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Flanders’ ecosystem for micro- and nanotech success

By setting up your company in Flanders, you gain access to a close-knit knowledge and business ecosystem that is ideal for your micro- and nanotechnology activities, applications and innovations.

At Flanders’ strategic research centers

imec

Headquartered in Leuven, imec is Europe’s largest independent research and training center and boasts highly-specialized expertise in microelectronics and nanotechnology for applications in the ICT, automotive, health, food and materials sectors – and beyond. Its nanotech R&D activities include:

  • nano-CMOS and novel devices for nanoelectronics, micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS);
  • nanomaterials and nanopatterning;
  • nanoprobes, surface functionalization and self-assembly;
  • molecular interconnects for molecular electronics and bioelectronic circuits.

To top it all off, R&D at imec has a strong link with nanobiotechnology. One of its study areas is, for instance, the chemical and electronic nature of the interface between biospecimens and devices, as well as how signals can be transferred across that interface by means of self-assembled molecular layers.

VIB

Headquartered in Ghent, VIB works closely with Flanders’ universities to unite the strengths of various research teams into a single institute for life sciences and biotechnology.

In addition, VIB and imec have set up the Neuro-Electronics Convergence laboratory together. Located at imec, this unique R&D facility is home to multidisciplinary tools for:

  • semiconductor processing;
  • nanotechnologies;
  • biosensor fabrication;
  • cell culture;
  • molecular biology;
  • electrophysiology;
  • and more.

VITO

VITO is a leading organization for research and technology development in the fields of cleantech and sustainable development. Specifically, the research center is active in the development of nanostructured materials and surfaces, carbon nanotubes and graphene for various nanotech applications. These include multifunctional surfaces, biofunctional devices, ultra-porous media for tissue engineering, and more.

Research institutes

The application areas of microelectronics and nanotechnology are vast. In Flanders, various sectors can count on the support of dedicated research player that have nanotech as one of their focus areas. Some of these include:

  • Centexbel – As a leading textile research center, Centexbel is home to nanotechnology-related activities that focus on the nanoscale modification of textile surfaces, nanocoatings, nano-additives in fibers and coatings, the production of nanofibers through electrospinning, and more.
  • CoRI – The Coatings Research Institute aims to stimulate scientific and technological R&D in the coatings industry. As such, it focuses on sustainable paints and coatings, paint formulations performance, and smart functionalities at the crossroads of nanotechnology. New technological developments are relevant to solventless and waterborne paints, radcure, etc.
  • Flamac – Short for ‘Flanders Materials Center’, Flamac is a major competence center in high-throughput methodologies that support the materials industry. Its research includes the synthesis and characterization of submicron metal-oxide coatings through chemical vapor deposition.
  • B-PHOT – A close collaboration between Vrije Universiteit Brussel and imec resulted in a dedicated photonics research team, called B-PHOT. The team focuses on the development and prototyping of novel applications – such as microlasers, non-linear photonics, freeform optics, optical fiber sensors and labs-on-a-chip – for the industry.
  • IMOMEC – The Hasselt-based Institute for Materials Research in MicroElectronics focuses its research on biosensors, wide-band gap materials, organic synthesis, organic materials for electronic applications, precursors for nanomaterials, and much more.

Centers of expertise

  • Sirris – With sites across Flanders, Sirris is a collective center of expertise for and by the technological industry. Among others, Sirris focuses on materials development, a domain in which nanotech can play a crucial role.
  • GreenFacts Nanotechnologies – Based in Brussels, GreenFacts is an independent organization that aims to bring complex scientific reports on health and environment topics to the general public. One of its focus areas is nanotechnology.
  • MICT - The research group for Media and ICT (MICT) at the Ghent University’s Department of Communication Studies is part of imec, the institute for nano-, micro- and digital technology. MICT focuses its research on today’s digital society and economy, and more specifically on the related changes and challenges for the industry, policy makers and consumers.

Cluster organizations

  • Agoria – Based in Brussels, Agoria is the sector federation for the technological industry in Belgium and Flanders as a region. The organization supports the interests of industries as diverse as manufacturing, materials, aeronautics, and many more.
  • DSP Valley – DSP Valley is a European cluster of excellence in smart electronic systems and embedded technology solutions. It unites more than 100 universities, research institutes and companies – from start-ups and SMEs to large international groups with local R&D activities. Two of DSP Valley’s focus areas are: nanotechnology for smart cities and nanotechnology for healthcare applications.
  • Nano4Health – Nano4Health supports emerging industries in the field of personalized healthcare applications that interface nanotechnology with biotechnology. To this aim, the organization offers an international and interactive open learning platform.

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