Roland Piquepaille writes " Physicists from several U.S. labs have clocked the transition of vanadium dioxide nanoparticles from a transparent to a reflective, mirror-like state, at less than 100 femtoseconds (a tenth of a trillionth of a second). According to this Vanderbilt University report, this effect has a size limit: "it does not occur in particles that are smaller than about 20 atoms across (10 nanometers)." This opens the door — if I can say so — to windows that are transparent at low temperatures and block out sunlight when the temperature rises. But other applications are possible, such as nanosensors which could measure the temperature at different locations within human cells, or "ultrafast" optical switches which could be used in communications and optical computing. Read this overview for more details, references and a surprising nanoscale image of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza."
Archive for the 'Articles' Category
Scientists at LBL and LLNL are reporting that using a clever method of attaching quantum dots to the protein used by the SV40 virus to target it to the cell nucleus they can get quantum dots inside the nucleus. If this were combined with Sangamo Biosciences method of using its engineered zinc fingers to target specific chromosome locations one could use quantum dots to provide information about *where* those chromosomes are within the nucleus as well as perhaps whether or not the genes are active.
This could potentially be much faster than current chemical methods for determining cellular gene activity. Or how living cells respond to different signals in succession (something which is more difficult to do with chemical methods).
For those of you who have been waiting for "real" molecular nanotechnology to arrive I would suggest that you might want to visit the highlights documenting the work of the Zettl Research Group at UCB. It has movies associated with their recent papers on a Nanoelectromechanical relaxation oscillator, a Nanoscale mass conveyor and a Synthetic Rotational Nanomotor.
I don't know how they constructed these devices but my impression is — this group is *good*!
The following press release points out the development of the European Nanotechnology Trade Association for purpose of "representing the industry's interests in Europe".
Now of course one might ask at this point in time "What industry?". But one must understand ramp-up strategies. And there must be organizations that support that process. So support for the groups that support the development of the companies that will work in the "industry" is justified.
New Scientist is reporting on the development of "liquid metals". Particularly Liquidmetal is pushing forward with these. These are almost "anti-nanotechnology" as they are not based on a high covalent bond density and do not depend on precise atomic structures. This raises significant questions from materials science perspectives. The concept of nanotechnology has been in large part built upon the concept that high covalent bond density (i.e. diamondoid) is "it". But is it "it"? Are we now a a point in chemical and materials science where there are other "its"? And do they produce significantly different visions for paths of development?
Roland Piquepaille writes "NASA is testing a shape-shifting robot called "TETwalker" for tetrahedral walker, because it looks like a flexible pyramid. It has been tested in the lab and at the McMurdo station in Antarctica to test it under conditions more like those on Mars. Now, it is on the way to be — really — miniaturized by using micro- and nano-electro-mechanical systems. These robots will eventually join together to form "autonomous nanotechnology swarms" (ANTS). When it's done, in about thirty years, these nanotech swarms will "alter their shape to flow over rocky terrain or to create useful structures like communications antennae and solar sails." So in 2034, nanotechnology will land on Mars. Read more for other details and references about the TETwalker and the ANTS project."
Mike Treder writes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
Chris Phoenix, Director of Research 1-305-387-5583)cphoenix@CRNano.org
Mike Treder, Executive Director (1-718-398-7272) mtreder@CRNano.org
March 31, 2005
Molecular Manufacturing: Step by Step
Advanced nanotechnology — molecular manufacturing — will bring benefits and risks, both on an unprecedented scale. A new paper published by the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology suggests that development of molecular manufacturing can be an incremental process from today's capabilities, and may not be as distant as many believe.
"Molecular manufacturing has always had great promise, but as a single challenge, it has seemed intimidating. Breaking the problem down into stages shows that it can be achieved step by step," says Chris Phoenix, CRN?s Director of Research and author of the paper, "Developing Molecular Manufacturing."
Keven Kelleher from TheStreet.com has a good piece here discussing nanohype. Tim Harper had an interesting comment regarding whether people "know the difference between a macrophage and a macromolecule?" Neither of these is strictly about nanotechnology but his question and the answers it might prompt would be illuminating.
Readers might offer better questions to determine "Is or is not someone nanoliterate?"
Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) have developed fluorescent and stable nano-probes which can stay inside a cell's nucleus for hours or even days. According to this LBL news release, this will help biologists to better understand nuclear processes that evolve slowly, such as DNA replication, genomic alterations, and cell cycle control. This research was partially based on previous investigations about quantum dots. Now, the researchers want to tailor their quantum dots, which emit different colors depending on their sizes, to check specific chemical reactions inside nuclei, such as how proteins help repair DNA after irradiation. Read more for other details and references and to see how a nano-sized probe is entering a cell's nucleus."
