In an interesting coincidence and counterpoint to Jim’s Nanophobia post this morning, I ran across the following on Nature News: Fearing the fear of nanotechnology. It is, surprisingly perhaps, by our old friend Richard Jones. The thrust of the article is that a study in Nature Nanotechnology seems to show that the public’s reaction to [...]
Archive for the 'News' Category
DARPA and a Texas fund have awarded $9.7M to investigate one nanotech path toward atomically precise manufacturing.
Christine Peterson passes along this news from the quarterly update of the Institute for the Future (IFTF) as something worth considering: “Foresight members and Nanodot readers may wish to join this collaborative forecasting effort.” The IFTF announced their First Massively Multiplayer Forecasting Platform (MMFG): MMFGs are collaborative, open-source simulations of imagined future scenarios. Designed to [...]
News from RIA Novosti of a promising nanotech partnership between Russia and Israel
A role for nanotech applications can be seen in the responses to the US energy crisis made by both candidates for the US Presidency.
Two researchers were rewarded with the 2008 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for their pioneering discoveries of quantum dots and carbon nanotubes.
A new service from Google, named Google Trends, graphs the number and source of searches on whatever term you wish. The results for nanotechnology: Top ten countries 1. India 2. Iran 3. Singapore 4. Malaysia 5. South Korea 6. Thailand 7. United States 8. Australia 9. Canada 10. Taiwan Top ten cities 1. Hyderabad, India [...]
The Patent Baristas have brought together a collection of links relevant to the patent thicket problem, plus some advice paraphrased from a Business Week blog: "with such a fragmented market, few investors are going to be able to understand the competitive landscape. Therefore, many investors might be tempted to believe a patent means more than it does, setting some investors up for a big loss. They point out that very often small cap, nano-companies can skyrocket or plummet on the mere mention of a new patent. Let's be careful out there." Indeed.
Prizes are now all the rage. Fred Kavli is founding three new prizes including one in nanotech, to be selected by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. "I think we'll be more daring," than the Nobel awards, he said, because they would seek to reward scientific breakthroughs more quickly than the conservative Nobel system. [We at Foresight say: the more nano prizes, the better. Welcome to the nano prize community, Mr. Kavli! --CP]
More visionary theoretical work by Robert Freitas, this time a scaling study of a medical nanosystem for removing microbiological pathogens from the human bloodstream. "As a scaling study, this paper serves mainly to demonstrate that all systems required for mechanical phagocytosis could fit into the stated volumes and could apply the necessary forces and perform all essential functions within the given power limits and time allotments." Also in pdf format.
Call for papers due September 1 for a special issue of the long-term oriented Journal of Evolution & Technology: "How can genetic engineering and nanotechnology, used safely and effectively, help decrease malnutrition, starvation, and disease?…How can a specific emerging technology, like genetic engineering or nanotechnology, further global health and sustainable development? What are the safety, equity and intellectual property concerns?…What should the relative application be of the proactionary and precautionary principles in regulating new technologies promoting global health?" Big, complex issues meriting lots of exploration.–CP
This sounds great: the Biomolecular Nanotechnology program at Arizona State. Work on "logic gates made from single molecules, molecular motors that move fluids in chip-sized laboratories, sensors based on cells interfaced to processors, artificial cells with chemical functionality and solar power" applied to "making molecular processors that can be incorporated directly into clothes, paint or plastics." Solid funding, international travel, industrial internships, attending nanoconferences. Also: "students in our program will explore the political and societal mechanisms by which decisions concerning science funding and policy are made and what impacts these decisions have had on society in the past." They'll need strong stomachs for that part! Making legislation is like making sausage; it can be more comfortable not to know. –CP
Cordis covers a workshop on nanoeducation needs: "While the traditional approach to education can be depicted as an inverted pyramid, with the breadth of study getting narrower as the researcher progresses, head of the Commission's unit on research training networks Bruno Schmitz outlined the need for an hourglass approach to nano training, with the breadth of study widening again as the researcher gains in experience." (Source: ICON) Read more for clarification.
