Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Austria: Market Report

Image Credits: emperorcosar/shutterstock.com

Image Credits: emperorcosar/shutterstock.com

Austria is a Central European country located to the north of Italy and Slovenia. It covers a total area of 83,871 km2, and its population as of 2019, is 8,773,686.

Austria’s market economy is well-developed with a robust skilled labor force. In 2016, the country’s GDP was US$390.8 billion. Austria has been a part of the European Union since 1995, thus giving it easy access to other EU economies.

Nanotechnology Organizations

A short introduction to major nanotechnology-related organizations in Austria is listed below:

NILaustria—It is a project cluster within the Austrian Nanoinitiative, NanoImprint Lithography (NIL). The aim of this organization is to establish a robust knowledge and technology base for NIL in Austria, which would be visible both at the European and global level.

Austrian Nano Initiative—The Austrian Nano Forum is the national platform. It deals with science and is represented by universities, technical high schools, non-university research institutions, and universities of applied sciences, as well as societies, enterprises, and associations, networks applicable to finance and nano companies, and other multipliers and strategic partners in Austria.

BioNanoNet—Is an Austrian Network that integrates a broad range of expertise in many disciplines of pharmaceutical and medical research in nanotoxicology and nanomedicine.

Nanotechnology Companies

Nanotechnology is a varied field with a huge number of applications in numerous industries. The key Austrian nanotechnology companies are mentioned below along with a short introduction to each of them.

ams—It designs and manufactures high-performance analog semiconductors that solve the most challenging issues of its customers with advanced solutions. The company offers innovative analog solutions to the most challenging applications in power management, sensors and sensor interfaces, and wireless.

C-Polymers—It is Austria’s sole producer of polymer-bonded, dust-free carbon nanotubes (CNT) masterbatches and permanent conductive or antistatic compounds. It assists customers from the very beginning through all product development steps, starting with concept evaluation, all the way through the design phase and end material processing into the end product.

EV Group (EVG)—It focuses on advanced packaging, MEMS, compound semiconductor and silicon-based power devices, nanotechnology, and SOI markets with its industry-leading metrology, wafer-bonding, photoresist coating, lithography/NIL, and cleaning and inspection equipment. The origin of EVG’s success lies in its products: bonding, lithography, and imprint systems. The company holds the leading market share for all kinds of wafer bonding equipment and is the market and technology leader in nanoimprinting and lithography.

Electrovac—It is a medium-sized, globally operating group of companies. It develops,  produces, and sells hermetic high-tech packages for micromechanical and electronic components based on dependability and progress. As an internationally operating company with a rich tradition, Electrovac is one of Europe’s market players in supplying glass-to-metal seals. It develops, manufactures, and delivers a considerable number of quality products in market sectors ranging from aerospace and automotive industries, to medical technology, sensor, and telecommunications industry.

IMS Nanofabrication AG—It is an Austria based high-tech company, set up in December 2006 through the merger of the former IMS Nanofabrication GmbH and IMS—IonenMikrofabrikationsSysteme GmbH. IMS serves as a technology innovator and provider for the nanoworld. It creates lithography tools for the nanotech and semiconductor industry, focusing its efforts on the development of an electron multi-beam Mask Exposure Tool (eMET) for the fabrication of innovative multifaceted masks and templates.

Anton Paar GmbH—It manufactures high-end laboratory and measuring instruments, for both research and industry. It is the world leader in the measurement of concentration, density, and CO2 and in the domain of rheometry. The charitable Santner Foundation owns Anton Paar GmbH.

Stayclean—It is the Austrian distributor for Vadlauplc that makes soil-resisting nano-coatings.

Plansee Group— It is a vertically integrated supplier of powder-metallurgical manufactured materials. A private Austrian company, the Plansee Group supplies a wide variety of industries with metal powders, tool and wear blanks, and semi-finished products, as well as tailored components made from high-tech materials that are mechanically, thermally, and chemically resistant.

The Plansee Group produces ready-to-use parts that are found in several high-tech products used in daily life. The parts are also found in very powerful tools, and are used as vital components in different production processes.

PROFACTOR—It is a private, applied research company with headquarters based in Vienna and Steyr. The company’s scientists research and develop industrial production technologies. They aim to support the modernization of production technologies in Austria (Vereinigung zur Förderung der Modernisierung der Produktionstechnologie in Österreich or VPTÖ for short) and their research enhances the competitiveness of European Industry. Their technological advances are focused on optimizing efficiency and sustainability, while simultaneously working to benefit society.

