Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: August 2, 2006
Foresight Note: Using carbon nanotubes lead to faster and less expensive medical scanning according to this research.
Headline: New method of using nanotube x-rays creates CT images faster than traditional scanners
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a new method to create computed tomography (CT) images using carbon nanotube x-rays that works much faster than traditional scanners and uses less peak power.
The work is another step toward developing scanners for medical imaging and homeland security that are smaller, faster, and less expensive to operate, said Dr. Otto Zhou, Lyle Jones Distinguished Professor of Materials Science, in the curriculum in applied and materials sciences and the department of physics and astronomy, both in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences.
"The current CT scanners take images sequentially, which is slow and inefficient. Using the nanotube x-ray technology, we show in this paper the feasibility of multiplexing — taking multiple images at the same time," Zhou said.
Foresight Challenge: Increasing the health and longevity of human life
Foresight Note: This research is working on coatings to improve the properties of artificial materials used inside the human body.
Headline: Nanotechnology being used to improve biocompatibility of human prosthetics and implants
As populations of the world age the current trend is that people are not slowing down in their later years. The desire for increased activity among the elderly also means increased demands on medical researchers to come up with better ways to keep them active. In the fields of implants and prosthetics calcium phosphate (CP) coatings on titanium alloy implants are proving their worth in orthopaedic and dental applications.
The most promising form of CP are hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2, HA) coatings used to promote rapid bone remodelling on the titanium alloy implants. It is well known that the microstructure of these coatings significantly influences their mechanical properties and biocompatibility. Understanding the effect of nanostructures within a biocompatible coating could contribute greatly towards improving the effectiveness of these coatings.
In this study by Singaporean researchers, K.A. Khor, H. Li and P. Cheang, from Nanyang Technological University the nanostructures and in vitro osteoblast behavior of individual CP splats were characterized. The splats were deposited using both plasma spraying and high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) onto polished Ti-6Al-4V substrates.
Foresight Note: More evidence that nanotechnology will be an enabling technology in the search for renewable energy sources.
Headline: Renewable Capital to license Konarka's dye-sensitized solar cell technology
Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in developing and commercializing Power Plastic(TM) that converts light to energy, and Renewable Capital Ltd, an investment firm that identifies and invests in renewable technologies, today announced the licensing and joint development of Konarka's dye-sensitized solar cell technology for large-scale production. The agreement will further the commercialization of Konarka's dye cell technology by bringing on large-scale production capabilities. Renewable Capital has committed resources, capital and equipment to their development activities. This includes the enlistment of services from Coatema, a world-renowned manufacturer of first-of-kind coating equipment.
"This is a key milestone in that Renewable Capital's investment validates the progress we have made in the development of high volume manufacturing methods for the dye sensitized process," commented Howard Berke, chairman and CEO for Konarka. "The non-exclusive relationship with Renewable Capital will enable for the large-scale manufacturing production and scale-up of Konarka's dye-sensitized solar cell technology. With this partnership, we are continuing to execute on our strategy to partner with leading global companies."
Foresight Note: This research focuses on a vertical architecture for carbon nanotubes for application in future electronic devices and sensing technologies.
Headline: Vertically oriented nanoelectronics
Engineers at Purdue University have developed a technique to grow individual carbon nanotubes vertically on top of a silicon wafer, a step toward making advanced electronics, wireless devices and sensors using nanotubes by stacking circuits and components in layers.
The technique might help develop a method for creating "vertically oriented" nanoelectronic devices, the electronic equivalent of a skyscraper, said Timothy S. Fisher, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who is leading the work with Timothy D. Sands, the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering.
"Verticality gives you the ability to fit more things into the same area, so you can add more and more layers while keeping the footprint the same size or smaller," Fisher said. "But before we can even think about using nanotubes in electronics, we have to learn how to put them where we want them."
Mark Sims, president and founder of Nanorex, will give a presentation: "Computational Tools for the Design and Analysis of Molecular Machine Systems," at NanoTX' 06. Visit their booth at the nanoTX' 06 for a software demonstration or just to say hi.
Nanorex Inc., based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is a developer of computational modeling tools made specifically for the design and analysis of productive nanosystems. Nanorex's first product, NanoEngineer-1, is a 3-D nanomechanical CAD program. It includes both a sophisticated CAD module for the design and modeling of atomically precise components and assemblies, and a molecular dynamics module for simulating the properties of mechanical nanodevices. NanoEngineer-1 is currently under development and is scheduled for release in fall 2006.
If you are interested in advancing beneficial nanotechnology, please consider becoming a member of Foresight. With your support, Foresight will continue to be the leading public interest voice for nanotechnology that will focus on using this powerful technology to improve the health and well being of people and the planet.
We have membership levels designed for inclusion of all who are interested in our nanotechnology future whether you are a student, individual or corporation.
