Mar. /2019
(Panoramic View Reports)
Panoramic View of the Nanotechnology/Materials Research Field (2019) /CRDS-FY2018-FR-03
Executive Summary

The nanotechnology/materials field is founded on nanoscience which has developed as a science handling phenomenon occurring at the nanoscale, based on basic science fields such as material science, quantum science, optical science, life science, information science, and mathematical science. Common basis of science and technology including manufacturing techniques such as precision machining and additive manufacturing, measurement technology spanning to sub-angstrom resolution represented by a super-high-resolution electron microscope, prediction of material structure and functions using the first principle electronic state calculation, and analysis techniques by simulation and modeling is built based on the nanoscience.

Design and control techniques for materials and their functions such as element strategy and molecular technology, materials informatics, control of interface and gap in materials, phonon engineering have been established using above-mentioned nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is also characterized as a technology area of fusion which will open the frontiers of diverse fields such as environment and energy, life and health care, information communication (ICT) and electronics by developing new devices combined with the designed materials with useful functions.

Twenty years have elapsed since the start of national policies for nanotechnology in various countries around the world in the beginning of 2000. In this period, nanotechnology is in the trend toward technological development, convergence, and systemization. As a result of these progress, many products based on nanotechnology have been created and commercialized. They are providing a large benefit to our society.

Meanwhile, impact on the health and the environment of new materials and new products generated through the technological progress and practical application of nanotechnology and materials, handling of their ethical aspects, evaluation and management of their risks, and their standardization are becoming international issues. Since new nanomaterials may have new physical properties originated from their nanostructures different from conventional materials, it is required to perform appropriate evaluation for them as unknown materials. However, as they cannot be classified by composition alone as in conventional chemical substances, diversified features such as size, shape, surface structure, and others have to be considered. Since scientific evaluation of these features requires huge amount of time, money, equipment, and manpower, it is undertaken by industry, academia and government in the world collaboratively under the framework of national leadership and international cooperation. There are such efforts from the scientific aspect of the environment, health, safety (EHS: Environment, Health and Safety) and from the ethical, legal and social (ELSI: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues) aspect. As the practical use of products made of nanomaterials has progressed especially in recent years, the development of regulatory and institutional aspects has become obvious in each country and region. In order to reduce the risk of nanomaterials and related products and to enjoy their benefit widely in the society, it is essenial for nanomaterials and related products to circulate in a healthy international market, where international standardization over various aspects such as specific technological terms, evaluation and test methods, risk assessment methods, etc. has become important.

The United States, which launched national technology initiative (National Nanotechnology Initiative: NNI) before each country, has invested cumulatively $ 27 billion so far. Although the budget has been on a downward trend since 2018, the budget has been strategically allocated to the Program Component Areas (PCA) consisting of five items including Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives (NSIs).

Meanwhile, since the miniaturization limit has become obvious in semiconductor devices that advanced according to Moore's Law, the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI, Electronics Recovery Initiative (ERI) started, which pursues the appearance of new highperformance semiconductor chips that does not rely on miniaturization. The National Quantum Initiative (NQI, National Quantum Initiative), which is driven by the recent rapid development of quantum computers and pursuing new possibilities of the quantum technology, has been launched and will be emphasized as a policy from now on.

In Horizon 2020 of EU, three priority areas are set up, which are ① Excellent Science, ② Industrial Leadership, ③ Societal Challenges. In the priority area of Excellent Science, following the "Graphene Flagship (2013 ~)" and "Human Brain Project (2013 ~)" as Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) with a total budget of 1 B € being planned to be invested in 10 years, "Quantum Flagship "has been started as a third FET program from 2018. In the priority area of Industrial Leadership, nanotechnology and advanced material technology are positioned as Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) in Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEITs). The planning results of Horizon Europe as a next research and development framework in Europe and also the action of BREXIT will have a large influence on the research and development of Europe in future.

In Asia, the progress of China is particularly prominent in high tech industries and academic field. China launched the “Made in China 2025”, aiming to achieve domestic and international market-share targets in ten industrial areas which cover most areas of nanotechnology and materials, and attaining self-reliance for key components. As a result, the competition of the research and development in the advanced technologies of semiconductor, AI, quantum technologies, and advanced materials is becoming fierce, particularly between China and the USA. It will affect the research and development planning in Japan largely.

In other countries in Asia including Taiwan, Korea, Singapore are also building a research and development bases of nanotechnology and are trying to attract human resources and funds from all over the world.

In Japan, materials research has been intensively conducted for a long time and there are many achievements preceding the world in the development of new materials, which has supported and created the core industry of key materials and device components. We can raise many examples such as TiO2 photocatalyst, lithium ion battery, NdFeB permanent magnet, GaN blue LED, TMR head of hard disk, carbon nanotubes and so on, whose inventions and pioneering works were done in Japan.

