Longitudinal patent analysis for nanoscale science and engineering: Country, institution and technology field

Zan Huang, Hsinchun Chen, Alan Yip, Gavin Ng, Fei Guo, Zhi Kai Chen, Mihail C. Roco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) and related areas have seen rapid growth in recent years. The speed and scope of development in the field have made it essential for researchers to be informed on the progress across different laboratories, companies, industries and countries. In this project, we experimented with several analysis and visualization techniques on NSE-related United States patent documents to support various knowledge tasks. This paper presents results on the basic analysis of nanotechnology patents between 1976 and 2002, content map analysis and citation network analysis. The data have been obtained on individual countries, institutions and technology fields. The top 10 countries with the largest number of nanotechnology patents are the United States, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Australia. The fastest growth in the last 5 years has been in chemical and pharmaceutical fields, followed by semiconductor devices. The results demonstrate potential of information-based discovery and visualization technologies to capture knowledge regarding nanotechnology performance, transfer of knowledge and trends of development through analyzing the patent documents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-363
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Citation networks
  • Information visualization
  • Knowledge discovery
  • Nanoscience
  • Nanotechnology
  • Patent analysis
  • Self-organizing map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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