Early registration discount expires August 4, 2006
September 20-22, 2006
Small Times NanoCon International 2006 brings together more than 700 leading nanotech executives for three days of information exchange, fast-track networking, and new business development.
Conference session highlights, including presentations by:
Wilbur Ross, Chairman & CEO, WL Ross & Co
Headline: Chevron MolecularDiamond Technologies and Stanford University Launch Groundbreaking Nanotechnology Research Program
Chevron's MolecularDiamond Technologies (MDT) and Stanford University today announced a nanotechnology research program to further the development and application of a new class of nanomaterials derived from petroleum. The Stanford-Chevron Program for Diamondoid Nanoscience will build upon recent discoveries by researchers at MDT and leverage the world-class research capabilities of Stanford. The four-year research program will foster development of diamondoids, a diamond-like molecule that has potential applications in a variety of industries.
"Chevron's collaboration with Stanford and its research teams will significantly accelerate our knowledge of diamondoids and help to unlock their potential," said Don Paul, vice president and chief technology officer, Chevron Corporation. MDT is a unit of Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron Corporation.
Headline: Small Stuff - Big Trouble
"But is nanotech getting an unfairly bad rap? Manipulation of materials at the nano level has potentially ground-breaking applications for medicine, and some scientists worry that one of the industry's biggest challenges will be overcoming its PR problem.
"To get to the heart of the issue, we talked to two experts on opposing sides of the debate. Hope Shand, research director of Ontario-based human rights organization ETC Group has called for a worldwide moratorium on nanotech until the full scope of the technology, and its risks, can be understood. Christine Peterson is founder and VP of Public Policy for the Foresight Institute, a think-tank in Menlo Park, CA dedicated to the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology. Here, they face off about the big picture of this small-scale science."
Headline: Tiny inhaled particles take easy route from nose to brain
In a continuing effort to find out if the tiniest airborne particles pose a health risk, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists showed that when rats breathe in nano-sized materials they follow a rapid and efficient pathway from the nasal cavity to several regions of the brain, according to a study in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.
Researchers also saw changes in gene expression that could signal inflammation and a cellular stress response, but they do not know yet if a buildup of ultrafine particles causes brain damage, said lead author Alison Elder, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Environmental Medicine.
The study tested manganese oxide ultrafine particles at a concentration typically inhaled by factory welders. The manganese oxide particles were the same size as manufactured nanoparticles, which are controversial and being diligently investigated because they are the key ingredient in a growing industry — despite concerns.
September 27-28, 2006
Peter G. Balbus, founder and managing director, Pragmaxis, LLC, a Chicago- based business strategy and technology commercialization consulting firm, will speak about "Whats Next for Nanotech in Commercialization?"
He will emphasize the current state of commercializing nanotechnology and discuss which specific investment opportunities are likely to emerge over the next 1-3 years.
Balbus is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in chemical engineering and has completed executive programs in strategy and finance at the University of Chicago. He has nearly 25 years of business strategy and technology commercialization experience. He also serves as the president of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago.
The 2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes will be presented at nanoTX' 06 on September 27, 2006 at the Exhibitors Reception.
Also at nanoTX'06, Foresight president Jillian Elliott will present on the International Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems.
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, event or idea that I think is especially cool.
I think the following article may lead to an easier time in the dentist chair by replacing the need for metals fillings.
Thanks for reading.
Headline: Researchers get their teeth into artificial dental enamel
An international team of researchers has finally got their teeth into making artificial dental enamel. Their work, published in the journal Advanced Materials, could lead to new tough coatings for engineering applications as well as the possibility of a natural fix for broken or rotten teeth that avoids heavy metal fillings.
"This work demonstrates the potential of applying nanotechnology to the direct creation of biomaterials with a specific biological architecture, in this case, human enamel," Brian Clarkson of the University of Michigan says. "We are now working on producing thicker apatite films and blocks of this synthetic enamel to be used as veneer coverings for unsightly teeth and caps (crowns) for teeth which are heavily filled and/or broken down."
Join the discussion: Nanodot led by Christine Peterson.
Headline: Beyond nanomanufacturing, Bottom-to-bottom nanotechnology
Those of you looking for insights on atomically-precise manufacturing may want to check out the Society of Manufacturing Engineers conference August 23-24, 2006 in Oak Ridge, TN: The Next Industrial Revolution: Nanotechnology & Manufacturing.
In addition to plenty of coverage on near-term "top-down" nanomanufacturing, this meeting includes "bottom-up" assembly topics. One speaker familiar to Foresight members is J. Storrs Hall, Ph.D., who will present a keynote titled, Toward Instant Manufacturing.
Yes, it may be hot in Tennessee in August, but you'll be indoors anyway. U.S. citizens should be sure to sign up soon for the tour of the Center of Nanophase Materials Sciences and Spallation Neutron Source Laboratory at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. [Apologies to citizens of other countries — it's not clear to me why these facilities must be so restricted...]
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