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Notes on 2014 Foresight nanotechnology conference

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 7th, 2014

17th Foresight Conference: “The Integration Conference
February 7-9, 2014
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto
Silicon Valley, California, USA

Conference Co-Chairs:
Rob Meagley, Founder, ONE Nanotechnologies
William A. Goddard, Director, Materials and Process Simulation Center, Caltech

Roadmap Keynote: The Roadmap to Success
Paolo Gargini, ITRS Chairman, Former Intel Fellow and Director of Technology Strategy
Entrepreneurship Keynote: Disruptive Innovation and Accelerating Change
Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson
Integration Keynote: Nanotechnology: Development of Practical Systems and Nano-Micro-Macro Integration
Meyya Meyyappan, Chief Scientist for Exploration Technology NASA Ames Research Center
Government Keynote: Nanomanufacturing: Emergence and Implications on U.S. Competitiveness, the Environment, and Human Health
Timothy M. Persons, Chief Scientist, U.S. Government Accountability Office

“Integration” was the theme of the 2014 Foresight Technical Conference, and the invited speakers covered a broad range of scopes. Within the human scope, topics included the integration of nanoscale technologies into social, political, and economic spheres. Within the technical scope, topics included the integration of atomic and molecular parts into nanoscale structures and devices, as well as into existing and projected commercial products. The following comments derive mainly from technical-scope topics.

There were a number of striking examples of integration on the technical level, including this year’s winner of the Feynman Prize for Experimental work, Alex Zettl of UC Berkeley. His functional radio system that exploits the oscillations of a single carbon nanotube may have applications in single atom detection as well. Advancing towards quantum computing and devices, Michelle Simmons of University of New South Wales described her fabrication process that uses a combination of atomic placement and tightly localized chemical transfers that position individual atoms in predictable locations leading to, for example, precise alignment of a single row of dopant atoms in a 3D silicon framework.

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Will crowdsourced RNA designs advance nanotechnology?

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 6th, 2014

An RNA design produced by a player of the online EteRNA design game (credit: CMU)

Back in July of 2012 we noted here the advent of a new online game that allows players to design RNA molecules, and wondered whether it could be part of a crowd-sourced, citizen science path toward high throughput, atomically precise manufacturing. It turns out that this group of game-players, with the benefit of feedback from lab experiments, has consistently outperformed the best available computerized design algorithms. A hat tip to KurzweilAI for reprinting this press release from Carnegie Mellon University “Crowdsourced RNA Designs Outperform Computer Algorithms, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford Researchers Report“:

An enthusiastic group of non-experts, working through an online interface and receiving feedback from lab experiments, has produced designs for RNA molecules that are consistently more successful than those generated by the best computerized design algorithms, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University report.

Moreover, the researchers gathered some of the best design rules and practices generated by players of the online EteRNA design challenge and, using machine learning principles, generated their own automated design algorithm, EteRNABot, which also bested prior design algorithms. Though this improved computer design tool is faster than humans, the designs it generates still don’t match the quality of those of the online community, which now has more than 130,000 members.

The research [was] published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [open access article]

“The quality of the designs produced by the online EteRNA community is just amazing and far beyond what any of us anticipated when we began this project three years ago,” said Adrien Treiulle, an assistant professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon, who leads the project with Rhiju Das, an assistant professor of biochemistry at Stanford, and Jeehyung Lee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Carnegie Mellon.

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In mice, nanoparticle reduces inflammation in atherosclerotic plaques

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 5th, 2014

Mount Sinai's novel HDL nanoparticle (red), loaded with a statin drug, specifically targets and locally treats inflammatory macrophage cells (green) hiding inside high-risk plaque within blood vessels. Credit: Mount Sinai

Nanoparticles designed for drug delivery run the gamut from very artificial components like gold or specially designed RNA to particles that adapt or mimic naturally occurring nanoparticles. A noteworthy example of the latter is adapting biology’s “good cholesterol”, the high-density lipoprotein particle, to deliver anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent recurrent heart attacks and strokes. A hat tip to Newswise for reprinting this Mount Sinai news release “Novel Nanotherapy Breakthrough May Help Reduce Recurrent Heart Attacks and Stroke“:

Up to 30 percent of heart attack patients suffer a new heart attack because cardiologists are unable to control inflammation inside heart arteries — the process that leads to clots rupturing and causing myocardial infarction or stroke.