NTC Weiz GmbH—It was set up on February 28th, 2006. It is a non-profit limited liability company and focuses on the following operations:

  • Organization of information and educational events as well as collection, distribution, and dissemination of scientific data in the domains of nanotechnology and nanosciences
  • Research and development in the fields of nanotechnology and nanosciences
  • Measures taken to boost this subject area and related services
  • Tests and inspections as well as preparation of expert reports
  • Exploitation of research results
  • Acquisition and provision of infrastructure and equipment necessary to realize these objectives, and administration of these assets.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

Austria has a number of world-class universities providing research and educational opportunities in the field of nanotechnology. Provided below is a list of organizations in Austria and a short introduction to their contribution in nanotechnology.

Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)—It is the largest non-university research institute in Austria and focuses on major infrastructure challenges of the future.

University of Graz—The university’s Institute of Physics supports the Optical Nanotechnology/Nano-Optics research group. The research program is keen on investigating the physical concepts of a sub-wavelength light technology (Nano-Optics). This is primarily based on plasmonic excitations in metal nanostructures and comprises quantum dots, molecules, and porous silicon. The university provides M.Sc. in Nanophysics and M.Sc. in Advanced Materials Science with an option to select “Semiconductor Process Engineering and Nanotechnology.”

TechnischeUniversität Wien—The Center for Micro-and Nanostructures (ZMNS) in this university is used for both instructional and research purposes. It offers a sophisticated environment for teaching the fundamental methods used to make new semiconductor devices. The key goal of the research and development activities is the transfer of novel ideas from basic science to device concepts.

JOANNEUM RESEARCH—It is a professional innovation and technology provider with a long track record in leading-edge research at a global level. Its core activities include the development of applied research and technology, thus playing an important role in technology and knowledge transfer in Styria.

Integrated Organic Sensor and Optoelectronic Technologies (ISOTEC)—The goal of this research project group is two-fold. Firstly, it develops optoelectronic components for light guiding and light coupling, and secondly, it builds an integrated organic sensor for multianalyte detection. ISOTEC is coordinated by JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH and by NanoTec Center WeizForschungsgesellschaft GmbH.

Danube University Krems—It provides a Master of Engineering course in NanoBioSciences and NanoMedicine. It offers students with the latest update on science at the interface between nano- and biomedicine. The course trains students in future developments in this multidisciplinary field by providing a broad range of options in research and development. An additional occupational post-graduate Master’s program in NanoBiosciences and NanoMedicine is also offered.

University of Vienna—The Faculty Center for Nanostructure Research is a service facility and an institutional cooperation between the faculties of chemistry and physics. It is situated in the Faculty of Physics and offers researchers and students of the two faculties easy access to large and costly instruments.

Part of the university, the Erwin Schrödinger Society for Nanosciences adds to the spread of knowledge and technology in the field of nanoscience. The Department of Environmental Geosciences includes a BigNano Laboratory that is devoted to biosphere-geosphere interactions on the nanoscale.

Universität Innsbruck—It provides a Master’s Program in Material and Nano Sciences. The Nano-Bio-Physics group offers a number of research options for students.

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences—It has an exclusive Department of Nanobiotechnology committed to the study and research of nanotechnology.

Further Developments

In March 2011, Austria also embraced a new Research, Technology, and Innovation (RTI) strategy that recognizes the connection between research and innovation, and focuses on encouraging more knowledge-intense industries. If Austria stays dedicated to this initiative, and continues its high levels of publicly sponsored R&D, the private sector should follow the same trend and funding for sectors like nanotechnology should gain accordingly. In March 2012, researchers from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria set a new world speed record for the fastest 3D-printed nano-objects. They created sculptures as small as a grain of sand in a fraction of the time than had formerly been recorded.

On March 1st and 2nd, 2012, the 3rd International Congress BioNanoMed 2012 was conducted in Danube University Krems/Austria. The objective of BioNanoMed 2012 was to unite industry, academia, governmental, and non-governmental institutions to discuss the progress in the converging fields of Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, and Medicine.

Nanometa 2013 was conducted at the Olympia Sport and Kongresszentrum Seefeld—Tirol GmbH, Austria between January 3rd and 6th. The subjects covered included:

  • Nanophotonic, hybrid, and quantum materials
  • Metamaterials and metadevices
  • Plasmonics and plasmo-electronic devices
  • Nanophotonics and nanobiophotonics
  • Localization of light and optical super-resolution

Plansee’s fuel cell project became the finalist in the Austrian State Prize for Innovation in 2013.

Sources and Further Reading

This article was updated on the 3rd September, 2019.

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