Finnish Nanotechnology Sector Growing Fast, According to Latest Research From Tekes

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The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation today announced its latest research that shows impressive growth for the Finnish nanotechnology sector. The number of Finnish companies active in nanotechnology has more than doubled in just two years. Development has been seen in all of the key sectors of the Finnish economy, from electronics to forest products.

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, today announced its latest research that shows impressive growth for the Finnish nanotechnology sector. The number of Finnish companies active in nanotechnology has more than doubled from 61 to 134 in just two years. Over 40 of these companies already have commercial products based on nanotechnology. Development has been seen in all of the key sectors of the Finnish economy, from electronics to forest products. The main factor behind the increase in activity is Finland's National Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Programme, FinNano.

These impressive results were uncovered by the "Nanotechnology in Finnish Industry" survey, published at the 2nd Annual Seminar of the FinNano programme. The biannual survey studies the evolution of the Finnish Nanotechnology scene in the period 2004-2006. Over 200 firms were surveyed for the study by Spinverse Consulting to identify companies with commercial products, research activities or a defined nanotechnology strategy.

The commercial products on the market cover a full range of applications, from industrial equipment to consumer products. The latter include suits from Turo Tailor, which are made using a nanocoated textile that repels water, and ski wax developed by Startex. Sporting equipment has also been impacted by nanotechnology, with an example being high-performance skis by Atomic.

Highly successful industrial nanotechnology applications include Finland's prominent atomic layer deposition (ALD) cluster. ALD technology enables coatings the thickness of a few atoms to be applied to materials to alter or improve their performance. The technology, originally developed in Finland almost 30 years ago, is now generating multi-million dollar markets worldwide with applications ranging from electronics components to flat panel displays.

Encouragingly, the companies surveyed reported a comprehensive pipeline of research activities, the results of which are expected to come to market in one to three years. Until now, the impact of nanotechnology has been greatest in the materials sector, but it is expected next in electronics and life sciences. Examples of future applications being researched include functional paints and coatings, building materials, active packaging, sensors and quantum-mechanical lasers.

Many challenges also lie ahead. Making the transition from small-scale prototypes to volume production is far from straightforward; finding commercially viable applications for advanced technology can be difficult; and problems can arise from funding shortages at key stages of development. In the fast pace of development, it is also very important to take into account issues of environment, health, safety and corporate responsibility.

The main factor behind the recent increase in company activity is the national FinNano program, which covers funding and support activities from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation as well as from the Academy of Finland. Tekes' funding, in particular, is directed to innovative projects that address clear commercial needs.

Many of these innovative Finnish companies will be present at the FinNano Annual Seminar that outlines the Finnish nanotechnology strategy and presents interesting examples of ongoing research and industrial projects. The FinNano Annual Seminar precedes Nanotech Northern Europe 2007, the region's largest nanotechnology event. More information: http://www.nanotech.net

Contact information

Pekka Koponen

Managing Director, Spinverse Consulting

pekka.koponen(at)spinverse.com

Tel. +358 40 545 0008

Markku Lämsä

Tekes FinNano Technology Programme Manager

Senior Technology Advisor, Ph.D.

markku.lamsa(at)tekes.fi

Tel. +358 1060 55793

The Nanotechnology in Finnish Industry survey is conducted by Spinverse Consulting, the coordinator of the Tekes FinNano technology programme. The survey was first carried out in 2004 and was repeated in 2006. A number of companies have been identified that are indicative of some of the trends mentioned in this press release. Their contact details are available upon request.

Spinverse Consulting accelerates the commercialisation of nanotechnology. Spinverse combines scientific and industrial expertise to produce information about the development and market potential of nanotechnology; evaluates the most promising applications; and showcases the achievements of the leaders in the field. Spinverse is the lead organizer of Nanotech Northern Europe and the coordinator of the Tekes FinNano Technology Programme. More information: http//http://www.spinverse.com

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CHRISTINA FORSGARD
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