Home > Resources > Publications > Weekly News Digest

Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: September 7, 2005

In this issue:

Foresight Nanotech Institute News

Conference Highlights Nanotechnology Solutions

13th Foresight Conference Focuses on Energy, Clean Water, Health, Agriculture, Information Technology and Development of Space

How will nanotechnology benefit humankind? What is currently happening in nanotech that will translate into solutions for problems facing mankind?

Panelists and speakers will discuss nanotechnology solutions and environmental issues surrounding the Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges at the 13th Foresight Conference: Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology: Focusing on the Cutting Edge.

Newcomers and veteran nanotechnology trackers will hear how nanotechnology can help solve some of the most critical challenges facing humankind.

Read more

Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges

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.

1. Meeting global energy needs with clean solutions

Foresight note: This company claims that material treated with its application will absorb about 40 times its weight in oil, and that the oil recovered can be reused.

Headline: Nanotechnology Innovation Enables Recovery and Reuse of Spilled Oil
News source: Interface Sciences Corporate Press Release

Interface Sciences Corporation (ISC) announced that in response to oil spill problems stemming from the current Hurricane Katrina disaster and oil crises, the company is launching its proprietary oil remediation and recovery application.

The announcement of this innovation comes about six months ahead of the company's original planned rollout. ISC President Chuck Fishel said, "We were not really set up to produce enough of this exciting material, but thought we had to put it out there given the emergency in the Southeast. We can probably generate enough for use with environmental cleanup of wildlife, but need to find a partner to accelerate the production and distribution of major quantities for large leaks and spills."


Interface Sciences Corporation

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: The importance of clean water is getting a lot of attention as the aftermath Hurricane Katrina is revealed. Come to our conference and listen to nanotechnology companies working on nanofiltration solutions.

We are hosting a panel to discuss current applications for each Foresight Nanotechnology Challenge at the Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology Conference.

Panel: Nanotech for clean water
William Lee, President and CEO, eMembrane
Kevin McGovern, Chairman, McGovern & Associates (for KX Industries)
Fred Tepper, President, Argonide

See conference program for panel details:

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: Making progress in molecular machines that manipulate material on a minuscule scale.

Headline: Nanotech advance may hasten molecular machines
News source: Reuters by Patricia Reaney

Scientists have made a breakthrough in nanotechnology, which could hasten the development of molecular machines that could act as artificial muscles or drug delivery systems in the body.

Chemists at Edinburgh University said on Wednesday they had built molecules that can move objects larger than the size of an atom in an advance in the technology that deals with manipulating materials on a minuscule scale.


Professor David Leigh

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: Iran proposes nanotechnology research focusing on agriculture, with the goal of increasing production.

Headline: Iran agro sector developing nanotech
News Source: IranMania

An Agriculture-Jihad Ministry official said "that the ministry will launch its nanotechnology site next week, stressing that the site will cooperate with Sharif University of Technology in ways of using the high-tech science in the agro sector."


5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: Scalability in commercialization is a hurdle for all technologies, especially nanotechnology. This research reduces the cost of quantum dot manufacturing.

Headline: Method slashes quantum dot costs by 80 percent
Rice scientists replace pricey solvents with cheap processing fluids
News source: Physorg.com

In an important advance toward the large-scale manufacture of fluorescent quantum dots, scientists at Rice University have developed a new method of replacing the pricey solvents used in quantum dot synthesis with cheaper oils that are commonplace at industrial chemical plants.

"Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) started to undertake some exploratory work more than a year ago on the scale-up issues of quantum dot manufacture, but the solvents turned out to be so expensive that we just couldn't afford to run more than a few large- reactor experiments," said the study's lead author, Michael Wong, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry. "That was a great reality check, and it made us look at the problem of solvent cost sooner rather than later."


Rice University CBEN

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: Nanotechnology will be used to enhance crew safety and protect from radiation.

Headline: Tiax tagged to help build better space structures for NASA
News source: Mass High Tech

Cambridge-based Tiax LLC, a product and technology development firm, is collaborating with ILC Dover and Johnson Space Center to identify, develop and test new materials for building inflatable structures in space.

