Site: Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
Materials Research Laboratory (MRL)
195-5 Chung Hsing Rd., Section 4
Chutung, Hsinchu, Taiwan 310, ROC
Date Visited: 19 April 1997
WTEC: D. Shaw (report author)
Located at the center of the Science/Industrial Park in Hsinchu, ITRI is the largest research organization in Taiwan devoted to production-oriented R&D of industrial technologies. Unlike the other institutions previously discussed, which are supported by the National Science Council (corresponding with our National Science Foundation), ITRI is supported by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). There are six laboratories and three centers, among which only the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) is related to nanotechnology.
I was received by Dr. L.C. Lee, Director, and Dr. C.M. Wang, Deputy Director, of MRL. They mentioned that MRL's materials development programs cover such areas as electronic polymers, magnetic materials, organic-photoelectronic materials, superconducting materials, organic composites, and ceramics. With suitable molecular structure design, formulation, and synthesis, polymers have given the electronics industry photoresistant, low-EM interference materials. Organic composites have produced lightweight, high strength, fatigue-resistant, and anticorrosive structures. Ceramics with specified mechanical or electromagnetic characteristics at various temperature ranges have been developed. Superconducting materials have been prepared for certain high-precision, low-temperature applications.
In the area of nanoparticle technology, my hosts candidly admitted that MRL is a very new player. They introduced me to Dr. Geoffrey W. Shuy who recently joined MRL and is in charge of nanoparticle R&D. Dr. Shuy showed me MRL's laboratory for ceramic and diamond thin-film synthesis. He also mentioned the institute's interest in semiconducting nanoparticles because of their novel optical properties.
One of the constraints for all research programs at ITRI is that the Institute receives only 50% of its budget from MOEA; the rest must be contributed by industry. This rigid industrial cost-sharing requirement from MOEA makes it necessary to conduct only those projects that are close to commercialization. During the discussion about future research projects in nanoparticle technologies, this cost-sharing requirement repeatedly came up as an obstacle to doing any electrooptical projects (e.g., semiconducting nanocrystals). Instead, the laboratory's R&D work will probably be directed to coating- and structural-materials-related applications.