New strategic plan for U.S. Nanotechnology Initiative

On January 2 a press release was issued announcing an updated Strategic Plan (PDF) for the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative.

For those of us interested in molecular nanosystems and atomically-precise manufacturing, it’s disappointing. I haven’t read the whole thing, but this is the closest wording I could find on a quick skim:

A key challenge for nanotechnology is the fabrication and assembly of nanometer-scale materials, devices, and systems. Biology performs these functions in living cells, which in many respects act as integrated nanomanufacturing factories. A cell includes nanomaterials (proteins, membrances, etc.), nanodevices (motor proteins, ion channels, etc.), and even functional nanosystems (e.g., mitochondria) that are created from individual molecules by hierarchical self-assembly. Biological capabilities can be harnessed directly, borrowed, or taken as inspiration for future nanomanufacturing.

Well and good, but we should be able to look beyond nanobio to non-biological, atomically-precise nanomanufacturing factories. Let me know if you find anything in the document on this. Until then, it’s disappointing.

Maybe it’s a problem of time horizon. U.S. planners need to realize that some other countries look and plan farther ahead in nanotech. The U.K., for instance. —Christine

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