The contract calls for the structures to have the ability to harvest solar energy to power the equipment that they contain, as well as be able to communicate when and where they have been damaged and incorporate mechanisms for self-healing. They also will use nanotechnology for assisting in radiation protection and reducing permeation of the flexible materials for enhanced crew safety.


Productive Nanosystems Roadmap


"The accelerating pace of nanoscience progress makes it critical that we take a rational approach to planning the future developments in productive nanosystems. With its decades of experience pioneering the beneficial use of nanotechnology for mankind, Foresight Nanotech Institute is an excellent collaborator on this roadmap project."

—Dr. Carl Kohrt, 2005
President and Chief Executive Officer of Battelle

Meet Carl Kohrt, CEO of Battelle, when he speaks at the Foresight Vision Weekend.

Roadmap Lectures

Eric Drexler will give a talk on the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems at the Vision Weekend, October 22-23, 2005. Eric Drexler is the Chief Technical Advisor, Nanorex, and Founder, Foresight Nanotech Institute.

A Luncheon Seminar on the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems will be given on October 27, 2005 at 12:10 p.m.

Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology

Focusing on the Cutting Edge
13th Foresight Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology

October 22-27, 2005
San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel
Full meeting: http://foresight.org/conference2005/index.html
Research sessions only: http://foresight.org/conference2005/research.html
Vision Weekend only: http://foresight.org/conference2005/vision_weekend.html

Why Attend

The Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology Conference offers the most comprehensive program, with days dedicated to Applications and Policy, Research, and a Vision Weekend. Here speakers will discuss key advances, funding and applications — and we have assembled debates to thrash out the more controversial issues in this next Industrial Revolution.

Link to program:

Who Attends

Foresight is the nexus point for scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and others involved in nanotech to come together. Our annual conference offers an outstanding cross-section of the nanotechnology field and beyond:

New To Nanotech?

Our conference is designed to give an overview of the impact of this new technology across multiple disciplines, in a way accessible to those new to the field.

Already Tracking Nanotech?

Hear about current applications and research across many industry segments including energy, water, health, agriculture, space, and information technology — plus all the business and policy issues surrounding nanotechnology commercialization. If you're not currently working in nanotechnology, come find out how to make your move into this dynamic field.


Foresight offers an a la carte option, so you may choose to attend the entire conference, or only the sections that most interest you.

For registration options:


Foresight's conference has a world-class group of speakers. Here's a sample:

For entire speaker list:

To Register


Hurricane Special

For those who have been impacted by Hurricane Katrina: We will hold the early-registration rate for you. Please contact Elaine@foresight.org for consideration.

Foresight Participating Members Discounts

Foresight Nanotech Institute's Participating Members receive deep discounts to the Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology conference.

If you are attending 3-1/2 days of the conference, the registration fee is $795. If you become a Participating Member, your price is $695, and you receive additional membership benefits, including the opportunity to attend the invitation-only Vision Weekend.

For a complete list of Participating Member benefits:

Participating Members can join online:

Spotlight On Foresight Members

Foresight Nanotech Institute has updated its membership levels and added new benefits. One of the new levels is the corporate membership. This week's spotlight is on Foresight corporate member Nanoscience Technologies, Inc.

Corporate Member – Nanoscience Technologies, Inc. (NTI)

Nanoscience Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:NANS) is working to commercialize structural DNA nanotechnology through licensing and collaborative development. The continuing work of Dr. Nadrian Seeman and his group at New York University is being transferred to commercial companies through NTI. Dr. Seeman is recognized as the world leader in DNA nanoscience research today and has been the recipient of many scientific awards including the Feynman Prize awarded by Foresight in 1995. Learn about this exciting work during the Applications and Policy session luncheon on Monday, October 24th at the Foresight Conference.

For more information about Nanoscience Technologies, Inc.

Foresight Partners

If you attend or use any of our partners' events or services, please tell them you heard about it from Foresight Nanotech Institute.

September 14-19, 2005 – Integrated Nanosystems 2005
Berkeley, California
Sponsored as a Joint Event by ASME and the MIT·Stanford·Berkeley Nano Forum

This conference will be a unique opportunity for all attendees, whether they are researchers, entrepreneurs, investors or at established businesses, to meet with the top talent of nanotechnology. This is the conference to meet all the leading research, innovative and business minds in nanotechnology.

