A competent network in nanotechnology
with participants from economy, science,
politics and teaching.
Dimensions in the world of nano
The size relationship of one nanometer to a CD is approximately that of a CD to the earth.
Earth diameter = 12.756 km / CD diameter = 12 cm.
Nanotechnology is one of the key technologies of this century. Thanks to modern process technologies, targeted nano-scale structures have been manufactured for many years now, e.g. thin layers for anti-reflection coatings for spectacles' lenses. Due to the increasing industrial command of the nano-scaled world, system characteristics and functionalities arise that have never been achieved before in manufacturing and processing. This leads to completely new and significantly improved product characteristics; car paint becoming scratch-resistant or data memory becoming more powerful. Nanotechnology has found its way into many areas of industry. The saving of large quantities of data would be inconceivable without nanotechnology. The smallest transistors in mass production currently have characteristic dimensions of around 10nm, typical gate oxides for such MOSFETs (Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors) are just a few atomic layers thick, so approx. 1 to 2 nanometres thick. In medicine, new diagnostic procedures and therapies are possible thanks to nanotechnology approaches. Brain tumours are already being combated with targeted nanotherapy through localised heating and on average lead to a two-fold increase in life expectancy of the patients when compared to conventional chemotherapy (http://www.magforce.de/).
Nonetheless, nanotechnology is still in its infancy in industry and offers an extraordinarily high potential for completely new developments, e.g. it has been demonstrated in fundamental medical research that future medications could be able to seek out tumours autonomously and combat these exclusively and locally.
There is no independent nano industry. Nanotechnology is a interdisciplinary technology. It does not represent a new industrial sector in itself but rather is much more of an extension to the various existing industrial sectors. This ranges from microelectronics through IT to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and the cosmetics industry and on to the automotive and aerospace industries. According to a publication from BCC-Research [BUTTON], the worldwide turnover with nanotechnology was 39.2 billion US dollars in 2016 and will climb to 90.5 billion US dollars by 2021. In doing so, products in which layers and particles are used, represent the principal applications. International activities are very prominent particularly in the USA and Asia and are supported by large-scale public funding programmes. However, the European Union and the German federal ministry for education and research (BMBF [Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung]) have also provided significant means for research into nanotechnology. In doing so, Europe and Germany are particularly strong in the areas of nanotech materials and chemicals. For the future, it is anticipated that almost every area of industry will be influenced in some shape or form by nanotechnology. From an international perspective, the areas expected to be most heavily influenced by nanotechnology are chemicals, life sciences and electronics.