Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Kansas, USA: Market Report

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Kansas is situated in the Midwestern United States and covers a total area of 213,096 km2. As of 2012, the state has a population of 2,885,905.

In 2011, Kansas’ GDP stood at $130.9 billion. Formerly dominated by agribusiness, the state’s economy has undergone a sea of change due to a diverse mix of manufacturing, services, retail and wholesale trade, and government.

Wichita—the aviation capital of the world—is responsible for producing 40% of global aircraft and 50% of domestic commercial aircraft.

Kansas’ commitment to adopt novel technology can be seen in the state’s development of a detailed network to facilitate commercialization and support research, and also in the adoption of innovative technologies. Organizations accountable for executing this strategy are the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which works with bioscience firms that invest in Kansas, and The Kansas Department of Commerce Entrepreneur Technology Program, which teams up with start-up ventures.

A wide range of programs is also available to help technology companies and entrepreneurs to speed up their success. These programs include angel investment resources, assistance for entrepreneurs, assistance with manufacturing, tax credits, etc.

Nanotechnology Companies

The major nanotechnology-related company in Kansas is mentioned below together with a short introduction.

NanoScale Corporation

NanoScale Corporation investigates, develops, manufactures, markets, and commercializes customer-driven technologies, products, and solutions to fulfill a wide range of requirements. The company has mixed novel engineering and sophisticated chemistry to create a range of reactive nanoparticle materials.

NanoScale Corporation’s Odor Elimination Products are the futuristic range of services and products developed to eliminate challenging odors caused by foods, smoke, pets, decay, flooding, industrial chemicals, cleaning products, and also other harmful odors often found in everyday environments.

Nanotechnology Research and Education

The following sections describe some of the top academic institutes in Kansas providing research programs and courses in nanotechnology and nanoscience.

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas promotes the study of nanotechnology through the nanotechnology-based project given below:

  • KU Nanotechnology Project: This focuses on developing an interdisciplinary research and teaching program in the area of nanotechnology and nanoscience. The research projects, which are part of the KU Nanotechnology Project, are as follows:
    • Molecule immobilization
    • Simulations
    • Protein patterning
    • Organic molecules
    • Dense ceramics

Kansas State University

Kansas State University promotes the study of nanotechnology through the research group given below:

  • Jun Li Research Group: This deals with interdisciplinary research in nanotechnology and nanoscience, particularly on the development of nano-devices meant for biomedical, electronics, energy conversion/utilization, and analytical applications. The research projects come under the topics given below:
    • Applications development
    • Nanomaterials growth
    • Device fabrication and characterization

Recent Developments

At Kansas State University, scientists have created a nanotechnology-based biosensor that can be used for detecting pathogens and cancer cells much earlier. While this study mostly focuses on Escherichia coli, it can also be used for detecting salmonella and viruses.

Another latest discovery in the area of nanotechnology refers to a novel method in which a diamond knife is used for cleaving graphite into graphite nanoblocks. In this innovative method developed by Kansas State University researchers, the nanoblocks can be exfoliated to create very small sheets of carbon atoms with controlled size and shape.

In addition, scientists from the same university have published data relating to a carbon nanotube/silicon-boron-carbonitride composite coating that is capable of absorbing laser light and is also impervious to damage, thus making it well-suited for use in optical power detectors.

In the meantime, scientists at The University of Kansas have set a new record for developing the most efficient solar cell from nanocarbons. Yet, they still have a long way to go before they can compete with the efficiency of silicon solar cells.

These latest findings underscore the extent of nanotech activity taking place in Kansas. In addition, initiatives led by government emphasize the state’s willingness to adopt the latest technology, which should help in the expansion of nanotechnology, and also show that Kansas is a place to watch in the years to come.

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