Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: June 7, 2006
In our earlier days, Foresight was able to promote the understanding of the beneficial uses of nanotechnology. As we approach our 20th anniversary, our goal has expanded to developing and guiding nanotechnology that is good for people and good for the planet.
The Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges were created as a platform to identify advances, news items and applications that provide the stepping-stones for nanotechnology that will improve our collective future.
We have received several comments about the readability and length of the digest. With this in mind we are changing the format slightly and focusing on nanotech that is "Good for People. Good for the Planet."
We hope this makes the news digest more relevant and a quicker read.
If you are interested in advancing beneficial nanotechnology, please consider becoming a member. With your support, Foresight will continue to be a 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.
Thank you again for reading.
In this issue:
Nanotechnology That's Good For People
Foresight note: This research is using magnetic fields to deliver nanocarriers to tumor cells. This targeted delivery could decrease the amount of unneeded medicine absorbed by normal cells and reduce the side effects of treatments.
Headline: Magnetic field acts as 'remote control' to deliver nanomedicine
A nanoparticle-based drug delivery concept in which an applied magnetic field directs the accumulation in tumor cells of custom-designed, drug-filled nanocarriers has been demonstrated by University at Buffalo researchers.
The new approach, recently published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, may lead to treatments that exploit the advantages of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and that have the potential to reduce drug accumulation in normal tissues.
The in vitro results showed that magnetically guided delivery to tumor cells of these customized nanocarriers allowed for more precise targeting, while boosting cellular uptake of the PDT drugs contained inside them.
"This is a novel way to enhance drug delivery to cells," said Paras Prasad, Ph.D., executive director of UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and co-author on the paper.
Foresight Challenge: Increasing the health and longevity of human life
Foresight note: HIV drug research receives funding to discover nanotech cure.
Headline: $1.7 million for Rutgers anti-HIV drug research
Last Monday marked the 25-year anniversary of the discovery of AIDS, and Rutgers researchers have just received new funds to support their pursuit of new ways to combat the virus. Patrick J. Sinko, Parke-Davis Professor of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery at Rutgers' Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, has received a highly selective National Institutes of Health (NIH) MERIT award for more than $1.7 million.
The funding will support up to a 10-year extension of Sinko's continuing research into nanotechnology-based, targeted drug delivery for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Sinko, chair of the department of pharmaceutics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and his team are working to develop drug delivery systems to treat HIV-infected cells, and to assist the delivery of potent anti-HIV drugs to areas of the body that are typically difficult to access, such as the brain.
Foresight Challenge: Increasing the health and longevity of human life
Foresight note: This research using lasers to vibrate nanowires could lead to super sensitive biological sensors.
Headline: Laser beams pluck nano-strings
Laser beams have been used to pluck individual nanowires, making them vibrate like incredibly small, ultrasonic guitar strings.
Todd Murray, Kamil Ekinci and student Ashwinkumar Sampathkumar from Boston University, US, used a laser to pluck nanowires 4 to 10 micrometres long and 250 nanometres in diameter. The researchers say the technique could ultimately be used to make super-sensitive biological sensors capable of weighing individual viruses and other biomolecules.
Just like the strings on a normal-sized musical instrument, nanowires can be made to vibrate at a frequency determined by their mass, length, structure and the applied tension. But the difference in scale means that nanowires resonate at frequencies well beyond the limits of human hearing.
Nanotechnology That's Good For the Planet
Foresight note: This article describes a possible breakthrough in solar energy that would significantly improve efficiency.
Headline: Quantum-dot leap, tapping tiny crystals' inexplicable light-harvesting talent
One frustration of solar energy is that although it's free, clean, and inexhaustible, it's a major challenge to harvest efficiently. Consider what happens when photons of sunlight hit a solar cell: They strike electrons in semiconductor material and send them on their way as an electric current. Although many solar photons carry enough energy to theoretically unleash several electrons, they almost never free more than one.
The complex physics behind that limitation boils down to this: An electron loosed by absorbing a photon often collides with a nearby atom. But when it does, it's less likely to set another electron free than it is to create atomic vibrations that squander the electron's excess energy on heat.
For the past half century, the limit of one electron per solar photon seemed a regrettable fact of semiconductor physics. However, in recent tests of semiconductor bits only a few nanometers in diameter — entities known as nanocrystals or quantum dots — researchers have been surprised to find that photons at solar energies commonly unleash multiple electrons.
Foresight note: This is a commercial nanotech application of a coating that helps conserve energy in refrigerator trucks.
Headline: Industrial Nanotech's nansulate now being utilized by refrigerated truck manufacturers
Industrial Nanotech, a company that specializes in nanotechnology innovation and product development, today announced that because of the superior insulation and anticorrosion qualities of its nano-science based coatings, two separate mobile refrigeration companies have begun utilizing Nansulate to cool and protect the interior of their refrigerated trucks and vans. The application of Nansulate to the interiors of these refrigerated vehicles reduces heat transfer and decreases the amount of energy necessary to keep temperature constant.
