International nanotechnology development in 2003: Country, institution, and technology field analysis based on USPTO patent database

Zan Huang, Hsinchun Chen, Zhi Kai Chen, Mihail C. Roco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) have seen rapid growth and expansion in new areas in recent years. This paper provides an international patent analysis using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data searched by keywords of the entire text: title, abstract, claims, and specifications. A fraction of these patents fully satisfy the National Nanotechnology Initiative definition of nanotechnology (which requires exploiting specific phenomena and direct manipulation at the nanoscale), while others only make use of NSE tools and methods of investigation. In previous work we proposed an integrated patent analysis and visualization framework of patent content mapping for the NSE field and of knowledge flow pattern identification until 2002. In this paper, the results are updated for 2003, and the new trends are presented. The number of USPTO patents originated from all countries that include nanotechnology-related keywords in 2003 is about 8600, an increase of about 50% over the last 3 years, which is significantly larger than the increase of about 4% for patents in all technology fields (USPTO, 2004). The top five countries are U.S. (5228 patents in 2004), Japan (926), Germany (684), Canada (244) and France (183). Fastest growing are the Republic of Korea (84 patents in 2003) and Netherlands (81). For the first time in 2003, four electronic companies have reached the top five institutions: IBM (198 patents), Micron Technologies (129), Advanced Micro Devices (128), Intel (90) and University of California (89). However, overall, the single technology field "Chemistry: molecular biology and microbiology" and chemical industry remain in the lead. The citation networks show an increase of international interactions, and a relative change of the role of various countries, institutions and technological fields in time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-354
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Citation networks
  • Information visualization
  • International interactions
  • Knowledge discovery
  • Nanoscale science and engineering (NSE)
  • Nanotechnology
  • Patent analysis
  • Self-organizing map
  • Technological innovation

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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