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News & Events

1 December 2008

The era of nano-writing and of super-polymers begins

€ 600.000 awarded to the winners of the 4th edition of Nanochallenge and Polymerchallenge by Veneto Nanotech and IMAST.

ThunderNiL for the nanotechnology category, with a technology which is able to drastically improve data storage on DVDs and the performances of photovoltaic panels, and Chismatech for the polymers category, with an innovative polymer harder than carbon and design structure tougher than any honey comb sandwich.

(Padova – 29/11/2008) The two winners of 600.000 Euros of the 4th edition of Nanochallenge and Polymerchallenge have been announced.
ThunderNIL, a start-up from the TASC-CNR laboratory of Triest (Italy), won in the Nanotechnology category among 9 finalist teams coming from USA, Serbia, Czech Republic and Italy. The project is a revolution in the production of many electronic and optical devices. The technology is based on an ultra rapid imprinting technique able to etch traces of few nanometers. «We will be able to realize – explains Maurizio Tormen, one of the founders – nanostrucured surfaces with higher resolution and writing speed, comparing to existing techniques, and to reduce production costs and provide better performance of the devices. For example a normal DVD will contain a thousand times more information and solar cells will be more efficient and less expensive enabling large scale diffusion».

Chismatech won the Polymerchallenge with a super polymer with high mechanical properties. Chismatech is a start-up founded in Catania (Italy) by three young researchers with long experience in the sector of advanced materials. The novelties of this auxetic material are in the shape and composition of the material and in the innovative production process based on RTM injection. The structure substitutes the traditional honeycomb of the polyurethane sandwiches with a new chiral structure obtained by combining circular elements linked by ligaments. The three researchers coming from Catania have succeeded in obtaining a plastic which can be bent easily on complex curves, but does not acquire the “saddle” shape as the traditional honeycomb ones do. The new material has high mechanical resistance and sound absorption properties. Applications are endless: from naval, train and aerospace construction, to the more common building sector and in all the applications that use polyurethane foams.

«It was an extremely hard choice – commented Professor Renato Bozio, Vice Dean for Research at the University of Padova and President of the international jury- due to the high quality of the business proposals received from many different Countries. This confirms the attractiveness of this competition, considered as the most important annual event for researchers looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity».

The finalists were 14 teams selected among more than 40 proposals from Italy, USA, North and East Europe, India, Southern and East Asian. The Final Contest took place at the University of Padova, the third most ancient University of Europe. During the Final Contest, the teams presented before a qualified jury: Renato Bozio – Vice Dean for Research and Professor of Chemistry at University of Padova; Jorgos Achtsivassilis - Senior Analyst for European Operations in Lux Research; Gianfranco Innocenti – Responsible for Microtechnologies and Nanotechnologies at Fiat Research Center; Robert Jelski – Founder of Capital-E; Maurizio Guglielmini - Global Relationship Manager at Banco di Napoli; Andreas Leson – Deputy Director and Head of Department PVD and Nanotechnology at Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS; Luigi Nicolais – Professor of Material and Science Technologies and of Polymers Technology at Università di Napoli Federico II; Antonella Pirazzoli – Responsible for Farmacogenetics and Clincal Genetics at GlaxoSmithKline – Pharmaceuticals; Alessandro Piva Senior Analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers; Virginio Sarto Responsible for Research and Development at BASF Italia; Ludovica Schneider – Chief Technology Officer at Alenia Aeronautica; Marco Tecchio - Vice President Engineering at Carraro.
The competition does not end with the Final Contest. To help the most promising technologies raise funds and create new ventures, Veneto Nanotech and IMAST will present the best finalist teams to the major Italian and International venture capitalist and investors during the following months.

This year Nanochallenge and Polymerchallenge received strong support from private enterprises that have sponsored the competition and participated in the selection process: Dainese and Gear-World of Gruppo Carraro, Alenia Aeronautica, Basf, Bracco, Carel, Eurotech, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Lux Research.

Co-funded Project by:

Unione Europea

Repubblica Italiana

Regione Veneto

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