But a report in Nature Communications [abstract] by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai scientists showcases the development of a new technology that may provide a solution to this high risk of repeat heart attacks — and potentially help save more lives.

An international research team, led by Mount Sinai investigators, designed and tested a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) nanoparticle loaded with a statin drug. In mouse studies, they show this HDL nanotherapy is capable of directly targeting and lowering dangerous inflammation in blood vessels.

Not only could the HDL nanotherapy potentially avert repeat heart attacks, it may also have the power to reduce recurrent strokes caused by clots in brain arteries, says the study’s senior investigator, Willem Mulder, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiology in the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Better nanoswitches by integrating double and triple strand DNA

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 28th, 2014

Credit: Marco Tripodi

The road from simple nanomaterials and nanodevices to atomically precise manufacturing will involve integrating these simple components into ever more complex and capable systems. The early stages of such integration will also advance current and near-future nanotechnology across multiple application areas, as will be explored in the the Integration Conference, February 7-9, 2014, in Palo Alto, California. A hat tip to Nanotechnology Now for news of this advance from researchers in Rome, Santa Barbara, and Montreal that integrates two basic interactions that have been exploited in DNA nanotechnology—Watson–Crick base pairing and triplex-forming Hoogsteen interactions—to form more sensitive and accurate nanoswitches. From a Université de Montréal press release “DNA clamp to grab cancer before it develops

As part of an international research project, a team of researchers has developed a DNA clamp that can detect mutations at the DNA level with greater efficiency than methods currently in use. Their work could facilitate rapid screening of those diseases that have a genetic basis, such as cancer, and provide new tools for more advanced nanotechnology. The results of this research is published this month in the journal ACS Nano [abstract].

Toward a new generation of screening tests

An increasing number of genetic mutations have been identified as risk factors for the development of cancer and many other diseases. Several research groups have attempted to develop rapid and inexpensive screening methods for detecting these mutations. “The results of our study have considerable implications in the area of diagnostics and therapeutics,” says Professor Francesco Ricci, “because the DNA clamp can be adapted to provide a fluorescent signal in the presence of DNA sequences having mutations with high risk for certain types cancer. The advantage of our fluorescence clamp, compared to other detection methods, is that it allows distinguishing between mutant and non-mutant DNA with much greater efficiency. This information is critical because it tells patients which cancer(s) they are at risk for or have.”

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Integrating DNA nanotechnology and RNA to transport nanoparticles along nanotubes

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 21st, 2014

Credit: Purdue University image/Tae-Gon Cha

Another recent nanotechnology research advance in line with the theme of next month’s “Foresight Technical Conference: Integration“, integrating nanodevices and nanomaterials into more complex systems, is the combination of a DNA walker motor, RNA fuel, a carbon nanotube track, and a nanoparticle cargo, all mimicking the biological molecular machinery of protein motors using ATP fuel to walk along microtubule tracks (also made of protein) inside cells. A hat tip to ScienceDaily for reprinting this Purdue University press release written by Emil Venere “DNA motor ‘walks’ along nanotube, transports tiny particle:”

Researchers have created a new type of molecular motor made of DNA and demonstrated its potential by using it to transport a nanoparticle along the length of a carbon nanotube.

The design was inspired by natural biological motors that have evolved to perform specific tasks critical to the function of cells, said Jong Hyun Choi, a Purdue University assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

Whereas biological motors are made of protein, researchers are trying to create synthetic motors based on DNA, the genetic materials in cells that consist of a sequence of four chemical bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. The walking mechanism of the synthetic motors is far slower than the mobility of natural motors. However, the natural motors cannot be controlled, and they don’t function outside their natural environment, whereas DNA-based motors are more stable and might be switched on and off, Choi said.

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RNA nanotechnology - fewer structures in living cells than in test tubes

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 14th, 2014

Image courtesy of the researchers

Next month’s “Foresight Technical Conference: Integration” will explore the integration of nanoengineered devices and materials into more complex systems across several application areas. The session on “Bionano Systems” will include a talk on “Molecular Folding Science” focusing on peptoids as an approach to creating the 3D molecular architectures that will be important for both current applications and the eventual development of high-throughput atomically precise manufacturing systems. Another folding-polymer approach that we have written about here is RNA nanotechnology, which provides a great variety of complex 3D structures. A new combination of computational and experimental approaches helps to identify which of these numerous conformations are likely to be useful. A hat tip to Bioscience Technology for reprinting this MIT news release “Unusual suspects“:

Computer models plus observations of RNA inside a cell help scientists home in on a short list of interesting RNA ‘machines.’

