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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: October 19, 2005

In this issue:

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: To be effective nanotechnology energy solutions need to be scalable and cost effective. This article details how solar cells are moving towards large-scale production.

Headline: Making a Soft Cell
News source: Technology Review.com

The ultimate goal is to make solar power, which now costs 4 to 5 times as much as grid electricity, competitive with fossil fuels. It's a challenge that could become easier if fuel prices continue to rise.

In recent months, though, by rearranging the polymers and buckyballs, several research teams — led by physicist David Carroll from Wake Forest; Alan Heeger, a co-founder and chief scientist of Konarka and a Nobel Laureate at the University of California at Santa Barbara; and Yang Yang of the University of California at Los Angeles — have improved the flow of electricity, approximately doubling the material's ability to convert light into electricity. If researchers can get the performance to double again, the material will be efficient enough to compete with traditional solar technologies.

The next step — making solar cells that can compete with fossil fuels — will mean overcoming even more obstacles. For example, one way to improve the percentage of light converted into electricity is to increase the amount light actually absorbed by the cell. According to Sean Shaheen, a solar specialist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO, this could be done by creating materials that absorb more colors in the spectrum, an idea he's currently working on.


2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: Come to the Oct. 24-27 conference and hear a panel about nanofiltration and other advances in near-term nanotech for solving one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

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 details:

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: This article mentions using nanotubes that when ignited by laser lights explode like cluster bombs.

Headline: Scientists develop cancer nanobomb
News source: Physorg.com

University of Delaware researchers are opening a new front in the war on cancer, bringing to bear new nanotechnologies for cancer detection and treatment and introducing a unique nanobomb that can literally blow up breast cancer tumors.

Balaji Panchapakesan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UD, has recently reported on the discoveries in the journals NanoBiotechnology and Oncology Issues.

He is the lead investigator for a team that includes Eric Wickstrom, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and his student Greg Cesarone, and UD graduate students Shaoxin Lu, Kousik Sivakumar and postdoctoral researcher Kasif Teker.

Panchapakesan said this is basic research in the very early stages of inquiry and that it would take extensive testing and years of clinical trials before the nanobombs could actually be used in medical applications to treat human beings.

"Make no mistake, we are focused on eradicating cancer," Panchapakesan said, explaining that the nanobombs are the result of work over the past two years with carbon nanotubes, which are atoms of carbon arranged in tubular form.


4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Nanotech for Food Production and Reducing the Environmental "Footprint" of Agriculture (panel at our conference)
Norman Scott, Dept. of Biological & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
Peter Singer, Director, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics
Aaron Wagoner, Director of Research and Development, Natural Nano

Maximizing productivity of agriculture (presentation at our conference)
Peter Singer, Director, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Canada

See conference program for details:

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: This article details how nanomaterial design errors would be incorporated in the process rather than trying to fix them.

Headline: Nanomaterial Error-Correction Process Mimics Nature
News source: Science a GoGo

Although a great deal of progress has been made in the self-assembly of nanomaterials, defects that occur during the assembly process present major problems for critical applications such as molecular electronics and photonics. To date, efforts to overcome these assembly errors have focused on either minimizing errors or designing devices that can tolerate errors, but a new procedure developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may provide a much more elegant solution.

Based on catalytic DNA, the new "proofreading" and error-removal process can find and correct defects in self-assembled nanomaterials, which the researchers say represents "a paradigm shift in nanoscale science and engineering." Their work appears in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

"Instead of trying to avoid defects or work around them, it makes more sense to accept defects as part of the process and then correct them during and after the assembly process," said researcher Yi Lu. "This procedure is analogous to how nature deals with defects, and can be applied to the assembly of nanomaterials using biomolecules or biomimetic compounds."

Yi Lu

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: Tough, resilient, and light materials will be critical to space exploration. This article details carbon nanotube research that creates stronger fibers.

Headline: Nanotube fibers toughen up in the heat
News source: Nanotechweb.org by Liz Kalaugher

Researchers from the Paul Pascal Research Centre and University of South Paris, France, have used hot-drawing to improve the mechanical properties of fibres made from carbon nanotubes. The process increased the fibre's toughness at low strains and made them more water resistant.

