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Poland is situated to the east of Germany in Central Europe, covering an area of 312,685 km2. As of July 2012, the country had a population of 38,415,284.
Poland has a market-based economy, which is one of the fastest growing in the EU. It was the only EU member country to avoid the 2009 global recession. Poland’s GDP was $771 billion in 2011. Its economy has been helped by the government’s decision to privatize a number of small and medium state-owned companies. The laws associated with setting up new firms have been relaxed, thus allowing the formation of a powerful private sector.
Poland has a few organizations and networks dedicated to supporting and exploring nanoscience. A short introduction of them is given below:
- Clusterland—The organization was primarily set up in Austria and has a branch in Poland. It aims to support, integrate, and promote nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology, being a multifaceted field, finds applications in many industries. There is a huge scope for companies in Poland to use nanotechnology and make a mark in the country. Some of the nano-based companies in Poland are mentioned below together with a short introduction to each of them:
The sole distributor for US-based Aspen Aerogels, Inc. products, Aerogels Poland’s products are made using nanotechnology-based processes. The company delivers the best thermal insulation materials in the world. The property that separates these materials from their competition is their very low thermal conductivity.
It has ventured into the newest and fastest growing areas of modern science and nanotechnology. It has its own technology which can be altered and adapted to match the requirements enforced by the manufacturers. The company creates nanoparticles for use as standalone products, but these can also be used in materials, or as a raw material for making finished products.
Amepox Company Ltd
Set up in 1988, its staff comprised mainly of former Technical University of Lodz personnel. Since inception, the company’s activity has been aimed at manufacturing exceptional materials for two main sectors: the construction and electronics/microelectronics sectors. The nano-based products comprise NanoCu 1000B, an exclusive, water-ethanol based formulation with nano-sized copper particles; NanoSilver Hx, NanoSilver 800 Plast, NanoSilver Ip 1000, NanoSilver OP 1000, NanoSilver PVP 1000, and NanoSilver Bl 1000.
Dental Nanotechnology (DNT)
DNT aims to implement numerous programs for modern dentistry. It makes materials known as “Nanocare,” developed to protect patients against secondary infections in dentistry. It has also created Nanotec Endo, a patented system for rinsing root canals.
Ertec Poland manufactures microwave reactors engineered for the synthesis of nanoparticles.
It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of truly bulk Gallium Nitride (GaN). Technology development began in 1992 and led to the development of best in class products characterized by a flawless crystalline quality. Technological advances in ammonothermal technology mean that they can currently create up to two-inch diameter superior quality bulk C-plane GaN substrates and also non-polar M-plane, A-plane, and semi-polar GaN wafers.
Opticon Nanotechnology Ltd.
It makes many types of electron microscopes that facilitate the study of nanomaterials.
Set up in 1997, it’s a company for complicated and comprehensive research of crystallographic textures. The specialized expertise of LaboSoft is based on 25 years of research experience of scientists who are now the company staff members and consultants.
LaboSoft offers superior quality software solutions for crystallographic texture calculations and analysis as well as the hardware alterations of X-ray texture measurement devices. Its products include LaboTex, a precise and intricate tool for texture analysis of crystalline nanomaterials.
It operates in areas of advanced technologies with its primary focus being medical applications and nanotechnologies. The Group’s companies create and commercialize products in the lucrative markets of metallurgy and nanometallurgy, cabling industry, medical devices, document security and brand protection, and microelectronics.
The Group develops and commercializes groundbreaking technologies in nanometals and metal oxides production. This unique method provides an unparalleled ability to cost-effectively create nanometals according to customers’ specifications with regards to particle size, purity, shape, and structure.
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Poland has many universities providing research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. These institutions and universities are briefly described below:
Adam Mickiewicz University
The university offers a PhD program in Nanotechnology and Nanoscience. The Ph.D. program aims to promote research in the field of nanomaterials and nanostructures, and their applications in medicine and biology. It also hosts:
- Laboratory for Materials Physicochemistry and Nanotechnology—It’s a part of the Faculty of Chemistry at Adam Mickiewicz University. The lab encourages nanotechnology-based research in protonic nanorectifier, polyaniline nanofibrils, organic conducting nanolayers, biosensors, and nanotubes.
University of Warsaw (UW)
It is also a leading research center in Poland.
- The Faculty of Physics offers courses titled Measurements Techniques in Nanotechnology, Physical Foundations of Nanotechnology—Nanospintronics, and Physical Foundations of Nanotechnology—Quantum Transport in Nanostructures.
- The Faculty of Chemistry offers a course titled Introduction to Nanotechnology.
- NanoCentre—It is a part of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering. The center’s key focus is on modeling, processing, and characterization of structures and properties of nanomaterials.
It is Poland’s oldest university. The Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science offer courses in advance materials and nanotechnology, taught in association with the Faculty of Chemistry.
Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science
It provides research openings in the field of nanotechnology, while its core focus is on amorphous, nano- and micro crystalline materials.
Polish Academy of Sciences—It hosts the following:
- Institute of Physical Chemistry—It offers PhD studies and research opportunities in nanotechnology
- Institute of Molecular Physics—It offers research openings in nanotechnology
- Institute of Physics—it offers research openings in nanotechnology
Institute of Electron Technology (ITE)
It is a leading Polish research center that promotes semiconductor micro- and nanotechnology. ITE is also credited with launching two research centers—MANTARC (Micro- and Nanotechnology Applied Research Centre) and CEPHONA (Physics and Technology of Photonic Nanostructures).
University of Silesia
The university offers an MSc program in Physics with core specializations including Nanophysics and Mesoscopic Materials—Modeling and Applications. The course can be taken in English, Polish, and French.
In October 2011, Daunpol of Warsaw was the first company to apply metallic nanoparticles in its chemicals—NanoClean chemical products. Experts feel that this move may gain international recognition for Poland and improve the progress of nanotechnology.
In August 2012, Polish scientists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry synthesized high purity aligned nitrogen-doped multi-walled carbon nanotubes. This was achieved with the help of catalytic chemical vapor deposition technique involving pyridine and Fe/Co (2:1 volume ratio) as the single C/N precursor and catalyst material.
The synthesized tube’s average diameter was in the range of 29–57 nm and the nitrogen content of the tubes reached a maximum of 9.2 (at.)% nitrogen. Their study will help in providing additional insight into nitrogen doping effects and the association between type of nitrogen inclusion and nitrogen doping levels.
While the Polish economy survived the worldwide financial crisis well, innovation in the business sector is very little and the academic system is weak. Moreover, connections between industry and academia are poor, meaning that just a small proportion of public research is sponsored privately. In 2010, government expenditure on research and development (GERD) equated to 0.74% of GDP, having grown a decent 10.3% a year between 2005 and 2010.
Their aim is to touch a GERD of 1.7% by 2020 and they also have long-term plans to help move towards a knowledge-based economy based on existing strengths, smart specialization, and emerging technologies.
If Poland implements this long-term plan well, sectors such as nanotechnology could gain more ground. However, to be prosperous, stronger ties have to be established between industry and academia to help promote applied research aimed at commercial outcomes.