Nanotechnology has the potential to become a very large industry with the estimated market value reaching $3 trillion by 2015. Countries around the world are rushing to invest; in the past year the United States invested $1.9 billion in research and development while Canada invested $200 million. Locally the industry has also been heating up as a variety of nanotechnology breakthroughs are starting to be unveiled in Waterloo.
At the University of Waterloo a $150 million dollar nanotechnology and quantum computer center is currently under construction, but the research has already begun. Art Carty, executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology discussed some the amazing nanotechnology that has been coming out of the University’s Nanotechnology program. Cheaper longer lasting batteries, flexible displays, materials for quantum computers, labs on a chip, and even new cancer treatments and drug delivery systems are some of the nanotech applications currently being developed in Waterloo.
University of Waterloo professor Mir Behrad Khamesee garnered international media attention for his nanotechnology micro robot that can be used to clean up toxic waste. The robot is controlled by lasers which allow it to operate in enclosed areas independent of wiring. It floats freely through the air enabling it to work in hazardous or toxic environments, or dust free clean rooms.
Currently the nanotechnology industry is in its infant stages, but as the research slowly turns into commercial applications Waterloo is bound to see an explosion of nanotechnology start ups.