Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Moldova: Market Report

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Moldova is an inland nation bordered by Ukraine to the east and Romania to the west. The country’s total area is 33,851 km2 with a population of 3,656,843 as of July 2012.

The economy of Moldova depends greatly on agriculture. The country hopes to eventually be a part of the European Union. In 2012, the country’s GDP was reported to be $12.56 billion.

Nanotechnology Organizations

Moldova has a few organizations and networks committed to boosting nanoscience as well as examining the future of nanotechnology. A short introduction to the core nanotechnology-related organizations in Moldova is given below:

MOLD-ERA

The objective of MOLD-ERA is to help the Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies (IEEN) to develop and execute a research approach that will expand its activities and boost its level of excellence, so that it can compete and partner with top research institutions in Europe. The MOLD-ERA project aims to enhance the level of training and equipment in the nanotechnologies field in Moldova, which will result in better partnerships with EU institutions and better career for young researchers in Moldova.

MOLD-NANONET

The aim of MOLD-NANONET is to help the ELIRI Research Institute to advance and execute a research policy that will increase its activities and boost its level of excellence in micro-nano-electronics associated with the development of intelligent systems, so that it can contest and partner with top research institutions in Europe. MOLD-NANONET will develop a unified infrastructure in Moldova by incorporating the research and development capabilities of the city of BELTI with those of the capital city (Chisinau).

Nanotechnology Companies

A brief introduction on a key nanotechnology company situated in Moldova is given below:

ELIRI

The Research Institute “ELIRI” was initiated in 1959. In 1996, it was restructured into a joint-stock company. Situated in Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova, the institute focuses on the fields of instrument making, radioelectronics, information technology, and microelectronics. Standard technologies used by the company include nanocompositions.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

Moldova has a few universities that offer educational and research opportunities in nanotechnology. These academic institutions and universities and the academic courses or research opportunities that they offer are mentioned below:

Academy of Sciences of Moldova (A.S.M.)

A.S.M. is the highest scientific environment in the country. It is the only public institution of national interest in the sphere of innovation and science. The key directions of activity of the Academy of Sciences include industrial engineering, nanotechnologies, new materials and products.

National Center for Materials Study and Testing (NCMST)

NCMST was created in 2001 under the financial support from US Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) and under the auspices of the Moldavian Research and Development Association (MRDA). Within the Technical University of Moldova, the NCMST is a leading research center in the fields of nanotechnologies and material science. The center’s activity concentrates on the development of novel nanodevices and nanomaterials for numerous applications, including photonics, bio-medicine, electronics, plasmonics, etc.

Recent Developments

On January 25th, 2013, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation from Germany donated nanotechnology equipment that was commissioned at the Technical University of Moldova. The latest equipment will offer scientists plasma etching capabilities for passive dielectric films on a range of devices such as sensors, detectors, transistors, etc.

A report (February 14th, 2013), mentioned the scientific accomplishments and developments in the field of nanotechnologies in Moldova over the course of the earlier four years. The report concentrated on the State Program “Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials” and the top institution in this field—The Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies.

The State Program handled 18 research projects (11 were done in 2010 and seven in 2012). The projects dealt with different nano areas such as integration into an optic micro-fiber of millions of semiconductor, metallic, or semi-metallic nanowires; development of a spin valve based on layered superconductor-ferromagnet nanostructures; membranes with nanometer thickness and quantum nanodots based on semiconductor compounds; and topological insulators for use in quantum computers and spintronics.

NanoTechWeb.org, a UK website, mentioned four nanotechnology developments from Moldova as some of the top ones in the world. Leading international scientific journals featured several of the achievements. These accomplishments will probably improve Moldova’s image in the European Research Area and perhaps attract foreign investment.

In June 2012, Iran and Moldova made plans to cooperatively start several projects in the field of agriculture using biotechnology and nanotechnology. The discussions took place during a meeting between the Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry of Moldova, Vasiliy Bumacov, and the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad of Iran, Jahangir Porhemmat. It was planned that the focus areas would cover the production of different types of seeds and grains to yield hybrid crops, controlling the spread of plant illnesses, and guaranteeing vaccination of domestic animals and birds in Moldova.

Moldovan and German nanotechnologists met in Chisinau in April for the “German-Moldovan Workshop on Novel Nanomaterials for Electronic, Photonic and Biomedical Applications.” The workshop was part of the 2nd International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering.

Organized by The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, NANO-2013 will function from September 13th to 16th, 2013, in Chisinau, Moldova. The goal of this event is to create regional and interdisciplinary links between scholars and researchers supported by the foundation. The key subjects deliberated at the event were nanosensors and spintronics.

In October 2012, a two-day International Conference titled “10 Years of Nanotechnology Development in the Republic of Moldova” took place at the State University Alecu Russo, in Balti, Moldova. The subjects covered were Technology of nanofilms and nanowires; Nanotechnologies in bio-medicine; Nanostructures and nanoparticles; Nanotechnology in fine mechanics; Nanotechnologies and robotics; and Nano-sensors. The Conference was in part funded by the FP7 project MOLD-NANONET.

In September 2012, the FP7 project MOLD-ERA set up a six-month training course in biomaterials, nano-bioengineering, and biocompatibility for aspiring young scientists. It also offered an opportunity for MSc and PhD students to update their knowledge in these fields. The course lectures were handled by scientists and professors from consortium partners—Center for Device Thermography and Reliability (Bristol), Technical University of Moldova, Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Hannover Medical School (Germany), and University of Medicine and Pharmaceutics of Moldova.

Moldova has been fairly active in the nanotechnology field, with many nano-related events conducted in the country and international partnerships. These events and partnerships only help to further the careers and expand the scope and range of projects, and also provide access to external knowledge and facilities, which consecutively can lead to better research outcomes.

With organizations like MOLD-NANONET and MOLD-ERA guiding the way, research projects have been gaining a lot of attention and coverage in top journals. If this trend goes on, Moldova will draw scientists and more funding from the EU and nations further afield, making Moldova a country set for growth in the field of nanotechnology.

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