Foresight Challenge: Healing and preserving the environment
Foresight note: This nanowire research may have several applications including filtration and cleaning up pollutants.
Headline: Nanowire-paper offers strength, flexibility
University of Arkansas researchers have created assemblies of nanowires that show potential in applications such as armor, flame-retardant fabric, bacteria filters, oil cracking, controlled drug release, decomposition of pollutants and chemical warfare agents.
This two-dimensional "paper" can be shaped into three-dimensional devices. It can be folded, bent and cut, or used as a filter, yet it is chemically inert, remains robust and can be heated up to 700 degrees Celsius.
"Humans have used paper made from natural fibers for thousands of years," said Z. Ryan Tian, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. "With this technology, we are entering a new era."
Foresight note: Computer technology has a lot of wasteful byproducts. This research is working with carbon nanoparticles that may help elevate some of that problem.
Headline: Carbon dots light up for optical tagging
Researchers at Clemson University, US, have made polymer-coated carbon nanoparticles that photoluminescence. The "carbon dots" could be less toxic and less environmentally harmful than some semiconductor quantum dots.
"Carbon is hardly considered to be a semiconductor, so luminescent carbon nanoparticles are very interesting both fundamentally and practically," said Ya- Ping Sun of Clemson University. "It represents a new platform for the development of luminescent nanomaterials for a wide range of applications.
INTEROP RUSSIA 2006
Christine Peterson, Founder and Vice President of Public Policy for Foresight Nanotech Institute, will give a keynote on advanced technologies, including nanosensing, and also speak at the open source session.
September 27-28, 2006 – nanoTX '06 – Conference & Expo
nanoTX'06 will draw the top minds in four vital and interrelated nanotech areas of commerce:
There will also be an intense study of Trends/Finance/Investing by leading experts of industry. The speaker line-up is being updated continually.
The 2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes will also be presented at nanoTX' 06 on September 27, 2006 at their Exhibitors Reception.
Headline: Russia opens new nanotech center with FEI tool
FEI reports that three of its systems, including Tecnai T12 and T30 transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) and a Quanta 3D DualBeam, have been selected as core enabling tools for Russia's new pilot scientific and technical center of excellence for nanotechnology development.
The state-of-the-art centre will give researchers and developers from across the Russian Federation access to advanced nanoscale imaging, analysis and manipulation capabilities. The multi-million dollar center is being funded by the Russian Federation.
It is anticipated that Russia's overall investment in nanotechnology development will exceed $400 million in 2007.
Globally, combined government investment in nanotechnology development is expected to reach $5 billion in 2006. Private investments by corporations are expected to exceed the government number for the first time ever, reaching nearly $6 billion this year.
Headline: Nobel prize winner to launch online nanotechnology course
A groundbreaking nanotechnology course is to be launched at Oxford University for professionals wanting to understand more about the 21st century science. The postgraduate part-time course will be delivered entirely online, with the program drawing on the University's world-class researchers working in this field.
This program results from the close collaboration between Oxford University's Begbroke Science Park and the Department for Continuing Education to develop accredited course modules in nanotechnolgoy leading to a postgraduate certificate award. Students should have educational qualifications in a physical science discipline or demonstrable work experience in any of these areas. The course has three modules, all of which are available to study separately and a residential weekend in Oxford at the end of the formal study period. The Tutors will provide online support and replicate the tutorial system electronically.
Headline: New nanofabrication technique developed
U.S. scientists say they have a new technique that could provide detailed information about the growth of nanoscale structures as they are being produced.
The researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology said the newly developed technique offers a way to rapidly and systematically map how changes in growth conditions are affecting fabrication.
Instead of a large furnace that is normally used to grow nanotubes as part of the chemical vapor deposition process, the Georgia researchers grew bundles of nanotubes on a micro-heater built into an atomic force microscope tip. The tiny device provided highly localized heating for only the locations where researchers wanted to grow the nanostructures.
Since the resonance frequency changed as the nanotubes grew, the researchers used it to accurately measure the mass of the structures they produced. The scientists say the next step in the research will be to combine the growth and measurement processes to permit in-situ study of mass change during nanostructure growth.
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.
Having been a Silicon Valley cubicle dweller in several industries, I have seen, sat in and inherited many a stained office chair. Nano-tex, of the stain resistant pants, is moving in commercial interior products. If this will reduce the ickiness of some office chairs, I am all for this superficial application of nanotechnology.
Headline: Nano-Tex Expands to Commercial Interiors
Nano-Tex, a leading fabric innovation company providing nanotechnology-based textile enhancements to the apparel and commercial interiors markets, continues to expand into the commercial interiors market with the addition of three new companies who will incorporate the company's stain resistant fabric treatment into their product line to protect the integrity and beauty of their designs. The HON Company, a leading office furniture manufacturer, and commercial textile companies KnollTextiles and Mayer Fabrics will offer product lines with Nano-Tex beginning this summer. Nano-Tex recently announced partnerships with leading textile companies Arc-Com, Architex, Carnegie, Designtex, and Kravet.
Join the discussion – visit our blog Nanodot led by Christine Peterson.
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