DNA stores the information of life, proteins provide the action, and in between sits elusive RNA, which serves both as a database of information and as a molecular machine. RNA is more flexible than DNA, and its three-dimensional structures are more complex than proteins. When studied in the laboratory, RNA bends into so many convolutions that it is nearly impossible to tease out which folds are worthy of scientific inquiry and which can safely be ignored.

New collaborative work from computational biologists at MIT and experimental biologists at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), however, is easing that distinction by combining computational and experimental approaches to identifying biologically meaningful RNA folds. The work, published this week in Nature [abstract], could open the door to a better understanding of RNA machinery — which ranges from the ribosome, a molecular factory that manufactures proteins, to microRNAs and riboswitches, tiny devices that regulate gene expression, to long noncoding RNAs whose diverse functions are only beginning to be understood.

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2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Sessions and Speakers

Posted by candice on December 23rd, 2013

2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration —February 7-9, 2014

www.foresight.org/conference

Early registration rates and reduced hotel rates are available for a limited time.

Conference Co-Chairs:

Robert P. Meagley, CEO/CTO, ONE Nanotechnologies

William A. Goddard III, Director, Materials and Process Simulation Center, Caltech

Keynote Speakers:

Meyya Meyyappan, Chief Scientist for Exploration Technology, NASA Ames Research Center

Paolo Gargini, ITRS Chairman, Former Intel VP of Technology Strategy

Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson

Planned Sessions include:

bionano2014tech
Computation and Molecular Nanotechnolgies
Trigate
selforg2014tech

Self-Organizing & Adaptive Systems

Cliff Henderson, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Robert P. Meagley, CEO/CTO, ONE Nanotechnologies

Ulrich Wiesner, Professor, Cornell University

New Report: Nano-solutions for the 21st century

Posted by Stephanie C on December 20th, 2013

A recently released technology report titled Nano-solutions for the 21st century outlines nanotech-based solutions to global challenges. Several years in the making, the report was co-authored by Dennis Pamlin, Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Research Center for Sustainable Development (RCSD web site currently in Chinese only), and Eric Drexler, Academic Visitor with the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology and author of Radical Abundance. The report has a strongly international perspective, and the Abstract is presented in both English and Chinese.

The core technological emphasis of the report is atomically precise manufacturing, and even those most familiar with the topic will find the breadth of this report compelling and informative. The report discusses — in reader-friendly presentations – a number of broader issues, such as:

  • shifts in thinking about the roles of new technologies (from creating specific technological capabilities to creating enabling technologies intended to support further technological advancements),
  • the surprising value of atomically imprecise technologies,
  • the leverage gained by applying defined criteria and metrics to the evaluation of research results and progress,
  • how funding and policy shape incentives and carry unintended consequences (some desirable, some not), and
  • simple actions that can be taken today to effect positive change.

A number of concrete examples are presented to illustrate concepts and conclusions.
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Open Access journals for nanotechnology and other topics

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 19th, 2013

One of the frustrating aspects of covering an emerging interdisciplinary technology like nanotechnology on a low budget is that some of the most interesting research is sequestered behind a pay wall. Press releases and abstracts usually do not provide enough depth to really appreciate what was done. Some authors make their papers available on their own web sites, and in many cases emailing a request to the corresponding author will result in receipt of a complementary PDF. Another great help in keeping abreast is the growing list of Open Access journals. How to find them? This recently from Sally Roy:

I’m a researcher with an academic resource site for college students. I recently visited your site — foresight.org — while working on a guide to open access journals, and thought you might be interested in checking it out. The guide includes a curated list of free, peer reviewed journals and journal databases from a number of disciplines.

We put this together knowing that people like the convenience of online research even though it can return questionable results. Our hope is to let students and professionals know that there’s actually a lot of good information out there, it’s just a matter of knowing where to find it. …

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Molecular Folding Science: the Future of Architectural Biomimicry at the Atomic Scale by Ronald Zuckermann at the 2014 Technical Conference: Integration

Posted by candice on December 17th, 2013

2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration —February 7-9, 2014

www.foresight.org/conference

Early registration rates and reduced hotel rates are available for a limited time.
Use promo code NANOBLOG for $100 off registration

Molecular Folding Science:
The Future of Architectural Biomimicry at the Atomic Scale

Precisely folded proteins are Nature’s machinery: 3D molecular architectures, that are responsible for essential functions like molecular recognition and catalysis.  In order to utilize these molecules under ever-more demanding conditions for urgent medical, environmental and energy-related problems, attempts are being made to synthesize robust and completely artificial protein-like structures.  In this talk Ron will discuss interdisciplinary efforts to use robotic synthesis and computer simulation to design and synthesize information-rich synthetic peptoid polymers that can be programmed to fold into precise 3D nanostructures. Recent efforts have produced a family of peptoid nanosheets that are decorated with a high density of surface loops, to create an antibody-like material capable of velcro-like recognition of molecular targets.

