Comparing nanotechnology landscapes in the US and China: a patent analysis perspective

Lanfen Wu, Hongyi Zhu, Hsinchun Chen, Mihail C. Roco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The United States (US) and the People’s Republic of China (China) have the most patents in nanotechnology in their own depositories and overall in the international depositories. This paper compares nanotechnology landscapes between 2001 and 2017 as reflected in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). It presents the evolution of nanotechnology patent development in the US and China, the differences between nanotechnology topics addressed in the USPTO and CNIPA patents, key players in nanotechnology fields in both domestic and foreign markets, and the player collaboration patterns. Bibliographic, content, and social network analyses are used. The longitudinal changes of granted patents and ranked countries, patent families, technology fields, and key players in domestic and overseas markets are outlined. Collaboration networks of assignees and the influential players have been identified based on network parameters. Results show that the US market attracts more international collaborations and has a higher level of knowledge exchange and resource sharing than the Chinese market. Companies play a vital role with regard to US nanotechnology development, resulting in more within-industry collaborations. In contrast, universities and research institutes are the dominant contributors to China’s nanotechnology development, leading to more academia-industry collaborations in China’s market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number180
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Collaboration network
  • Comparative study
  • Development trend
  • International perspective
  • Nanotechnology
  • Patent analysis
  • Topic evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Chemistry
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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