Nanotechnology systems of innovation An analysis of industry and academia research activities

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Technovation 27 (2007) Nanotechnology systems of innovation An analysis of industry and academia research activities Kumiko Miyazaki, Nazrul Islam Department
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Technovation 27 (2007) Nanotechnology systems of innovation An analysis of industry and academia research activities Kumiko Miyazaki, Nazrul Islam Department of Innovation, Graduate School of Innovation Management, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ookayama, Meguro, Tokyo , Japan Abstract Nanotechnology promises significant improvements of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, which are critical for the future competitiveness of national industries. This paper is concerned with the sectoral innovation system in nanotechnology in a global perspective with an aim to understand worldwide developments in nanotechnology research from its emerging stage. The research highlights cross-country comparisons, actors and institutions in the innovation system based on quantitative method (bibliometrics and tech mining). The authors present also the varying involvement of academia, public research institutions and commercial companies in relevant research by finding main research contributors, discourse development, as well as clusters or knowledge networks of affiliations and countries. The research findings show that the significant output of commercial companies in Japan and the United States is different from the situation in the European Union, where the relevant scientific activities are dominated by academic and government research institutions. The research reveals the learning patterns of nanotech innovation structure for the science pole. The findings can be particularly useful for forming technology strategies, science and technology policies by revealing strengths and weaknesses of the emerging innovation system in nanotech, existing country-level competencies and differences. r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Nanotechnology; Innovation system; Bibliometrics and tech mining; Nanotechnology research; Science and technology policy 1. Introduction Nanotechnology has been regarded as an emerging technology, introducing new dimensions to science and technology with the possibility of manipulating atoms and molecules at the nanometer level ( nano means one-billionth of a meter). This emerging technology has multiple possible applications and thus affects various technological domains including advanced materials, biotechnology and pharmacy, electronics, scientific tools and industrial manufacturing processes. In the early stage of nanotechnology development and diffusion, many expected benefits have not yet been fully accomplished. However, scientists and researchers in the scientific disciplines aggressively got involved in the relevant research as a parallel way to boost nanotech competitiveness through academic research, and corporations have been directing their R&D activities towards the exploration of Corresponding author. Tel.: , ; fax: address: (N. Islam). nanotech opportunities. From the scientific point of view, Nanotechnology can be defined as referring to materials and systems with structures and components exhibiting novel and significantly improved physical, chemical and biological properties, as well as to the phenomena and processes enabled by the ability to control the material properties on the nano-scale size (NSTC, 2002). The emergence of nanotech was enabled by the development of specialist instruments, which in turn facilitated the observation and manipulation of nanostructures at the atomic or molecular scale, as well as the discoveries of new nanomaterials such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes 1 1 Fullerenes called carbon 60, a new class of carbon material, are spherical molecules about 1 nm in diameter, comprising 60 carbon atoms arranged as 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons: the configuration of a football. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are extended tubes of rolled grapheme sheets, single-walled and multi-walled types. CNTs have assumed an important role in the context of nanomaterials, because of their novel chemical, physical and electrical properties. They are mechanically very strong as stiff as diamond, flexible about their axis and can conduct electricity extremely well. All of these remarkable properties give CNTs a range of /$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi: /j.technovation 662 K. Miyazaki, N. Islam / Technovation 27 (2007) (which offered a foundation for creating nanoproducts with enhanced performance parameters of electronic, cosmetic, textile and other industries). Nanotech offered also new opportunities in rapid development of miniaturization techniques (so-called top-down approach, involving decomposition into the smallest manageable entities) and building macrostructures (so-called bottom-up approach, allowing re-engineer