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Nanotech still holds huge untapped potential for the industry

Finland is a forerunner in nanotechnology, and the fast-growing field has already produced strong results. The 70 million euro Tekes FinNano programme, currently in its third year, has launched companies and new business throughout the country. Applications of nanotechnology are in widespread use in the key areas of Finnish industry.

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.

Eeva Landowski | alfa
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