Literature analysis

As the first step, a database search was accomplished to determine space-specific nanotechnology research in the scientific literature. For this a search strategy was developed, making it possible to analyse spacerelevant aspects of nanotechnology. Two data bases were selected, SCISEARCH (Science Citation Index) and AEROSPACE, which are accessible over the STN services of the information center Karlsruhe. The SCISEARCH data base comprises publications of different journals from the medical, scientific and engineering range and thus comprehensively covers the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology. However the engineering specific range, in particular aerospace, is only incompletely represented in the SCISEARCH data base. So, as supplementing information, the data base AEROSPACE was searched, which is provided by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and covers publications of all relevant ranges in aerospace from over 100 countries.

The search terms were selected in such a way that the topic fields nano-technology and space are covered in sufficient completeness. As derived from publication analyses described in the literature (see e.g. European Parliament 2002, Hullmann 2001) and own preliminary investigations, relevant nanotechnology publications could extensively be captured with the search term "nano?" ("?" is a truncation character, which permits any further characters, e.g. nanoparticle, nanostructured, nanotubes, nanoc-rystals, nanowires, etc.). This procedure entails the advantage that the search words are found independent of the way of writing with or without a hyphen (e.g. nano-particle or nanoparticle). Since the topic nanotechnology is defined however relatively broad in particular in Germany, supplementing search terms were added, which indicate a relation to nanotechnology also without the prefix „nano", e.g. "quantum dot", "quantum well", "fullerene" or also nanotechnologically improved components in the range of electronics and optoelectronics, like HEMT or VCSEL (see table 3).

Selection of databases for the literature analysis

However, some terms with the prefix "nano" were excluded, which are frequently used in scientific publications without a direct connection to nanotechnology, such as "nano-gram", "nano-second", "nano-meter" (e.g. as unit for wavelength data), "nano-gravity" or "nano-satellite". The term "nano-satellite" was used in a separate data base inquiry, since the topic nano-satellite can be assigned not directly to the nanotechnology but rather to the microsystem technology; but it nevertheless is a point of interest in the context of the ANTARES study. The space technology area was queried for practicable reasons only by using general terms such as "spacecraft", "space system", "satellite", "spaceflight", as the topic field was very broad and multilayered.

The search terms for nanotechnology, which resulted in most scores in linkage with space-relevant search terms in the selected data bases, are summarized in table 3. Based on the results, the database inquiry was accomplished for the publication and patent analysis (see tab. 4 and 5).

The development of the number of publications in context with spacerelevant aspects of nanotechnology in the period from 1990 to 2001 is depicted in illustration 2. Here a different picture results for the two data bases used. In the thematically broad and interdisciplinary data base SCISEARCH, a clear rise in the number of relevant publications should be noted since beginning of the 90's, while in the aerospace specific data base AEROSPACE the number of publications has been clearly smaller and relatively constant in the time period. This shows that the topic nano-technology in context with space travel is taken up more frequently in a broad scientific context rather than within the classical aerospace technology ranges. An explanation for this among other things is the fact that the main approach of nanotechnology is the interdisciplinary linkage of biological, chemical and physical research. Nanotechnology research is predominantly still in the range of basic research and the application possibilities in space are at present more or less visionary. Therefore scientific publications of concrete applications within the aerospace range (as cited in the AEROSPACE data base) are rather rare.

Search Term

SCI-SEARCH

AEROSPACE

USPAT-FULL

EURO-PATFULL

WP-INDEX

Sum

quantum well?

147

45

144

33

18

387

HEMT

23

60

153

69

26

331

nanotube?

1

4

157

4

2

168

nanoparticle?

10

4

66

2

3

85

nanocapsul?

0

0

80

2

0

82

fulleren?

33

9

28

8

1

79

single electron

23

8

34

4

1

70

nanostruct?

14

9

26

2

3

54

nanotech?

6

34

11

0

0

51

nanocrystal?

21

8

17

0

1

47

quantum dot?

26

5

9

3

1

44

magnetoresist?

1

11

28

2

1

43

VCSEL?

1

6

25

2

0

34

nanoscal?

7

2

23

1

1

34

SWCNT?

0

0

27

1

0

28

self assembl? monolayer?

2

1

20

4

0

27

Nanotechnology terms in scientific and patent publications mentioned in connection with space applications

Table 3: Number of hits for nanotechnology search terms in connection with spacerelevant search terms in the databases used for the literature and patent analyses.

Nanotechnology terms in scientific and patent publications mentioned in connection with space applications

Table 3: Number of hits for nanotechnology search terms in connection with spacerelevant search terms in the databases used for the literature and patent analyses.

Search terms

Data base

Hits

(nano? or self assembl monolay? or HEMT or quant? dot? or quant? well? or magnetoresist? or VCSEL or SWCNT? or fulleren? or single electron) not nanometer? not nanogra? not nanosatel? not nanosec? not nano-sec?

SCISEARCH

135621

AEROSPACE

11896

(nano? or self assembl monolay? or HEMT or quant? dot? or quant? well? or magnetoresist? or VCSEL or SWCNT? or fulleren? or single electron) not nanometer? not nanogra? not nanosatel? not nanosec? not nano-sec? and (spacecraft? or satellite? or spaceflight? or space system?)

SCISEARCH

414

AEROSPACE

296

Nanosatellit? or nano-satellit?

SCISEARCH

17

AEROSPACE

122

Less than 1% of nano-technology search terms are mentioned in context with space relevant terms

Table 4: Database searches for analysis of space-relevant nanotechnology publications

Less than 1% of nano-technology search terms are mentioned in context with space relevant terms

Table 4: Database searches for analysis of space-relevant nanotechnology publications

Generally it should be stated that the topic space plays a rather subordinated role in the scientific literature in the field of nanotechno-logy. Less than one per cent of the nanotechnology publications, which are indicated in the data base SCISEARCH, have a textual connection with space technology (see table 4).

□ SCISearch □ Aerospace

Illustration 2: Number of space-relevant nanotechnology publications from 1990 to 2001, for explanations see text above

The development of the number of publications containing the term "nano-satellite" shows that the topic was taken up in the scientific literature to a significant extent since 1995 with a substantial rise in the year 2000. In this case the number of relevant publications in the database AEROSPACE was significantly higher than in the data base SCISEARCH.

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

I SCISearch □ Aerospace

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

I SCISearch □ Aerospace

Illustration 3: Number of publications containing the search term „Nanosatellite" from 1990 to 2001, for explanations see text above

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