Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: April 12, 2006
In this issue:
Foresight Nanotech Institute News
Foresight Nanotech Institute Seeks Nominees for Nanotechnology Prizes
Researchers, Students and Journalists to be Honored
Foresight Nanotech Institute, the leading think tank and public interest organization focused on nanotechnology, is accepting nominations for its premier nanotechnology prizes. Foresight's awards and prizes recognize students, researchers and journalists who work to accelerate the development and positive uses of advanced nanotechnology.
The deadline for prize submissions is June 30, 2006. Winners will be announced at nanoTX '06, an exhibition and conference to be held in Dallas, Texas, on September 27-28, 2006. Foresight will award four prizes in 2006: two Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, the Foresight Institute Prize in Communication, and the Foresight Institute Distinguished Award.
"Our mission is to ensure the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology. We focus on nanotechnology that is good for people and good for the planet. Our prizes are given to those individuals whose recent efforts place us closer to that goal." said Christine Peterson, Co-Founder and Vice President of Public Policy at Foresight Nanotech Institute. "We are pleased to announce our prize winners at nanoTX 06 this year and anticipate that this year's nominations will continue to illustrate rapid progress toward advanced nanotechnology and productive nanosystems."
To be considered for a prize please apply online at this web link
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: Noted scientist Mildred S. Dresslhaus discusses how nanotech can provide future energy solutions through advances in hydrogen production and storage.
Headline: Nanoscience rising up to meet energy challenge
Tiny materials may bring about large-scale advances in a future hydrogen economy, Institute Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus told audiences Wednesday, April 5, at MIT and at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.
In a talk, "Addressing Grand Energy Challenges Through Nanoscience," simulcast at both institutions, Dresselhaus related how she became involved in 2003 in making hydrogen a more viable fuel source when she chaired a national study looking at the problem. President Bush's 2003 State of the Union announcement of a hydrogen fuel initiative substantially increased interest in the potential for hydrogen to play a major role in the nation's long-term energy future.
Foresight note: The winner of this award invented a smart dishwasher that uses nanotechnology for continual water filtration and reuse in a soap-free dishwasher.
Headline: Suds-free smart dishwasher
A guilt-free, suds-free dishwasher is now a reality, thanks to the inventive mind of University of Technology Sydney design student, Alexandra Gilmour. Her Swash' dishwashing machine has been selected as one of 12 finalists in the Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award.
"My aim was to develop a new cleaning method and innovative solution to existing models that would reduce water usage/wastage and provide a hygienically clean result. This was achieved by using high temperature steam as a cleaning agent, which eliminates detergent use, and nanotechnology for continual water filtration for reuse," student designer, Gilmour said.
Foresight note: Here is an example of nanotechnology providing targeted therapeutics for specific cancers.
Headline: Nanotechnology zaps prostate tumor cells
Super-small organic particles loaded with an anti-cancer drug attach themselves to prostate tumor cells and use the chemotherapy to destroy cancer, researchers report.
In experiments with mice, researchers used these custom design "nano- particles" to home in on, and then enter, malignant cells, delivering lethal doses of chemotherapy while leaving healthy cells unaffected.
Tumors shrank dramatically after this type of treatment, the researchers reported, and all of the treated mice survived.
"We were interested in developing a nano drug-delivery system," said lead author Dr. Omid C. Farokhzad, an assistant professor of anesthesia at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "These nano-particles are so small that you can put 500 of them side-by-side, and they are as thick as a human hair," he added.
This small drug-delivery system is able to attach itself to the surface of a prostate cancer cell and then get drawn into the cell, Farokhzad said. "This was effective in eradicating cancer in a mouse model of prostate cancer," he said.
Foresight note: This conference features several speakers on Food and Nanotechnology. We are highlighting one of the presentations at this event.
Headline: The Future of Interactive Food – Personalizing Taste and Texture in the Food Industry
Dr. Qingrong Huang, Assistant Professor, Food Science, Rutgers University will give a presentation on The Future of Interactive Food – Personalizing Taste and Texture in the Food Industry at Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture, scheduled for June 6-7, 2006 in Washington, DC. This event offers attendees an opportunity to capitalize on new developments being explored by leading manufacturers within the industry and the chance to avoid the potential pitfalls surrounding this innovative approach to technological development.
Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture will look at the calls already being made for regulation, and give you the chance to hear the views of government agencies that have direct influence in this area. If food and agribusiness companies act now to address these concerns, they can reduce the chances of punitive legislation, which may restrict future growth.
Christine Peterson, Foresight's Vice President of Public Policy, will also speak at this meeting.
Foresight note: This nanometer memory fabrication could possibly be the process that will drive nanotech in the memory market.
Headline: Nanotube firm demonstrates 22nm memory
Nantero says that it has fabricated and tested a 22nm NRAM memory switch based on its proprietary carbon nanotube fabric. NRAM is a rewritable memory device that holds its data content without power, making it sometimes referred to as the next potential universal memory technology.
"These results demonstrate that NRAM can be the standalone and embedded memory of choice. NRAM combines the non-volatility of flash with the speed of SRAM and the density of DRAM," said Greg Schmergel, Nantero's co-founder and CEO.
Foresight note: NASA has a dedicated project focused on bulk production of single-wall carbon nanotubes.
Headline: NASA Commitment to Nanotechnology
NASA and the Johnson Space Center (JSC) have made a commitment to pursue and drive breakthrough technologies to expand human exploration of space. The very future of space exploration depends on advanced technologies such as nanotechnology and biomimetics. Toward this goal, JSC is focusing on the development of nanotechnology based on single-wall carbon nanotubes. JSC is working toward bulk SWNT production methods to reduce cost and foster widespread applications studies. In addition, they are pursuing applications, including fabrication of SWNT composites, with predicted strength-to-weight ratios that far exceed any of today's materials. NASA's commitment to nanotechnology is testimony that nanoscopic materials, nanoelectronics and molecular devices will be fundamental to future space exploration.
The goal of this project is to develop nanotube applications for use in human space exploration. Because of their superior strength-to-weight ratio, SWNT composites are expected to reduce spacecraft weight by 50% or more. Other exploration applications include energy storage, life support systems, thermal materials, nanoelectronics, nanosensors, electrostatic discharge materials, and biomedical applications.
Nanoworld: Toward a Policy for the Human Future
Christine Peterson, Founder and Vice President of Public Policy for Foresight Nanotech Institute, will speak on a panel on nanotech and ethics issues. This panel will collectively respond to points highlighted in the preceding keynote, which will be delivered by Mihail C. Roco, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation.
In addition to Christine, the other panelists are: David Guston, Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University; Andrew Kimbrell, International Center for Technology Assessment; and Charles Rubin, Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy at Duquesne University.
If you attend or use any of our partners' events or services, please tell them you heard about it from Foresight Nanotech Institute.
April 15, 2006 – Nanotechnology: living up to the promise
The Berkeley Nanotechnology Forum 2006 (BNF 2006) features leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and academics, presenting their opinion on how in recent years nanotechnology has been living up to its promise.
This event also addresses the current achievements and the possible directions that this amazing field is poised to take in the near future. Beyond exciting scientific and entrepreneurial opportunities, nanotechnology is offering tremendous life-transforming perspectives. Come and discover how to be part of this new era!
Co-organizers for this event include Haas Energy Resources Collaborative and Berkeley Bio Business Association.
April 25-26, 2006 – Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes are poised to take the world by storm! This tiny technology has the potential to revolutionize strength and light weighing across a multitude of different materials, making it suitable applications as widespread as aeronautics and packaging. Attend this groundbreaking event to find out where this burgeoning technology is heading and what opportunities it could offer your business.
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Nanotech Events & News
Foresight Note: The next three news items are actually reactions to a "nano" product recall that was announced last week. These items include the original announcement, a response from ETC, a pro-moratorium group, and another response from ICON, a nanotechnology multi-stakeholder group.
You can also read about this on nanodot
Headline: "Nano" Safety Recall – A product touted as "nano" has hospitalized six German consumers, prompting more warnings over the dangers of nanomaterials
The hospitalization of six Germans after they used a product called Magic Nano has renewed calls for better research into the toxicity of nanoparticles and possibly new laws or regulations governing their manufacture and use.