Ronald Zuckermann, Biological Nanostructures Facility, The Molecular Foundry Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, received his B.S. in Chemistry in 1984 from Harvey Mudd College where he did undergraduate research in synthetic organic chemistry.  He then went on to UC Berkeley to study Bioorganic Chemistry with Dr. Peter Schultz.  His thesis work was on the synthesis of semi-synthetic nucleases capable of the sequence-specific cleavage of RNA.  After receiving the first Schultz group Ph.D. in 1989, he became one of the founding chemists at Protos Corp., a combinatorial drug discovery start-up in Emeryville, CA.  There he helped develop several key drug discovery technologies such as robotic combinatorial library synthesizers, affinity selection methods and a novel class of heteropolymers called “Peptoids”.  Chiron Corp. acquired Protos in 1991 where this work continued and was applied to small molecule drug discovery, new biomaterials and DNA delivery.  Dr. Zuckermann was promoted to Research Fellow in 2003. In early 2006, he left Chiron to join the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he is currently Facility Director of the Biological Nanostructures Facility at The Molecular Foundry. He was promoted to Senior Scientist in 2011. He has published over 90 papers and is co-inventor on 27 patents.

Use Promo Code NANOBLOG for $100 off registration!

Advanced technologies by design

Posted by Stephanie C on December 16th, 2013

Crystal structure of the new superconductor iron tetraboride © APS. credit: Chemistry World

Design and prediction are integral to Atomically Precise Manufacturing and its development. This is in part because fully functional APM can be readily explored computationally today, to levels of precision that cannot be experimentally developed today. In such a context, design is not just a resource but an approach.

With rapidly expanding computational power, examples of new technological advancements centered on design/prediction are becoming more prevalent (such as projected nanomedicine advances as noted by Jim Lewis here). Such emerging cases are refreshing contrasts to the familiar historical example of graphene, which was fairly well understood computationally for decades even as efforts at fabrication remained intermittent.

Continuing the trend towards more design-oriented development approaches, a new superconductor has now been predicted and fabricated with intent.

The article, titled “New superconductor is first predicted then created” was recently featured on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s online media site Chemistry World. The article explains:

In 2010 and 2011 Aleksey Kolmogorov and colleagues at the University of Oxford, UK, and Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany predicted that, at very high pressures, iron and boron would form the previously unobserved compound FeB4 and that, when cooled to cryogenic temperatures, this compound would superconduct. Kolmogorov, now at Binghamtom University, US, has now collaborated with European experimentalists to prove this.

The researchers suggest that the combination of hardness and superconductivity could prove useful in superconducting nanoelectromechanical systems. However, team member Natalia Dubrovinskaia, of the University of Bayreuth in Germany, stresses that ‘the main result is not prospective applications of this particular material, but the change in vision regarding the possibility to design superconductors from scratch’.

Computation and design are tremendous assets in shaping and developing future technological systems, such as APM. Currently these assets are being utilized more for developing isolated components rather than systems, but these proof-of-concept successes bring much-deserved mainstream attention to the importance and value of the design/prediction approach.
-Posted by Stephanie C

Ultra fast, ultra low energy transistors in Electronic and Optical Nanosystems, 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration

Posted by candice on December 8th, 2013

Ultra fast, ultra low energy transistors in Electronic and Optical Nanosystems

Dr. Reza Arghavani is the Managing Director of Technology for LAM Research Corporation. He will be speaking on the realization of nanotechnology approaching the atomic scale that underpins the ultra fast, ultra low energy transistors of the 22nm node devices on sale today and the challenges for creating the even more demanding, smaller, faster and lower power devices of the future as we approach the limits of design.

