, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 779–810

What do we know about innovation in nanotechnology? Some propositions about an emerging field between hype and path-dependency


    • Freeman Centre, SPRUUniversity of Sussex
    • Steunpunt O&O Indicatoren van de Vlaamse GemeenschapK.U. Leuven
    • Institute of Strategy and International BusinessHelsinki University of Technology

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-007-0312-4

Cite this article as:
Meyer, M. Scientometrics (2007) 70: 779. doi:10.1007/s11192-007-0312-4


This contribution formulates a number of propositions about the emergence of novel nanoscience and nanotechnology (N&N). Seeking to complement recent work that aims to define a research agenda and draws on general insights from the innovation literature, this paper aims to synthesize knowledge from innovation-related studies of the N&N field. More specifically, it is suggested that N&N is often misconstrued as either a field of technology or an area of (broadly) converging technologies while evidence to date suggests rather that N&N be considered a set of inter-related and overlapping about not necessarily merging technologies. The role of instrumentation in connecting the various N&N fields is underlined. Finally, the question is raised whether change in N&N tends to be incremental rather than discontinuous, being the result of technological path-dependencies and lock-ins in industry-typical search regimes that are only slowly giving way to more boundary-crossing activities.

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2007