China has become a global powerhouse in nanoscience research and will continue to collaborate with other countries to maximize its potential, especially in sectors such as chemical engineering, biomedicine and electronics, a top scientist in China.
Thanks to strong governmental support, more research funding, and active international cooperation, China is now the largest contributor to the most-cited papers related to nanoscience and technology, Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said during the opening ceremony of the 8th International Conference on Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing, which ends on Monday.
Some research highlights in China include smart drug delivery nanorobots to treat tumors, long-endurance lithium ion batteries, green nanoprinting technologies and effective catalysts for industrial applications and carbon dioxide reduction.
“The Chinese government has identified technological innovation as one of the key drivers for economic development in the next decade,” Bai said. “There is no doubt that nanotechnology will play an indispensable role in many strategic and emerging industries.”
Despite China’s recent achievements, “the industrial impact of China’s nanotechnology is limited and there is still a gap between research in nanoscience and the commercialization of nanotechnology,” he said. “Maximizing the potential of scientific discovery and transforming patents into products are still challenging tasks.”
Nanoscience is the study of extremely small things－down to 1 nanometer, a unit of measurement that is a billionth of a meter. At such a tiny scale, the properties of materials are often drastically different: alloys that are weak or brittle can become strong and ductile, while compounds that are chemically inert can become powerful catalysts.
The global nanotechnology market is predicted to exceed $125 billion by 2024, with growing applications in energy, biomedicine, information devices and environmental science, according to a white paper on nanoscience published by Springer Nature, a publisher of academic journals.