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Through the Nano-Needle’s Eye: Models, Examples, and a Template for the Successful Transition from R&D to Commercialization

M. O'Halloran

technology commercialization, valley of death

As small-scale technologies emerge and are slated for commercialization, the critical challenge is scaling up prototypes into viable commercial applications. Many new technologies have faced this challenge, and many lessons learned from those experiences can be applied to the diverse fields comprising nanotechnology. The paper will review the success factors that influence conversion of nanotechnology into commercial applications, including staff, equipment and facilities, production processes, research and management procedures, and materials. This paper details issues and strategies developed to improve the success of shifting from promising nanoscale research into profitable commercial production. A nanotechnology ''life cycle template'' will examine the optimal sequence of events that carries a nanotechnology project from creative inspiration through the subsequent phases of R&D, pilot production and finally volume manufacturing. Also, examples of economic modeling tools will provide metrics for forecasting financial yields and ROI potential to stakeholders as new technologies are commercialized. Such a sequential analysis of the life cycle results in a practical methodology for fulfilling the original goals envisioned by nanotechnology researchers and investors alike.

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