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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: March 8, 2006

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: Nanotechnology will enable us to employ new processes to extract energy from raw materials. This article discusses one such process that Chevron is investigating.

Headline: Nanotech of the North: Chevron's use of nanotech could minimize risk in reaping Canada's oil sands
News source: The Motley Fool by Jack Uldrich

Chevron recently announced a $60 million acquisition of the leases to 75,000 acres in northern Canada in order to develop a giant oil-sands project. The risky venture could ultimately cost tens of billions of dollars and take up to a decade to develop, since the tar in the oil sands isn't easily converted to usable oil. But Chevron may have a very tiny ace up its sleeve, thanks to its involvement with nanotechnology.
Chevron press release

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

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

Headline: Nanofiltration – Filtration Overview
News source: Koch Membrane Systems

Nanofiltration is a low to moderately high pressure (typically 50 - 450 psig) process in which monovalent ions will pass freely through the membrane but highly charged, multivalent salts and low molecular weight organics will be rejected to a much greater degree. Typical NF applications include water softening, desalination of dyestuffs, acid and caustic recovery and color removal.

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: This research focuses on using nanocages to target melanoma cancer cells.

Headline: Protein Nanocages Target Melanoma Cells
News source: NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer

Using a nanoscale protein cage capable of entrapping small molecules, researchers at Montana State University have created a novel nanoparticle that can efficiently target the rapidly growing blood vessels that surround tumors. Engineered protein cages hold promise as nanoscale delivery devices because they are precisely defined structures that are relatively easy to mass-produce. The results of this effort have been published in the journal Chemistry & Biology.

A research team headed by Montana State colleagues Trevor Douglas, Ph.D., and Mark Young, Ph.D., chose to work with a heat shock protein isolated from bacteria that thrives at high temperature. The investigators had previously shown that this protein, which consists of 12 subunits that self- assemble into an empty 12-nanometer diameter cage, could be readily manipulated using both chemical and genetic modifications without affecting its integrity or size.
Trevor Douglas
Mark Young

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: This conference features several sessions on nanotechnology and food processes.

Headline: Food Colloids – Self Assembly and Material Science Congress and Exhibition
News source: Conference Website

The Food Colloids 2006 conference will be held April 23-26, 2006, and features 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 that 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 on how to formulate new structures of high quality by using Material Science concepts. Synthetic, biological and food materials ranging from model systems through to specific biological or food problems will be discussed.
Conference Website
Downloadable program

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: This research has developed a single molecule that can function as a diode, the electrical version of a valve.

Headline: USF Researcher Works on Single Molecule Diode
News source: LinuxElectronics

Researchers from the University of South Florida, the University of Chicago and the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) have recently developed the principles of operation and completed an experimental testing of a single molecule for use as a diode. A paper explaining their research has just been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters by the American Physical Society.

"Single molecule diodes are the fundamental building blocks of an emerging technology called nanoelectronics,' a field that holds promise for application in all kinds of electronic devices, from cell phones to sensors," said Ivan Oleynik, a physics professor at USF and coauthor of the paper. "Molecular diodes could be built a thousand times smaller than diodes in use now."

Computer industry execs might start breathing easier because their biggest fear — that smaller and faster devices will eventually come to an end because silicon microchips will get so small that eventually they will contain too few silicon atoms to work — might be lessened as advancements in molecular electronics come to the rescue.
Ivan Oleynik

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: The National Space Society and The Planetary Society are hosting a conference. One track focuses on nanotechnology. Deadline for talk submission is March 15, 2006.

