials for cancer diagnosis
    • Characterization of geometric and electronic properties of nanomaterials by X-ray absorption spectroscopy
    • Core-shell nanoparticles and nanostructured mesoporous materials
    • Time-resolved in situ XAS with unparalleled resolution using micro-reactors
    • New “nano” drug delivery systems

Recent Developments

Jupiter Fuels, a private company in partnership with Louisiana Tech University, has created a fuel conversion technology that will help lower the U.S. reliance on oil from other nations. This new technology that turns natural gas into liquid fuel at lower pressures using nanomaterial catalysts is a lot more cost-effective when compared to presently available techniques.

Scientists from Louisiana Tech University and the University of Texas at Arlington have created a hybrid nanomaterial that can turn light and heat into electricity. This new nanomaterial together with microchips can be used in low-power electronic devices, biomedical implants, and self-powered sensors.

All these developments can be applied to the domain of clean technology, which according to McKinsey & Co is gaining thrust countrywide, with Louisiana potentially producing 90,000 new jobs in the next two decades.

Although there is nanotechnology activity in Louisiana, those levels are still very low. Clean technology may be an area of significant potential, but the use of nanomaterials in composites could also be an area of nanotechnology development in the future, considering the commercial value of these materials in Louisiana.

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