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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: January 4, 2006

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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: Scientists at New Mexico are working on nanosensors to monitor impurities in the manufacturing process of hydrogen gas.

Headline: Tech research looks for clean energy source
News source: El Defensor Chieftain by Argen Duncan

Two New Mexico Tech assistant professors are working to develop a sensor system that will allow the production of hydrogen gas for fuel cells, an efficient and clean energy source.

Chemical engineer Junhang Dong and electrical engineer Hai Xiao have partnered with Arizona State University scientists to produce a system that monitors impurities during hydrogen production with nanotechnology, which uses very small particles. The U.S. Department of Energy is funding the work.
Junhan Dong

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: We are highlighting a promising product that is working towards a solution to the clean water challenge.

Headline: Nanofiltration
News source: Argonide Corporation

Fred Tepper, President of Argonide, and a participating member of Foresight, participated on our clean water panel at the conference last year.

Argonide has a detailed PowerPoint presentation on their website explaining the NanoCeram Filters. The title of the PowerPoint is "Nanofiltration."

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: According to this article, coatings containing nanotech materials could help ease the interface of prosthetic devices.

Headline: Nano World: Nano-interfaces with cells
News source: UPI by Charles Q. Choi

Coatings made with titanium and peppered with pores only nanometers or billionths of a meter wide could help living cells interface with electronics for prosthetics and other advanced devices, experts told UPI's Nano World.

Scientists worldwide are developing microelectromechanical devices that can interface with biological systems. These include miniature robots that move with the aid of rat heart muscle cells and prostheses that link with nerves, explained Abu Samah Zuruzi, a materials engineer at Intel Assembly Technology Development in Chandler, Ariz.

These devices are often created with tools developed from the microchip industry and therefore are usually made with silicon-based compounds such as silicon dioxide or silicon nitride.

"I found that cells take a relatively long time to adhere to these surfaces," Zuruzi said. On the other hand, he and his colleagues found that past research into medical implant design suggested that cells stick to and grow better on surfaces made of biocompatible materials such as metal oxides and which possess nanometer-scale features such as bumps or pores. The most accepted explanation for this enhanced growth is that proteins on cell surfaces attach faster onto nanostructured materials because of their increased surface area, Zuruzi said.
Abu Samah Zuruzi

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Headline: Call for Abstracts – Deadline February 1, 2006
Food Colloids 2006 – Self-Assembly and Material Science
Congress and Exhibition
News source: Conference website

The Food Colloids 2006 conference to be held April 23-26, 2006, will feature discussions how the properties of food dispersion, emulsions, foams or gels can be described by concepts used in Material Science or Soft Condensed Matter Physics. A major goal of this science area is to understand the formation processes, structure, and functional properties of supramolecular systems that play an important role in real life. This implies the probing and understanding of structure formation and dynamical properties at the mesoscopic scale of soft materials, such as colloids, polymers or surfactants (e.g., Self-Assembly systems), i.e., materials which are easily deformable by external stresses or even thermal fluctuations.

The practical aim is to be able to control the quality of food products, such as taste, texture, color, shelf life or their nutritional value, and to give guidelines of how to formulate new structures of high quality by using Material Science concepts. Synthetic, biological and food materials will be discussed ranging from model systems through to specific biological or food problems.
Conference website
Abstract Submission link

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: According to this article, the sustainability of Moore's Law compels the semiconductor industry to look closer at molecular electronics.

Headline: Nanotechnology is officially on road map
News source: SeattlePI by John Markoff, The New York Times

A handful of futuristic chip-making technologies at the atomic scale have been added to a planning effort that charts the future of the semiconductor manufacturing industry every two years.

The transition to a post-silicon era is forecast in a report, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. The report, produced by semiconductor industry associations from Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States, is used by the industry as a planning tool to determine how best to spend research and development money. The shift away from conventional silicon transistors has become an important part of the industry's thinking, though the use of nanotechnology is not expected to replace current chip-making processes for another decade.

The urgency in moving to molecular electronics is propelled in part by recognition that conventional technologies, despite significant advances, will not be able to sustain indefinitely the chip industry dictum, known as Moore's Law, that projects a doubling of computing power roughly every two years.
International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: The space elevator concept received lots of attention in 2005, thanks to the NASA Centennial Challenges.

