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Nanotechnology and centrifugal force for clean water

Today I was privileged to serve as Co-Chair of the Clean Water session at the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council‘s annual meeting “Nanotech: From Promise to Reality“. This year’s theme was Creating a Sustainable Environment.

Our session’s first speaker was Olgica Bakajin of Lawrence Livermore, who is using carbon nanotubes to filter water. She is getting amazing flow rates, much higher than theory would predict, due to the atomic smoothness of the tubes.

Next up was Mamadou Diallo of Caltech, who has started Aqua Nano LLC to commercialize his dendrimer water treatment technology. He explained to the audience that the water industry was very conservative; one must just plug into it, with a few changes as possible.

Last was Jeonggi Seo of Palo Alto Research Center (PARC, formerly Xerox PARC) who explained their continuous-flow, membrane-less technology for filtering out larger particles by centrifugal force. I wasn’t clear on the connection to nanotech (there may be one that I missed), but it’s cool technology anyway. He hopes to extend it to blood filtration as well.

Based on these three speakers, and the audience, it was clear that any country wanting to excel in nanotech had better keep those international visas flowing fast. Or at least, the US had better do so.

By the way: we at Nanodot are having some trouble with comment spam, so if your comment made since last Friday has not appeared, that’s why. We will work on it. —Christine

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