Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: November 9, 2005
In this issue:
Foresight has articulated six critical challenges that humanity faces which can be addressed by nanotechnology. In the Weekly News Digest we identify news items, research breakthroughs, and events citing current research and applications providing the stepping stones to solutions to these challenges.
Foresight note: Researchers claim that they are closer to increasing the efficiency of organic or flexible solar cells.
Headline: Flexible solar cells make advances
Using a set of polymer coatings, researchers at Wake Forest constructed a nanophase within the polymer called a "mesostructure." The "mesostructure" changes the properties of the plastic and makes it better for collecting light. The researchers also removed the current from the polymer coating, David Carroll, director of the nanotechnology center at Wake Forest, said.
"The consumer market would be really open to having these conformal systems if you could, for instance, roll them up and put them away," said Carroll, who is also an associate professor in Wake Forest's physics department. "Imagine a group of hikers with a tent that when you unrolled the tent and put it up, it could generate its own power. Imagine if the paint on your car that is getting hot in the sun was instead converting part of that heat to recharge your battery."
Foresight note: This article was written by Peter Singer who also spoke at our Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology Conference. He focuses on critical water problems and urges Canada to use its strength in science.
Headline: Think small
To understand the potential of nanotechnology, visualize a membrane used to filter water, with pores so small they can block bacteria (like the E. coli in the water at Kashechewan) or toxins (like the arsenic in the water in Bangladesh). Such "nanomembranes" would be inexpensive, portable and easily cleaned.
Foresight note: This article mentions research being done at Purdue University that may assist in early detection of cancer through advanced medical imaging.
Headline: Gold nanorods brighten future for medical imaging
Researchers at Purdue University have taken a step toward developing a new type of ultra-sensitive medical imaging technique that works by shining a laser through the skin to detect tiny gold nanorods injected into the bloodstream. In tests with mice, the nanorods yielded images nearly 60 times brighter than conventional fluorescent dyes, including rhodamine, commonly used for a wide range of biological imaging to study the inner workings of cells and molecules.
Foresight note: Packaging appears to be the nanotech focus of the food industry as it is increasingly pressured by regulations for safer and more environmentally friendly materials. This article discusses several options that are being considered with nanotech being one of them.
Headline: Food packaging industry faces challenges amid new regulations
Researchers at the University of Leeds Nanomanufacturing Institute in the UK have identified nanoparticles of magnesium oxide and zinc oxide to be effective in destroying microorganisms. There is huge potential for safe, effective and affordable food packaging in the near future.
Foresight note: The nanometer scale in the semiconductor industry is receiving lots of R&D funding. Deeper in this article there is mention that NEC is actually joining an already established Sony/Toshiba team.
Headline: NEC, Toshiba to share 45-nm process, mull broad alliance
NEC Electronics Corp. and Toshiba Corp. announced that the two companies would share the development of 45-nanometer CMOS logic manufacturing processes. In addition, starting with this joint development, the two companies have begun discussions on the possibility of a comprehensive alliance that would range from design and product development through to manufacturing.
Foresight note: This is a personal opinion essay that discusses an interesting idea of using the moon for research, mentioning nanotech.
Headline: Exploiting the moon and saving the earth
There has been a lot of debate in recent months regarding how to return to the Moon, and especially since the release of NASA's Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) in September. Less has been said, though, about what people and/or robots will do once they get there. Not that there's any shortage of ideas: from studying lunar geology and using it as a platform for astronomy to establishing tourist resorts and a separate home for humanity beyond the Earth. None of those ideas, though, has managed yet to resonate with the public.
So how about saving the world?....Now another innovative, out-of-the-box thinker, astronomer and retired Air Force general Pete Worden, has a very different idea for how to save the Earth using the Moon. While his idea may be no less outlandish--or feasible--than prior ideas, it does demonstrate the brainstorming going on to try and develop a rationale for lunar exploration and exploitation.
Focusing on the Cutting Edge
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NanoApex and NanoInvestorNews Merge with Nanotechnology.com
Over the past five years NanoApex and NanoInvestorNews have developed up-to-date news and comprehensive resources related to the growing fields of nanotechnology. This week NanoApex and NanoInvestorNews joined forces with Nanotechnology.com. The sites will continue to provide online resources for nanotechnology under the Nanotechnology.com web structure.
Limited offer — Most of the new nanotechnology.com site is accessible on a complimentary basis. Nanotechnology trackers can now browse the site for features and functionality. This is a 60 days limited time offer.
Nanotechnology.com, The International Small Technology Network
November 15, 2005 – Nanotech: Imagine the Possibilities
First annual symposium showcasing university graduate research. — See the frontier in Nanotechnology and help shape it.
Graduate research topics to be presented include: nanoscale optical devices on DNA scaffolds, nanotube nanofluidic transistors and circuits, anti-cancer drug delivery using viruses, and nanowire-based photonics and sensing.
December 4-9, 2005 – 19th Large Installation Systems Administration Conference
The annual LISA conference is the meeting place of choice for system, network, database, storage, security, and all other computer-related administrators. Administrators of all specialties and levels of expertise meet at LISA to exchange ideas, sharpen old skills, learn new techniques, debate current issues, and meet colleagues and friends.
January 31-February 1, 2006 – Nanotech Investing Forum
Nanotechnology continues to receive growing attention from venture capital investors. Government, universities/labs, and corporations are fueling the growth of nanotech research into profitable commercial applications.
Nanotech Events & News
Headline: China skips 'small talk' but tops nano patents in South
The vast majority of health patents filed in nanotechnology are owned by organizations in developed countries, with China a notable exception, according to research published last month.
Yet, despite being a strong leader in this emerging field, which is predicted to generate a US$1 trillion industry by 2020, China is not participating in international debates on the role of nanotechnology in sustainable development, according to this study.
Don Maclurcan, of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, published his findings in the AzoNano Online Journal of Nanotechnology, based on a survey of health-related nanotechnology patents filed internationally between 1975 and 2004.
Call for Abstracts – Research Papers
Deadline: November 18, 2005
NSTI is calling for abstracts for their May 2006 conference. Researchers can submit abstracts in four main categories.
The first guideline for this script competition is "Submitted plays must explore scientific and/or technological stories, themes, issues and/or events. Authors are strongly encouraged to avoid the stereotypes often assigned to science, technology, and those who engage in these disciplines. This competition is not open to plays written in the genre of science fiction."
Dear readers — When reviewing news for this digest, I often read about something that I think is cool, but it doesn't fit within the usual editorial categories of the News Digest. This section highlights a nanotech advance or idea that I think is especially cool.
I know this is a little silly, and (reader beware) it is a car product advertisement. But the headline caught my attention.
Headline: Nanotechnology: The Uses are Endless
Don't forget to visit our blog Nanodot and join the discussion led by Christine Peterson.
About The Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest
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Special thanks to Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges Research Volunteer Michelle Hubbard, MSc Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan
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