The Czech Republic is a landlocked country that is located in Central Europe. It covers an area of 78,867 km2 and has a population of 10,177,300 as of 2012.
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The Czech Republic became a part of the NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. It has an open, stable and prosperous market economy with growth led by exports to the EU, especially Germany. The economy has been predominantly privatised following their exit from communism in 1989. The GDP of the nation was reported as $286.7 billion in 2012. The Czech Republic is also recognized as having a rich scientific tradition with numerous inventions originating in the Czech lands.
Czech Republic has a few world-leading organisations and networks committed to promoting nanoscience as well as exploring the challenges and future of nanotechnology. A brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related organisations in the Czech Republic
is given below:
Czech Nanotechnology Cluster - The Czech Nanotechnology Cluster aims to build a strong group of closely cooperating nanoproduct suppliers, businesses using nanotechnologies in their products and research and educational institutes operating in this sphere. The cluster is based in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic.
Nanomedic - Nanomedic cluster is a platform, on which the consortium of companies, universities and research institutes was established. Their common interest is to cooperate on research, development, production and commercialization of products for wound healing, tissue substitution and devices for specific drug delivery, gene therapy with the aim of impacting the world market.
Nano-team - The Nano-team was formed by about 17 scientists, each representing a group of 3 - 20 researchers, experienced in different areas of the "Physics of Nanostructures and Nanotechnologies". The Nano-team is not society but basis for projects at the national and international level
Nanotechnology is a far reaching technology that affects a large number of applications and industries. The major nanotechnology companies in the Czech Republic that cater to these diverse sectors are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:
NanoTrade, Ltd. - NanoTrade, Ltd. was established in Olomouc in the 2004. The company's mission is to commercialize innovative materials, products and processes based on nanotechnology, which are the result of research and technology and development of laboratories in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Kertak Nanotechnology - Kertak Nanotechnology is an exclusive supplier of inorganic nanofibers produced by industrial-scale technology operated by its daughter company PARDAM s.r.o. They possess technology could enable them to take a world-leading position in the production of inorganic nanofibers. Thanks to their strong research and development, they are the reliable partner for the development of new final applications, which would be impossible without nanotechnology.
Elmarco - Elmarco is the industry´s first and leading supplier of industrial scale nanofiber production equipment. They build their success on partnerships with global industry leaders in a wide area of applications and on a close and active cooperation with leading universities worldwide.
TESCAN - TESCAN is one of the global suppliers of scientific instruments. The company is building its reputation and brand name in the field of designing and manufacturing scanning electron microscopes and system solutions for different applications. The TESCAN brand is becoming established thanks to the company's participation in top research projects and cooperation with the leading companies in the field of electron microscopy and microanalysis. As a result, TESCAN's instrumentation and innovative solutions have won a leading position in the world of nano- and microtechnology.
Optaglio - Optaglio focuses on development and production of optical security devices and holograms and is the world leader in electron beam lithography. This unique technology is used in the production of holographic features and optical microstructures. It is recognised worldwide as the highest standard for security devices origination. This ultra high-resolution technology delivers a constantly evolving feature complex at public recognition, instrument assisted and forensic levels. Nanogravure™ and Achormatic holograms represent Optaglio's patented high security solution in nano-engraved holograms, devoted strictly for the production of banknotes and national identity documents for the highest level of security. This nanotechnology based imaging method enables creation of object based features with a highly distinctive visual appearance, ensuring reliable visual authentication by the public and experts alike.
Pardam Ltd. - Pardam Ltd. specialize in manufacturing nanofibers. Pardam works closely with many academic and industrial institutions, as well as with global corporations to bring new and innovative applications for inorganic (ceramic) nanofibers. Inorganic nanofibers are applied in many prototypes of future high-tech products in the field of cosmetics, fuel cells, batteries, catalysts and sensors, etc.
Advanced Materials-JTJ Inc. - Advanced Materials-JTJ Inc. has been involved in innovations, development of new applications and production of nanomaterials since 2003.
NANOPROTEX - The NANOPROTEX Company has its origins in the Czech Republic. Since its establishment, it has been working closely with leading universities to develop new nanofiber products with high added value.
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Czech Republic is home to a few universities that offer research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Given below is a list of universities and academic institutions in Czech Republic and the academic courses or research opportunities offered by them in various aspects of nanotechnology.
Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry - The Institute is a centre of fundamental research in physical chemistry, electrochemistry and chemical physics. It is a part of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
Nanopin - The Research Centre for Nanosurface Engineering "NANOPIN" watering established in 2005 under the Research and Development Program of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. The Centre is focused on the complex study of unique photocatalytic properties of nanocrystalline photoactive materials.
Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry (IMC) - The IMC is a part of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (IMC). The Institute promotes several research opportunities. The Polymer Materials and Technologies research includes Nanostructured polymers and composites. The PhD research programs offer a wide range of topics. The following are the nano-based topics:
- Polymer nanoreactors for biomedical applications
- Nanostructured surface modification of biomaterials for directed cell cultivation
- Upconverting nanoparticles with a polymer-modified surface and their biomedical application
- Study of time-resolved spectroscopy in donor-acceptor systems and plasmonic nanoparticles
- Polymer nanocomposites for flexible printed electronics
Technical University of Liberec – The Faculty of Textile Engineering is active in research and development and is credited with the invention of new technology for production of flat nanofiber textiles.
The New York Times report of May 2012 revealed the growth of nanotechnology over the past decade in Czech Republic with several applications available in the market covering several fields including electronics, biotechnology, engineering, medicine, power generation and environmental protection. The country was represented by 10 Czech companies which took part in the International Nanotechnology Trade Fair, Nanotech 2012t.
According to CzechInvest, there are about 26 institutes in the Czech Academy of Sciences, 37 university faculties and nine state-funded research organizations conducting research in many areas of nanoscience. The Czech government has realized the importance of nanotechnology and has begun actively supporting the nano industry via the participation of ministries and universities in research and development programs.
NANOCON 2012 was the 4th International Conference on Nanotechnology held at Hotel Voronez I, Brno, Czech Republic between 23, and 25, October 2012. The key topics included preparation and properties of nanostructures; industrial and environmental applications of nanomaterials; bionanotechnology, nanomaterials in medicine; health, safety and environment challenges; and standardization, metrology and characterization of nanomaterials.
With government backing and a strong tradition of scientific innovation, the Czech Republic will no doubt continue to be a significant contributor to the field of nanotechnology.