Headline: International Space Development Conference
News source: Conference website

ISDC 2006 will feature dozens of presentations, panel discussions, interactive exhibits and activities spanning the entire spectrum of space-related issues: exploration, tourism, science, technology, policy, and commerce.
Conference website
To submit an abstract by March 15, 2006

Foresight Speaking Engagements

The Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications of Nanotechnology
March 28, 2006
Chicago, Illinois

Christine Peterson, Founder and Vice President of Public Policy for Foresight Nanotech Institute, will speak on a panel about the societal implications of nanotechnology at the Nano&Bio in Society Conference. Other panelists are Timothy Hsieh, ABA Nanotech Committee, and Jason Robert, Arizona State University Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. Moderated by Nigel Cameron, Center for Nanotechnology and Society, the panel will discuss the interplay among the ethical, legal and social issues raised by nanotechnology. The panel members represent law, ethics, business, and nanoscale science and development.
Conference website

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.

April 25-26, 2006 – Carbon Nanotubes
Sponsored by Interch-Pira
Belgium, Brussels

Carbon nanotubes are poised to take the world by storm! This tiny technology has the potential to revolutionize strength and light weighing across a multitude of different materials, making it suitable applications as widespread as aeronautics and packaging. Attend this groundbreaking event to find out where this burgeoning technology is heading and what opportunities it could offer your business.
Downloadable brochure for this event

NSTI Nanotech Venture – Submission deadline: March 10, 2006
Sponsored by NSTI (Nano Science and Technology Institute)

NSTI Nanotech Venture is an ideal forum for "seed" to "early-stage" companies to showcase their technologies, market advantages, and to search for funding. Selected companies give 15-minute presentations at the Nanotech2006 conference in Boston on May 7-11, 2006 and will benefit from on-site networking with the NSTI Nanotech Ventures Vetting Team, corporate capital, venture capital and multi-sector investment attendees.
Conference website

Become a Member of Foresight

If you enjoy reading this news digest, please consider becoming a member. Your support is critical to our success in advancing beneficial nanotechnology.

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List of member benefits:

Nanotech Events & News

The 2006 Next Big Thing Award – Deadline March 17, 2006
Sponsored by INNOVIC (Victorian Innovators' Program)

2006 Nanochallenge International Business Plan Competition – Deadline June 16, 2006
Sponsored by Veneto Nanotech

Nanotechnology Law & Business – New issue released (Vol 3.1)

Nanotechnology Law & Business (NLB) is a peer reviewed journal devoted to the legal, business, and policy aspects of small scale technologies. NLB provides valuable expert insights and analysis for all professionals involved in these fast-developing fields.

Journal articles address the market impact of nanotechnology, patent prosecution, licensing and litigation, financing strategy, legislative and regulatory initiatives, and much more. See the Aims and Scope for complete coverage of the journal.

Call For Papers – Deadline March 24, 2006
NanoBiotech World Congress
November 16-17, 2006
Boston, Massachusetts
Conference website

Conference – NanoBusiness 2006
May 17-19, 2006
Sponsored by NanoBusiness Alliance
New York, New York
Conference website

Headline: Taking The Nanopulse – Leadership In Nanotechnology: Our nation's leaders recognize what's at stake
News source: Industry Week by Scott E. Rickert

Three days. 25 meetings. Face-to-face interactions with over 50 federal legislative and executive branch decision-makers. Those are the facts and figures of the recent NanoBusiness Alliance public policy tour I attended in Washington, D.C. with 28 other nanotechnology corporate, academic and development leaders. It was truly an eye-opening trip. America's leadership in this emerging technology race is at stake, and Washington knows it.

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.

GE Global Research recently launched a technology blog. Titled "From Edison's Desk," this site features blog entries by scientists at GE's R&D labs posting about their research. I pulled a quote from the following post because it epitomizes the collaborative nature of nanotechnology research. Also, superhydrophobicity, which may enable us to have self-cleaning cars and jars that empty easily, is very cool as well.

Headline: Honey rolls right off!
News source: GE Global Research Blog by Tao Deng

Once the first discovery was made, we built our model system and were able to figure out many interesting things about water-repellent properties. The team is getting huge. Think about what can happen when you put chemists, materials scientists, physicists, chemical and mechanical engineers in one room; new designs, new processes, new materials are being discovered every week, every day! It's such an exciting time!
Tao Deng

Join the discussion – visit our blog Nanodot 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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