Indiana, located in the mid-western and Great Lakes regions of North America, covers a total area of 94,321 km2 and has a population of 6,537,334 as of 2012.
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In 2011, Indiana's GSP was reported to be $278.13billion. Its' economy is served by almost every industry sector. However, Indiana is a world-class center of research and manufacturing, with life sciences, automobiles, energy and national security being the main areas of activity.
In terms of advanced manufacturing, the main industries are motor vehicles, parts and transportation equipment, metals, machinery, plastics and rubber, chemicals, food products, furniture and computers and electronics. Indiana is also a leading state in the development and manufacture of next generation batteries and electric vehicles.
Indiana is the home to a thriving, national life sciences hub that encompasses over 1,000 businesses in the medical devices, pharmaceutical, drug development, diagnostic and agriculture-biotech sectors.
Indiana also hosts companies that serve all sectors of the clean technology space including wind, solar, nuclear, smart grid, lithium ion batteries and electric vehicles. This industry is served by academic and industrial participants.
World class research universities in Indiana have also formed active partnerships with industry leaders in areas such as alternative energy and automotive technology to help accelerate technology transfer and encourage collaborative research and development projects.
A brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related organizations in Indiana are given below:
nanoHub.org - nanoHub.org promotes simulation-led learning in nanotechnology by providing course materials and online tutorials on the most recent nanotechnology research.
nanoHub.org’s research group called the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) is a National Science Foundation infrastructure and research network dealing with nanoelectromagnetics, nano-devices, nanophotonics and nanoelectronics for medicine and biology. This research network focuses on the transformation of nanoscience into nanotechnology.
Green Technology Forum - An information hub that studies the significance and usage of new green technologies like nanotechnology in architecture.
Given below is a brief outline of a nanotechnology-related company in Indiana:
Altairnano - Altairnano is a leading provider of energy storage systems for clean, efficient power, and energy management. Designed for power-dependent applications, Altairnano’s family of advanced lithium-ion energy storage systems and batteries is responding to changing demands in energy generation, utilization and policy. Whether it’s reducing their dependencies on coal-fired generation facilities, reducing carbon emissions or accelerating the adoption of renewable integration and alternative-fuel vehicles, Altairnano is helping to achieve sustainable and economically sensible power and energy management practices. Altairnano is the first company to replace traditional graphite materials used in conventional lithium-ion batteries with a proprietary, nanostructured lithium-titanate.
US Nano - US Nano offers the largest range of diameters of semiconducting nanowires. This allows researchers to explore quantum confinement or bulk properties. We have detailed structural and optical characterization (including absorption cross-sections) of our materials.
Nano-materials have applications in photovoltaic, sensor, and pollution remediation areas and US Nano’s novel offerings will allow improved performance in nano-materials based devices.
Nanotechnology Research and Education
Some of the leading academic institutes in Indiana offering courses and research programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology are listed below:
Ball State University - The proposed Center for Computational Nanoscience offers sub-projects as part of their research in nanotechnology. These sub-projects include:
- Computational Hub for Nanotechnology
- Quantum-dot Cellular Automata Architecture (QCA).
- Computational Hub for Nanotechnology
Purdue University - Purdue University promotes the significance of nanotechnology through the following nanotech groups and departments.
- Nanoelectronic Modeling Group: Focuses on improving the study of electron flow through nano-scale devices. This group conducts research on advances in engineering and science fields and creates simulation and modeling tools for educators, students and researchers.
- NanoForestry: Focuses on the application of nanotechnology science and engineering on wood-based products and materials. Significant research topics include:
- Nanocellulose Technology
- Predictive Modeling
- Sensor Technology
- Nanoscale Science and Engineering: This department’s research in nanotechnology is divided into the following sections:
- Nanoscale Phenomena and Processes
- Devices and Nanotechnology
- Nanomaterials and Nanoscale Structures
- Reifenberger Nanophysics Lab: Uses new experimental techniques to study the physical properties of objects in the nanoscale size range. The current research topics include:
- Nano-enabled sensing schemes
- Nanometer-size clusters
- Molecular conductance
- Carbon nanotubes
- Photonics & Spectroscopy Group: Work towards the development of nanostructured metal-dielectric composites and their usage in spectroscopy, nanophotonics and opto-electronics. The Photonics & Spectroscopy Laboratory conducts research into metamaterials, nanophotonics and nanoplasmonics.
- Birck Nanotechnology Center: Conducts nanotechnology research on the following topics:
- Nanoelectronics and Semiconductor Devices
- Nanofabrication and Nanomanufacturing
- Bionanotechnology and Nanomedicine
- Nanometrology and Surface Science
- Computational Nanotechnology
- MEMS/NEMS and Micro/Nanofluidics
- Conversion and Heat Transfer
- Nanophotonics and Optics
Indiana University Bloomington - The Nanoscience Center deals with research projects that analyze the assembly and properties of objects in the nanometer size regime. Outreach activities organized by this center to highlight the significance of nanoscience include:
- Student Tours
- Teacher Professional
- Development Workshops
- Museum Exhibits
- Useful Links for Teachers
The School of Engineering and Technology's Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University recently won a grant from the NSF to fund the installation of electron microscope with nanoscale resolution. The new electron microscope will be used to further nanotechnology research and education, including using it for nanotechnology discovery summer camps for K-12 students and educators.
Researchers from Purdue University recently figured out how to mass produce tiny devices called nanoresonators that can improve data download speeds and help avoid dropped calls. They achieve this by reducing congestion over the airwaves, improving the performance of cell phones and other portable electronic devices.
Prof. Hsueh-Chia Chang from the University of Notre Dame received the first Source Commercialization Award in April 2013, recognizing research on nano-electrokenetics that had made it to market.
Indiana is very active in the area of nanotechnology and there is no doubt that there will be many developments from this state in the near future. Consistent with Prof. Chang's award and the active technology transfer strategies, it also seems likely that many of these developments will find their way into the marketplace in the not too distant future.
Sources and Further Reading