Monday, 19 September 2011

Safety Sells: product stewardship and sustainability for nanotechnology

NovioNano® is the trusted provider of safety solutions for all nanotechnologies and its products.

Being at the forefront of nanosafety since 2006, we aid companies to gain maximum understanding on safety of their nanoproducts - during manufacturing as well as in-use. No matter if you are a nanotechnologies producer, a user or both, we have all the tools to support your business.

Safety is regarded too often as a burdensome nuisance and a money guzzler. An opinion that couldn’t be more wrong. Safety is a top-priority for consumers and, as a consequence, safety facts are a means to create value. Also, companies with high standards in occupational safety and product safety perform better1.

As an important building block for your business development, product stewardship and sustainability for nanotechnology products can be evaluated by Novionano ® for their safety. In this month’s newsflash, we feature our state of the art occupational safety package. What can we do for you to determine the occupational safety of your nanoproduct offerings?

Novionano® offers a comprehensive nano safety management package based on real data. This includes:

1) Inventory of nanomaterials (optional: assessment of Safety Data Sheets)
2) Identification of emission sources of nano-sized particles and aerosols from lab
scale to industrial production (Figure 1)
3) Exposure measurements (PIMEX Movie)
4) Sampling and offline analysis of emitted materials in our nanolab
5) Interpretation and advise according to current recommendations by OECD, ISO,
EPA, ASTM 2, including training

Fig 1. State of the art nano-particles measurement equipment, the Philips Aerasense NanoTracer® which determines particle numbers and diameters ranging from 10-300 nanometer.

PIMEX, PIcture Mix Exposure

The main idea of this unique combination of real time video and simultaneous NanoTracer® measurements, is to make invisible hazards in the work environment like exposure to dangerous chemicals, nanoparticles, physical load and noise, visible and in this manner facilitate the reduction of hazards in workplaces.

1 Harvard Business Review. DOI : 10.1225/692042
2 OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; ISO:International Organization for Standardization; EPA: Environmental Protection Agency USA; ASTM:formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials


NovioNano | Ferdy Bremmer | T: +31 (0) 652637511 | E:

Don’t miss next month’s NovioNano® news feature which will be on the topic of “Product Perfection": a focus on physical-chemical characterization and toxicity testing of nanoproducts.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Graphene Overtaking Carbon Nanotubes

By Cathleen Thiele, Technology Analyst, IDTechEx 

Graphene Overtaking Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) have not yet met commercial expectations from a decade ago, and now hot on its heels is graphene. Graphene is considered a hot candidate for applications such as computers, displays, photovoltaics, and flexible electronics.

IDTechEx market forecasts indicate that CNT and graphene transistors may be commercially available in volume from 2015 onwards, according to the new report “Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene for Electronics Applications 2011-2021”
According to IDTechEx, the biggest opportunity for both materials is in printed and potentially printed electronics, where the value of these devices that partly incorporate these materials will reach over $44 billion in 2021.

In a comparably short time a large amount of graphene materials have become commercially available contributing to further advancements and application development. Potentially at a fraction of the cost of CNTs, graphene may displace carbon nanotubes and even Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) in some applications.

Displays and PV are Key Drivers
Flexible, see-through displays may be the one application that finally puts graphene into the commercial spotlight. Combined with other flexible, transparent electronic components being developed at Rice University and elsewhere, the breakthrough could lead to computers and solar cells that wrap around just about anything. IDTechEx predicts a market volume of over $25 billion in 2021 for OLED displays and PV alone, some of which will use graphene.

Graphene and its compounds are increasingly used to make transistors that show extremely good performance - a progress that comes with new cheaper production processes for the raw material. Transistors on the basis of graphene are considered to be potential successors for the some silicon components currently in use. Due to the fact that an electron can move faster through graphene than through silicon, the material shows potential to enable terahertz computing.

Promise for CNTs
On the other hand, carbon nanotubes are still a strong focus of research. They too are used for making transistors and are applied as conductive layers for the rapidly growing touch screen market. Still considered a viable replacement for ITO transparent conductors in some applications, CNTs are not out of the game yet. While the cost of carbon nanotubes was once prohibitive, it has been coming down in recent years as chemical companies build up manufacturing capacity.

However, there are still hurdles to overcome on both sides. For carbon nanotubes these are especially related to the separation issue and consistent growth. Without the latter, carbon nanotubes will probably never be used for high-volume electronic applications. Graphene, on the other hand, lacks the ability to act as a switch because it has no band gap. However, recent activities of several academic institutions show promise that this restraining issue will soon be solved.

