Nanotechnology Research in Lithuania

Valentinas Snitka 

Research Centre for Microsystems and Nanotechnology, Kaunas, Lithuania

Abstract


Nanotechnology Research in Lithuania

Valentinas Snitka
Research Center for Microsystems and Nanotechnology, KTU, Kaunas,
Lithuania

What is nanotechnology? As a recent studies shows, there is little
consensus on what exactly nanotechnology is. The several existing
definitions illustrate the heterogeneous nature of nanotechnology. The
US National Nanotechnology Initiative project define nanotechnology as
technology concerned with materials and systems whose structures and
components exhibit novel and significantly improved physical, chemical
and biological properties, phenomena and processes because of their
small nanoscale size. Structural features in the range of about 10-9
to 10-7 m (1 to 100 nanometers) determine important changes as
compared to the behavior of isolated molecules (1 nanometer) or of
bulk materials.
The European Commission working group on mapping of excellence in
nanotechnology developed the working definition of nanotechnology -
the manipulation, precision placement, measurement, modelling or
manufacture of sub-100 nanometer scale matter.
The great variation in expert opinions is due to the nature of this
emerging area as a potential area that integrates so far separate,
autonomous and to some extent unrelated disciplines. The term
nanotechnology appeared on the scientific scene for the first time in
the early 1970s. Taniguchi introduced it in 1974 to describe
ultra-fine machining, or more specifically the precision manufacture
of mechanical parts with finishes and tolerances in the nanometer
range. Eric Drexler, the director of Foresight Institute, promoted the
idea of self-assembling systems of molecules that could act as
molecular machines.
In the course of the past decade, the term nanotechnology has been
broadened well beyond the original meaning, which limited it to the
areas of physics and precision engineering. It includes now a variety
of other topics. For instance, it is applied to "almost any materials
or devices which are structured on the nanometre scale in order to
perform functions or obtain characteristics which could not otherwise
be achieved".
Formulating an appropriate search strategy for the mapping exercise
depends critically on how the area that is to be mapped is defined.
Typically, emerging fields are characterized by a multiplicity of
definitions, none of which is generally recognized.
To avoid the manipulation of nanotechnology meaning by traditional
research groups with intention to get funding from the new funding
sources, it is important to develop the methodology for mapping the
competence in the field.
The overview of research in nanotechnology in Lithuania was based on
the methodology developed by the European Commission working group on
mapping of excellence in nanotechnology.
This talk presents the methodology and results of the study in the
area of nanotechnology in Lithuania, consisting in bibliometric
exploration and patents analyses that aimed to prepare the mapping of
excellence in that area. The additional source of information which
was taken into account was the participation of Lithuanian research
groups in the submitted proposals "Expression of interest" and
"Integrated projects" to European Commission in 2002. The findings of
mapping the competence have shown that the nanotechnology
instrumentation, emerging nanobiotechnology represent the main
research activity areas in Lithuania, with some research in
nanomaterials field.

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Presentation: oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2002, by Valentinas Snitka
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2002

Submitted: 2003-02-16 17:33
Revised:   2009-06-08 12:55
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