Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Denmark: Market Report

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Denmark is a Northern European country covering a total area of 43,094 km2. Its population was estimated to be 5,543,453, as of July 2012.

Denmark has a thriving, modern, and developed mixed market economy, and its crucial exports include fish, meat, meat products, windmills, dairy products, instruments and machinery, fuels, chemicals, and furniture. The country’s main imports include foodstuffs, consumer goods, raw materials and semi-manufactures for industries, chemicals, grains, machinery, and equipment.

Denmark’s economy, as defined by the World Economic Forum 2008 report, is one of the world’s most competitive economies, and the country’s GDP in 2011 stood at $206 billion.

Nanotechnology Organizations

A short introduction to the main nanotechnology-related organizations in Denmark is provided below:

Creative Nano—An innovation and communication platform that helps to shift knowledge on the different applications and advantages of nanotechnology to companies interested in integrating nanotechnology into their products.

Technet_nano—An alliance of research facilities and cleanrooms focused on nanotechnology. Technet_nano aims to communicate the innovation potential of micro-and nanotechnology to R&D institutions and SMEs in the Baltic Sea region, and offers superior quality joint transnational services.

TMR-Network NanoSNOM—A network that aids research on nanowriting and nanolithography of particle films.

The Nanodatabase—This was developed by the Danish Consumer Council, the Danish Ecological Council, and DTU Environment. It is a catalog of products comprising products or nanomaterials sold under the term “nano.” All the products stated in the database have been provided with a brief title elucidating the use of the nanomaterial and also a color code comprising five dots, referring to the potential for exposure to consumers, professional end-users, or the environment.

Nanotechnology Companies

Denmark has several key nanotechnology-related companies that are listed below together with brief introductions to each of them:

Cantion—Provides nanomechanical products for label-free detection and examination of molecules. Preliminary commercial activities will be in the areas of academia and life science research. Cantion’s technology is rooted in integrated electronic readouts. This technology is very robust and can be incorporated in handheld devices ideal for use in a range of high-growth markets, and also for detection in both gases and liquids.

CAPRES A/S—Creates innovative technology for direct nano-and micro-scale electrical characterization of materials. It offers flexible Microscopic Four-and Twelve Point Probes (M4PP and M12PP) for precise micro-scale electrical tests. CAPRES is a high-growth company rooted in nanotechnology. It uses the latest technologies to allow its customers in the semiconductor and memory sectors to carry out electrical measurements on increasingly smaller features.

CAPRES’ unique probe technology is driven on micro electromechanical manufacturing technology (MEMS). This technology offers numerous benefits as the probes are produced at a large scale in batch processes with very narrow tolerances. It employs the exclusive microscopic probe technology to create tools, which are user-friendly and set new standards for electrical measurements.

Danish Micro Engineering (DME)—Set up in 1979 by DrCurt Sander as an engineering consultant company, it is dedicated to microprocessor technology and software. In the 1990s, DME shifted from being a consultant company to a manufacturing company with core focus on scanning probe microscopy. The product series DualScope™ and Rasterscope™ are progressively being developed further and supplemented and, for the last two decades, have been the main business of DME. Hence, DME is one of the oldest producers of STM, AFM, and SNOM equipment on the market.

Image Metrology—Set up in 1998, it is a worldwide leading supplier of image processing software for “nano-microscopy.” Its mission is to offer its customers with sophisticated image processing software for microscopy including automated analysis methods that ensure high accuracy, cost efficiency, and quality; correction tools for developing the most accurate presentation of the “true” surface; and visualization and reporting tools that allow convincing and remarkable communication of results.

Nanocover—Part of Nanobiz ApS, it handles development, distribution, and sale of NanoCover. NanoCover is a range of surface treatment products, which were developed and produced using the newest and most advanced nanotechnologies.

NIL Technology ApS (NILT)—The company focuses on nanopatterning and nanoimprint lithography. It can handle complex demands for research and new product development activities, and helps customers in all stages, starting from pattern design to imprinted patterning. NILT can provide nanostructured substrates and high-quality imprinting in both large and small volumes. NILT stamps are made using advanced 100 keV, Gaussian as well as shaped E-Beam tools to ensure maximum quality.

Based on customer design, NILT takes care of all matters from considerations of stamp design to choice of imprint process and imprint polymers. NILT offers Step & Repeat UV imprinting, thermal and UV nanoimprint lithography, and wafer-scale imprints.

QuantumWise—Is a privately owned company, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. It creates and sells software products for atomic-scale modeling of nanostructures to government labs, companies, and universities worldwide through direct sales as well as a wide-ranging network of distributors.

