Israel is a Nanotech Superpower

Israel is a Nanotech Superpower

Israel has already established itself as a key player in the cybersecurity, networking, social media and telecommunications sectors. But did you know that Israel is also a hotbed for nanotechnology research and development?

Israel has the third-largest concentration of nanotechnology start-up companies, surpassed only by California’s Silicon Valley and Boston’s technology corridor. Overall, the country has around 80 companies both large and small working in its nanotech sector.

The nation made the decision to focus on nanotechnology in 2007. Within five years, the sector was booming, with more than USD 101 million invested in basic equipment and an additional USD 45 million invested in new infrastructure and facilities. The country has even pooled its intellectual resources together, creating the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative – it has been charged with setting the country’s goals and priorities for the advancement of the nanotechnology.

Richard Robinson, a professor at Cornell University and a visiting scholar at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Chemistry, has called Israel “ahead of the curve on nanotechnology research.”

And how could it not be? To date, Israeli nanotechnology researchers have filed over 1500 patents, published over 10000 scientific articles and demonstrated success with 129 nanotechnology innovations.

One of those successful innovations, as the Times of Israel highlights, is “semiconductor nanocrystals that can emit and provide extra brilliance to light,” making it possible to enhance the colour of display screens. This success story was developed by Qlight, a company that was acquired by Merck (NYSE:MRK) in 2015.

Other projects in Israel’s nanotechnology development pipeline include “water purification membranes, agents for oral drug delivery, inkjet digital printing systems, diagnostic tools, holographic storage systems — and an ‘e-beam on a chip,’ which is similar to a laser beam, to be used for semiconductor manufacturing.”

“We have invested a lot of money in nanotech, but I am positive the investment will pay off big. We have so far 55 start-ups with unique ideas and projects that no one anywhere else is doing. If even just one of those turns into a billion-dollar company, that will have already made the investment worthwhile – and I believe we have a lot more than one of those unicorns on our side,” commented Dan Vilenski, an Israeli entrepreneur who believes nanotech will be the country’s next billion-dollar business.

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