Update on Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems

The policy and ethics subcommittee of California’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology got a briefing yesterday on UC Berkeley’s new Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems, funded at $12 million over five years. The Vision on their homepage is visionary indeed: “Yet, there is no fundamental reason why machines and motors cannot be scaled down to the nanometer size of individual molecules. Such nano-electro-mechanical devices and systems (NEMS) would provide completely new methods for manipulating matter and for interfacing with biological systems.” Executive Director Jeffrey Grossman, a computational physicist by background, explained to us that the Center’s goal is more specific: to build a new nanoscale detection platform for two purposes: (1) personal and community environmental monitoring, and (2) tagging, tracking, and locating chemical and biological weapons for nonproliferation applications.

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