BIOTROP’s Second Quarterly Public Seminar for 2018 featured Prof Dr Nurul Taufiqu Rochman, M.Eng, a nanotechnology researcher at the Research Center for Physics of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), to deliver a topic on “Nanotechnology Research in Indonesia: Status, Prospects and Challenges”. The seminar was held on 29 June 2018 at the Centre’s headquarter in Bogor.
During the lecture, Prof Nurul discussed four main points related to the topic, namely: Introduction to nanotechnology, Current status of nanotechnology development in Indonesia, Indonesia from nanotechnology perspective, and Nanotechnology commercialization in Indonesia.
According to National Science Foundation (NSF, USA) and National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), nanotechnology is the ability to understand, control and manipulate matter at the level of individual atoms and molecules, as well as at the “supramolecular” level involving clusters of molecules. Its goal is to create materials, devices, and systems with essentially new properties and functions because of their small structure. These nanomaterials should display different properties from bulk (or micrometric and larger) materials as a result of their size. These differences include physical strength, chemical reactivity, electrical conductance, magnetism and optical effects.
As a tropical country, Prof Nurul emphasized that Indonesia possesses abundant natural resources such minerals and wide variety of flora and fauna species which are the raw materials for nano-based products. He added that Indonesia, as the 4th largest population in the world, has to take advantage of the benefits of nanotechnology because this technology is believed to become the next industrial revolution and to increase the added value of Indonesian natural resources. He pointed out that an appropriate strategy is required to maximize Indonesia’s potential and capability in advancing this technology.
Prof Nurul reported that there are now 150 industries in textile, ceramics, chemistry, consumer goods, ICT, automotive and foods areas listed by the Ministry of Industry and Indonesian Society for Nano which apply nanotechnology. These industries produce over 2,200 nanotechnology-based consumer products which are already available in Indonesian market. Although many industries apply this technology in their products, Prof Nurul lamented that human resources for nano-based R&D in Indonesia are still few due to the import technology used in their production. The nano-products are also only small portion in the production line, he added.
In addition to the industrial activity, Prof Nurul also shared that the research development in nanotechnology in Indonesia is getting more active since 2005, where many institutions from several ministries have been involved seriously. For example, some nanotechnologists have adopted the lotus leaf mechanism in the form of treatments, coatings, paints, roof tiles, fabrics and other surfaces that can stay dry and clean themselves. The top of a floating lotus leaf is a famous example of a superhydrophobic surface that sheds water. Dirt particles are picked up by water droplets due to the micro- and nanoscopic architecture on the surface, which minimizes the droplet's adhesion to that surface. To support and facilitate more the nano-based research, the Indonesian Society for Nano was established in April 2005 and composed of more than 500 young researchers from many national research institutions (government institutions, universities, private sectors) in interdisciplinary of nanotechnology. The Society is headed by Prof Nurul.
“Nanotechnology development must also be directed to manage and add value to Indonesian natural resources significantly to fulfill all domestic needs while, at the same time compete with other global products to increase national competitiveness,” Prof Nurul recommended. He also conveyed that conveyed that a good synergy between academic-business/industry-government is urgently needed to support nanotechnology development in Indonesia. Networking development with foreign institutions is also critical to accelerate nanotechnology progress in Indonesia.
Prof Nurul completed his doctoral degree in 2000 at Kagoshima University, Japan, with specialization in Material Process and Engineering. In 2011, he got another PhD in Business and Management from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). He has published more than 100 papers, both in national and international publications, and filed 18 patents and copyrights. Several awards from professional organizations had been awarded to him, including ‘The Habibie Award’ (former president) in 2009, Duta Iptek (Indonesian Envoy for Science and Technology) in 2011, Outstanding Intellectual Property Award in 2012, and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Medal in 2016. He is also known as one of nanotechnology pioneers in Indonesia and established the Indonesian Society for Nano in 2005. He is currently working as Senior Researcher at the Research Center for Physics of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.
The seminar was attended by 50 participants coming from various research institutions, ministries and companies in Indonesia.