Penn State


University/Industry Partnership A Big Lever for the Smallest Science

Little doubt exists that nanotechnology offers great promise to product manufacturers and innovators at numerous levels of commerce. While nanomaterials are by no means new, the field of nanotechnology offers a new frontier for product optimization and innovation to manufacturers willing to explore new materials, apply them to existing products, and invent new ones.

nano industry

As additives, nanoparticles have improved mature products, such as steel and composite materials for decades. More recently, the exploitation of nanomaterials for their antimicrobial and surfactant properties has resulted in the invention of such products as self-cleaning glass, soil-resistant fabrics, and odor-free socks.

The full benefits of nanotechnology's competitive advantages are expected to emerge in successive stages: first, with the use of nanoparticles as additives to existing products; next with the exploitation of the surface characteristics of nanoparticles to improve chemical reactions such as catalysis and interfacial bonding; and finally to enable the development of completely new products, such as optically switched computers, medical diagnostic systems, target-specific drug delivery systems, and a host of other uses, as yet unimagined.

The full range of commercial opportunities in the field of nanotechnology is almost unimaginably broad. Winners in the field are likely to be those companies with the wisdom to include nanotechnology in their business plans and the foresight to partner with research institutions capable of leveraging the power of existing market activity to the next level of product development. For decades, in numerous university/industry collaborations, Penn State has proven its value as such a partner.

To give some examples specific to nanotechnology: Between the years 2000 and 2005, one hundred twenty-five companies sponsored $22 million in nanotechnology research at Penn State. Between 2002 and 2004, Penn State faculty researchers co-published 63 nanotechnology papers with industry partners. In that same timeframe, Penn State was awarded 30 nanotechnology patents.

To date, as a result of Penn State's leadership in the field, eleven nanotechnology companies have been spun out of the university, including: Anacor Pharmaceuticals, BioPore, Electro Polymer Technologies, NanoHorizons, NanoPlex Technologies, NanoStar, Keystone Nano, Sentechbiomed Corporation, TRS Technologies, Inc., Tienzyme and VioQuest nanotechnology.

Penn State's Industrial Research Office (IRO) offers a full complement of product/process research, development and optimization services to companies engaged in the field of nanotechnology throughout the Commonwealth. The University's Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) offers frequent industry training seminars for company employees, both on campus and on manufacturers' sites. Between 2003 and 2005 more than 300 companies participated in the university's nanotechnology educational and outreach programs.

This web page is designed to give you access to the full range of university/industry partnering opportunities in the field of nanotechnology at Penn State. Please click on one of the links below for further information.

Huck Institute of Life Sciences
Materials Research Institute
Industrial Research Office
Intellectual Property Office
Research Centers Page
Research Facilities Page