Standardization in nanoindustry
The scientific terminology lives and changes along with the development of science and technology. For example, in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s, the inventors of the first probe microscope, H.Rohrer and G.Binnig, used the other term in their works. However, later on, the term "scanning probe microscopy" (SPM) became widely used because it is more comprehensive and it accurately reflects the essence of the method.
Of course, nanotechnology, as a new industry, needs unified terminology. Announcement of voluntary use of standards with a common terminology means that this process is expected to be flexible and artful, as it is difficult to fit the new, rapidly evolving field of science and innovation within the "Procrustean bed" of the initial settings.
Science needs freedom of spirit, originality of thinking and creative freedom. Manufacture and technology, contrarily, need high discipline, technical regulations, unified standards, clear work organization and strict respect of all rules. High-tech manufacture is based on a code of strictly enforced regulations and requirements. If such a code is created, then the manufacture may be transferred to any place, be it China, Taiwan or Malaysia. It is exactly what skillful nanotechnology leaders of the world do, for example, Intel and AMD.
The Russian nanotechnology has come to a new development phase: emergence of a manufacturing industry with all the complexity of production processes, use of innovative methods, and application of science. For the success of relationships among the workers, technologists, engineers, designers and scientists, the industry need a common language and a common terminology.
Terms have different lives. Some terms emerge on their own and then "live a full life". Such words include "bionanoscopy". Since 2007, the Lomonosov Moscow State University has held a regular international conference devoted to the biological aspects of the scanning probe microscopy, titled "Recent Advances in Bionanoscopy". This conference brings together experienced scientists and young professionals. Besides, the Lomonosov Moscow State University has a successful Collective Use Center for "Bionanoscopy", specializing in biology and medicine and equipped with multifunctional scanning probe microscopes FemtoScan (www.nanoscopy.ru). These microscopes are used for measurement at a level of femtoampere, femtonewton, femtometer and femtofarad, which was used for the name of the Center. Thus, nanotechnology is applied at a femto level, differing from a nano level by six orders of magnitude.
Since the late 20th – early 21st century, nanotechnology has been one of the priority development areas in the leading countries of the world. Russia officially declared nanotechnology as a priority area of research only at the end of 2004 in the "Concept of Nanotechnology Development in the Russian Federation until 2010", which defines the main areas of nanoindustry development.
I believe that one of the priorities for the development of documents regulating the nanotechnology industry is professional and educational standards. For example, in 2006, the government approved the educational standard for universities in field of "Nanotechnology", which regulates the specializations "Nanotechnology in Electronics" and "Nanomaterials". However, despite the considerable governmental support of the industry as a whole, it should be noted that standards and regulations for the nanotechnology industry are developed only in selective areas and this activity is not systematic. The standards defining the nanotechnology terminology enter into force only in 2016. It clearly reflects the imbalance in the development of the whole industry, where the standards are frequently years behind the technology.
In particular, the electronic engineering, which forms the basis for the development of the electronic component using nanotechnology, does not have adequate up-to-date standards either, especially, in the area of special technological equipment. When drafting new government programs for the development of nanotechnology industries, the developers face the problem of the lacking definition for "electronic engineering".
Special attention should also be paid to the certification of equipment and the accompanying basic technical processes. For the development of nanoindustry and electronic engineering, it would be very helpful to create a single technological space for the domestic manufacturers, for example, by equipping them with standardized domestic equipment. Ultimately, this should result in reduced costs of product development and manufacture and other positive outcomes. To implement such structural changes, the organizations must certify not only the developed domestic equipment, but also the prospective technological processes, new technological environments, etc.
I believe that no industry development is possible in the absence of adequate standards, regulations, and clear and unified certification systems used in all directions. Standards in any industry are in its core, which do not only set the boundaries and the basic concepts, but also lay the foundation for the general development of the area. I hope that the current activities in the field of standardization and certification will be accomplished at a high level, and the developed state programs will highly contribute to resolving this problem. ■