From Spiked: "2005 – announced as Einstein Year – marks the centenary of the publication of Albert Einstein's equation E = mc2. To mark this occasion, Sandy Starr at spiked and science communicator Alom Shaha have conducted a survey of over 250 renowned scientists, science communicators, and educators – including 11 Nobel laureates – asking what they would teach the world about science and why, if they could pick just one thing." Foresight's Eric Drexler chooses molecular nanotech, of course. Other familiar names: Richard Dawkins, Freeman Dyson, Harold Kroto, John McCarthy.
Concerned about real or imagined risks in nanotechnology? Check out the report of a European workshop on Risk Perception and Risk Communication in the Field of Nanotechnologies. Excerpt: "There are some peculiarities of Nanotechnology which make the risk assessment challenging. The first aspect is the diversity of Nanotechnology. Because Nanotechnology is mainly defined in terms of size, a huge variety of different techniques, research topics, methods of creating or structuring materials, and manipulating surfaces are summarized under the term of Nanotechnology. Very often, the proponents have quite different things in mind when they are talking about Nanotechnology." Er, indeed so. –CP
It would appear from reports at SpaceDaily and PhysOrg that scientists led by Chongwu Zhou at USC have determined how to grow single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) on specific planes of a sapphire crystal. This may have distinct advantages as it potentially allows one to put the wires down first and the computational elements (currently transistors) down second in the production of nanoelectronics. This is generally the inverse of current microelectronic production methods.
From a Northwestern press release: "Researchers at Northwestern University have demonstrated writing at the sub-100 nanometer molecular scale in fountain-pen fashion. They developed a novel atomic force microscope (AFM) probe chip with an integrated microfluidic system for capillary feeding of molecular ink…The Nanofountain Probe (NFP) developed by Horacio D. Espinosa, professor of mechanical engineering, and his colleagues employs a volcano-like dispensing tip and capillary fed solutions to enable sub-100 nanometer molecular writing." (Source: NanoApex)
Nanofountain Probe: clever technology, clever name. I'm betting we'll see a lot more nanotech innovation from mechanical engineers. –CP
Researchers at the Wiezmann Institute of Science in Israel have created a new molecular switch that, for the first time, uses negative differential resistance (NDR) at room temperature, essentially creating a switch with no moving parts. The NDR phenomenon has been used before at the molecular level, but only at extremely low temperatures; this experiment demonstrated the effect, at the molecular level, can be "stable, reversible and reproducible at room temperature." (Credit: KurzweilAI.net)
Registration is required, but is probably worth the trouble over at NanoMarkets, where they have a series of free white papers on nanotech, including "Thoughts on the Economics of Nanosensors" and "Plastics, Nanotubes and the Mobile Displays of the Future", plus multiple reports on nano-enabled drug delivery and drug discovery. Excerpt on sensors: "NanoMarkets believes that nanosensors are unlikely to dominate the sensor market anytime soon. In fact, our forecast of the nanosensors market indicates that nanosensors will likely not achieve a 10 percent penetration of the total sensors market until early 2010. However, in light of the total size of the sensor market, even minimal penetration means that the nanosensor market will be worth a few billion dollars within just a few years, which makes them a market opportunity well worth pursuing." Of course, if you love the free white papers you can buy the big reports for big bucks ($2K+).
Plan now to apply for a unique two-year master's program in nanotech in Europe: "1. The nanosciences are multidisciplinary: the challenge is to instil in the students the power to communicate and think across the boundaries of the traditional scientific disciplines. Notably, the aim is not to educate 'multispecialists'. Students receive a basic training in all disciplines, and choose a specialization within one of these disciplines. Special courses are designed to offer a multidisciplinary view on this research field…3. The EMM-nano is strongly research-connected: students spend at least one fourth of the programme on their own research project in a research environment of internationally renowned quality; course modules are strongly related to ongoing research and are taught by research professionals." Europeans can still apply this year; others must wait until next year. Courses are in English.