"By using hot stretching treatments, we could obtain nanotube fibres with a toughness greater than that of Kevlar — 60 J/g versus 35 J/g — and with a strain-to-failure of only 10%," Philippe Poulin told nanotechweb.org. "Even though the toughness of these fibres is not as high as the toughness of untreated fibres, hot-stretched fibres are much closer to meeting the requirements of several applications."


It’s Not Too Late (But It Will Soon) – Register Now!

Are you curious about how nanotechnology will impact your life, profession and future? Our conference is designed to give an overview of this new technology across multiple disciplines, in a way that is accessible to new and veteran nanotechnology trackers alike.

Over 90 panelists and speakers will gather to discuss nanotechnology research, commercial applications, environmental issues and policy concerns at the 13th Foresight Conference Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology: Focusing on the Cutting Edge, on October 22-27, 2005 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott.

To see the agenda, speakers, and topics for this conference:

You can register online or by fax:

After online registration ends, register on-site or by phone:
+1 650 289 0860 ext 254

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.

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.

See who attends:

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

Hotel Reservations – Group Rate deadline is October 22nd

Now is the time to make your hotel reservations to beat the group rate cut-off deadline of October 22, 2005.

San Francisco Airport Marriott
1800 Old Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, CA 94010, USA
Group Rate: Rate of $129.00 plus tax—single or double occupancy.

Reserve your hotel room early.
To reserve: call SF Airport Marriott at 1 800-228-9290 in the US and Canada or + 1 650-692-9100, or go to http://www.marriott.com and use group code: forfora.

The hotel is centrally located on the San Francisco Bay, just 1-mile south of the San Francisco International Airport, 15 minutes from downtown San Francisco, and 20 minutes to Silicon Valley.

Hurricane Special

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

Don’t Kick Yourself For Missing This Candid, Off-The-Record Meeting

Vision Weekend
October 22-23, 2005, Saturday and Sunday
San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel

We have an exceptional line-up of speakers and, of course, there is the enjoyment of being with like-minded individuals who are interested in nanotechnology, the future, and how to influence both. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers discuss the future of nanotechnology candidly and off-the-record.

The Vision Weekend begins on Saturday, October 22, 2005 at 1 p.m. with schmoozing and not-to-be-missed speakers. Join us for the Welcome Reception that evening at 6 p.m. where you will find stimulating, smart, and lively discussion over outstanding food and drinks. This is a place to meet new Foresight friends and connect with old ones.

On Sunday, October 23, 2005 the stellar sessions continue throughout the day, including the ever-popular breakout discussions.

Vision Weekend only:

The Vision Weekend is exclusive to Foresight Participating members.

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 benefits. One of the new levels is the corporate membership. This week’s spotlight is on Foresight corporate member, Foley & Lardner LLP.

Corporate Member – Foley & Lardner LLP

Foley provides integrated legal services for innovative enterprises. Our dedicated Nanotechnology Industry Team provides sophisticated solutions to the challenges faced by our nanotech clients. Accordingly, we have been selected to work with four of Nanotechnology Law & Business magazine's "Top 10 Hottest Labs in Nanotech." Participating in leading-edge nanotechnology events, such as the Foresight Annual Conference, allows us to contribute to the growth and success of new nanotechnology frontiers.

Foley & Lardner also has a website which is useful for investors and start-up company founds as it contains nanotech specific legal articles and links to nanotechnology legal resources.

For more information about nanotechnology at Foley, please visit

Foresight Nanotech Institute offers membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. To find out more about membership follow this link:

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.

