Bavaria as a trendsetter in nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is already everywhere around us. It can be found in many things that most people take for granted in everyday life: mobile phone batteries, anti-reflective displays, car paints and sunscreen, to name but a few examples. All these are based on nanomaterials and their properties. In this blog post we explain what else is possible with nanoparticles, why this technology will become even more important in the future, what the term means and why Bavaria is a pioneer in nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology: What actually is it?
Nanotechnology deals with a wide range of applications. What they all have in common is the size scale in which they occur: Anything between one and 100 nanometres in size can be a component of nanotechnology. Researchers and experts in this field are therefore dealing with objects that are between 10,000 and 1,000,000 times smaller than a millimetre. Nanotechnology combines a wide range of scientific fields: communication technology, medicine and engineering sciences are just as much revolutionised by the findings as physics, chemistry and biology. This conversely means that experts from all these fields can also deal with nanoparticles. Because it combines so many different sciences, nanotechnology is also known as cross-industry innovation.
What role does nanotechnology play today?
Nanotechnology is considered one of the three key sciences of the 21st century: research considers artificial intelligence, quantum computing and nanotechnology to be the most important current topics for the future. Among these three, the latter plays a key role because quantum computers cannot be produced without nanotechnology and powerful quantum computers are a prerequisite for numerous practical artificial intelligence applications. So without nanotechnology, scientific progress is severely limited. But microscopic revolutions are even occurring on an almost daily basis in individual disciplines today: Molecular nanotechnology in medicine and biology, for example, enables nanobots to be inserted into human cells to fight cancer. This is also one of the reasons why politicians are getting involved in order to further advance research. Bavaria promotes nanotechnology in various ways.
How Bavaria promotes nanotechnology
On the one hand, the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy supports the Cluster Initiative Bavaria, in the context of which the Cluster Nanotechnology was founded. This cluster is composed of several networks, such as:
It serves as a platform for cross-sector exchange about the key technology and its numerous areas of application. Specifically, the nanotechnology cluster boasts the following core expertise:
- Initiating, supporting and coordinating projects through to complete project management
- Organising and running customer-specific innovation workshops
- Initiating and managing nanotechnology networks
- Promoting cooperation between research and development institutions and users in industry
- Assisting with project applications
- Supporting applied research
- International research marketing
- Organising and running seminars, workshops and trade fair participation
- Acquiring and preparing knowledge
- Open discussion of opportunities and risks
As a result, the Cluster Nanotechnology is the first port of call for research, industry and politics when information or partners need to be found from the various sectors. This pooled expertise makes it easy for both start-ups and established companies to expand their own knowledge base and gain access to the latest findings on an international level.
Bavaria also provides direct support to research institutions: In February 2020, the Forchheim-based Innovations-Institut für Nanotechnologie und korrelative Mikroskopie e.V. (INAM) received 5 million euros from Bavaria. Equipped with this financial strength, the institute should be able to operate and conduct research independently – naturally with the involvement of internationally renowned experts. The Ministry of Economic Affairs writes in a message dated 7 February 2020:
The INAM is intended to advance basic research in the field of imaging and tomographic electron, ion and X-ray microscopy, to test the concrete application in interdisciplinary research collaborations and to offer research services for SMEs and industrial partners. By generating and intelligently linking extraordinarily large amounts of data (Big Data), a large number of AI-supported applications will be investigated. - Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy
There is therefore also a political awareness of the importance of nanotechnology for the future and its versatility and a lot is being done to promote research, development and innovation projects. At the same time, the location in Forchheim was not chosen at random: just half an hour's drive separates the INAM from the Medical Valley EMN, a region of expertise in medical technology in the heart of Bavaria that is important for the whole of Europe.
Bavaria is the home of high-tech in Germany
Whether it’s in the areas of Health, BioTech, as a location for Industry 4.0 or in the field of digitalization: Bavaria is one of the most attractive business locations in Europe. International companies have also recognised this, which is why Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Google, for example, have large head offices in Bavaria, where they are located right next to innovative Bavarian companies such as Celonis and Adidas.