Prior to Lam Research, Dr. Arghavani was the CTO and Co-Founder of Universal Phase, Inc., and was responsible for the realization of a transistor based apparatus to deliver focused microwave energy into a cavity for Energy and SEMI industrial applications. As a Fellow at Applied Materials [one of only three at AMAT], Dr. Arghavani led a team to create a series of stress inducing dielectrics, which are currently in use in high volume manufacturing for both Logic and Non-Volatile Memory applications. This program led to over $800 million revenue in a period of two years.

At Intel Corporation Logic Technology Development, Dr. Arghavani was responsible for three generations of high performance microprocessor gate stack technology. Dr. Arghavani introduced the first High K Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) into Intel development FABs. This work eventually led to the introduction of High-K / Metal Gates into 45nm INTEL Microprocessors [débuted by Gordon Moore as the biggest change in transistor technology since the late 1960s]. He was also part of the original Intel development team that invented and patented the 3-D Tri-Gate transistor, now in high volume manufacturing for the 22nm node.

2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration —February 7-9, 2014

www.foresight.org/conference

Early registration rates and reduced hotel rates are available for a limited time.
Use Promo Code NANOBLOG for $100 off registration.

Rolith wins 2013 Best Manufacturing Technology Award for Printed Electronics Industry. Boris Kobrin to speak at 2014 Technical Conference: Integration

Posted by candice on December 4th, 2013

Registration is open for the 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration —February 7-9, 2014

www.foresight.org/conference

Reduced hotel rates are available for a limited time.
Use Promo Code NANOBLOG for $100 off registration

Rolith, Inc. Wins the 2013 Best Manufacturing Technology Award from the Printed Electronics Industry

Rolith, Inc., a leader in advanced nanostructured devices, is pleased to announce that Printed Electronics Industry selected Rolith for the Best Manufacturing Technology award based on its production of transparent metal mesh conductors for large touch screen displays, OLED lighting and photovoltaics.

Boris Kobrin, the founder of Rolith, will be joining us at the 2014 Foresight Technical Conference to speak on the topic of Commercially Implemented Nanotechnology.  Boris brings over 25 years of experience in semiconductors and optics, micro and nano fabrication processes and equipment technologies. In addition he has also had success in building eight cutting-edge technology companies in the US, Israel and Canada.

Remember to use Promo Code NANOBLOG when you register for $100 off the registration fee.

2013 conference video: Mechanical Atom Manipulation

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 2nd, 2013

Credit: Philip Moriarty

A select set of videos from the 2013 Foresight Technical Conference: Illuminating Atomic Precision, held January 11-13, 2013 in Palo Alto, have been made available on vimeo. Videos have been posted of those presentations for which the speakers have consented. Other presentations contained confidential information and will not be posted.

The 4th speaker in the Atomic Scale Devices session was Philip Moriarty. His talk was titled “Mechanical Atom Manipulation: Towards a Matter Compiler?biography and abstract, video – video length 31:14.

Prof. Moriarty presented his work with the qPlus technique of non-contact AFM of semiconductors, using chemical forces to mechanically move atoms around to structure matter, focusing on the tip of the probe—specifically how to optimize the tip structure, and how to return the tip to a previously known state. He begins with a brief review of how non-contact AFM uses a damped, driven oscillator to measure and manipulate what is happening at the level of single chemical bonds. The tip at the end of the oscillating cantilever measures the frequency shift of the cantilever as it approaches and interacts with the surface, and it maintains a constant amplitude of oscillation by pumping energy into the system. The frequency shift provides information about conservative forces acting on the tip, and the amount of energy pumped in gives a handle on non-conservative, or dissipative, forces. Before diving into the experimental details of his own work, Prof. Moriarty noted that various experimental accomplishments have vindicated Eric Drexler’s assertion that single atom chemistry could be done using purely mechanical force.

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Nanotrain uses molecular motors and DNA nanotechnology controls

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 2nd, 2013

Nanotrain network created by scientists at Oxford University: green dye-carrying shuttles after 'refuelling' with ATP travel towards the center of the network with their cargoes of green dye. Credit: Adam Wollman/Oxford University

The goal of the modular molecular composite nanosystems (MMCNs) path to atomically precise manufacturing is to exploit million-atom-scale DNA frameworks to assemble and coordinate molecular components to build complex functional nanostructures. Last year we cited work in which molecular motor proteins were used to transport synthetic DNA cargos along a 25-nm-diameter protein track composed of microtubules, the networks used to transport molecular cargo in human and other eukaryotic cells. Demonstrating another way in which to use these molecular components for similar purposes, other researchers have now used DNA nanotechnology to organize and control networks for transporting molecular cargo by incorporating molecular motors into different types of functional nanostructures. A hat tip to ScienceDaily for reprinting this Oxford University press release “All aboard the nanotrain network“:

Tiny self-assembling transport networks, powered by nano-scale motors and controlled by DNA, have been developed by scientists at Oxford University and Warwick University.

