by Joel Greenberg
Scientists and engineers are going to develop the solutions to our energy challenges. An obvious fact, but what if we’re not preparing people for those careers in the US? At the recent NanoTX’08 conference, Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO of Applied Nanotech, Inc. discusses the challenges of educating scientists and engineers in the US. All is not rosy, but all is not lost.
Dr. Zvi Yaniv is an expert in LCD technology. He received his PhD in Physics at the Kent State Liquid Crystal Institute in 1982. Shortly after he graduated, he was recruited by Energy Conversion Devices to run their LCD laboratory. Three years later, he spun out Optical Imaging Systems, OSI, Inc. “The premier Liquid Crystal Display Company in America, designing displays for our avionics, for F22, phantoms, helicopters,” he says. “And I loved it!”
Guardian Industries purchased OSI, who changed the production process. Yaniv recognized that change would end in failure and left the company. “Two years later they went bankrupt after spending $200 million, as I predicted,” says Yaniv. “No [LCD] industry in this country. They listened to people—unfortunately they didn’t listen to us, scientists and technologists with some business sense.”
“As a result, I started my new business in nanotechnology. People ask, ‘Why Nanotechnology?’ People don’t understand that without nanotechnology there is no LCD TV,” says Yaniv. “The most important part of making a liquid crystal television is aligning one layer of liquid crystal molecules parallel to each area for an area of 3×3 meters, at a certain, precise tilt angle with a substrate. How are you going to do that? With nanotechnology.”
Through his work at Energy Conversion Devices, Zaniv develop a relationship with Dr. Tadashi Sasaki of Sharp Electronics. “Dr. Sasaki has an inventive mind,” says Yaniv. “Every time, I met /w/ Dr. Sasaki, starting in 1982 at Energy Conversion Devices-being a friend of Stan Ovshinsky-every time we had a discussion we invented something,” including the importance of amorphous silicon for LCD TV’s.
Yaniv draws a camparison between Sharp Electronics, a leader in LCD TV’s, and his former company Optical Imaging Systems. “This shows the difference in two cultures,” says Yaniv. “The Far East culture of patience, trust, patient money, collective work and our individualism and very, very little patience in the United States. The results speak for themselves.”