October 5 (Ongoing) – EU Nanotechnology Science Forum series:
Sponsored by Accelrys
Multiple European locations

Invitation to an outstanding scientific seminar series with speakers from distinguished research centers and universities across Europe, open discussions, poster session and hands-on workshop. Excellent opportunity to learn how computational nanotechnology tools provide insight into the structure and properties of materials across a wide range of length and time scales. Free registration online at:

November 1, 2005 – Venture Capital Investing in India
Sponsored by International Business Forum (IBF)
San Francisco, California

With the country's 15-year-old reforms process taking effect, India is poised to be one of the fastest growing economies and is a current target for the VC community. Aided by a maturing domestic market and a projected 6-plus percent GDP growth rate, India’s stock markets are booming like never before, which now offers VCs the best promises of returns from the country to date. Consistent growth in the Indian IT market contribute to a continued climb in venture capital investments and with the rising number of US investments as a backdrop, IBF is proud to present its first India Venture Investing Conference.

News Digest reader discount – read below:

November 10-11, 2005 – NASA Tech Briefs Nano Engineering Conference
Sponsored by NASA
Newton, Massachusetts

This fall, we invite you to discover how the world’s leading minds are applying nanotechnology to critical global challenges such as combating terrorism, finding a cure for cancer and reducing the world’s energy costs. During the two-day event over 30 presentations will focus on cutting-edge solutions in the aerospace, communications, electronics, environmental technology, bio-medicine, security, defense and energy industries. Keynote speakers include Keith Blakely, CEO of NanoDynamics, Inc. and David Bishop, VP of Nanotechnology Research for Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies. Foresight News Digest subscribers can receive a 10 percent discounted registration by going to http://www.techbriefs.com/nano/register.html and entering promotional code: foresight.

December 4-9, 2005 – 19th Large Installation Systems Administration Conference
Sponsored by USENIX & SAGE
San Diego, California

The annual LISA conference is the meeting place of choice for system, network, database, storage, security, and all other computer-related administrators. Administrators of all specialties and levels of expertise meet at LISA to exchange ideas, sharpen old skills, learn new techniques, debate current issues, and meet colleagues and friends.

Nanotech Events & News

Headline: A Best Practices Approach to Minimizing EHS Risk in Nanotechnology Manufacturing
News source: Occupational Hazards

A management program aimed at minimizing the potential health and safety risks of working with nanoscale materials is drawing praise from stakeholders at the Second International Symposium on Nanotechnology and Occupational Health.

In an industry that appears to be growing faster than federal oversight can keep up, several stakeholders from the private and public sectors have pointed to the "NanoSAFE" management program — on display at a symposium poster session — as a potential best practices template for companies engaged in nanotechnology-related enterprises.

NanoSAFE was developed by Luna Innovations Inc. — a small, Blacksburg, Va.-based think tank that creates products and spin-off companies from emerging, high-risk technologies — in collaboration with NIOSH and Virginia Tech University


Headline: Nanotech Battles Bird Flu
News source: Internetnews.com by Colin C. Haley

Health officials around the world are sounding the alarm about Bird Flu. The virus has killed 60 people in Asia and its discovery in Europe this week has heightened fears of a pandemic.

While the medical community works to eradicate Bird Flu, several nanotech (define) and IT firms say their products could help control it.

"Nanotechnology will undoubtedly be used in some form — either as a vaccine, a treatment, a delivery method for a drug, or as a means to detect, control or limit the spread of the influenza," Adrian Burden, CEO of Singular ID, told internetnews.com.


November 17-18, 2005 – Applications of Nanobiology to Biodefense:
Diagnostics, Detection, Therapeutics, and Biodefense Immunology

Rockville, Maryland

Editor’s Pick

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 that I think is especially cool.


This is a quote from another news item about nanobombs, which is mentioned in this email under Foresight Nanotechnology Challenge #3 — Increasing the health and longevity of human life. The lead investigator talks about his remedy causing only nanopain. I like the idea of nanopain.

Headline: Delaware Researchers Developing Cancer "Nanobomb"
News source: Smalltimes.com

"The nanobomb is very selective, very localized and minimally invasive," Panchapakesan added. "It might cause what I would call nanopain, like a pin prick."


Hope to see you at the conference! All who attend will come away informed and inspired.

Also, don’t forget to visit our blog Nanodot and join the discussion led by Christine Peterson.

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.

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
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