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  • 1 VATT Government Institute for Economic Research Arkadiankatu 7 PL 1279 00101 Helsinki Finland Arkadiankatu 7 PL 1279 00101 Helsinki Finland
  • 2 University of Sussex SPRU Brighton England Brighton England
  • 3 K.U. Leuven Steunpunt O&O Indicatoren van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap Leuven Belgium Leuven Belgium
  • 4 Helsinki University of Technology Institute of Strategy and International Business Espoo Finland Espoo Finland
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There is general consensus that the field of nanotechnology will be very important in the future. An open question is, however, which technological approaches or paradigms will be important in the field. The paper assumes that the carbon nanotube will be a key element of an emerging technological paradigm in nanotechnology. This study employs a bibliometric method — bibliographic coupling — to identify important nanotubes-related ‘leitbilder’ — a concept meaning ‘guiding images’ that provide a basis for different professions and disciplines to work in the same direction. Until recently, bibliographic coupling has been applied rarely for purposes of research evaluation, not to mention technology foresight. Our case study seems to suggest that bibliographic coupling is particularly suitable for anticipating technological breakthroughs. Bibliographic coupling analysis of recent nanotube-related patents focused our attention to recent patents owned by Nantero Inc. Nantero’s main focus is the development of NRAM — a high-density nonvolatile random access memory. The NRAM leitbild seems to be an important emerging leitbild. It connects technical opportunities and promising applications relating to the memories in devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, as well as applications in networking arena.