The Jakarta Post
The government must include nanotechnology in national research and development programs if they wish to harness the potential they offer the national economy, scientists say.
By including it in national programs, the government could allocate funds to help local researchers develop the budding technology.
"We want nanotechnology to become a national priority," chairman of the Indonesian Society of Nanotechnology Nurul Taufiqu Rochman told reporters after a seminar at the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java, on Saturday.
He said the technology had the potential to assist the country redesign materials to form stronger, lighter and simpler products.
Another speaker at the seminar, Jarnuzi Gunlazuardi from the University of Indonesia, said nanotechnology allowed industries to work with greater precision than current methods.
"We can now produce an output level that suits our needs. No longer must industry waste materials unnecessarily, and now they can maximize the quality of products," he said.
According to a study conducted by the US National Science Foundation, the market value of nanomaterials will reach US$1 trillion in 2015. Furthermore, the boom in industry is predicted to create jobs for between 800,000 and 2 million workers throughout the world.
Unfortunately, he said Indonesian people were not yet aware of the potential these technologies offered.
"In our recent survey across 30 industries including textile, ceramics, chemicals and automotive, only 35 percent have applied nanotechnologies to their production process," Nurul said.
Indonesian researchers, due to a lack of funding and development into the industry, have not yet found the appropriate technology to produce nanomaterials as a building block for the manufacturing of goods.
"There are several technologies that have been developed by Indonesian researchers, but so far they can only produce around one milligram of nano particles, whereas to be able to support an industry we will need at least several kilograms of the same material," Nurul said.
Scientists have called upon the government to provide further funding and interest into the development of nanotechnologies, which could support economic growth and prosperous activities across the nation.
"There is endless potential for Indonesia if we develop this technology sufficiently. We have so many natural resources that could be used as raw materials," Nurul said.
With Indonesia's rich diversity in natural resources, Nurul suggested researchers focus on inventing technologies that generate a large quantity of nano particles.
"If we achieve this, it will boost our industry as the economic value of materials produced from nanoparticles is 1,000 times greater."