materials at nanolevel and using them in developing new and improved products). The study interprets the scientific development of nanotech using the framework of systems of innovation (Carlsson et al., 2002, Malerba, 2002), denoting a network of actors and institutions in the public and private sectors, developing and diffusing innovative technologies. The framework is applicable on several levels (Carlsson et al., 2002) systems of innovation can be national, regional, sectoral, or related to a specific technology which has an impact on various industries (as in the case of nanotech). It interprets the innovation as a dynamic process, involving multiple interacting and co-operating actors, changes in the underlying technologies, society and business models (Carlsson et al., 2002). A useful method of structuring and interpreting the roles and linkages within a technological system is provided by the framework of techno-economic network (Bell and Callon, 1994), introducing a concept based on financial, market, regulatory, technology and science poles (practical applications of the framework to selected industries, e.g. Kumaresan and Miyazaki, 1999 on robotics; Klincewicz and Miyazaki, 2005 on software industry). The present research focuses on the science pole, where academic publications are regarded as viable scientific output indicators an analysis in line with recommendations of the technology mining method (Porter and Cunningham, 2005) that can reveal additional important facts, related to academia, public research institutions, commercial companies and help forecast further technological developments. 2. An overview of nanoscience and nanotechnology 2.1. Distinctive features of nanoscience and nanotechnology Nanoscience and Nanotechnology are widely seen as having huge potential to many areas of scientific research (such as physics, chemistry, material sciences, biology, engineering) and technological applications (such as healthcare and life sciences, energy and environment, electronics, communications and computing, manufacturing & materials) because of its nano-scale where the materials properties are significantly different from those of the same materials in bulk or macroscopic form. Although there is no sharp distinction between them, nanoscience is concerned with understanding some (footnote continued) potential applications: for example, in reinforced composites, sensors, nanoelectronics and display devices, etc. phenomena (such as surface tension/properties, quantum effects, molecular assembly) and their influence on the properties of material, whereas nanotechnology aim to exploit these effects to create structures, devices and systems with novel and significantly improved properties and functions due to their size (RS and RAE report, 2004). Therefore, nanotechnology encompasses the work of nanoscale science, increased understandings of interactions in the atomic or molecular scale and the capability to characterize and control materials using nano-tools. Nanotechnology, which is both scientific and technical (Kearnes report), is fundamentally about making things (i.e. the construction, generation and growth of objects, devices and architecture). Since the concept and meaning of nanoscience and nanotechnology is wide ranging, the only feature in common is their nano-dimension or scale by which it operates. We found the term nanotechnology to be more appropriate instead of using both terms which may lead to some confusion Diversity of nanotechnology Nanotechnology has a multidisciplinary character, affecting multiple traditional technologies, scientific disciplines and industries. Additionally, through the nanotech revolution, boundaries between previously distinctive disciplines such as mechanics and chemistry begin to blur, stimulating knowledge transfer and cross-fertilization (Nicolau, 2004). Many scientists believe that nanomaterials will induce a new generation of consumer products, based on miniaturized computer chips, nanoscale sensors, and devices for sorting DNA molecules, integrating microsystems and biotechnology (Ikezawa, 2001). Nanotechnology innovation can be characterized as evolutionary from micro to nano. An important feature of nanotech is that it is not restricted to the realm of advanced materials, extending also to manufacturing processes, biotechnology and pharmacy, electronics and IT, as well as other technologies. Table 1 shows relevant examples of nanotech impacts and possible applications in various technology realms. 