Russia's Nanotechnology Initiative Goes on a Spending Spree

Rusnano's deals are becoming numerous. Is a pattern starting to form?

1 min read
Russia's Nanotechnology Initiative Goes on a Spending Spree

I have been fascinated by the Russian government’s foray into nanotechnology; it contains intrigue,  hidden complexities, and more than its share of skepticism.

The list of skeptics even extends to the country's political leaders

"[Rusnano] is the kind of instrument that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't work at all," President Dmitry Medvedev said two years ago, calling the company a "large structure that has a lot of money and that still has to understand how to correctly spend it."

Well, it seems that Rusnano has overcome that learning curve and is spending…a lot. Over at TNT Log this week there is a pretty thorough recap of the deals that Rusnano has been involved in to date.

But so fast and furious is the action at this point that there are already new deals here at the end of the week to add to the list. For instance, Rusnano and Toyota Tsusho have signed a memorandum of cooperation in the fields of electronics, organic chemistry, the environment, and automobile manufacturing.

A fair share of the announced deals really only involve MOUs, and the world of business is littered with MOUs that never actually turn into contracts. Nonetheless, is a picture developing from the deals we have seen thus far? 

It’s hard to say for sure, but at least TNT Log characterizes them as being on the riskier side of the investment scale. And well should they be, in my estimation. If you’re going after market segments that will be affected by the enabling technology of nanotech, then you're likely to find yourself in some pretty risky investments.

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Emily Cooper
Green

Perhaps the most far-reaching technological achievement over the last 50 years has been the steady march toward ever smaller transistors, fitting them more tightly together, and reducing their power consumption. And yet, ever since the two of us started our careers at Intel more than 20 years ago, we’ve been hearing the alarms that the descent into the infinitesimal was about to end. Yet year after year, brilliant new innovations continue to propel the semiconductor industry further.

Along this journey, we engineers had to change the transistor’s architecture as we continued to scale down area and power consumption while boosting performance. The “planar” transistor designs that took us through the last half of the 20th century gave way to 3D fin-shaped devices by the first half of the 2010s. Now, these too have an end date in sight, with a new gate-all-around (GAA) structure rolling into production soon. But we have to look even further ahead because our ability to scale down even this new transistor architecture, which we call RibbonFET, has its limits.

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