Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Idaho, USA: Market Report

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Idaho, situated in the northwestern United States, has a population of 1,595,728 as of 2012. It covers a total area of 216,632 km2.

Idaho’s GSP was $57.93 billion in 2011. The largest industry sector in Idaho is science and technology, accounting for more than 25% of the state’s total revenue and more than 70% of its exports. The capital of Idaho, Boise, is also recognized as a center of semiconductor manufacturing.

Listed below are a few interesting facts that allow Idaho to be an attractive place to establish a technology-based business:

  • Second-lowest energy cost in the United States
  • Businesses executing qualified and basic R&D may earn an income tax credit of 5% that could be carried forward up to 14 years
  • Second place in patents issued per capita
  • Seventh place for renewable energy source electricity generation

Furthermore, Idaho has identified new technology and materials as an area of technology vital to Idaho’s innovation economy. Idaho has also identified the fact that environmental health and alternative energy are areas of evolving technology industries where Idaho has the capability to become a leader both nationally and globally.

Nanotechnology Companies

Following is a brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related companies in Idaho:

NanoSteel—This is a globally leading company in proprietary nano-structured steel material designs. As part of its decade-old history, NanoSteel has developed advanced generations of iron-based alloys from surface coatings to foils to powder metals and sheet steel.

Positron Systems—This company specializes in marketing groundbreaking technologies capable of providing new insights into the nondestructive inspection industry. It focuses on techniques that quantify variations in component material nanostructure induced by surface treatments and operational conditions. Presently, there are two exceptional technologies—Phase Contrast Analysis (PCA) and Induced Positron Analysis (IPA).

Nanotechnology Research and Education

Listed below are some of the prominent academic institutes in Idaho that offer research programs and courses in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Idaho Department of Commerce—This is a leading economic development agency in Idaho that deals with creating jobs, strengthening communities, and promoting the state’s market situation. At the nanotechnology level, this agency is involved in research, development, production, and study of materials with features between 100 nm and one-tenth of a nanometer in size.

Boise State University—This university promotes nanotechnology-based research via the following research groups:

  • Nanoscale Materials and Device Group: Performs nanotechnology-based research on the following areas:
    • Ni-Mn-Ga Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys
    • Multi-Dielectric Band Diagram Program
    • DNA Nanotech Related Research
    • Gate Oxide Studies
    • Nanophotonics Related Research
    • 3D Tech. for Advanced Sensor Systems
  • Department of Materials Science & Engineering—Offers funded research in DNA nanotechnology and nanoscale fabrication. It supports its research activities by providing modern materials fabrication and characterization equipment.

Recent Developments

With the growing popularity of lithium-ion batteries, Boise State University researchers are working towards enhancing the service life of these batteries by adopting a bottom-up approach concentrating on the stability of nanostructured materials like titania.

Besides that, there are no reports of further nanotechnology-related news postings. Hence, Idaho is not expected to be a key force in nanotechnology development even though there are commercially available nanotechnology-enabled products from NanoSteel.

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