Collaboration to yield early SARS, cardiovascular disease detector

DECEMBER 1, 2008--At its new Nitto Denko Asia Technical Centre (NAT) in Singapore, Nitto Denko Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) with partner with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on research that combines the company's expertise in polymer waveguides with NTU's photonics knowledge. "The optical waveguides that we are researching can be used in biosensor for early detection of diseases such as SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] or heart disease," says NTU.

DECEMBER 1, 2008--At its new Nitto Denko Asia Technical Centre (NAT) in Singapore, Nitto Denko Corp.(Tokyo, Japan) with partner with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on research that combines the company's expertise in polymer waveguides with NTU's photonics knowledge.

According to Principal Investigator Assoc Prof Tjin Swee Chuan of NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, "Our project utilizes Nitto Denko's polymer to create micron-sized optical waveguides using NTU's patented laser technique which is simpler and more cost effective. An optical waveguide is a physical structure that guides electromagnetic waves. The optical waveguides that we are researching can be used in biosensor for early detection of diseases such as SARS or heart diseases used in the development of this biosensor, we are confident that this will be a very fruitful partnership."

Located the recently opened "Fusionopolis," NAT will undertake the company's Integrated Organic Optoelectronic Sensing Device Project in collaboration with not only NTU but also the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Data Storage Institute (DSI), and the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE). Nitto Denko plans to invest S$10 million (about US$6.5 million) over the three-year research term. The company believes that the collaboration will lead to several breakthrough technologies, especially in the field of organic electronics, which will allow for the development of novel, miniaturized, affordable and high-sensitivity sensor products.

The center will focus strongly on integrated organic electronic device development, making Nitto Denko the first company in Singapore to pioneer R&D in this area. The choice to situate NAT at Fusionopolis was a strategic decision to enable the centre to tap the rich expertise in physical science and engineering available at Fusionopolis, as well as the biomedical research expertise at the nearby Biopolis.

Said Dr Yasuo Ninomiya, Chief Technology Officer of Nitto Denko Corporation: "The opening of Nitto Denko Asia Technical Centre is a milestone event and a step forward for the company as it extends Nitto Denko's R&D expertise in the area of device development. We look forward to collaborating with DSI, IMRE and NTU to conduct high-quality research and develop sophisticated sensor products that will have multiple applications in healthcare, electronics and environmental-related industries."

Nitto Denko Asia Technical Centre started operations this September and currently employs a multi-disciplinary team of seven R&D engineers and scientists. The laboratory work for the research will be carried out at the facilities in DSI, IMRE and NTU. Over the next few years, NAT intends to increase its staff strength to 20-25 including intellectual property specialists to oversee the business and operational aspects of the research projects.

"Organic electronics is a new growth sector for Singapore," said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR. "Since 2000, A*STAR science and engineering research institutes have been growing technological capabilities in every facet of organic plastic electronics ranging from materials to manufacturing."

Organic or plastic electronics is a new area of growth identified by the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB), as part of Singapore's strategy to promote new activities in the rapidly-changing high-tech industry. In 2007, electronics accounted for almost 30 per cent of manufacturing output and about 7 per cent of Singapore's GDP.

While traditional electronics rely on inorganic conductors such as copper or silicon, organic electronics deals with carbon-based conductive polymers, plastics and small molecules. Research has shown conductive polymers to be lighter, flexible and less expensive, making it a viable option for use in high-tech devices such as semiconductors, light emitters, electronic paper, smart glass and even plastic solar cells that are low-cost and highly portable.

More information:
Nitto Denko Corporation

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com.

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