September 16-18. 2005 – Accelerating Change 2005
Organized by Acceleration Studies Foundation
Stanford, California

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) broadly defined, improves the intelligence and autonomy of our technology. Intelligence amplification (IA) empowers human beings and their social, political, and economic environments. As in previous years, a collection of today's most broad-minded, multidisciplinary, and practical change leaders will consider these twin trends from global, national, business, social, and personal foresight perspectives."

Foresight members are eligible for a $75 discount off the registration fee. Simply follow this link and use the following discount code: AC2005-FORESIGHT when registering.

Nanotech Events & News

October 11, 2005 — Perils and Promises of Nanotechnology
Organized by Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley
San Jose, CA

Dr. John M. Balbus, Senior Scientist, Program Director, Environmental Defense
Christine Peterson, Founder & V.P., Foresight Nanotech Institute
Norm Wu, Managing Director, Alameda Capital

Nanotechnology is a complex field which has great potential to deliver environmental as well as other benefits. At the same time, these same novel properties may pose new risks to workers, consumers, the public and the environment. This panel of experts will explore the possible risks and clarify the difference between near-term commercial advances and the "next industrial revolution" expected to arrive in the next few decades.

Headline: Silicon Nanotechnology to Combat Biowarfare Agents
News source: Physorg.com

Researchers at the University of Rochester are developing a smart-system that would detect — and combat — the biowarfare agents. Research finds early detection and diagnosis is critical to ensure public safety and minimize the impact of agents such as anthrax. The biosensors will be able to function remotely inside buildings. The prototype development is a combination of nanoscience, nanotechnology and optics and fills an imminent national security need, researchers say.

Editor’s Pick

When reviewing news for this digest, I often read about something that I think is cool, but it doesn't fit within the usual categories of the news digest. This section highlights a nanotech advance that I think is especially cool.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has made it clear that some nanotech applications currently being developed could help speed recovery from disasters in the future. My picks are portable water filtration and solar sheets.


Water filtration - Researchers at The University of South Australia (UniSA) are developing a unique treatment for wastewater that guarantees improved water quality over existing treatments without relying on expensive chemicals. The new solar nano-photocatalytic wastewater treatment process can replace a chlorination disinfection step as a tertiary treatment process to disinfect the micro-organisms and at the same time remove the organic compounds, making the wastewater suitable as a water resource.

Water filtration - In June, Seldon Laboratories LLC, a nanotechnology research and design firm, was been awarded a $2.5 million research contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory based in Dayton, Ohio. Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and James Jeffords, I-Vt., secured the funding as part of this year's defense budget. The two lawmakers cited both an immediate need for the purification technology and a long-term benefit.

"One of the central problems in an extended military deployment is access to drinkable water," Leahy said in a press release. "Over the long-term, I can see this technology making drinkable, usable water available in struggling societies across the globe."

Solar sheets - "Our dream is that one day a family in Africa can walk into their corner store, buy a solar sheet and install a system that will give them electricity the same day," said Dave Waimann, managing director of Orionsolar, a solar power startup in Jerusalem. "When our technology works, it will allow access to clean, cheap electricity for the billion people who don't have it now."

About The Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest

The Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest is emailed every week to 15,000 individuals in more than 125 countries. Foresight Nanotech Institute is a member-supported organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. To find out more about membership follow this link:

Judy Conner, Director of Communications at Foresight Nanotech Institute, is the editor of the Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest. If you would like to submit a news item or contact her with comments about the news digest, please send an email to: editor@foresight.org.

Visit our blog Nanodot and join the discussion led by Christine Peterson

Foresight Nanotech Institute is located in Menlo Labs in the Menlo Business Park, in Menlo Park, California. Our space is a generous donation from Tarlton Properties. If you are seeking space for your nanotechnology or biotechnology company, please contact them at http://www.tarlton.com.

Foresight Nanotech Institute
PO Box 61058
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA
tel +1 650 289.0860
fax +1 650.289.0863

If you were forwarded this email from a friend and would like to subscribe yourself, follow this link and sign up for our free electronic membership.

Thank you!