"You'll roll down your big screen TV. And your cell phone? Just roll it up and stash it in your pocket or purse."
- Hany Aziz, NSERC/Dalsa Industrial Research Chair
A history of innovation and commercialization of great ideas has made Waterloo Region the area to watch for emerging industrial trends for over 100 years.
That reputation continues to grow - in virtually all industry sectors, the spirit of collaboration that thrives here has fostered unprecedented numbers of product success stories in the exciting new world of advanced materials.
Our Region's leadership in nanotechnology research and development has encouraged world-renowned corporations to establish facilities here - hiring the highly skilled scientists and engineers graduating out of our universities to develop advanced materials and manufacturers unique nanotechnology-enabled products.
Large scale nanotechnology 'users' such as BlackBerry, COM DEV and Teledyne DALSA, operate alongside experts in engineering (like Angstrom Engineering, PEER Group), and innovators (such as ON Semiconductor, Lumotune and Nicoya Lifesciences).
A unique academic environment with cooperative partnerships with high-tech businesses is fuelling unprecedented discovery in Waterloo Region using nanotechnology:
Nanoparticles are being developed that, after being injected into the eyes of patients with macular degeneration, promise to dramatically reduce the number of treatments required to keep the disease in check and increase the effectiveness of each treatment.
Similar technology is being used to target cancer cells, and the concept has potential for success against other diseases.
Flexible, organic, light-emitting devices built on carbon-based semiconductors have been developed that are minimizing weight, adding durability and costing less to produce that traditionally produced silicon semiconductors.
Now being tested and refined at nano research facilities here in Waterloo Region, this discovery could revolutionize displays used in every electronic market.
The potential to develop more sustainable, renewable energy and electric vehicles has inspired research into improving battery performance.
By intimately mixing insulating sulphur and conductive carbon on the nanoscale, major advancements are being realized.
In developing countries, the safety of local drinking water is an everyday health concern, yet traditional testing to confirm water quality takes weeks.
Using nanotechnology, systems design engineers are perfecting affordable instrumentation that can conduct on-the-spot testing for reliable results in just minutes.
Tiny, nanocrystalline cellulose fibres, derived from forestry and agricultural waste, are being combined with different plastics to improve a material's existing properties or add entirely new ones.
This nanotechnology-enabled development, pioneered in Waterloo Region, is already benefiting components manufactured for the automotive industry and is being evaluated for use in other industries, from consumer packaging to high-performance window applications.
The breakthrough initiatives in our Region, working with and assembling molecules at the tiny, sub-micron level, are promising to transform products in every industry sector. In fact, across all sectors globally from 2012 to 2014, sales of nanointermediates grew from $167 billion to $453 billion, while sales of nano-enabled products grew from $848 billion to $1.6 trillion. (2015)