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Bridging the Nano-gap: From Scientific Discovery to Real World Products

  • Partha Sarathi Dutta (a1)


Going from a small scale laboratory invention or discovery to a large scale application is not a trivial task and incorporating them into a product for a viable business is even more difficult. As technologies approach final products and applications, the number of criteria it must meet increases exponentially. Economics of the manufacturing process, environmental issues, intellectual property management, etc. needs to be assessed and monitored carefully. Bridging the gap from research to business not only needs multi-disciplinary understanding of the various aspects of the technology, but also how and what it could potentially enable or replace in current technologies and how to go about it through partnerships with global business entities. Especially with new materials, such as nano-scale materials, technology push needs to be rigorous and often the end results are uncertain. One needs to start from a large number of end user applications and narrow down to 1-2 high value-add or high volume opportunities. This process also requires constant development of the existing products to meet the exact needs for the high opportunity end markets. Timing for such efforts is crucial and the resources needed for such activities are often under-estimated by small start-up firms. Even for materials with well understood end products and established markets, significant market pull requires huge investments in product reliability demonstrations, cost of manufacturing, etc. Innovation, flexibility, change, educated risk, adaptability, focus and excellence are all key drivers and necessary ingredients for a successful and sustainable start-up venture. While scientific and engineering innovations are absolutely necessary, the metric for success for any business is revenue generation. Finding the right mechanisms for closing this gap (so-called the valley of death) is where the innovations of entrepreneurs lies. In this paper, I will share some of my personal learning experiences through the start-up company Applied Nanoworks Inc., (now Auterra Inc.).



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1Large collection of books on “nanotechnology” at
2Large number of websites on nano-business, nano-technology and nano-conferences
3 Dobson, P., Nanotechnology as the solution provider for businesses, Presentation on Oxford University Begbroke Science Park (2005)


Bridging the Nano-gap: From Scientific Discovery to Real World Products

  • Partha Sarathi Dutta (a1)


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