Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Big Plans for Nanotechnology in Russia


MOSCOW, RUSSIA. “As has often happened in Russia, we have had the priority in scientific invention, but completely lose the market,” Anatoly Chubais, chief executive of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, Rusnano[], told members of the Scientific American international editions during a visit today. The state-owned venture-capital company aims to change that, intending to grow Russian-made nanotechnology products, now just 2 percent of the international market, into large-scale domestic industry by 2015 .

He added that Russia intends to move from a “minor league” player in global nanotechnology efforts into the “major league” with a total of $30 billion per year in annual sales in five years.

The main focus initially is to add manufacturing capability for various nanotechnologies. Since the initiative was announced in 2007, Rusnano has received more that 2,000 proposals; it has approved 111 projects to date in the categories of medicine and pharmaceuticals, energy efficiency and clean technologies, optics and electronics, coatings and surface modification, and nanomaterials.

Representatives from two companies addressed the conference today. Optogan, a Finnish company founded in 2004 that makes chips of indium gallium nitride for efficient LEDs, has built a plant in St. Petersburg. Advanced Technologies Center of Moscow, a 20-year-old company that makes atomic force microscopes, plans to build a new plant to double production of the device.

“Our role is to build this bridge [between science and business] and to start up the Russian nanotechnology industry,” said Chubais.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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