The 7th NRW Nano-Conference sets new standards.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s leading role in the fields of nanotechnology and materials science was clearly demonstrated at the internationally renowned NRW Nano-Conference in Dortmund. In its eighth edition, the event was extended from nanotechnology to the topic of „Innovation in materials and applications“. With the expanded spectrum, current developments in business and science were taken into account and the benefits for visitors increased significantly. Also further innovations like the thematically open calls were positively honoured by the community and numerous new sessions were created.
„Employing nanotechnology in various industrial sectors offers a great economic potential. Key enabling technologies such as nanotechnology will pave the way for answers to societal challenges such as climate change and energy transformation, resource-conserving economies and health and demographic Change“, said Svenja Schulze, Minister of Science. „It is our goal to foster our leading role in Europe in this research area. In NRW we have excellent conditions to make an important contribution to research and to the society through nanotechnology. Münster has demonstrated at its debut that it will be an excellent venue for the conference in the future“. As a cross-sectional technology, nanotechnology has become an inherent part of the development of new materials or electronics. A recent car will not get along without nanotechnology, neither in the e-mobility with its high demands on batteries nor without components for sensors, headlights, operating elements or advanced combustion engines.
The conference focussed on nanotechnology in the context of „Health“, „Electronics“, „New Materials“, „Safety and Social Acceptance“ and „Energy“. For the first time, a session was dedicated to „Nanotechnology as a Business Model“. The number of this session’s participants clearly proved that nanotechnology has found its way from lab to fab. A wide range of exciting R & D projects, products and services were shown at the exceptional exhibition. Besides the demonstration of inspiring projects, the exhibition focussed on the exchange of ideas and networking. To further support the conference’s mission 24 companies presented themselves in 240-second „business pitches“. The conference offered in particular for the young academics dedicated modules, e.g. many young scientists presented their research results on more than 110 posters within the poster exhibition.
Where business and science meet, the topic of funding becomes the center of lively discussions. Within the scope of the Interreg Europe project „NMP-REG“, stakeholders such as business angels engaged in the startup-community were addressed. At the booth of the Interreg V A project „ROCKET“ (Regional Collaboration on Key Enabling Technologies) potential project ideas were discussed and consortia were formed for new cross-border innovation projects.
During the evening event three exhibitors were awarded with the Best Exhibitor Award. Supported by the Young Academics sponsor „nanobay – NB GmbH“, the best three poster presenters were also awarded. All speakers and participants of the poster exhibition will have the opportunity to submit a full paper on their research topic to the journal „Materials Today: Proceedings“.
In the „Nano4School“ area the MExLab Physik of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster gave more than 80 students from all over NRW an intuitive introduction into nanoanalytics. On the basis of a Lego Mindstorm setup the students operated a simplified version of a scanning probe microscope.
The „third day“ of the NRW Nano-Conference was dedicated to company visits. Various sponsors and exhibitors of the conference gave exciting insights into their products. For example, Hitachi High-Technologies Co. together with the Münster-based company nanoAnalytics GmbH presented the Hitachi scanning electron microscope SU8230 equipped with a Bruker EDX system. Magnifications up to 300.000x and a lateral, chemical local resolution of less than 50nm are possible with this benchtop model.
The feedback of the international participants on the conference was very positive. The conference venue will alternate between locations in Münster and Dortmund in the future.