Nanotechnology in South Australia, Australia: Market Report

Australia is a continent located between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. The total area of the country is 7,741,220 km2 with a population of 22,015,576 as of July 2012.

South Australia makes up the southern central part of Australia. It has an area of 983,482 km2 and in 2011 had a population of 1,596,570, an increase of 5.4% over 2006.

South Australia has a GDP of $91.9 billion in 2011-12, which equates to 6% of the national GDP.

The largest industry in is the advanced manufacturing sector which is currently responsible for adding about $9 billion to the economy. It accounts for 10% of the workforce, nearly 70% of their exports and 40% of research and development expenses.

South Australia has abundance of natural resources making it attractive to foreign investors. South Australia's mineral and energy resources are becoming increasingly popular, but have not yet been exploited to the same extent as Western Australia and Queensland.

South Australia has a world-leading cleantech sector and leads the nation in renewable energy sources, and Adelaide, South Australia's capital city is recognised as a centre of excellence for bioscience.

Nanotechnology Companies

Nanotechnology is a versatile field with vast number of applications in a multiple industries. The major nanotechnology companies in South Australia are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them.

Bridge 8 - Bridge 8 is a foresight and communications consultancy that creates innovative futures by considering emerging technologies, public engagement and education through strategic futures thinking. Bridge8 developed AccessNano for the Australian Office of Nanotechnology to enable schools across Australia to introduce nanotechnology into the classroom. This program identifies career paths for talented science students and encourages all students to be informed members of the community with respect to the risks and benefits of emerging technologies.

Clean Futures - Clean Futures is a joint venture of Australian Cleantech and Bridge8 based in South Australia. Their combination of capabilities and connections means they can successfully fund and commercialise technologies that enable clean futures.

Praxis Dynamics- Praxis Dynamics is a consultancy aiming to utilise scientific expertise to address industrial needs. It provides scientific background surveys, analytical and numerical analysis of physical systems, and modeling and simulation services to industrial projects that involve complex, novel, or cross-domain systems and devices. Praxis Dynamics specializes in all stages of research and development (R&D) of new micro/nano systems and technologies.

Raustech - Raustech  is an Australian research company based in Adelaide, South Australia. Raustech Pty Ltd was founded in 1997 by Peter Hastwell is a late stage pre-seed company. Raustech has developed and filed patents on a platform technology. Platform because of its potential use in a number of diverse industries. Raustech's technology is  the synthesis or placement of materials at predetermined locations with micron / nanometer dimensions and precision. Numerous high value market opportunities demand the placement of materials for their manufacture and operation. Potential applications for the Raustech technology include DNA chips, Transdermal Drug Delivery (TDD), nanotechnology, large flat-screen TV displays, flexible printed circuits, semiconductor chips, and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).

Coherent Scientific - Coherent Scientific provides an extensive range of products for the Life Sciences, Nanoindentation and Characterisation and Physical Sciences markets.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

South Australia, Australia is home to a few world-class universities offering research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Given below is a list of universities and academic institutions in South Australia that are involved in research covering distinct applications of nanoscience.

Flinders University - offers Bachelor of Science (Nanotechnology). The university promotes the Flinders Centre for NanoScale Science & Technology. The center applies world-class, fundamental research and know-how to provide novel, robust solutions to the challenges facing Australia, in the general areas of energy, health, security and water.

The University of AdelaideThe University promotes the Nanomechanics Group via its School of Mathematical Sciences. In the Nanomechanics Group, they employ mathematical modeling using integral calculus, geometry, the calculus of variations, classical mechanics and many other mathematical techniques in order to understand and explain the unique behaviour of nanoscale systems. The university is also known for another research center- Adelaide Microscopy- which was formerly known as a Centre for Electron Microscopy and Microstructure Analysis (CEMMSA). It was formed in 1991.The centre's state of the art equipment and extensive professional experience assures clients complete confidence in the analysis of nanostructures of non-biological and biological materials. The university courses that include nanotechnology are as follows: Undergraduate course titled ‘Mathematics of Nanotechnology III’; Bachelor of Science (Nanoscience & Materials)

Recent Developments

According to scientists, Australia will have to adopt nanotechnology in a big way, if it wants to be a part of the projected $3 trillion nanotechnology revolution by 2020. The country will have to support the entire spectrum of nanotechnology development from research to the end result of transforming that new technology for effective use in the industry. Nanotechnology could help the manufacturing industry revolutionise its products, create new products and provide solutions to challenges faced by the nation such as health and aging. This push from the scientists is because they realize that economies and industries that fail to invest in nano-inspired technology will fall way behind.

In January 2013, Flinders University’s Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology is launched NanoConnect, a pilot program to demonstrate to businesses how nanotechnology could help improve their products and processes.

A researcher from the same university has also developed solar cells based on carbon nanotubes as an alternative to silicon. The carbon nanotube variant is said to be cheaper to produce and more efficient at converting solar radiation into energy.

Finders University will host the Australian Nanotechnology Network's early career workshop in July 2013.

Sources and Further Reading

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