, 10 January, 2006 — Finland is one of the leading
European countries in nanotechnology research. FinNano
is a new technology programme established by Tekes
to accelerate and improve the competitiveness of
nanotechnology research in Finland.
Nanotechnology might be about small things, but it
is of big interest in Finland. With 200 researchers
in 30 laboratories, and accounting for almost half
of the publicly funded nanotechnology research in
Finland, the Helsinki area forms one of the most
significant nanotechnology centres in the Nordic
countries. Outside Helsinki, the other main nanotechnology
centres in Finland are located in Oulu, Tampere,
Jyväskylä, Joensuu, and Turku.
The FinNano programme was established to increase cooperation in nanotechnology,
to transform all this research into concrete commercial applications, and to
help Finnish research groups become internationally attractive research and industrial
Pekka Koponen, Managing Director of Spinverse Consulting, helped in the formation,
and now helps the running of the FinNano programme. He says that the programme
has projects with research and industrial partners in 17 different countries.
The programme is funded at around 70 million euros, consisting of a mix of government
and corporate financing. With FinNano, Finland is now among the top countries
in Europe per capita in funding of nanotechnology.
Connected to Strong Industrial Sectors
The FinNano programme's main research areas are in nanostructured materials,
new electronics, and in sensors. The projects in these areas are connected to
various industrial sectors that are strong in Finland, such as pulp and paper,
electronics, and medical diagnostics. Also, some interesting converged applications
are being developed, such as printed electronics which combines the electronics
and paper industries.
One popular application of nanotechnology is the fine control of the laying down
of atoms on a surface, called Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). On the leading edge
of materials science, ALD allows the creation of surfaces with precise properties
leading to, for example, superior microchips and micro-mechanical sensors.
Advanced as it is, ALD, used in several FinNano projects for different purposes,
may also lead to more mundane applications such as scratch-proof car paint, self-cleaning
windows, or stain-resistant fabrics.
Finnano Brochure available in pdf form.