Printed Electronics Market
Nevertheless, a very important result from both sides for the printed electronics market are printable CNT inks and graphene-based inks that are beginning to hit the market. Learn more about the CNT & Graphene market in the latest IDTechEx report on the topic

The upcoming Printed Electronics & Photovoltaics USA conference & exhibition, which will take place in Santa Clara on November 30 and December 1, will cover all this and more in great detail

Dr Narayan Hosmane from Northern Illinois University will tell us how he almost by accident produced high-yields of graphene instead of the expected single-wall carbon nanotubes by using the Dry-Ice Method. Synthetic methodologies for producing graphene on large quantities will be the topic of his presentation.

On the applications side, Kate Duncan from CERDEC, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, will go into detail about direct write approaches to nanoscale electronics.

Polymer solar cells have made significant progress in the past few years. Prof Yang Yang, head of the Yang Group at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will give a brief summary on the state-of-the-art status on this and UCLA developments with G-CNTs, a hybrid graphene-carbon nanotube material.

US company Vorbeck Materials Inc. says that products using their patented graphene based electronic ink will appear in major retail stores sometime this year. Dr Sanjay Monie, Technology Development Manager, will give the latest R&D news on the Vor-ink™ line of conductive inks and coatings for the printed electronics industry, the world's first graphene-based commercial products.

Carbon Nanotubes
Stephen Turner, Brewer Science, will talk about Aromatic Hydrocarbon Functionalization of carbon nanotubes for conductive applications, “a new functionalization path that affords high concentration dispersions without destroying the electronic properties of the nanotube,“ as he puts it. CNTRENE® carbon nanotube solutions is only one of the innovative materials developed at Brewer Science for applications in semiconductors, advanced packaging/3-D ICs, MEMS, displays, LEDs, and printed electronics.

And of course, applications of carbon nanotubes will be among the topics:
Only recently, SouthWest Nanotechnologies (SWeNT) received a two-year, $500,000 Oklahoma Research Grant to commercialize printed TFTs using semiconducting inks, based on its single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) technology in collaboration with Panasonic Boston Lab (PBL). Dr Philip Wallis, Director of Operations at SWeNT, the leading SWCNT producer in the U.S., will tell us more about their proprietary V2V™ ink technology and how they fabricate and test the TFT devices to assure the necessary performance is demonstrated.

And last, but not least, CNT field emission will be the topic of Dr Jamie Nova’s talk, Director of Operations at Applied Nanotech (ANI). The company offers a wide range of other metallic inks and pastes. At the 2010 show Applied Nanotech announced the introduction of one of the most suitable potential replacements for coated substrates - EXCLUCENT™, substrates on flexible transparent PET utilizing copper-based metallic mesh.

Printed Electronics USA 2011 will take place from November 30 to December 1, with Masterclasses being held on November 29 and December 2 at the Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. In addition, tours to local centers of excellence have been arranged, giving delegates a chance to see products and operations first hand. For full details, visit

For more information on the topic please contact the author Cathleen Thiele at or to find out more about the Printed Electronics USA 2011 conference please contact the Event Manager Mrs. Chris Clare at

IDTechEx Dates:

RFID Europe 2011 | 27-28 September 2011 | Cambridge, UK
Energy Harvesting & Storage USA 2011 | 15-16 November | Boston, USA
Wireless Sensor Networks & RTLS USA 2011 | 15-16 November | Boston, USA
Printed Electronics & Photovoltaics USA 2011 | November 30 – December 1 | Santa Clara, CA, USA
Electric Vehicles: Land, Sea, Air USA 2012 | March 27-28, 2012 | San Jose, CA, USA

Widening Government Support for Printed Electronics

By Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman, IDTechEx

This year, the world's largest event on printed electronics, "printed Electronics USA" will reflect the widening government support for printed electronics. Beyond the burgeoning programs at universities and government research centers, this is particularly evident in military and electric vehicle work. The US Army reflects this in two presentations. One is an overview of materials printing capabilities and prototype development for US Army applications and the other concerns direct write approaches to nanoscale electronics.

Nowhere is the increased government support more in evidence than with electric vehicles by land, water and air, however. Governments and industry have committed $60 billion to electric vehicle programs in the last two years. New initiatives keep being announced for both hybrid and pure electric vehicles since, for unmanned aircraft, underwater and indoor vehicles we are in the age of the pure electric vehicle but for on and off-road vehicles, seagoing craft  and manned aircraft we are in the age of the hybrid electric vehicle.

