Nanotechnology in Denmark: Market Report

Denmark is located in Northern Europe and covers a total area of 43,094 km2. In July 2012, its population was estimated to be 5,543,453

Denmark has a prosperous, modern and developed mixed market economy and its key exports include meat products, fish, meat, instruments and machinery, dairy products, chemicals, fuels, windmills and furniture. The country’s chief imports include consumer goods, foodstuffs, raw materials and semimanufactures for industries, grains, chemicals, equipment and machinery.

The World Economic Forum 2008 report describes Denmark’s economy as one of the most competitive economies in the world and the country’s GDP in 2011 was $206 billion.

Nanotechnology Organizations

A brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related organizations in Denmark are given below:

  • Creative Nano - An innovation and communication platform that helps transferring knowledge on the various applications and benefits of nanotechnology to companies interested in incorporating nanotechnology into their products.
  • Technet_nano - An alliance of research facilities and clean rooms focusing on nanotechnology. The aim of Technet_nano is to communicate the innovation potential of micro- and nanotechnology to SMEs and R&D institutions in the Baltic Sea region and provide high quality joint transnational services.
  • TMR-Network NanoSNOM - A network that supports research on nanowriting and nanolithography of particle films.
  • The Nanodatabase- The Nanodatabase was developed by the Danish Consumer Council, the Danish Ecological Council and DTU Environment. It is an inventory of products containing nanomaterials or products marketed under the term ‘nano’. All the products mentioned in the database have been provided with a short title describing the use of the nanomaterial and a color code consisting of five dots, referring to the potential for exposure to professional end-users, consumers or the environment.

Nanotechnology Companies

The major nanotechnology-related companies in Denmark are listed below along with brief introductions to each of them:

Cantion - Cantion provides nanomechanical products for label free detection and analysis of molecules. Initial commercial activities will be in the areas of life science research and academia. Cantion’s technology is based on integrated electronic readouts. This technology is extremely robust and lends itself to incorporation in handheld devices suitable for use in a variety of high growth markets and is suitable for detection in both liquids and gases.

Capres A/S - CAPRES A/S develops new technology for direct nano- and micro-scale electrical characterization of materials. They offer a versatile Microscopic Four- and Twelve Point Probe (M4PP and M12PP) for accurate micro-scale electrical tests. CAPRES is a high growth company riding the nano technology wave. They use the newest technologies to enable their customers within the semiconductor and memory industries to make electrical measurements on smaller and smaller features. CAPRES unique probe technology is based on micro electromechanical manufacturing technology (MEMS). This technology offers huge benefits as the probes are mass produced in batch processes with very narrow tolerances. They employ their unique microscopic probe technology to make tools, which are easy to use and set new standards for electrical measurements.

Danish Micro Engineering (DME) - Danish Micro Engineering A/S was established in 1979 by Dr. Curt Sander as an engineering consultant company focussed on microprocessor technology and software. in the 1990s, DME changed from a consultant company to a manufacturing company with main focus on Scanning Probe Microscopy. The product series Rasterscope™ and DualScope™ are steadily being further developed and supplemented and for the last 20 years have been the main business of DME. Thus, DME is one of the oldest manufacturers of AFM, STM, and SNOM equipment on the market.

Image Metrology - Image Metrology was founded in 1998. Today they are a world wide leading supplier of image processing software for "nano-microscopy". Their mission is to provide their customers with state-of-the-art image processing software for microscopy including: correction tools for creating the most accurate presentation of the "true" surface; automated analysis techniques assuring high accuracy, quality and cost efficiency, and; visualization and reporting tools enabling convincing and impressive communication of results.

Nanocover - NanoCover is part of Nanobiz ApS and deals with distribution, sale and development of NanoCover. NanoCover is a series of surface treatment products. NanoCover was developed and manufactured using the latest and most advanced nanotechnologies.

Nil Technologies - NIL Technology ApS (NILT) specializes in nanopatterning and nanoimprint lithography. NILT has experience in meeting complex demands for research and new product development activities, and assists customers in all stages from pattern design to imprinted patterning. NILT is capable of providing nanostructured substrates and high-quality imprinting in both small and large volumes. NILT Stamps are fabricated using state-of-the-art 100 keV, Gaussian as well as shaped E-Beam tools to ensure highest quality. Based on customer design, NILT handles all issues from stamp design considerations to choice of imprint polymers and imprint process. NILT provides thermal and UV nanoimprint lithography, Step & Repeat UV imprinting and wafer-scale imprints.

QuantumWise - QuantumWise is a privately owned company, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. They develop and sell software products for atomic-scale modelling of nanostructures to companies, government labs, and universities around the world through direct sales as well as an extensive network of distributors.

