Big boost for tiny technology

Micro- and nanotechnology projects across the UK are set to get a Government boost of nearly £10 million, Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.

The funding is the latest money allocated from a £90 million fund aimed at unleashing the commercial potential of these technologies. It will be allocated to six new projects which will create facilities that are open to all, and will help the UK transform new ideas into business success.

Johnson said, “Worldwide it has been estimated that the market for nanotechnology alone could be worth £1 trillion by 2013. The benefits to the UK economy from exploiting the opportunities this represents should not be underestimated.

“Nanotechnology promises more for less: smaller, cheaper, lighter and faster devices with greater functionality, using fewer raw materials and consuming less energy – from antibacterial wound dressings to self-cleaning windows.

“The funding for these projects announced today emphasises the DTI’s focus on placing science and innovation at the heart of the department’s work.”

The projects receiving funding through the DTI’s Micro and Nanotechnology Capital Facilities Programme include The Centre of Excellence for Metrology in Micro and Nano Technology (CEMMNT), which will receive £4.4 million. This facility will provide a comprehensive open access measurement and characterisation service to support all the different levels of industry which is critical to allow industry to accurately measure and identify the new nanoscale products it is developing.

The Centre for Micro and Nano Moulding at the University of Bradford will get £330,000. The Centre will offer open access to a micro and nano moulding capability aimed at making smaller and smaller components that allow the creation of ever-smaller products, which could be used in the medical and healthcare industries amongst others.

KNT-Photonix at the University of Glasgow has been awarded £280,00 million to offer open access to a comprehensive fabrication service aimed at building new nano products.

metaFab, a Cardiff University facility, has been allocated £360,000. This facility will offer open access to micromachining and laser expertise leading to the further miniaturisation of products.

Fluence from Epigem gets £2 million to provide open access to a facility focussed on creating polymer microfluidic devices that may ultimately provide the next generation of sensors.

The Dolomite Centre has also been allocated £2 million to provide open access to a facility focussed on fabricating glass microfluidic devices, which have applications in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.