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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: November 9, 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: Researchers claim that they are closer to increasing the efficiency of organic or flexible solar cells.

Headline: Flexible solar cells make advances
Strides are being made in the cells' efficiency; still, they have a way to go before they're considered commercially viable.
News source: Information Week by Mark LaPedus

Using a set of polymer coatings, researchers at Wake Forest constructed a nanophase within the polymer called a "mesostructure." The "mesostructure" changes the properties of the plastic and makes it better for collecting light. The researchers also removed the current from the polymer coating, David Carroll, director of the nanotechnology center at Wake Forest, said.

"The consumer market would be really open to having these conformal systems if you could, for instance, roll them up and put them away," said Carroll, who is also an associate professor in Wake Forest's physics department. "Imagine a group of hikers with a tent that when you unrolled the tent and put it up, it could generate its own power. Imagine if the paint on your car that is getting hot in the sun was instead converting part of that heat to recharge your battery."
Wake Forest University The Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: This article was written by Peter Singer who also spoke at our Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology Conference. He focuses on critical water problems and urges Canada to use its strength in science.

Headline: Think small
News source: National Post by Peter A. Singer

To understand the potential of nanotechnology, visualize a membrane used to filter water, with pores so small they can block bacteria (like the E. coli in the water at Kashechewan) or toxins (like the arsenic in the water in Bangladesh). Such "nanomembranes" would be inexpensive, portable and easily cleaned.
Peter A. Singer

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: This article mentions research being done at Purdue University that may assist in early detection of cancer through advanced medical imaging.

Headline: Gold nanorods brighten future for medical imaging
News source: National Cancer Institute Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer

Researchers at Purdue University have taken a step toward developing a new type of ultra-sensitive medical imaging technique that works by shining a laser through the skin to detect tiny gold nanorods injected into the bloodstream. In tests with mice, the nanorods yielded images nearly 60 times brighter than conventional fluorescent dyes, including rhodamine, commonly used for a wide range of biological imaging to study the inner workings of cells and molecules.
National Cancer Institute Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer
Ji-Xin Cheng

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: Packaging appears to be the nanotech focus of the food industry as it is increasingly pressured by regulations for safer and more environmentally friendly materials. This article discusses several options that are being considered with nanotech being one of them.

Headline: Food packaging industry faces challenges amid new regulations
News source: Food Ingredients First

Researchers at the University of Leeds Nanomanufacturing Institute in the UK have identified nanoparticles of magnesium oxide and zinc oxide to be effective in destroying microorganisms. There is huge potential for safe, effective and affordable food packaging in the near future.
University of Leeds Nanomanufacturing Institute

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: The nanometer scale in the semiconductor industry is receiving lots of R&D funding. Deeper in this article there is mention that NEC is actually joining an already established Sony/Toshiba team.

Headline: NEC, Toshiba to share 45-nm process, mull broad alliance
News source: EE Times by Yoshiko Hara

NEC Electronics Corp. and Toshiba Corp. announced that the two companies would share the development of 45-nanometer CMOS logic manufacturing processes. In addition, starting with this joint development, the two companies have begun discussions on the possibility of a comprehensive alliance that would range from design and product development through to manufacturing.

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: This is a personal opinion essay that discusses an interesting idea of using the moon for research, mentioning nanotech.

Headline: Exploiting the moon and saving the earth
News source: The Space Review an essay by Jeff Foust

There has been a lot of debate in recent months regarding how to return to the Moon, and especially since the release of NASA's Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) in September. Less has been said, though, about what people and/or robots will do once they get there. Not that there's any shortage of ideas: from studying lunar geology and using it as a platform for astronomy to establishing tourist resorts and a separate home for humanity beyond the Earth. None of those ideas, though, has managed yet to resonate with the public.

So how about saving the world?....Now another innovative, out-of-the-box thinker, astronomer and retired Air Force general Pete Worden, has a very different idea for how to save the Earth using the Moon. While his idea may be no less outlandish--or feasible--than prior ideas, it does demonstrate the brainstorming going on to try and develop a rationale for lunar exploration and exploitation.

Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology

Focusing on the Cutting Edge

Foresight would like to thank our sponsors who helped make our conference a success.

