Polymer Replication on Nanoscale PRN 2021 – A full success


After having been postponed from 2020, this years’ edition of the PRN conference was finally held online. Host was the Institut für nanotechnische Kunststoffanwendungen (INKA) at the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, FHNW.

Day 1: Online but lively

The conference was held via Zoom and attended by over 60 registered participants, of which 60% joined from academia, 35% from industry and 5% from non-profit organizations. nano.swiss supported the conference and was present with a prominent showcase, including a brand new video on the mission of our community platform.

It turned out a very high percentage of the the participants stayed with the sessions throughout the conference. They were rewarded not only by 19 high-level presentations of up-to-date, innovative research and development topics in micro- and nanostructured polymer surfaces. Magnus Christiansen and his team at FHNW also managed to organize lively breakout sessions in between – supported by an active community, which ensured vivid expert discussions.

The program was complemented by a 15-min virtual lab tour, probably at least a factor of 4 faster than live! Day one finished with a virtual beer – much better than nothing but we all await a regular one for next time.

Day 2: More excellent talks, new Best Talk and Best Image Awards

As a PRN novelty, this year a public voting was held for best talk awards in 3 categories at the end of the session on day 2:

  1. lndustry / professionals,  → winner:  Reinhard Voelkel, SUSS MicroOptics SA «Microlens lmprint for Automotive Lighting»
  2. Academia / senior scientists  → winner: Jerome Werder, INKA«Origination of super-smooth micro-optical elements»
  3. Students / young scientists  → winner: Thomas Mortelmans, Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, «Thermoplastic 3D nanofluidic devices for biosensing»

In many categories, due to the uniquely high quality of the contributions, there had been a close race. The prize for the three awardees was a conference fee waiver for the next PRN in Dublin, sponsored by the community platform nano.swiss and UCD. Congratulations!

Also new: The PRN 2021 image award, sponsored by csem and and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, SNI. Goal:  A chance to show ones artist's side in science! Money prizes were awarded to the best three competitants.

Outlook to the 8th PRN in Dublin

In case you did not attend and became curious, there is a chance to have a look to the PDF conference booklet. Announcement was made, too, of a PRN-related special issue in the open access journal micromachines, for those who want to follow up on any upcoming papers based on the presented work.

Bottom line: This has been a successful PRN edition and despite the common obstacles all online conferences share, the organizers managed to give this event an as-close-to-conference-as-you-can-get twist and created a vivid PRN to remember. Thanks to all the organizing team for their efforts!

The next and 8th Polymer Replication on Nanoscale will hopefully be «real» again and will supposedly take place May 9-10, 2022 in Dublin / Ireland, hosted by the University College Dublin. Save the date!

(nano.swiss / MMo)