Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Hungary: Market Report

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Hungary is a landlocked nation situated in Central Europe to the northwest of Romania and covers a total area of 93,028 km2. As of July 2012, Hungary had a population of 9,958,453.

In the recent past, the country has changed into a market-based economy and has become a full member of the World Trade Organization, the EU, and OECD. In 2012, the country’s GDP was reported to be $196.8 billion.

Nanotechnology Organizations

An organization in Hungary that focuses on encouraging nanoscience and analyzing the challenges and future of nanotechnology is briefly introduced below:

  • NANOBAKT Ltd—This organization was established in 2008 by private individuals to begin research and development and also production in the area of nanotechnology in Hungary. Its key projects include different uses of nanosilver (prosthetics, Nanosept disinfectant, and additives) and also the development and production of nano iron and titanium nanotubes.

Nanotechnology Companies

Nanotechnology penetrates the cross boundaries of both applications and industries. The following sections briefly introduce the major nanotechnology firms in Hungary that cater to these varied sectors.

NanGenex

Part of the DRGT Group, NanGenex is a Druggability Enabling High Throughput NanoActive™ Technology Platform Company. It uses an integrated platform to offer innovative solutions to biotech and pharmaceutical companies to create a new range of NanoActive products with considerable performance advantages over traditional methods.

With the help of this technology platform, NanGenex produces proprietary NanoActive™ materials by modifying their physico-chemical characteristics to considerably enhance their bioavailability, dissolution rate, and solubility.

Technoorg Linda Ltd

Technoorg Linda Ltd is active in many areas of nanotechnology. Developing and producing ion technology-based instruments are the core activities of the company. These instruments are meant for prolonged use in depth profiling and specimen preparation related to scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

The products can be used with all makes and models of electron microscopes and cover the whole range of the thinning process—that is, mechanical sample preparation, ion milling, and end-polishing. The product applications are suitable for several purposes in the areas of semiconductors, geology, materials research, and optics, such as multi-layer systems, diamond, glasses, ceramics, metals, composite materials, minerals, and rocks.

ThalesNano

ThalesNano develops and supplies microscale flow instruments for chemistry and it does so by leveraging the advantages of integrating nanotechnology, mesofluidics, and microfluidics with flow chemistry. The company was established in 2002 and is based in Budapest, Hungary.

GetNano Ltd

Established in 2006, GetNano Ltd deals in nanocoatings and distributes H2OFF® products that are available via the so-called Nano Stops. All H2OFF® products from GetNano conform to the highest prevailing quality standards, and research and development is funded by high-end nanotechnology firms across Europe. GetNano’s automobile products provide affordable and safe and sound solutions for alloy wheels, bodies, plastic covers, and windshields.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

Hungary has a number of universities that provide educational and research opportunities in nanotechnology. The following sections provide a list of academic institutions and universities in Hungary along with nanotechnology-related research opportunities and academic courses offered by them.

Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science

The Nanostructures Department is part of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. It is involved in a number of nano-based research projects such as nanostructures created by high-energy (E > 100 MeV) heavy irradiation, composition and structure of carbon nanostructures created by different techniques, nanotubes from fullerene decomposition, continuous production of carbon nanotubes in an underwater AC electric arc, and tunneling through carbon nanostructures.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The academy is involved in the field of nanotechnology through the departments given below:

  • Chemical Research Center (CRC)—The studies performed in the area of Materials Chemistry include the development of functional nano- and micro-sized composite particles, formation of sophisticated micro- nanometer-sized materials in an RF thermal plasma reactor, production and characterization of nanolayers, and research on electrochemistry—electrosorption and corrosion.
  • Institute of Nanochemistry and Catalysis Chemical Research Center—The main research fields of the institute include self-assembled nanolayers, nanostructured materials, heterogeneous catalytic reactions, and surface characterization and modification.

University of Szeged

The university is one of the most distinguished ones in Hungary, with a major focus on innovation, research, and development. At the university, one major field of research interest is materials science and nanotechnology, with topics like nanodispersions, biocomposite materials, self-organizing films, and nanostructured materials being studied.

University of Pannonia

The Doctoral School of Molecular- and Nanotechnologies focuses on MEMS and NEMS technology, materials engineering, nanocomposites and nanostructured coating, functional nano- and microparticles, bionanotechnology, nanocatalysts, development of novel sensing principles, directed evolution, and protein design.

Semmelweis University—It is a research-intensive institution focused on high-quality scientific research for almost two-and-a-half centuries. Studies conducted at the six faculties of the university cover an array of scientific disciplines. Nanotechnology is one of the main areas of research in which Semmelweis University has gained an international reputation.

Institute for Solid State Physics and Optics—This is part of the Wigner Research Centre for Physics. Departments involved in comprehensive nano-based studies are given below:

  • Department of Complex Fluids
  • Experimental Solid State Physics Department
  • Theoretical Solid State Physics Department
  • Neutron Spectroscopy Department

Recent Developments

The 5th Szeged International Workshop on Advances in Nanoscience (SIWAN) was conducted from October 24th to 27th, 2012, in Szeged, Hungary. This forum offers a platform to participants to showcase their research findings and gain additional data from detailed presentations delivered by top nanotechnology scientists.

In October 2012, ThalesNano reported that 700 of its new flow reactors systems had been sold and that the number of publications predicated on these flow reactors has crossed 150. Officially introduced in 2005, the product has become quite popular.

For the first time, Levente Tapasztó and his group at the Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science affiliated with the Research Centre for Natural Sciences Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) controlled graphene’s structural rippling with <1 nm (0.7 nm) precision. This sets a new record in graphene studies because the earlier record stood at 300 nm wavelength.

The study will offer a chance to explore the membranes’ mechanical behavior in a range where the deformation’s wavelength can be determined against the lattice constant.

Although Hungary does not have many academic institutions and companies focused on nanotechnology, the development in this domain will be slow as the country strives to emerge from the recession after the global financial crisis. In 2008, Hungary was bailed out by the IMF, but despite this fact, the country has been seeking more support in late 2011.

With the parties not able to agree to terms, the new round of financial help has not yet been forthcoming. Owing to this reason, it is believed that expenditure on nanotechnology and science will lose ground to other initiatives that will usher in short-term employment and economic benefits.

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