Home > Resources > Publications > Weekly News Digest

Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: March 29, 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: This "nanofluid" research is an excellent example of the same research having several cross over applications.

Headline: Cool nanotechnology can save energy
News source: Physorg.com

Huge reductions in heating bills, safer surgery and the next generation of miniaturized computers are among the potential benefits of new nanotechnology developed at Leeds.

By suspending nanoparticles in water or other liquids, Professor Richard Williams and Dr Yulong Ding have created 'nanofluids' which can transfer heat up to 400% faster than other liquids. In a central heating system, nanofluids could increase efficiency without the need to use a more powerful pump, so saving energy and providing major environmental benefits.
Richard Williams
Yulong Ding

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: Environment & Society is a seminar track at NSTI's Nano 2006. A presentation within this track includes a session on water & nanotechnology.

Headline: Nanotechnology and the water market: applications and health effects
Presented by F.S. Mowat and J. Tsuji from Exponent
News source: NSTI Website

"Nanotechnology and the water market: applications and health effects" is one of the many presentations that will be given at Nano 2006. Sponsored by NSTI (Nano Science and Technology Institute) Nano 2006 will be held on May 7-11, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference features over eight hundred technology presentations, government program reviews, an expanded vertical industry symposium and an early stage company showcase.
Link to presentation

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: This article is a good example of how nanoscience research being conducted at several institutions can result in solving a major problem facing humanity.

Headline: Liposome researchers seek to stop bird flu before it takes flight
News source: Small Times by John Carroll

A small band of researchers scattered around the country from East Tennessee State University to Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital are about to test a new, nanotech approach to heading off a potential bird flu pandemic.

The scientists are developing liposomes, fatty globules used as a tiny drug delivery device, which contain a mix of antioxidants and anti-viral drugs. The researchers believe that these liposomes, which can be reduced to a size as small as 25 to 50 nanometers, can cripple the lethal chain reaction that allows a virus to replicate, saving the patient.

By delivering a mix of a typical anti-viral agent along with antioxidants, "you are able to decrease the viral replication ... of the cell," says Milton Smith, president of Amaox.
Case study about Amaox collaboration

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: This article discusses nanotechnology, nutraceuticals and functional foods.

Headline: Nanonutrients' Promise: Vast Gains In Human Health
News source: Physorg.com

The emerging discipline of nanotechnology holds the promise of improving functional foods and the capability of delivering healthful food compounds to the body where it can utilize them best. This is according to the latest issue of Food Technology magazine.

Remarkable achievements in nanotechnology — the science, engineering and technology of controlling matter one-billionth a meter in size — show great potential for positively influencing human health, the article states. By enhancing solubility, improving bioavailability, and facilitating the controlled release and protecting the stability of micronutrients in food products, nanotechnology could be a successful method to design smart food systems able to target specific systems within the body and their functions.
Link to Food Technology article by Hongda Chen, Jochen Weiss, and Fereidoon Shahid

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: Here is a breakthrough announcement from IBM about an integrated circuit designed around a single carbon nanotube molecule.

Headline: IBM builds IC around nanotube molecule
News source: Photonics.com

IBM announced this week that its researchers have built the first complete electronic integrated circuit (IC) around a single carbon nanotube molecule, a new material that shows promise for providing enhanced performance over today's standard silicon semiconductors.

IBM said the achievement is significant because the circuit was built using standard semiconductor processes and used a single molecule as the base for all components in the circuit, rather than linking together individually constructed components. This can simplify manufacturing and provide the consistency needed to more thoroughly test and adjust the material for use in these applications, the company said in a statement.

"Carbon nanotube transistors have the potential to outperform state-of-the-art silicon devices," said T.C. Chen, vice president, Science & Technology, IBM Research. "However, scientists have focused so far on fabricating and optimizing individual carbon nanotube transistors. Now, we can evaluate the potential of carbon nanotube electronics in complete circuits — a critical step toward the integration of the technology with existing chip-making techniques."
IBM press release

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: Nanotechnology is being employed to create a light detector that will speed Earth to space communication.

Headline: Breakthrough for broadband in space
News source: UPI Technology Correspondent By Stokely Baksh

Broadband might be entering into space, thanks to a collective team of MIT researchers developing a tiny light detector that could help speed up data transmission from planetary probes to Earth.

This is just the latest breakthrough on the nanotechnology front, which could keep costs low in one aspect of space communication.

"Half the battle is getting the probe up in space, but getting information back quickly and not limited is also important — the reason for the probe to go up there in the first place," said Karl Berggren, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
MIT press release

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

Become a Member of Foresight

If you enjoy reading this news digest, then please consider becoming a member. Your support is critical to our success in advancing nanotechnology that is healthy for people and good for the planet.

We have membership levels suitable for everyone.

List of member benefits:

Nanotech Events & News

Headline: CRN Global Task Force releases essays
News source: CRN Website

Members of the CRN Global Task Force have prepared a set of essays on their concerns related to molecular manufacturing. Members of the CRN Global Task Force that have submitted essays include Ray Kurzweil, Robert Freitas, Jr., Mike Treder, Chris Phoenix, Giulio Prisco, Patrick Lin, J. Storrs Hall, and David Brin.
CRN Global Task Force

Headline: Engineers building 'erasible' detectors, 'nanobrushes' and DNA 'highrises'
News source: Physorg.com

A Duke University engineering group is doing pioneering work at very diminutive dimensions. Their basic studies could lead to genetically engineered proteins that can form erasable chemical detectors; self-grown forests of molecular "bottlebrushes" that keep themselves contamination-free; and auto-assembled DNA "towers" that could become anchors for the tiniest of devices.
Ashutosh Chilkoti

Headline: Nanotech White Paper Stirs Dissatisfaction
News source: Heartland Institute, published In: Environment News by William L. Kovacs

Scrutiny of the emerging nanotechnology industry is ramping up. Nanotechnology involves the creation of materials, devices, and systems through the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules. It is a term used to define materials whose size is measured in billionths of a meter. (A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or about 1/80,000 of the width of a human hair.)

Along with continued growth of the industry has come heightened interest in the potential health and safety issues posed by nanotechnology. Responding to those concerns, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced an External Review Draft of a Nanotechnology White Paper for public comment. This January, the comment period closed, and the agency now plans to revise the white paper.

Emerging Technology at Risk — Not everyone is satisfied with the first draft, and it remains to be seen whether the revision will be considered an improvement. According to numerous industry observers, the white paper fails to adequately identify many key issues that must be given careful consideration.

Nanotechnology: living up to the promise
April 15, 2006
Berkeley Nanotechnology Forum 2006
Berkeley, California
Event website

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

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

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 news announcement of a washing machine that kills or removes bacteria without the use of bleach or other chemicals. Think about this application in context with a hospital laundry room and their battle with strong bugs.

Headline: Nano Washing Machine Heading to UK
News source: Daily Mail, London by Sean Poulter via Small Times

If you're a stickler for cleanliness, it sounds like a dream invention — a washing machine that destroys bugs in the weekly laundry. Its designers at Samsung claim the technology will remove or kill 99.9 percent of odor-causing bacteria, including E.coli.

And they say the system will keep the clothes fresh for up to 30 days. Called the Silver Nano Health System, it works by bombarding clothing with jets of cold water primed with tiny silver ions. Users do not need to add hot water, bleach or other chemicals. As a result it saves energy and treats delicate items, such as lingerie, more gently, giving them a longer life.
Samsung product info

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

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.

If you wish to no longer receive nanotechnology email from Foresight Nanotech Institute, please send us an email to foresight@foresight.org

Thank you!