For example, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently announced more than $175 million over the next three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. The funding will support 40 projects across 15 states and will help improve the fuel efficiency of next generation vehicles. The projects will target new innovations throughout the vehicle, including better fuels and lubricants, lighter weight materials, longer-lasting and cheaper electric vehicle batteries and components, more efficient engine technologies, and more. This comprehensive approach to vehicle efficiency research and development will help ensure the technologies are available to help automakers achieve recently announced fuel efficiency standards.

The President announced historic fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks which will bring fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by Model Year 2025 and which, combined with steps already taken by this administration, will save American families $1.7 trillion at the pump and reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels by 2025. The Administration then announced first-of-their-kind fuel-efficiency standards for work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, which will save American businesses who operate and own these commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program mainly through hybrid electric vehicles.

"The Department of Energy is investing in new advanced technologies that will significantly improve vehicle fuel economy, save consumers money, and create skilled jobs for Americans," said Secretary Chu. "Investments in the next generation of autos will strengthen our economy and lead to a more fuel-efficient, clean energy future."

The funds will leverage additional investments by the grantees to support projects totalling more than $300 million. The selections announced focus on eight approaches to improving vehicle efficiency, three of them heavily involving printed electronics, given that the term embraces electrics and thin film technologies progressing towards being printed. These three are:

Advanced cells and design technology for electric drive batteries: Twelve projects awarded to develop high energy or high power batteries for electric vehicles that should significantly exceed existing state-of-the-art technologies in terms of performance and/or cost. Traction batteries constitute up to 60% of the cost of an electric vehicle. Replacement of the battery when it fails may be uneconomic, causing the vehicle to be disposed of early - the opposite of a green initiative.

The second subject supported that involves printed electronics is advanced power electronics and electric motor technology: Four projects awarded to develop the next generation of power inverters and electric motors to meet demanding performance targets while achieving significant cost reductions. The latest of the 15 current IDTechEx reports on electric vehicle markets, vehicle types and key technologies is, "Electric Motors for Electric Vehicles 2012-2022".

Thirdly, the support for thermoelectric and enabling engine technology is all about thin film technology. Here, three sub-projects awarded to improve the efficiency of thermoelectric devices to convert engine waste heat to electricity. Selections of projects to develop early-stage enabling engine technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions are taking place this month.

The event Printed Electronics USA will this year see a presentation from the legendary Taiwanese government research laboratory ITRI on its printed electronics research and those electric vehicle aspects will be covered by many speakers. For example, IDTechEx presents on "Printing Electric Vehicles", this overview encompassing both the electronics and the electrics from lighting to vehicle management systems, energy harvesting and smart skin. Third generation traction battery leaders Planar Energy Devices and PolyPlus Battery Company will describe how printing and printing- like processes are increasingly used for batteries that are increasingly solid state, safely packing far more energy.

According to the IDTechEx report, "Printed, Organic  & Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2011-2021", the printed electronics business is set to be over $55 billion in ten years and around $300 billion in twenty years as the familiar exponential kicks in. The early wins already include photovoltaics - the subject of fourteen presentations at the event - and a host of consumer novelties and packaging enhancements. Another early success has been value engineering conventional electronic products such as LCD flat screen television by replacing several complex layers with one printed layer.

Expect photovoltaics to be the single largest sector of printed electronics in 2021, with that including work on flexible and stretchable photovoltaics around and even under electric vehicles because it will be harvesting infrared not just visible light. Using three or four forms of printed energy harvesting in and on an electric vehicle, including smart textiles, will substantially increase their range, functionality and green credentials. Then there is the rapid move to solar charging stations for electric vehicles as analysed in the new IDTechEx report, "Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2011-2021".

Printed Electronics USA 2011, being held in Santa Clara, CA on November 30-December 1 will cover all of these topics and more.  The event features two full days of conference sessions, a large trade show, unique, expert-led Masterclasses and company tours.  In addition, you can visit "Demonstration Street", the one place in the World where you can see more types of printed electronics samples than any other, in addition to attendees receiving free samples of printed electronics.  For more information and to register, see

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2011-2021

The market for printed and potentially printed electronics will rise to $44.25 billion in 2021.

IDTechEx find that the market for printed and thin film electronics will be $2.2 Billion in 2011. 43% of that will be predominately organic electronics - such as OLED display modules. Of the total market in 2011, 38% will be printed. Initially photovoltaics, OLED and e-paper displays grow rapidly, followed by thin film transistor circuits, sensors and batteries. By 2021 the market will be worth $44.25 Billion, with 56% printed and 43% on flexible substrates.

Learn more at: