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Saudi Arabia plans to a leader in nanotechnology
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Monday, 03 Mar 2008
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Saudi Arabia has announced that it aims to establish itself as a regional leader in nanotechnology research in a bid to lessen its dependency on oil. Saudi Arab’s research & development organization King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology has signed an agreement with IBM Research to establish a Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence.

Dr Turki bin Saud VP of King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology said that "Strategically this is very important technology for us. We missed the train in the past but we think this is our chance to ride the train and be part of this developed world and we think the partnership with IBM will take us there."

Under the multi year agreement, Saudi scientists and engineers will work alongside IBM scientists and engineers on advanced nano science and nanotechnology programs in 3 fields of solar power, water desalination and petrochemical applications such as recyclable materials.

The work will be conducted between teams working at IBM laboratories across Europe and America and the KACST IBM Nanotechnology Centre for Excellence in Riyadh. It is the use of nanotechnology in the petrochemicals industry that bin Saud believes will have the biggest impact on the country's economy.

In the area of water treatment, research will focus on the use of new nano membrane materials for reverse osmosis seawater desalination. Meanwhile, research into solar energy will include a focus on novel materials for the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, known as photovoltaic.

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