The system can construct its own network of tracks spanning tens of micrometres in length, transport cargo across the network and even dismantle the tracks.

The work is published in Nature Nanotechnology [abstract] ….

Researchers were inspired by the melanophore, used by fish cells to control their colour. Tracks in the network all come from a central point, like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Motor proteins transport pigment around the network, either concentrating it in the centre or spreading it throughout the network. Concentrating pigment in the centre makes the cells lighter, as the surrounding space is left empty and transparent.

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Carbon Nanotube Devices: H-S Philip Wong

Posted by candice on November 23rd, 2013

H-S Philip Wong discusses Carbon Nanotube Devices at 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration

Early Registration ends 11/25 – Use promo code NANOBLOG for $100 off registration.

In October, Professor Wong along with colleagues at Stanford University published the development of a digital computer which uses carbon nanotubes as transistors. The team was able to integrate 142 carbon nanotube transistors into a multitasking computer programmable through a 20 instruction set. Professor Wong will relate the trials and triumphs in the integration strategy, as well as insight into other strategies for ultra small, high speed low power switching.

To put these accomplishments into perspective we need only look back to 2008 at which time the integration of five carbon nanotubes was cutting edge technology.

You can follow the Carbon Nanotube Device Timeline: through the links below and join us at the 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration to hear more from Professor Wong:

2003- carbon nanotube mats integrated as organic vapor sensor(Nano Letters)

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl034220x

2008- Five carbon nanotubes integrated to form an AM Radio (PNAS)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234156/

2013- One hundred forty two carbon nanotubes integrated to form a multitasking computer (Nature)

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7468/full/nature12502.html

Upcoming Book Explores Nanomedical Device and Systems Design

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 21st, 2013

Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions Published: November 18, 2013 by CRC Press Content:787 Pages | 223 Illustrations Editor(s):Frank Boehm

Aubrey de Grey (Chairman and Chief Science Officer of the Methuselah Foundation and Editor-in-Chief of the high-impact journal Rejuvenation Research) offers some affirmative comments below, subsequent to a review of the upcoming book: Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis)
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9780849374982
edited by Frank J. Boehm, which is slated for release on November 25, 2013.

“This book is extraordinarily detailed and comprehensive, and succeeds splendidly as an update to a field previously defined by Freitas’s similarly encyclopedic works. A particularly strong element is the thorough dissection of methods of nanodevice delivery covered in the first section. I am most impressed by the book’s structure. One particularly nice decision was to open up the central section to invited authors, giving the book a level of variety that is otherwise challenging to deliver. The level of detail presented is the main thing I am looking for in such highly speculative engineering design surveys, and it is fantastic here.”

“Robert Freitas defined the field of nanomedicine with his encyclopedic analysis published at the turn of the century. After 15 years, the time is right to provide an updated view, but can Freitas’s comprehensiveness ever be matched? Boehm has shown that it can. As Freitas did, he has risen to the formidable challenge of tackling a hugely speculative area of pioneering technology with a level of thoroughness that should give even the cautious reader a substantial level of confidence that, once the most basic nuts and bolts of molecular manufacturing are available (and progress towards them is already encouraging), their application to some of our greatest needs may rapidly follow.”

Upon his review of the book, Ted Kucklick, author of The Medical Device R&D Handbook, notes that “Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions speculates where nanotechnology for medicine might develop in the next 10-20 years, and postulates a number of possibilities for therapeutic applications including artificial blood and neuroprosthetics and posthuman augmentation. Medical futurists may find this book useful in anticipating where these technologies may lead.”

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Dr. Banning Garrett discusses the importance of Nanotechnology in world markets.

Posted by candice on November 20th, 2013

Dr. Garrett gives 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration a picture of the global socio-political piece of the nanotechnology puzzle.  He can provide insight into why nanotechnology is important strategically as part of the new industrial revolution and the accelerating pace of technologically-induced disruptive change throughout society and geopolitics.

