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`Lack of information flow a major hurdle for nanotechnology'

Our Bureau

Bangalore , Dec. 4

NANOTECHNOLOGY has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide, and a $100 million market in India.

Various companies are including nanoscience in their products. Samsung recently went `Nano' with washing machines and refrigerators. Clothing maker Arvind Mills also uses this technology to make anti-spill clothes. Besides, toothbrushes, soaps and beauty products also use this science to make intelligent products. A number of start-ups in this domain have arrived over the last year.

Bangalore-based Qtech Nanosystems and Mumbai-based YashNanotech were born just a year ago and are looking to ride the wave the industry promises. YashNanotech is planning to spend Rs 500 crore on a manufacturing facility to be set up either at Hyderabad or Bangalore. It also plans to handle offshore research assignments in India. At the seminar on `Demystifying Nanotechnology', experts and key decision makers of the industry converged in the city to discuss about issues impeding the industry. Neither funding nor talent was a problem, they said. Lack of information flow was unanimously declared the main hurdle.

Dr Rudra Pratap, Associate Professor, IISc and Chief Scientific Advisor at Cranes Software's MEMS research lab, said, "Information dissemination is not well done in the country."

Dr Pratap proposed a new business model for research and development (R&D) labs. "The main problem haunting university and industry is lack of clarity on R&D accounting," he said. Another sensitive issue is nervousness about ROI (return on investment). Universities too suffer from a lack of clarity on the sharing of intellectual property rights, he added.

The nanotechnology market in the country stands at $100 million and is set to rise fast, according to industry players. It will not exist as a separate entity, but grow with other industries. Only in 2010, will it mature from a science and emerge as a disruptive technology. "The main industries that can use nanotechnology are healthcare, semiconductor and chemical," said Ms Paramjyothi Chowti, COO of YashNanotech.

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