SunFlake - SunFlake's proprietary technology combines III-V semiconducting nanotechnology with standard silicon solar cells in a disruptive tandem solar cell with material costs similar to crystalline silicon solar cells, but with twice the conversion efficiency. SunFlake has more than doubled the previous world record efficiency measured on individual nanowires and now also holds the world record efficiency on any (i.e. including bulk) GaAsP/Si combination. The nanostructures provide an ideal light trapping geometry. Less than 5% areal nanowire coverage absorbs more than 96% of incoming light, making a nanowire covered surface one of the darkest materials in the world.

Polynano - The strategic research centre PolyNano aims at becoming the Danish competence centre for production-ready fabrication of polymer, nano-scale lab-on-a-chip (LoC) devices. PolyNano will provide a competitive edge for Danish biotech companies launching LoC products, by removal of the technology barrier between lab-scale proof-of-principle and high-volume low-cost production of LoCs, and further enable new research by easy access to LoC technology.

Nanotechnology Research and Education

Some of the leading academic institutes in Denmark offering courses and research programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology are listed below:

Aarhus University houses the following nanotech-related centers:

  • iNANOschool - is a part of the Aarhus University, which is a public university located in Aarhus. It offers bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs in nanotechnology.
  • Center for DNA Nanotechnology - Center for DNA Nanotechnology (CDNA) is a center of excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation (Danmarks Grundforskningsfond). The center is based at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University, Denmark, in close collaboration with two research groups at Duke University, USA and Arizona State University, USA. Their research includes assembly of nucleotide derivatives on surfaces, DNA-directed chemistry and DNA-based sensors to formation of complex DNA nanostructures and the interactions of such structures with biological systems.
  • LUNA Nanomedicine Center - The LUNA center will run for five years starting 1 March 2010. The main objective of this research center is to create nanomedicine based techniques and drugs for individualized prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases.

Technical University of Denmark (DTU) houses the following:

  • DTU Nanotech - This is an initiative of the Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology of the Technical University of Denmark. They offer many programs at the Bachelor's and Master’s levels relating to nanotechnology.
  • Center for Nanotechnology - is an initiative of Technical University of Denmark. NANO•DTU is the cross disciplinary center for Nanotechnology with participation from research groups from 15 different departments.
  • Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF) - The main objective of the Danish National Research Foundation's Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF) at Technical University of Denmark is to explore and understand the fundamental relations between surface morphology and reactivity on the nanometer scale.
  • DANCHIP National Center for Micro- and Nanofabrication - is an initiative of the Technical University of Denmark. DTU DANCHIP is the natural gateway development and small scale production within micro- and nanofabrication. They operate and maintain open access state-of-the-art processing equipment and cleanroom facilities for researchers to enable optimum processing within broad technology areas. They also facilitate the creation of new knowledge and enable Danish industry to exploit the existing and future benefits of nanotechnology.

Department of Physics and NanotechnologyThe department is a part of the University of Aalborg. Both masters level and bachelor level programs in NanoPhysics and NanoBiotechnology are available.

Nanoscience Center - It is a part of the University of Copenhagen and offers bachelor level programs in: Nanobiology; Supramolecular chemistry; Mesoscopic electronics, and; Quantum phenomena in nanostructures. They also offer masters level and PhD programs.

University of Southern Denmark –  Nanotechnology at the University of Southern Denmark is spread over various groups within the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The university offers educational and research programs.

Recent Developments

In July 2012, The Danish Environmental Protection Agency conducted a survey which revealed that about 94 textile products marketed in Denmark via retail, internet shops or other means contained nanosilver content. Fifteen out of a  sample of 16 products showed the presence of nanosilver. A large proportion of the nanosilver in clothes gets washed down the drain or is removed while the wearer sweats, thus causing a potential environmental risk.  This Danish survey helped to conduct further research on nanosilver usage in other products.

QuantumWise and the Technical University of Denmark are collaborating on a project that aims to makes it possible to simulate large-scale nano-electronic devices, where electron-phonon coupling is taken into account. This will enable the development of new tools for simulating the electrical and thermal properties of nano-electronic devices.

More recently, a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have collaborated to create a transistor from a molecular monolayer of graphene that has worked on a computer chip.

Danish research and innovation is amongst the best in the world according to an evaluation carried out by the European Research Area Committee. If this continues, and the Danish government continues to invest in this sector with a view to creating growth and employment, there is little doubt that areas such as nanotechnology will benefit and this should spawn further nanotech developments.

Sources and Further Reading

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