The Prime Minister's council working party predicts (registration required) that in 10 years, nanotechnology could have as much impact as the discovery of electricity or the development of the computer microchip.
The AZoNano Online Journal of Nanotechnology
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The first issue of the News From the Bottom is available.
It would appear that Adrian Bower, a lecturer at the University of Bath, is promoting an open source project for a "Replicating Rapid-Prototyper" that can reproduce not only itself but other macroscale objects.
More on self-replication…
Diane Surine writes "NANOTECHNOLOGY SEMINAR SERIES COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU!
Join HORIBA Jobin Yvon for a free seminar on nanotechnology applications in 10 cities across the United States. Explore how Ellipsometry, Fluorescence, Raman and Glow Discharge Spectroscopy are being used to develop and understand the properties of smart surfaces, nanotubes, nanofilms, nanocolloidal metallic films, quantum dots and self-assembled monolayers. Applications below will be presented in detail."
A group of physicists (Naumov, Bellaiche & Fu) at the Univ. of Arkansas are reporting in Nature the exploration of phase transformations in non-volatile ferroelectric memories composed of Pb(Zr,TI)O3. They are finding that the minimum size of nanodiscs/nanorods able to retain a bistable state is of the order of 3.2 nm. That translates to 60×1012 bits/sq. inch (7+ terabytes/sq. in).
Obviously there are a couple of problems here. The first would be how do you read or write a nanorod every 3.2 nm? Of course this may drive the need for improved nanowiring and/or nanomechanical head positioning. The second would be the claim regarding "low-temperature structural bistability". How low does the temperature actually need to be? If one needs a room full of refrigeration equipment to allow a nanoscale memory to retain its data then the applications may be somewhat limited. E.g. you aren't going to see it in an iPod.
At a news conference in Washington D.C. today a number of SIA leaders questioned the ability of the U.S. to retain its lead role in the semiconductor industry as it moves into nanoscale technologies. They called for a number of solutions including increased funding for the NSF of 7%/yr. In contrast, as reported by Thomas Freidman in the NY Times on Dec. 26, 2004, the proposed Bush-Republican 2005 budget specified a $100M cut to the NSF. (The actual budget request is open to debate as is seen here and here.) For comparison purposes the NSF budget is slightly less than $6B while the war in Iraq from March 2003 thru 2005 is estimated at $207B.
Clearly the industry leaders recognize that long term R&D support is required and because the financial markets do not seem to have worked out a model which could enable this they must turn to the government for support. It would seem that those involved in politics are not quite as able to connect the dots as one would hope. One could double funding for the NSF for 15 years for the cost of a war. The advancements in nanotechnology that such R&D could provide could so advance the quality of life of people in places such as Iraq that there would be significantly fewer incentives to become a terrorist or an insurgent. Two extremely simple problems — clean water and sufficient electricity — could be significantly dealt with through applications of nanotechnology in Iraq. Why is there no focus on these approaches to uplifting their population?
Nature materials is reporting on the development of static "flash" memory based on antimony telluride "cells" that are flipped between amorphous and crystalline states. These cells may be able to be scaled to 10 nm. The architecture is very simple as it simply requires sensing the resistance of the cell to determine whether it is in a one or zero state. This is distinctly different from current DRAM memory cells which are based on the storage of electrons within a capacitor. Because the electrons leak out of the capacitor it is necessary to include electronics that restore the state of the memory on a continual basis.
Foresight Senior Associate Ramez Naam informs us that his book More Than Human has been released.
Here's a description of the book:
"More Than Human is about our growing power to alter our minds, bodies, and lifespans through technology. Over the last 5-10 years scientists and doctors have learned an incredible amount about how to enhance memory, improve physical performance, rewrite our genes, alter the rate of aging, and even how to connect our brains directly with computers and robots. This is not science fiction – this is the research happening in labs around the world right now, research that's restored sight to blind men and women, created mice that live to the age of 200 in "human years", and given the paralyzed the ability to control computers just by thinking about it."
For those who didn't notice it in several sources (here, here or here), IBM has announced external access to its Blue Gene supercomputer. It provides 5.7 Teraflops in a single rack. Obviously IBM has the ability to hook a large number of these together should they choose to do so. 175 racks gives you a petaflop.
Physorg.com is reporting that HP Labs in conjuction with Applied Physics A will be having an "invitation-only international nanotechnology symposium" on March 25. They intend to outline the HP combined strategy (fundamental scientific research into nanometer scale quantum effects; defect tolerant architectures for molecular components; and cost-effective fabrication methods) for implementing robust molecular electronics.
My only question is "When will we see the results?"