Finland's nanotech development has produced numerous success stories. For example, Nicanti technology helps combat product forgeries through marking genuine products with invisible codes; Nanocomp Ltd produces diffractive optics; and US-based specialty chemicals company OM Group has transformed an old foundry in Finland into a state-of-the-art product development center.
“The number of Finnish nanotechnology companies has grown rapidly over the last few years. Nanotechnology is applied throughout Finland's key industries, and the country has enjoyed notable success in commercialising its nanotech innovations,” said Mr. Markku Lämsä, Programme Manager, Tekes.
The most well-known Finnish company conducting research in nanotechnology is Nokia. The company cooperates with leading nanotech research universities. In February, Nokia unveiled the Morph concept that explores the use of stretchable and flexible materials in a mobile communications device.
“When looking at these success stories, we must remember that we have so far explored only a fraction of the possibilities of nanotechnology. The field still holds a wealth of untapped potential for the key areas of Finnish industry,” said Mr. Pekka Koponen, CEO, Spinverse Ltd.
Nanotechnology has been developed in Finland for over 30 years, and it is seen as the key technology of the current decade. The market for nanotech applications is expected to grow very fast in the next few years. For instance, Lux Research has estimated the value of nanotech-related goods and services at €1,800 billion in 2014.
The rapid growth of Finnish nanotechnology in recent years has been significantly supported by the Tekes FinNano programme, which strengthens Finnish nanotechnology research in selected focus areas and accelerates the commercial development of nanotechnology in Finland. The programme emphasises effective use of research results and promotes close collaboration between research and industry.
Since 2005, the number of Finnish nanotechnology companies has tripled from approximately 60 companies to between 150 and 200. The Tekes programme is carried out in close collaboration with the Academy of Finland's €9.5 million Nanoscience Research Programme. Worldwide investments in nanoscience research and development are estimated at €7,500 million for 2006.
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
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