Since March 27, after a German discount store began offering an aerosolized form of the product, which is a protective sealant for glass and ceramics, 79 people who used the spray have reported breathing problems and coughing. The six who were hospitalized for pulmonary edema have now been released, and typically the symptoms go away in about a day. The number of new cases dropped after the product was pulled from the market two days after its introduction.
Previously, the product had been sold in a pump spray container, and during four years no problems with it were reported, according to Jurgen Kundke, a spokesperson for Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. The aerosol form creates a much finer mist of droplets than the pump, possibly allowing the droplets to stay in the air longer or to penetrate further into the lungs, says Kundke.
"We have seen this effect in other sprays with no nanoparticles, so it's a question of the aerosol and not especially of the nanoparticles," Kundke says. Although the product is labeled "nano," Kundke says it might not contain nanotechnology. "The recipes are still secret, he says. "We don't even know if there was nano in the product."
Headline: Nanotech Product Recall Underscores Need for Nanotech Moratorium: Is the Magic Gone?
[EDITOR'S NOTE: As we go to press, the assumption in the ETC press release text below — that "Magic Nano" contains nanoparticles — may be incorrect. —Judy]
ETC Group renewed its 2003 call for a global moratorium on nanotech lab research and a recall of consumer products containing engineered nanoparticles. There is particular urgency for those products that are ingested, applied to the body or released in the environment. The need for action is underscored following the decision by German authorities to recall a nanotech bathroom cleaner, "Magic Nano" — purportedly a product of nanotechnology. At least 77 people reported respiratory problems in late March after using the product. Six people were hospitalized but later released when their respiratory distress faded.(1) The company marketing "Magic Nano" is Kleinmann GmbH, a German subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works (a US Fortune 200 corporation with 650 subsidiaries in 45 countries and 49,000 employees). Kleinmann sells "Magic Nano" in a spray pump and as an aerosol spray.
The recall only applies to the aerosol spray. There is no information available regarding the nano chemical compound used, nor whether the problem lies with the nanoparticles or with the interaction between the particles and the conventional aerosol propellant.
Headline: Multi-Stakeholder Council Puts BfR Release on "Magic Nano" in Context
The International Council of Nanotechnology (ICON) is committed to the assessment, communication, and reduction of the environmental and health risks of nanotechnology, while maximizing its societal benefit. As such, we seek out information and attempt to provide a multi-stakeholder perspective on complex technical issues of nanotechnology risk.
Recently we learned of the recall of a bathroom sealer product. The recall is an important reminder of the need to be vigilant about product safety, regardless of the technology, and to take immediate action to protect public health when health effects are discovered. We support the producer's decision to recall the product.
Although its name (MagicNano) suggests it is a product of nanotechnology, a spokesperson for Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), which initiated the recall, expressed doubts about whether there is any "nano" in the product at all. Without knowing the cause of the reported health effects, it is premature to assign blame to a specific ingredient or class of materials. This recall highlights the need for clarity with respect to terminology, hazard identification, cause and effect, and risk communication.
Composite Organic-Inorganic Nanotags
2006 Nanochallenge International Business Plan Competition – Deadline June 16, 2006
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.
Here is an example of a practical use of nanoscale composites.
Headline: No More Broken Antennas at the Carwash
Imagine a trip to the carwash without that feeling of panic when you realize you've left your radio antenna up. That worry could become a thing of the past thanks to a new, flexible material developed by University of Maryland engineers that can be used to manufacture radio antennas that bend, but do not break. It contains nanometer-sized particles of iron and strontium.
The new material, a lightweight, plastic-like composite, will also render rigid cell-phone antennas obsolete and make future antennas smaller and more efficient.
Peter Kofinas, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UM's A. James Clark School of Engineering, developed the material in a "chemistry shake-and-bake process" resulting in a self- organizing polymer containing nanometer-sized particles of two metals, iron and strontium.
Join the discussion – visit our blog Nanodot led by Christine Peterson.
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