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Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Knowledge Mapping for Nanotechnology

Research Goal

Nanotechnology holds the promise of revolutionizing a wide range of application areas and has been recognized by most countries as critical to a nation's future technology competence. Increased funding and research have generated a growing number of patents and an increase in the amount of literature available. Government interest, funding levels, industry investment, and active research activities have created a greater need to monitor global development of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NSE) and the R&D status in industry and academic institutions, and to understand the impact of the funding in the NSE field.

The research directions of the Artificial Intelligence Lab include:

  1. Development of the patent analysis framework for worldwide NSE R&D status.
  2. In-depth grant-patent association analysis to assess the impact of NSF funding and NSF-funded researchers in NSE field.
  3. Comparative study of the NSE patents issued by multiple patent offices.
  4. Assessment of NSE research in academia using scientific literature and comparison with industries' efforts as represented by patents.
  5. Citation network topological analysis for knowledge diffusion trend identification.
  6. Text mining based methods for research topic identification and topic burst identification.
  7. Development of an integrated NanoMap system for NSE patent and literature retrieval, analysis, and visualization.

For additional information, see:

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This work is supported in part, by the National Science Foundation through the following grants:

NSF CMMI-1249210 October 2012 - September 2014 ($298,358)
"Two Decades of Nanotechnology Development: Global Competitive Landscape and Knowledge Diffusion via ERGM and SIR Analysis" (EAGER)
NSF CMMI-1057624 September 2010 - August 2013 ($279,522)
"Long-term View on Nanotechnology R&D as Reflected in Scientific Papers, Patents, and NSF Awards" (EAGER)
NSF-#0926270 May 2009 - April 2011 ($250,000)
"Unveiling Trends in Global Nanotechnology Research and Development" (EAGER)
NSF-#0738803 December 1, 2007 – May 30, 2009 ($100,000)
"SGER: Inter-repository Patent Analysis to Understand Worldwide Nanotechnology Research and Development"
NSF-#0654232 December 15, 2006 – May 30, 2008 ($100,000)
"Worldwide Nanotechnology Development: A Comparative Study of Global Patents"
NSF-#0533749 August 15, 2005-July 31, 2007 ($200,000)
"NanoMap: Mapping Nanotechnology Development"
NSF-#0549663 September 15, 2005-August 31, 2006 ($100,000)
"Mapping Nanotechnology Development Based on the ISI Literature-Citation Database"
NSF- #0311652 May 1, 2003-April 30, 2005 ($99,935)
"Intelligent Patent Analysis for Nanoscale Science and Engineering"
NSF- #0311628 May 15, 2003-August 31, 2004 ($99,935)
"Intelligent Patent Analysis and Visualization"
NSF- #0204375 January 1, 2002-December 31, 2002 ($99,980)
"NanoPort: Intelligent Web Searching for Nanoscale Science and Engineering"
NSF- #9817473 April 1999 - March 2002 ($500,000)
Digital Library Initiative 2, "High-performance Digital Library Systems: From Information Retrieval to Knowledge Management"

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Acknowledgements and Disclaimer

We are grateful for the funding provided by the National Science Foundation as listed above. Please note that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

We would also like to acknowledge the generous support provided by Thomson Scientific.

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Approach & Methodology


  • US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) NSE patent data (1976-2008) searched by a domain expert, who provided keywords on: title, abstract, description, claims, and specifications.
  • European Patent Office (EPO) NSE patent data (1978-2008) searched by domain expert who provided keywords on title and abstract.
  • Japan Patent Office (JPO) NSE patent data (1976-2008) searched by domain expert who provided keywords on title and abstract.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) NSE grant data (1989-2008) searched by domain expert who provided keywords on : grant title, program, and abstract.
  • Thomson Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) NSE literature data (1976-2007) searched by domain expert who provided keywords on title, paper keywords, and abstract.


  • Basic bibliographic analysis on the key indicators of technology development performance
  • Content map analysis
    1) Using the Arizona Noun Phraser-indexing and Kohonen self-organization map (SOM) algorithm to compare and associate the main topic areas.
    2) Longitudinal content map analysis visualizes the change of topic areas in terms of time periods.
  • Citation network analysis
    1) Network visualization: Graphviz, an open source graph drawing software, provided by AT&T Labs (Gansner and North, 2000) (available at:
    2) Network visualization: NetDraw, a free network drawing program by Steve Borgatti (available at:
    3) Network topological analysis: Using the social network analysis method to study the patterns in citation networks, the topological measures of the citation networks and their implications.
  • Statistical Hypothesis Testing Statistically compare the difference of comparative groups in terms of the publication significance and impact on the field.