SunFlake—Its proprietary technology integrates III-V semiconducting nanotechnology with regular silicon solar cells in a disruptive tandem solar cell with material costs akin to crystalline silicon solar cells, but with twice the conversion efficiency. SunFlake has more than doubled the earlier world record efficiency measured on individual nanowires and currently also holds the world record efficiency on any (that is, including bulk) GaAsP/Si combination. The nanostructures offer an ideal light trapping geometry. Under 5% areal nanowire coverage absorbs over 96% of incoming light, rendering a nanowire covered surface one of the darkest materials in the world.

Polynano—The strategic research center hopes to become the Danish competence hub for production-ready fabrication of polymer, nano-scale lab-on-a-chip (LoC) devices. PolyNano will offer a competitive edge to Danish biotech companies introducing LoC products, by removing the technology hurdle between lab-scale proof-of-principle and high-volume low-cost production of LoCs and further facilitating new research by easy access to LoC technology.

Nanotechnology Research and Education

Listed below are some of the top academic institutes in Denmark offering courses and research programs in nanotechnology and nanoscience.

Aarhus University has the following nanotech-related centers:

iNANOschool—Is a part of the Aarhus University, which is a public university situated in Aarhus. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD programs in nanotechnology are offered here.

Center for DNA Nanotechnology—Is a center of excellence backed by the Danish National Research Foundation (Danmarks Grundforskningsfond). The center is located at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University, Denmark, in close partnership with two research groups at Arizona State University and Duke University, USA. Its study focuses on assembly of nucleotide derivatives on surfaces, DNA-based sensors, and DNA-directed chemistry, and also the formation of intricate DNA nanostructures and the interactions of such structures with biological systems.

LUNA Nanomedicine Center—The LUNA center will function for five years beginning on March 1st, 2010. The key objective of this research center is to formulate nanomedicine based methods and drugs for individualized diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases.

Technical University of Denmark (DTU) houses the following institutes:

DTU Nanotech—This is an initiative of the Department of Micro-and Nanotechnology of the Technical University of Denmark. It offers a number of programs at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels relating to nanotechnology.

Center for Nanotechnology—Is an initiative of the Technical University of Denmark. NANO•DTU is the cross-disciplinary center for Nanotechnology with contribution from research teams from 15 different departments.

Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF)—Exploring and comprehending the fundamental relations between surface morphology and reactivity on the nanometer scale is the key objective of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF) at the Technical University of Denmark.

DANCHIP National Center for Micro-and Nanofabrication—This is an initiative of the Technical University of Denmark. DTU DANCHIP is the natural gateway development and small-scale production within micro-and nanofabrication. It operates and maintains open access state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities and processing equipment for scientists to allow optimum processing within wide technology areas. It also facilitates the development of new knowledge and allows the Danish industry to manipulate the existing and future advantages of nanotechnology.

Department of Physics and Nanotechnology—It is a part of the University of Aalborg. Both Master-level and Bachelor-level programs in NanoBiotechnology and NanoPhysics are available.

Nanoscience Center—It is a part of the University of Copenhagen and provides Bachelor-level programs in: Nanobiology; Mesoscopic electronics; Supramolecular chemistry; and Quantum phenomena in nanostructures. It also offers Masters level and PhD programs.

University of Southern Denmark—Nanotechnology at the University is spread across different groups within the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The university provides research and educational programs.

Recent Developments

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency undertook a survey in July 2012 demonstrating that around 94 textile products marketed in Denmark through retail, internet shops, or other means contained nanosilver content. Fifteen out of 16 sample products exhibited the presence of nanosilver. A large proportion of the nanosilver in clothes tends to be washed down the drain or is removed while the wearer sweats, thus leading to a potential environmental hazard. This Danish survey helped to conduct more research on the usage of nanosilver in other products.

QuantumWise and the Technical University of Denmark are teaming up on a project to enable the simulation of large-scale nano-electronic devices, where electron-phonon coupling is taken into consideration. This will allow the development of new tools for mimicking the thermal and electrical properties of nano-electronic devices.

Recently, a research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Copenhagen has partnered to develop a transistor from a molecular monolayer of graphene that worked on a computer chip.

According to an assessment done by the European Research Area Committee, Danish research and innovation is among the best in the world. If this lasts, and the Danish government carries on investing in this sector with an aim to promote growth and employment, there is little doubt that areas such as nanotechnology will stand to gain considerably and this should seed further nanotech developments.

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