2 In the advanced materials realm, nanomaterials [three categories exist based on structural shape: (i) materials that have one dimension in nanoscale are layers, such as thin films or surface coatings with length; (ii) materials that are nanoscale in two dimensions include nanowires and nanotubes with length and width; (iii) materials that are nanoscale in three dimensions are particles, for example colloids and quantum dots with length, width and depth] are going to transform medicine and medical instruments, electric devices, energy sector, cosmetics, and chemical materials. Disease diagnosis, drug and gene therapies are likely to be affected in 2 The areas of applications were categorized on the basis of a report published by The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering on Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties (2004). Table 1 Nanotechnology applications in various technology realms Categories Examples of Materials Examples of Applications I. Applications in the advanced materials realms One dimensional nanomaterials Thin films and layers Breathable and waterproof fabrics, electronic devices, vehicles Engineered surfaces Fuel cells, catalysts Two dimensional nanomaterials Carbon nanotubes Reinforced composites, antistatic packaging, sensors, nanoelectronics, display devices Inorganic nanotubes Semiconductor nanowires Catalysis, photo-catalysis, energy storage High-density data storage, electronic and opto-electronic nanodevices, quantum devices Three dimensional nanomaterials Nanoparticles Sunscreens, cosmetics, textiles, aircraft paint coatings, targeted drug delivery, catalysts, water remediation, car bumpers and tyres Nanocrystalline materials Fullerenes (spherical C 60 carbon materials) Dendrimers (spherical polymeric molecules) Quantum dots (nanoparticles of semiconductors) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), motors, microsensors, orthopaedic implants, artificial heart valves Ball bearings to lubricate surfaces, drug delivery vehicles, electronic circuits Nanoscale carrier molecules in drug delivery, environmental clean-up, coatings, inks Solar cells, composites, fluorescent biological labels II. Applications in the biotechnology and Pharmacy realm Bio-mimetic structures Catenanes and rotaxanes Disease diagnosis, drug delivery, molecular imaging Nanocrystalline silver Wound dressing Array technologies DNA chip Gene and protein analysis Lab-on-a-chip Sensing and supporting disease diagnosis Self-assembly DNA-based structure (artificial crystals) Hybrid nanomachine Drug delivery Functionalized nanoparticle (polymer conjugates) Drug therapies, gene therapies, cystic fibrosis and immune deficiencies III. Applications in the electronics and IT realm Information storage Low dielectrics and higher-conductivity interconnects (wiring) Semiconductor nanowires DRAM for digital camera, personal computer, video camera etc. Hard disk drive for PC, DVD player, CD player Optoelectronics Photonic crystals Displays, optical sensing, optical computing Optical devices (nanowires) Point-of-care health screening, constant monitoring of diabetes or critical care Sensors Nanocrystalline materials Monitoring the quality of drinking water, state and performance of with increasing selectivity products and materials, detecting and tracking pollutants, checking food for edibility Source: The authors design. K. Miyazaki, N. Islam / Technovation 27 (2007) 664 K. Miyazaki, N. Islam / Technovation 27 (2007) (zero year for Nanotech) The term Nanotechnology first used by Norio Taniguchi (nanotechnology was popularised) Nano-intermediate Products in the Market Scanning Tunneling Microscope invention by H.Rohrer and G.K.Binnig Carbon Nanotube discovery by Sumio Iijima Buckyballs (Fullerene) discovery by R. Smalley, R.C.Curl Jr., H.Kroto National Nanotechnology Iniatiative by The US Govt. for starting Nanotechnology of the public Fig. 1. Pathway of major nanotechnology discoveries. the biotechnology and pharmacy realm. Finally, nanotechnology is also expected to bring about profound changes to the consumer electronics area thanks to its innovative applications in electronics and IT realm A brief history of nanotechnology The history of nanotechnology began in 1959, when Richard Feynman (a physicist of the California Institute of Technology), in his famous lecture There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom, proposed the concept of nanotechnology. It suggested that the frontiers of knowledge and technology at which people should be aiming could be found not only in physics, but also in nano-sized fields. In the 1980s, the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), a computer imaging system with a surface probe, enabled the manipulation of atoms and molecules, by which most significant change has been brought in this field. Since then, developments in nanotech continued with significant discoveries of nanomaterials such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. A pathway of major nanotechnology discoveries is presented in Fig. 1. An important revolution in analytical instruments, preceding discoveries and subsequent technological advancement (Rosenberg, 1982), stimulated the exploration of nanoscale structures and the developments of nanoscale technologies. It has been estimated that nanotechnology is currently at a level of development similar to early commercial applications of information technology in the late 1960s or to the emergence of biotechnology in the 1980s (Roco, 2005), and further impressive discoveries, transforming the affected technological domains, are to be expected. 