Dr. Banning Garrett is Strategic Foresight Senior Fellow for Innovation and Global Trends and founding director of the Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council of the United States. He also established and has directed since 2006, the Council’s collaboration with the  National Intelligence Council in preparation of their quadrennial long-term assessments of global trends, most recently Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, released in 2012.  For 22 years Dr. Garrett worked as a consultant to the Department of Defense and US government agencies conducting an unofficial strategic dialogue with China beginning in 1981. Dr. Garrett was also a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a founding board member of the US Committee for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific.

You can hear more from Dr. Garrett at the 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration

Early Registration ends 11/25 for the 2014 Foresight Technical Conference: Integration —February 7-9, 2014

EARLY REGISTRATION ENDS NOVEMBER 25
Use discount code NANOBLOG for $100 off during Early Registration

Early registration rates and reduced hotel rates are available for a limited time.

Graphene nanoribbon senses passage of individual bases of DNA

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 19th, 2013

Caption: Many efforts over last decade have been directed towards development of single molecule sequencing based on solid state nanopores. Aleksandra Radenovic and co-workers have made a device composed of a graphene nanoribbon transistor built on top of a solid state nanopore. Direct electrical readout from the graphene transistors is used to detect DNA translocation events. Nanopore, DNA and the graphene nanoribbon are shown in this schematic (which is not to scale). Credit: EPFL

A major contribution of current and near-term nanotechnology to medical advance will be improving DNA sequencing technology to enable fully individualized medical treatment. In an important step toward very rapid DNA sequencing, researchers have used a graphene nanoribbon transistor to sense the movement of a DNA molecule through a nanopore. A hat tip to ScienceDaily for reprinting this public release from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland: “Graphene nanoribbons for ‘reading’ DNA“.

… The DNA molecules are diluted in a solution containing ions and are driven by an electric field through a membrane with a nanopore. When the molecule goes through the orifice, it provokes a slight perturbation to the field, detectable not only by the modulations in ionic current but also by concomitant modulation in the graphene transistor current. Based on this information, it is possible to determine whether a DNA molecule has passed through the membrane or not.

This system is based on a method that has been known for over a dozen years. The original technique was not as reliable since it presented a number of shortcomings such as clogging pores and lack of precision, among others. “We thought that we would be able to solve these problems by creating a membrane as thin as possible while maintaining the orifice’s strength”, said Aleksandra Radenovic from the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology at EPFL. Together with Floriano Traversi, postdoctoral student, and colleagues from the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures, she came across the material that turned out to be both the strongest and most resilient: graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon molecules. The strips of graphene or nanoribbons used in the experiment were produced at EPFL, thanks to the work carried out at the Center for Micro Nanotechnology (CMI) and the Center for Electron Microscopy (CIME).

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Nanoparticle therapy for incurable brain cancer effective in mice

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 15th, 2013

Researchers combined gold nanoparticles (in yellow) with small interfering RNAs (in green) to knock down an oncogene that is overexpressed in glioblastoma. Credit: Northwestern University

Back in 2009 we cited promising work from Chad Mirkin (winner of the 2002 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology in the Experimental category) that covering 13-nanometer gold nanoparticles with siRNA molecules enable the usually unstable and fragile molecules to enter tumor cells in culture and silence the tumor cell gene against which the siRNA molecules were targeted. We now learn that these spherical nucleic acid nanoparticle conjugates show activity in cell culture and in mouse models against an incurable brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). A hat tip to ScienceDaily for reprinting this Northwestern University news release by Megan Fellman “Incurable Brain Cancer Gene Is Silenced: Gene regulation technology increases survival rates in mice with glioblastoma“:

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the brain cancer that killed Sen. Edward Kennedy and kills approximately 13,000 Americans a year, is aggressive and incurable. Now a Northwestern University research team is the first to demonstrate delivery of a drug that turns off a critical gene in this complex cancer, increasing survival rates significantly in animals with the deadly disease.

The novel therapeutic, which is based on nanotechnology, is small and nimble enough to cross the blood-brain barrier and get to where it is needed — the brain tumor. Designed to target a specific cancer-causing gene in cells, the drug simply flips the switch of the troublesome oncogene to “off,” silencing the gene. This knocks out the proteins that keep cancer cells immortal.

In a study of mice, the nontoxic drug was delivered by intravenous injection. In animals with GBM, the survival rate increased nearly 20 percent, and tumor size was reduced three to four fold, as compared to the control group. The results are published today (Oct. 30) in Science Translational Medicine [abstract].

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