Under such a background, there are many industrial areas in Japan that obtain a high market share worldwide even though with a small market size, mainly in the field of functional materials. Nevertheless, in terms of the entire material industry as a whole, Japan is keeping a large market-share worldwide, and it is strongly hoped to continue its efforts on basic research, development, and commercialization of materials in order to maintain its competitiveness. we should be also aware of the fact that the market share has declined significantly due to the rapid progress of east Asian countries with regard to lithium ion batteries and some liquid crystal display materials, such as photoresists for liquid crystals and color films, although Japan had traditionally technical advantages in these fields.

In recent years, since global competition for technology development is intensifying, it is strongly required to accelerate the speed of research and development even in the materials. A long period of time, typically 15 to 30 years is needed from the discovery of novel materials to social implementation through many time-consuming processes of completing prototypes, securing their reliability, and developing mass-production technologies. In this sense, it is expected that materials development using data science will continue to be an important basic technology for development of novel materials, which will efficiently advance the design of materials by making full use of computational science and information science.

As the IoT/AI era is about to arrive at its peak, and the integration of cyber space software and physical space (real space) hardware in Cyber Physical System (CPS) becomes important. It should not be forgotten that high-performance computer, large capacity information storage, which are important components of cyberspace, sensing and networking as interface points with physical space, are depending on nano-electronic components composed of mainly semiconductor devices. IoT devices embedded in our surrounding require sensing function and networking function for sending information to the cloud side, as well as the energy harvesting function that acquires the electric power from the environment depending on the scene being used. In the operation of robots and autonomous car driving, instantaneous information processing and actions are required. In such a case, the IoT device itself will be equipped with advanced computing functions including AI, which exerts its strength in areas such as massive image / sound / video processing, AR/VR, natural language processing, optimization / reasoning, which are difficult with conventional computers.

The demand for AI in these areas continues to be increasing, and expectations for new algorithms that exceed the von Neumann type computing and the hardware that carries out it are increasing worldwide, and nanotechnology is expected to fulfil these demands. While the miniaturization of semiconductors that have supported these developments has reached the limits, the need for a new technology to bear the post-Moorera is widely recognized. One of the candidates for these novel computing technologies is the neuromorphic computing which capture the information processing mechanism at extremely low power consumption realized by human’s brain, and the other candidate is the quantum computer. This gives a solution to the complicated processing practically difficult to solve at the current computer by operating basic elements to work in accordance with the principle of quantum mechanics. As the quantum computing related national strategies and large-scale projects for quantum computing have been launched in advanced countries during the past few years, including the above-mentioned US NQI, expectations are increasing for contribution from nanotechnology/materials science and technology.

On the other hand, the progress of information science and technology utilizing big data has begun to exert a great influence on the research and development method even in the nanotechnology and materials. Data-driven materials design (Materials Informatics) represented by Materials Genome Initiative in the United States already becomes a fundamental technology for materials development in general, and recently challenge to data driven process design (process informatics) also started. Recent progress of computer performance has greatly expanded the possibilities of simulation technology for designing and developing materials, devices, and even complex systems, and multi-scale simulation is being developed starting from the simulation of the nanoscale structure dominated by quantum mechanics. These techniques may enable to design macroscale complex systems up to the final product. In addition, the progress of fabricating target structures on demands using 3D printing technology based on these digitized design data is striking. As is described above, the progress of information science and technology has brought a great impact on the manufacturing as a whole including nanotechnology and material technology.

In the last few years, mainly in the US, Europe, and China, technological competition of AI, semiconductor, quantum technology, etc. that are expected to play a key role in the IoT/AI era has become fierce, and a technological expectation for the nanotechnology and materials is increasing to support them In this 2019 edition, we will update the latest information and technology trends regarding nanotechnology and materials, while following the position of the previous work of the 2017 edition and adding the viewpoint of how nanotechnology and materials can contribute for the realization of a sustainable society represented by SDGs,.

In the first chapter of the report, we summarize the overview of these trends and prospects in domestic and foreign research and development, and describe especially issues in Japan and grand challenges in this field derived through related workshops and interview surveys organized by CRDS. We reexamined the panoramic view of research and development of nanotechnology and materials and extracted 32 major research and development areas from there. In addition, we described six social needs that we are facing and the "10 Grand Challenges" to strategically address to solve those needs.

In chapter 2, we will allocate about 10 pages for each of the 32 major research and development areas, which summarizes surveys on the significance of the area, historical background, current advanced technology trends, future science and technology issues, and international comparisons (Japan, the US, Europe, China and Korea). In these review processes, we gathered information and opinions with the cooperation of about 170 experts from industry, academia and government, made intensive discussions at workshops and summarized the views from the standpoint of CRDS.