3. Research problem and method The main objective of this paper is to analyze the past developments and current status of nanotech research worldwide. Previous studies include Meyer s (2001) analysis based on SCI database, which included 5400 nanotechrelated papers focusing on the period of the 1990s, revealing S T linkage between patents and publications; Hullmann and Meyer s study (2003) with SCI papers from 1981 to 1998, delineating nanotech from the so-called nanoscience (encompassing scientific disciplines affected by the nanotech revolution, but pursuing mostly basic research); and recently Leydesdorff and Zhou (2006) with an analysis of China s performance in nanotech, focused on journal-journal citation relations. Other recent studies related to nanotech by Bhat (2005), Wonglimpiyarat (2005) and Hung and Chu (2006). It can be argued that thanks to new scientific discoveries and commercial developments, these boundaries are blurred nowadays, and science and technology researchers and policy makers could greatly benefit from a re-examination of the status of the entire domain of nanotech in the mid-2000s. This analysis is based on relevant scientific outputs in a global perspective nanotech-related academic publications from Elsevier COMPENDEX database in a 15-year time- frame ( ); starting with first relevant academic articles and tracking almost the entire lifecycle of the technology evolution. Altogether 28,559 nanotechrelated articles were retrieved through queries; based on 175 specialist keywords, 3 derived from the nano science 3 The keywords included among others: nanomaterial, nanoparticle, nanocrystal, nanocomposite, carcon nanotubes, fullerenes, nanoscale, K. Miyazaki, N. Islam / Technovation 27 (2007) and technology institute (NSTI) publications. The subsequent analysis was performed using a dedicated tech mining software vantage point, automating mining and clustering of terms occurring in article abstracts and article descriptors such as authors; affiliations or keywords. The article attempts to answer a fundamental question: (i) What type of organizations are most active in scientific and engineering research related to nanotech (what are the top countries, top institutions, top authors in the relevant research and what is the science profile of advanced countries related to nanotech)? The authors attempt to identify key countries and actors in nanotech research activities, and how it has changed by scientific output over time. The research involves cross-country comparisons, but at the same time looks at Asian as well as Western countries, trying to identify similarities and potential for international co-operation, especially when contrasting the Asian output with contributions from the EU and the United States. Apart from scientific output measures and quantitative assessment, the authors also attempt to identify distinctive scientific profiles of individual countries, analyzing their particular research interests and knowledge networks of nanotech practitioners. Similar studies were conducted on robotics (Kumaresan and Miyazaki, 1999) and software industry (Klincewicz and Miyazaki, 2005). Other relevant works on innovation system include Lastres (1994) who studied the Japanese system of innovation in advanced materials. The study applies tech mining methodology, proposed by Porter and Cunningham (2005), combining bibliometrics with text mining and quantitative study. Tech mining analyzes relations between actors and technologies within a given innovation system, based on input data from article or patent databases. The following research was based on an article set extracted from Elsevier COMPENDEX database, one of the most representative collections of peer-reviewed scientific and technical articles, aggregates article abstracts from the leading science and engineering journals (among others: Journal of Physical Chemistry, Langmuir, Synthetic Metals, Advanced Materials, JACS, Nanotechnology, Fullerene Science and Technology, IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology etc.), not only journals published by Elsevier as well as proceedings of the International Society for Optical Engineering and the Materials Research Society Symposium, etc. The authors found the mere use of prefix nano- of previous studies (Meyer, 2001; Hullmann and Maeyer, 2003) as too restrictive and not encompassing many relevant nanotechnological categories. The broad spectrum of nanotech and the use of 175 keywords instead of the prefix nano- offer an opportunity (footnote continued) nanotubes, nanostructures, nanofiber, plastic nanocomposites, strainresistant fabrics, nanocoating, nanofilms, nanostructures thin films, nanorobotics, quantum dot lasers, nanosensor, biological nanosensor, targeted nano-therapeutics, etc. to better capture the relevant developments. In addition, the authors used specialist tech mining software vantage point, which goes beyond limitations of traditional, paper-based bibliometric research, usually involving simple but not always reliable techniques such as co-word analysis the use of specialist computer software helps us to statistically and textually analyze
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