Headline: New Scientist's top 10 stories: Space Elevators #4
News source: New Scientist Space.com

This NASA competition was aimed at stimulating research on ultra-strong tethers and light-powered robots that could climb up them into space. It produced some valiant efforts.
Space elevator article by Maggie McKee
NASA Ames Centennial Challenge Press Release

Feynman Prize Winners' Presentations Online

Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory – Dr. Christian Joachim

Dr. Christian Joachim, Center Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, France, received the prize for developing theoretical tools and establishing the principles for design of a wide variety of single molecular functional nanomachines. Through an extensive combination of theoretical and experimental work, Dr. Joachim has developed single molecule devices that range from molecular wires to switches to logic gates to wheelbarrows.
Christian Joachim's audio and PowerPoint presentation

Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Experimental – Dr. Christian Schafmeister

The experimental prize was awarded to Dr. Christian Schafmeister, University of Pittsburgh, for his work in developing a novel technology synthesizing macromolecules of intermediate sizes (between 1000 and 10,000 Daltons) with designed shapes and functions. The technology is derived from solid phase peptide synthesis, but with the crucial difference that adjacent monomers are connected through pairs of bonds, rather than through single peptide bonds, thus forming rigid, spiro-ladder oligomers instead of floppy peptide chains capable of assuming numerous shapes.
Use this URL to listen to Christian Schafmeister's presentation: http://www.foresight.org/publications/presentations.html

Link to press release about Feynman Prize Winners

Nanotech Challenge Doubles Your Impact

What's your priority for nanotechnology: cancer treatments that really work, clean energy, clear water, a restored environment, the key to space exploration, future jobs, or new manufacturing capabilities?

Maybe you just know, as a Foresight supporter, that nanotechnology is coming, it will have tremendous impact on society — and your career — and it's vital for you to keep current on new developments, policy issues and future-oriented breakthroughs.

Are You Up for the Nanotech Challenge?

Now you can double the impact of your gift. Thanks to a generous $40,000 Challenge Grant, every donation you give to Foresight is matched dollar for dollar up to this amount. This Challenge is for a limited time only.

Thanks to support such as yours, we've been able to advance beneficial nanotechnology through our Conference, Weekly Digest read in more than 125 countries, redesigned Update Magazine, and a new Foresight website that provides more information and resources than ever before. With our new Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems initiative, 2006 promises to be even more critical for nanotech, which means your support is more important than ever.

Please give now and together we can build an exciting nanotech future.

List of member benefits:

Productive Nanosystems – News & Events

Productive Nanosystems will be molecular-scale systems that make other useful materials and devices that are nanostructured. In this section of the Weekly News Digest we will cover news about research that is leading to Productive Nanosystems.

Foresight note: Moving and measuring molecules precisely are steps toward Productive Nanosystems. There is a relevant presentation at Japan Nano 2006.

Presentation: A Hidden Different of Biological Nano-machines from Artificial Machines
by Prof. Nobou Shimamoto
February 21, 2006 Reception Hall A , B - 10:00 - 12:00
Event program
Japan Nano 2006

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.

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

February 1-2, 2006 – Clean-Tech Investor Summit
Sponsored by International Business Forum (IBF)
Rancho Mirage, California

Emerging growth companies delivering clean-tech products and services represent the next big wave of innovation. Clean-tech investing is at an all time high and is expected to flourish in a range of sectors, including renewable and distributed energy, advanced materials, transportation, and water purification and management. Many clean technologies are experiencing double-digit annual growth rates.
Event web site

March 29-30, 2006 – Nanomanufacturing Conference & Exhibits
Sponsored by Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
Los Angeles, California

Looking to support the pace of innovation, development, and commercialization of the tools, instruments, and systems required for nanoscale manufacturing? Interested in learning about the latest nanotechnology applications and trends in top-down fabrication and bottom- up assembly techniques? Then this event is for you.
Event web site

Nanotech Events & News

Headline: ISO tackles nanotech standard
News Source: TMCnet.com

The new International Organization for Standardization technical committee ISO/TC 229, established to develop international standards for nanotechnologies, recently held its inaugural meeting in London where it spelled out its goals.

The committee endeavors to develop standards for a variety of nanotechnology issues including: classification, terminology and nomenclature; basic metrology; calibration and certification; and environmental issues. In addition, it will develop standardized test processes that will zero in on physical, chemical, structural, and biological properties of materials or devices whose performance is vitally reliant on one or more dimensions of less than 100 nm.

Currently there are 24 ISO-member countries participating, while another eight have observer status. Heading up the committee will be the British Standards Institution (BSI).

Call for Abstracts – Deadline March 15, 2006
Nanotechnology in Northern Europe 2006

Congress and Exhibition
May 16-18, 2006
Helsinki, Finland
Event web site

Call for Nominations – Deadline March 1, 2006
Nanotech Briefs – Second Annual Nano50

Nanotechnology Symposium: Nanoparticles in the Workplace
May 13, 2006
AIAH's Aerosol Technology Committee
Chicago, Illinois
Event web site

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.

This is a great interview with Viola Vogel. She discusses her interest in science, how the European and US education systems for scientists differ and how nanotech is a multidisciplinary technology. —Judy

Headline: Profile: Viola Vogel, Director of Center for Nanotechnology
Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle
News source: Earth & Sky Radio Series

"What we realized at the University of Washington in the 1990s was that the nanoscale has to be explored not only by physicists, but also by chemists, material scientists, engineers and biologists. In 1996, to build the Center — to build an intellectual hub across disciplines — we started bringing people together from various departments. We talked about the new tools, got excited about each other's areas of expertise, and started learning more about how we could apply the advances from each discipline to solve major challenges in each other's fields."

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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