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Nanotechnology Education and Research
Greece is a located in southeast Europe, almost at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It covers an area of 131,957 km2 and has a population of 10,767,827 as of 2012.
Greece became a part of the NATO in 1952, the EU in 1981, and the Eurozone in 2001. It is a developed country that enjoys high standards of living. Greece has a capitalist economy that is dominated by the service sector (85.0%). Its shipping industry is one of the country's most important industries.
The GDP of Greece for 2011 was reported at $293.9 billion. The Greek economy is larger than all the Balkan economies combined. The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development is responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring the country’s research and technological policy.
Greece has a few 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 Greece are given below:
Nano|net - is an initiative for the promotion of communication and collaboration between research and business organizations activated in the fields of nano-bio-technologies. Its' main purpose is to reinforce and promote nanotechnologies in Greece, the Balkan area, Europe and the rest of the world, through an interscientific approach. Nano|net started in 2003 from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) and the Physics Department's Lab for Thin Films - Nanosystems and Nanometrology (LTFN), as a Thematic Research Network.
National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) - The NHRF is a multidisciplinary Research Centre established by Royal Decree on 9th October 1958. Its purpose is the organisation, finance and support of high-level research projects in the humanities and the natural sciences. It promotes the Photonics for Nanoapplications team (PNT), provides services to industrial and other organizations and often participates as industry consultants in issues relating to optics and optical system design, holography, nonlinear optics, laser based materials micro- and nano-processing etc.
Micro&Nano Scientific Society- The Micro&Nano Scientific Society was founded in 2004 as a national non-profit organization with the overall objective of promoting the field of micro, nanoelectronics and nanotechnology in Greece (materials, technologies, devices, circuits and systems).
Nanotechnology being a versatile field finds applications in a myriad of industries starting from water treatment and food industry to medicine, information technology and space research. The nanotechnology companies in Greece that cater to these diverse sectors are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:
Nanothinx (NTX) - Nanothinx (NTX) is a spin-off enterprise located in Rio-Patras, Greece, and founded by Professor Stratis V. Sotirchos of the Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICE-HT), which is one of the seven Institutes of the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH). The activities of Nanothinx mainly lie on the development of methods for the large-scale, high-yield and low-cost production of carbon nanotubes (CNT), using novel nanostructured catalysts on suitable supports.
Glonatech - ONEX Global Nanotechnologies S.A. (Glonatech) is a nanotechnology company, member of the ONEX Company Group, established in October 2009 in Athens. It is headquartered in a state-of-the-art building located in the municipality of Chalandri, few Kilometers from the center of Athens. The company’s scientific and technical team possesses several years of experience in the production and handling of nanoparticles, such as ceramic oxides and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Glonatech constantly refines its technologies for targeted production of customized nanomaterials and participates in research projects related to applications of nanoparticles and development of new nanomaterials.
NanoPhos SA - NanoPhos SA invents clever materials that solve every day problems. By harnessing nanotechnology, we seek to create a functional environment that enables comfort, safe and trouble-free living! Our vision is clear: “Tune the nanoworld to serve the macroworld” – in simple terms make nanoparticles serve the needs of people.
Nanotechnology Research and Education
Greece 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 Greece and the academic courses or research opportunities offered by them in various aspects of nanotechnology.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - offers Masters in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The University promotes the Laboratory for Thin Films - Nanosystems & Nanometrology (LTFN), which is an initiative of the Physics Department.
Institute of Microelectronics (IMEL) – IMEL was established in 1986 as one of the eight Research Institutes of NCSR Demokritos (National Center for Scientific Research), a medium size, multidisciplinary Research Center under the General Secretarial for Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development. Its initial focus on microelectronics has been expanded to the fields of sensors and MEMs/NEMs, including nano-biosensors and systems.
Laboratory of High Tech Materials (LHTM) - LHTM comprises experts from physics and materials science from experimental, theoretical and computational solid state physics, crystallography, chemistry of solids, nanoengineering and from shock wave physics. They believe that the basis for many nowadays technologies is the synthesis and application of new materials, therefore they focus on nanostructured, amorphous and quasicrystalline materials, and theoretical investigations of nanosystems, nanostructures and nanomachines (e.g. quantum dots).
The NANOTEXNOLOGY 2013 conference will be held between 6 and 13 July 2013, at the Vellidis Congress Center, Thessaloniki, Greece. The event will also encompass the 6th International Symposium on Flexible Organic Electronics (ISFOE13) from 8 -11 July; the 10th International Conference on Nanosciences & Nanotechnologies (NN13) from 9 to 12 July; the 7th International Summer Schools “N&N, OE & Nanomedicine” (ISSON13) from 6 to 13 July; and the 3rd NANOTEXNOLOGY EXPO 2013 from 8 to 12 July. This is an annual event aimed at exploring the opportunities in the emerging fields of Nanotechnologies & Organic Electronics. It attracts over 2,000 researchers, scientists, engineers, business and technical professionals.
World renowned Greek nanotechnology scientists working abroad visited Thessaloniki during the international scientific conference NANOTECHNOLOGY 2012 (June 30 - July 7). Many of these scientists own over 20 nanotechnology laboratories in the USA alone. Their teams have earned scientific distinctions in creating innovative products with the aim of becoming successful in the global nanotechnology market. Among them is Phaedon Avouris, who was nominated for the Nobel prize. He is the head of IBM’s scientific team. Efthimios Kaxiras is a scientist from the Physics Department at the Harvard University, who will be one of the main speakers of the conference. His research team was nominated for the Gordon Bell Award.
In November 2012, Greek scientists from the Athens-based NCSR Demokritos under the leadership Dr. Demosthenes Stamopoulos used new high precision methods, such as the atomic force microscope and the scanning electron microscope, to study the blood of patients suffering from auto-immune and kidney diseases in a more detailed manner. The research project introduced the use of advanced imaging nanotechnology techniques to study and examine the alterations taking place in the human blood after the infusion of artificial plasma.
The 4th International Symposium on Nanotechnology in Construction, (NICOM4), was held in Agios Nikolaos, in the island of Crete in May 2012.
In August 2012, a scientific gathering of renowned scientists in the field of Nanomaterials gathered together to participate in "NANO2012". It was held at The Rodos Palace Conference Center in Rhodes, and the event commemorated the 12th year of the conference. The conference is supported by the International Committee on Nanostructured Materials (ICNN), and is a forum for discussing about research and advanced discoveries in the field of Nanomaterials.
Meanwhile, the Greek economy has been in crisis since late 2009. This has resulted in the negotiation of a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund in May 2010 totaling 110 billion Euros. In 2011 it became apparent that this was insufficient to save the Greek economy and a second bailout package was agreed in 2012, providing an additional 130 billion Euros. The poor state of the economy is having a direct effect on science in Greece with funding being pulled from education and wages of researchers being slashed. This is resulting in scientific talent being lost overseas. For these reasons, the development of nanotechnology in Greece in the near future will be slow at best and will no doubt be overshadowed by other nations.
Austerity-led brain drain is killing Greek science