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Lithuania, an Eastern European country located between Latvia and Russia, encompasses an area of 65,300 km2. As of July 2012, it has a population of 3,525,761.
Of the three Baltic States, Lithuania is the largest country. It is one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union (EU) and had joined the EU and the NATO in 2004.
In 2012, Lithuania’s GDP was $64.32 billion, where manufacturing was the country’s largest gross value-added contributor. A huge portion of the country’s trade is with Russia.
Lithuania has two networks and organizations dedicated to boosting nanoscience as well as exploring the hurdles and future of nanotechnology. A short introduction to the main nanotechnology-related organizations in Lithuania is mentioned below:
- NENNET—NENNET stands for Nano Energy Network and is a network that intends to inspire cooperation in fields of innovation that are of specific interest for Lithuania. These fields include nanotechnologies, hydrogen and fuel cells, photovoltaics, and material science.
- MITA—It is an Agency for Science, Innovation, and Technology and the key governmental institution that is in charge of implementing innovation policy in Lithuania. MITA was set up on May 4th, 2010, to nurture science and business cooperation and to develop an amicable environment for business requirements and innovation.
Nanotechnology covers a wide range of industries and applications. The leading nanotechnology companies in Lithuania that provide for the different sectors are mentioned below, together with a short introduction to each of them.
UAB Nano Vita—It supplies laboratory equipment, analytical instruments, furniture and accessories, and market complex bespoke solutions for a range of research applications.
Baltic Nano Technologies—It is the official Lithuanian distributor for the Austrian company Vadlau GmbH. Vadlau has engineered nanotechnology-based coatings that help surfaces to remain clean or self-clean. These coatings are meant for boats and vehicles and lead to reduced drag and better speed and economy.
EKSPLA—It is an ISO9001 certified manufacturer of laser systems, lasers, and laser components for R&D and industrial applications. From the time it was established, the goal of the company has been to produce high-performance advanced solutions. New ideas, extensive knowledge of its engineers and physicists, together with skilled and experienced staff, have made it possible to develop an exclusive company. Starting from a picosecond Nd:glass laser and a small series of mechanical mounts, EKSPLA has considerably increased its production range.
Festo—It is a leading global supplier of automation technology and the performance leader in industrial training and education programs. Its goal is to maximize competitiveness and productivity for the customers. The company’s technological competence sustainably secures advanced capacity and technological leadership in current and new fields of activity. Advanced technologies offer the needed basic knowledge in the conventional disciplines of engineering and in new fields like micro-nano integration.
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Lithuania is home to several universities that offer research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. A list of universities and academic institutions in Lithuania and the academic courses or research opportunities relating to nanotechnology are given below:
Vilnius University—Research trends of this university include novel nanostructures, materials, and surfaces, as well as synthesis and characterization technologies. The Lithuanian Science Programs and Projects at the university are involved in different research activities, including nanotechnology. Over 12 nano-based research projects are being conducted through its International Science Programs and Projects.
Vytautas Magnus University—This university offers nanotechnology-based research opportunities in the field of physics and biomedicine.
Center for Physical Sciences and Technology—It is the state-founded scientific research institute. The Center is the public legal entity that serves as the state budget institution, and performs long-term fundamental and experimental research vital to the society, state, trade companies, and international cooperation in the fields established in the Center’s decree. The Center’s Institute of Physics has a Nanoengineering Department with the mission of developing new nanomaterials, processes, and structures for medicine, life science, and analytical applications. The Center’s scientific activities include bionanotechnologies and organic chemistry.
Kaunas University of Technology—The Institute of Materials Science at the university takes part in a number of research activities, the principal one being nanotechnology. The university also supports the Research Centre for Microsystems and Nanotechnology (RSMN).
On October 17th, 2012, two national innovation agencies in Lithuania and Israel, MITA and MATIMOP, signed the cooperation agreement to boost bilateral cooperation in industrial research and technology. Together, they promoted and sponsored bilateral Lithuanian-Israeli projects to support technological advancements in nanotechnology, information technology, biotechnology, lasers, and other fields.
In May 2012, scientists from the Vilnius State University added single-walled carbon nanotubes to Modified Bisphenol A Epoxy Resin, an adhesive often used in aerospace. They reported on the efficiency of the resultant materials to provide electromagnetic shielding when used as a coating, and discovered that the electromagnetic response could be regulated through the coating thickness.
The Nanoweek 2013 conference (which included EuroNanoforum) was held in Ireland in June 2013 and featured a plenary presentation by Prof. Dainius Pavalkis, Minister of Education and Science, Lithuania, titled “Continuity—Plans of the Lithuanian Presidency of the council of the EU.”
Although Lithuania has recognized nanotechnology as a vital area, there have not been many reported advancements in spite of their commitments and collaborations. This situation may change in the years to come as these arrangements develop and research projects begin to produce results. However, Lithuania will perhaps remain a small player in the field of nanotechnology despite its robust economy.