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Team Members

   Dr. Hsinchun Chen
   Yan Dang (Mandy)
   Li Fan
   Nina (WanHsin) Huang
   Xin Li
   Daning Hu (Josh)
   Cathy Larson

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  • H. Chen, M. C. Roco, and J. Son. "Nanotechnology Public Funding and Impact Analysis: A Tale of Two Decades (1991-2010)," forthcoming in IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine, March 2013.
  • Y. Dang, Y. Zhang, P. J. Hu, S. Brown, and H. Chen, “Theory-informed Design and Evaluation of an Advanced Search and Knowledge Mapping System in Nanotechnology,” Journal of Management Information Systems, Volume 28, Number 4, Spring, 2012.
  • X. Liu, S. Kaza, P. Zhang, and H. Chen, “Determining Inventor Status and Its Effect on Knowledge Diffusion: A Study on Nanotechnology Literature from China, Russia, and India,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 62, Number 6, Pages 1166-1176, 2011.
  • Y. Zhang, Y. Dang, P. J. Hu, S. Brown, and H. Chen, “Knowledge Mapping for Rapidly Evolving Domains: A Design Science Approach,” Decision Support Systems, Volume 50, Issue 2, Pages 415-427, January 2011.
  • Chen, H. and D. Zeng, "AI for Global Disease Surveillance," IEEE Intelligent Systems, 2009.
  • Yan Dang, Yulei Zhang, Li Fan, Hsinchun Chen, and Mihail C. Roco, "Trends in Worldwide Nanotechnology Patent Applications: 1991 to 2008," Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 2010, forthcoming, DOI 10.1007/s11051-009-9831-7.
  • X. Liu, P. Zhang, X. Li, H. Chen, Y. Dang, Y. Lin, C. A. Larson, M. C. Roco, and X. Wang, "Trends for Nanotechnology Development in China, Russia, and India," Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Volume 11, Number 8, Pages 1845-1866, November, 2009.
  • Y. Dang, H. Chen, Y. Zhang, and M. Roco, "Knowledge Sharing and Diffusion Patterns: International Patent and Patent Family Analysis," IEEE Nanotechnology, Volume 3, Number 3, Pages 16-21, 2009.
  • X. Li, H. Chen, Z. Zhang, J. Li, and J. F. Nunamaker, "Managing Knowledge in Light of its Evolution Process: An Experimental Study on Citation Network-based Patent Classification," Journal of Management Information Systems, Volume 26, Number 1, Pages 129-153, 2009.
  • H. Chen and M. Roco. "Mapping Nanotechnology Innovations and Knowledge: Global and Longitudinal Patent and Literature Analysis," Berlin: Springer, 2009.
  • Y. Dang, H. Chen, Y. Zhang, M. Roco, "Knowledge Sharing and Diffusion Patterns: International Patent and Patent Family Analysis," IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine, 3:3, Pages 16-21, September 2009.
  • X. Li, D. Hu, Y. Dang, H. Chen, M. C. Roco, C. A. Larson, and J. Chan, "Nano Mapper: An Internet Knowledge Mapping System for Nanotechnology Development," Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Volume 10, 2008.
  • X. Li, H. Chen, Y. Dang, Y. Lin, C. Larson, M. C. Roco, "A longitudinal analysis of nanotechnology literature: 1976-2004," Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Volume 10, Pages 3-22, 2008.
  • Chen, H., Roco, M., Li, X., and Lin, Y., "Trends in Nanotechnology Patents," Nature Nanotechnology, Vol.3, March 2008.
  • D. Hu, H. Chen, and M. C. Roco, "Longitudinal Study on Patent Citations to Academic Research Articles in Nanotechnology," Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Volume 9, Pages 529-542, 2007.
  • Z. Huang, H. Chen, X. Li, and M. C. Roco "Connecting NSF Funding to Patent Innovation in Nanotechnology (2001 2004)", Journal of Nanoparticle Research (JNR), 8:6, Pages 859-879, (2006).
  • Z. Huang, H. Chen, L. Yan, and M. Roco, "Longitudinal nanotechnology development (1991-2002): National Science Foundation funding and its impact on patents", Journal of Nanoparticle Research (JNR), 7, Pages 343-376, (2005).
  • Z. Huang, H. Chen, Z.-K. Chen and M. C. Roco, "International Nanotechnology Development in 2003: Country, Institution, and Technology Field Analysis Based on USPTO Patent Database," Journal of Nanoparticale Research (JNR), 6(4), 325-354, (2004).
  • Z. Huang, H. Chen, A. Yip, G. Ng, F. Guo, Z.-K. Chen and M. C. Roco, Longitudinal Patent Analysis for Nanoscale Science and Engineering: Country, Institution and Technology Field, Journal of Nanoparticale Research (JNR), 5, 333-363, (2003).
Refereed Conference Publications
  • S. Kaza and H. Chen, “Effect of Inventor Status on Intra-Organizational Innovation Evolution,” HICSS 2009, Hawaii.

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