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LANL Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies Report on Nanotech 2003

Los Alamos National Laboratories Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies
By Neil Shinn
CINT Outreach Coordinator

On February 23-25, Neal Shinn attended the NanoTech 2003 conference and trade show in San Francisco, CA. Also representing CINT were Andy Shreve (LANL) and Eliot Fang (SNL). This conference has evolved from its origins as primarily a forum for modeling and simulation into a convergence of bio-tech, nano-tech, and info-tech with an obvious emphasis on commercialization. A CINT overview talk by Neal was the lead presentation in the first session of the Business and Research Initiatives symposium. The CINT focus on nanoscience integration issues, our operational model of an open access Core Facility plus Gateway Facilities, and the collective expertise of two National Laboratories differentiate us from other nanoscience user facilities being developed world-wide. Numerous audience questions indicated keen interest in User Access policies, intellectual property rights, and issues related to Foreign National Users. Subsequent presentations in the business track addressed commercialization issues and practices.

The NanoTech 2003 conference had a strong international participation, not only from Asia (as expected) but also from Europe. In particular, the business track included a special networking dinner function, bringing together Swiss, Belgian, and United States investors, government officials, scientists, and research managers. Neal was one of 16 invited US dinner attendees, each of whom "co-hosted" a table along with Swiss and Belgian counterparts. His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium concluded the dinner by expressing his personal interest in nanotechnology and his government's intention to develop world-class nanotechnology in selected areas. Although both Belgium and Switzerland each have small populations, government spending on nanoscience R&D per capita ($5 and $3, respectively) exceeds that of the United States. This funding is targeted towards high value added products with integrated nanotechnologies, specialized nanoscience tools (remember who invented the STM) and avoids sectors such as commodity nanomaterials. The Swiss and Belgian governments also seek to partner with others internationally - or lure investors to Europe with attractive IP policies -- to further amplify the impact of their limited, but focused, nanotechnology investments.

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