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Nanotechnology Research and Education
New Mexico is located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. It covers a total area of 315,194 km2 and has a population of 2,082,224 as of 2011.
New Mexico’s GDP as of 2011 was $79.4 billion. The chief revenue gaining sectors include the tourism and oil and gas production sectors. New Mexico is the third largest producer of oil and gas in the US. Federal government spending also plays a significant role in New Mexico’s economy.
New Mexico has become an attractive location for many businesses with industries such as aerospace, defense, advanced manufacturing, value-added agriculture, logistics and distribution, technology commercialization, energy and renewable resources and digital media establishing themselves there. These businesses are lured to the location by a good business environment, quality lifestyle along with reduced taxes and other attractive incentives along with low land and energy costs.
New Mexico is home to three national research laboratories, including Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratories that undertake research involving nanotechnology.
Access to these and other research facilities make an attractive proposition for emerging nanotech companies. The state also offers incentives such as the "R&D Small Business Tax Credit" and the "Technology Jobs Tax Credit" to assist research and product development activities.
A brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related organization in New Mexico is given below:
New Mexico Nanoscience Education Network (NMNEN) - Invites faculties from community colleges and research centers to share their views on the inclusion of nanoscience in physics and biology classes. NMNEN also organizes workshops and offers course on nanotechnology. The nanobioscience course for undergraduate students focuses on the application of nanoscience in medicine and biotechnology.
The major nanotechnology-related companies in New Mexico are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them:
NanoPore - NanoPore, Incorporated was founded in 1993 with the purpose of commercializing high porosity/high surface area materials for a wide range of applications including adsorption, gas separation, advanced thermal insulation, low-K dielectrics, and optics.
NanoPore has developed several product lines including the NANOGLASS© family of porous silica interlevel and intermetal dielectric thin films for use in advanced semiconductors, They also produce insulation products including NanoPore™ superinsulation vacuum insulation panels and inserts, and NanoCool adsorption cooling systems. Other porous materials developed at NanoPore have been used for applications including adsorbents, catalyst supports, and thickener/viscosity control.
LaSys - The Founders of LaSys include a group of NMSU physicists and engineers, and an experienced entrepreneur with an established record of organizing successful technology based companies. Working with the University's administration, the Founders have established a proprietary position that currently includes several U.S. and foreign patents and a number of pending patent applications covering a group of novel optically active nanocomposite materials that possess unique properties that are expected to offer commercial potential in a variety of industries. Through its agreement with NMSU, LaSys possesses exclusive worldwide rights to this proprietary technology including certain future developments.
Knowmtech LLC - KnowmTech LLC was founded in 2002 and their portfolio spans memristive components and circuits all the way to large scale neuromorphic architectures. They are now working towards the commercialization of Self-Evolvable-Logic-Fabric, a general-purpose circuit growth fabric similar in function to the biological cortex.
Optomec - Optomec's commercial LENS® and Aerosol Jet® systems use our proprietary additive manufacturing technologies to deliver cost-effective development, production, and repair of a wide range of end-products. Today, LENS systems are fabricating and repairing high value metal components from aircraft engine parts to medical implants. At the nano and micro scale, Aerosol Jet systems are being used to produce high density circuitry, embedded components, and an array of biomedical devices.
Senior Scientific - Senior Scientific LLC is at the crossroads of biotechnology and nanotechnology. Their novel bioimaging and nanomagnetic detection systems have been developed specifically to detect cancer and other diseases earlier and with higher specificity than is currently possible.
Senior Scientific have developed proprietary hardware and software for the highly sensitive detection of nanomagnetic particles that can be linked to antibodies for the detection and treatment of cancer and other human diseases—all without the use of ionizing radiation or large magnetic fields. Their novel technologies make possible the earlier detection of cancer in vivo, the ability to analyze biopsies with greater sensitivity and accuracy, the ability to monitor the therapeutic effectiveness of anticancer treatments—both in humans and in animal models—and allow us to detect cancer recurrence with significantly improved sensitivity.
TPL - TPL, Inc. is a materials science-based technology development and manufacturing company, a technologies to products leader based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. TPL, Inc. has three divisions the Capacitance Products Division, Defense Systems Division, the and Micropower-EnerPak Division. The Capacitance Products Division is developing advanced capacitance materials and products for a number of applications including electromagnetic weapon systems, proton accelerators for cancer treatment. Capacitance Products also manufacturers nano size ceramic dielectric powders, Barium Titanate, Strontium Titanate and Custom formulations of Barium and Strontium Titanate. Capacitance Products also specializes in monolithic ceramic capacitors and substrates, as well as specialty dielectric materials.
Nanotechnology Research and Education
Some of the leading academic institutes in New Mexico offering courses and research programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology are listed below:
The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) - Provides the scientific basis for the integration of nanoscale materials that leads to the development of new nanotechnologies benefiting the environment. CINT has a core facility located at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), with physical gateways located at both Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) and SNL. The chief research areas include:
Soft, Biological & Composite Nanomaterials
Nanoscale Electronics & Mechanics
Theory & Simulation of Nanoscale Phenomena
Nanophotonics & Optical Nanomaterials
Los Alamos National Laboratory - LANL's mission is to develop and apply science and technology to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent; reduce global threats; and solve other emerging national security and energy challenges. Centers at LANL that involve nanotechnology include:
Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) - The goal of this center is to explore and exploit the unique physics of nanostructured materials to boost the efficiency of solar energy conversion through novel light-matter interactions, controlled excited-state dynamics, and engineered carrier-carrier coupling.
Center for Nonlinear Studies - One significant focus of this research group is bio-inspired materials at the interface between biology, materials science, and physics. These materials, which include carbon nano-tubes, artificial antenna complexes, thin-film nano-structured self-assembling materials, and membrane-derivatized colloidal particles, are more amenable to high-resolution experimental and computational study.
Sandia National Laboratories - For more than 60 years, SNL has delivered essential science and technology to resolve the nation's most challenging security issues. Departments at SNL that undertake research involving the use of nanotechnology include:
National Institute for Nano-Engineering (NINE) - This is a government/university/industry collaboration formed to develop the next generation of innovation leaders for the U.S. by involving students in large scale multi-disciplinary research projects focused on developing nano-enabled solutions to important national problems.
Physical, Chemical, and Nano Sciences Center - PCNS explores phenomena that are new and unique at the nanometer length scale, and develop bridges from the nanometer length scale to longer scales, including work in:
Nanoelectronics and nanophotonics
Complex functional materials
The science of and with microsystems
New materials and microstructures with unique properties
University of New Mexico - Promotes the awareness and significance of nanotechnology through the following programs, centers and courses.
Scientists from the Sandia National Laboratories recently discovered that the percentage of the sun’s frequencies for energy conversion can be increased by the usage of solar nanowires. The research team developed a nanowire solar cell containing about 33% indium by allowing the indium mixture to grow on a phalanx of nanowires.
To increase the computing power of mobile devices, the University of Mexico has decided to share an $18.5 million grant with two other universities in order to develop new manufacturing techniques based on nanotechnology.
Experts highlight that these new techniques will create cost-effective higher-resolution displays that will provide clear images, increase memory in cell phones, increase the lifespan of batteries and facilitate communications at a much faster level.
Although New Mexico was once ranked 3rd in the nation for small tech, it is doubtful that they are still ranked as high with other states increasing commitment and spending to nanotechnology. That said, they have strengths in sensor technology as well as in aerospace, making these the areas to look out for in the future from New Mexico.