Prestige Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsors:
The Waitt Family Foundation
Biophan Technologies
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Nanoscience Technologies, Inc.
Nanorex, Inc.
Sun Microsystems

Gold Sponsors:
Buchanan Ingersoll
Foley & Lardner LLP
Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin
White & Case
Piper Rudnick Gray Cary

Silver Sponsors:
Greenberg Traurig
nanoTITAN Incorporated

Why Become A Foresight Member

Are you curious about nanotechnology and what it means for you? Do you want to know more? Or, are you already informed and believe that nanotechnology can provide solutions to key challenges facing humanity?

Consider becoming an Electronic, Student or Basic Member of Foresight Nanotech Institute, a think tank that has been leading the public debate and education on nanotechnology since 1986.

If you wish to be more involved, consider becoming a Participating Member. Participating members, formerly called Senior Associates, are a mix of technologists, philanthropists, visionaries, policy leaders, engineers, research scientists, artists, and nanotechnology experts.

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.

NanoApex and NanoInvestorNews Merge with Nanotechnology.com

Over the past five years NanoApex and NanoInvestorNews have developed up-to-date news and comprehensive resources related to the growing fields of nanotechnology. This week NanoApex and NanoInvestorNews joined forces with Nanotechnology.com. The sites will continue to provide online resources for nanotechnology under the Nanotechnology.com web structure.

Limited offer — Most of the new nanotechnology.com site is accessible on a complimentary basis. Nanotechnology trackers can now browse the site for features and functionality. This is a 60 days limited time offer.

Nanotechnology.com, The International Small Technology Network

November 15, 2005 – Nanotech: Imagine the Possibilities
Sponsored by IEEE San Francisco Bay Nanotechnology Council
Sunnyvale, California
1 -6 p.m.

First annual symposium showcasing university graduate research. — See the frontier in Nanotechnology and help shape it.

Graduate research topics to be presented include: nanoscale optical devices on DNA scaffolds, nanotube nanofluidic transistors and circuits, anti-cancer drug delivery using viruses, and nanowire-based photonics and sensing.
Event web site

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.

January 31-February 1, 2006 – Nanotech Investing Forum
Sponsored by International Business Forum (IBF)
Rancho Mirage, California

Nanotechnology continues to receive growing attention from venture capital investors. Government, universities/labs, and corporations are fueling the growth of nanotech research into profitable commercial applications.
Event web site

Nanotech Events & News

Headline: China skips 'small talk' but tops nano patents in South
News source: SciDev Net by Sophie Hebden

The vast majority of health patents filed in nanotechnology are owned by organizations in developed countries, with China a notable exception, according to research published last month.

Yet, despite being a strong leader in this emerging field, which is predicted to generate a US$1 trillion industry by 2020, China is not participating in international debates on the role of nanotechnology in sustainable development, according to this study.

Don Maclurcan, of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, published his findings in the AzoNano Online Journal of Nanotechnology, based on a survey of health-related nanotechnology patents filed internationally between 1975 and 2004.

Links to full paper in AzoNano Online Journal of Nanotechnology

Call for Abstracts – Research Papers Deadline: November 18, 2005
NSTI Nanotech 2006

NSTI is calling for abstracts for their May 2006 conference. Researchers can submit abstracts in four main categories.
Nanoscale Electronics & Microsystems
Nanoscale Materials & Technologies
Nanotech in Life Science & Medicine
Clean & Controlled Environments
Event web site

Script Competition
Deadline: December 15, 2005
Script Competition Sponsored by the Professional Artists Lab and the California Nanosystems Institute

The first guideline for this script competition is "Submitted plays must explore scientific and/or technological stories, themes, issues and/or events. Authors are strongly encouraged to avoid the stereotypes often assigned to science, technology, and those who engage in these disciplines. This competition is not open to plays written in the genre of science fiction."

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 or idea that I think is especially cool.


I know this is a little silly, and (reader beware) it is a car product advertisement. But the headline caught my attention.

Headline: Nanotechnology: The Uses are Endless
News source: Truckblog

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.

Special thanks to Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges Research Volunteer Michelle Hubbard, MSc Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan

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