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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: April 19, 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 research proposes a nanotechnology process that would allow us to create electricity by moving our bodies.

Headline: Nanogenerators could turn you into a battery
News source: MobileMag by T.O. Whenham

Tired of having to carry batteries around with you for all your devices? New technology being developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology may change all of that. Scientists are looking to use nanotechnology to turn you into a battery. Zinc oxide nanowires, which are non-toxic and safe for humans, would be implanted into the body. The bending and relaxing of those wires would create electricity. That means that we would be creating electricity just by moving or flexing our muscles.

Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology has created a prototype nanogenerator. Every time a nanowire is flexed it emits a piezoelectric charge. That's an electrical discharge that is created when materials are put under mechanical stress. The nanowires would not impede or constrain people. A nanometer is just one billionth of a meter. A human hair is about 100,000 nanometers thick.

One possible use of the technology that Wang foresees is for soldiers. Nanogenerators in their shoes could produce electricity as they walk so that they would not have to carry batteries to power their devices.
Zhong Lin Wang

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: This article highlights nanobrush research at the University of Hawaii and Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute that may provide a solution for clean water.

Headline: UH engineers make nanobrush
News source: Pacific Business News

It's a big deal in the small world of nanotechnology: the world's smallest brush. University of Hawaii engineers made it.

A team of researchers from UH Manoa and New York's Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute will appear in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records for their carbon nanotube brush that sweeps up nanodust and can also be used to paint microcapillaries and clean water pollutants.
Mehrdad Ghasemi-Nejhad
More detail about nanobrushes

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: This nanofiber research will have several applications, including wound dressings.

Headline: Nanofibers created in orderly fashion by UC Berkeley Team
News source: Medical News Today

For 72 years, scientists have been able to use electric fields to spin polymers into tiny fibers. But there's been just one problem: Like worms that won't stop wriggling, the fibers tangle randomly almost as soon as they are created.

Now, researchers at University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to use the electric-field process to make nanofibers in a direct, continuous and controllable manner. The new technique, known as near-field electrospinning, offers the possibility of producing out of nanofibers new, specialized materials with organized patterns that can be used for such applications as wound dressings, filtrations and bio-scaffolds.
UC Berkeley Press Release

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: This article, announcing a conference on nanotechnology for the food and health food industries, also discusses the issues of food and nanotechnology.

Headline: Nanotech food conference targets future opportunities
News source: Food Navigator/Europe by Anthony Fletcher

The opportunities that nanotechnology could bring to the food industry will be highlighted at a key event later this year. The conference, Nano and Microtechnologies in the Food and Healthfood Industries, will give the industry the chance to debate the future of both nanotechnologies in key sectors such as food ingredients, processing and monitoring.

Delegates will be given the chance to discuss exactly how nanotechnology can be harnessed to tap key trends such as the growing demand for nutrition and health food. New techniques and technologies for the rapid and safe testing of food for disease and the various safety and regulatory issues related to the use of new technology will also be topics of discussion.

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: This is an announcement about a "paint-on" laser, which may answer current capacity concerns in the semiconductor industry.

Headline: "Paint-on" laser seeks to free chip bottleneck
News source: EE Times by Spencer Chin

Researchers at the University of Toronto have created a laser that promises to relieve the interconnect bottleneck in microchips.

Scientists believe the laser would make it possible to form interconnections within chips using infrared light. This would help answer some concerns that current-generation microchips would reach their practical capacity sometime around 2010.

The laser is not a laser in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it takes on the form of colloidal quantum dots—nanometer sized particles of semiconductor that are suspended in a solvent, according to the researchers.

The scientists, from the University of Toronto's Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, published a study describing the laser in the April 17 issue of the journal Optics Express.

According to one of the researchers, Professor Ted Sargent, a small vial of paint carried in his briefcase is used to make the laser.

"We've made a laser that can be smeared onto another material," said Sargent, a Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology "This is the first paint-on semiconductor laser to produce the invisible colors of light needed to carry information through fiber-optics. The infrared light could, in the future, be used to connect microprocessors on a silicon computer chip."
Ted Sargent

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: The Space Elevator experts will speak at a conference in Los Angeles next month.

Headline: Space Elevator Presentation at Conference
News source: Elevator 2010

Bradley C. Edwards will discuss current activities on the Space Elevator and Deepak Srivastava will explain the nano- and macromechanics of carbon nanotube-based materials as part of a Space Elevator track at the 2006 ISDC conference on Saturday, May 6, 2006 in Los Angeles.
The 25th Annual International Space Development Conference
Bradley C. Edwards
Deepak Srivastava

Foresight Lectures

Nanoworld: Toward a Policy for the Human Future
April 28, 2006
Washington, D.C.

Christine Peterson, Founder and Vice President of Public Policy for Foresight Nanotech Institute, will speak on a panel on nanotech and ethics issues. This panel will collectively respond to points highlighted in the preceding keynote, which will be delivered by Mihail C. Roco, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation.

In addition to Christine, the other panelists are: David Guston, Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University; Andrew Kimbrell, International Center for Technology Assessment; and Charles Rubin, Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy at Duquesne University.
Event 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.

Nanotechnology Now announces a Technology Monitoring Service

The Nanotech-now is now offering an Intellectual Property (IP) and Research Monitoring Service. Their teams of professional investigators work closely with university and national lab researchers, technology transfer administrators, and IP attorneys. They contact research departments directly and investigate areas they plan on researching in the future, so companies interested in partnering with them can contact them to supply funding and get in on the ground floor when it comes time to market the product.

To find out more about their technology monitoring services visit

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

Foresight Member News – Zyvex

Foresight Nanotech Institute has several membership levels. One of these levels is the corporate membership. This week's member news is about Foresight corporate member, Zyvex.

Corporate Member – Zyvex

Zyvex Continues to Exceed Sales Expectations
Nanotechnology Company Exceeds $2.9 Million in Q1 2006 Sales

Zyvex today announced financial results for its fiscal 2006 first quarter. The Texas company continues its business gains with total revenues for the quarter totaling $2,956,582 — a 45 percent increase over the same period in 2005.

"Our first quarter exceeded expectations," said Zyvex CFO Timothy M. Gilmore. "These financial results are a direct effect of our consistent execution to our strategic plan and our continued goal of delivering value to our customers."

"We are totally committed to long-term product innovation and customer value," said Zyvex President Dr. Thomas A. Cellucci. "Our financial successes over the past five years are a reflection of our strong IP position and our customer's loyalty and passion for our products' value, quality, and performance."

This month, Zyvex also introduced its L200 Nanomanipulator for the Life Science arena. Researchers can use the L200 for cellular manipulation, biomaterials characterization, patch-clamping, micro-injection, and intra- and extra-cellular probing. The company also released the F100-TSP Nanomanipulator for TEM Sample Lift-out.

For more information about Zyvex

Become a Member of Foresight

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Nanotech Events & News

Headline: Nanotechnology Drives UHV Growth
News Source: R&D

R&D in nanoscale materials and processes are finding unique situations that only occur or are resolvable in ultrahigh vacuum environments. Rapid growth in the research and development of nanoscale technologies has broadened the need for ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) technologies and systems with minimal molecular contamination. Areas such as next-generation lithography, semiconductor inspection techniques, scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic level electron microscopy, x-ray microscopy, nanoscale positioning systems, mass spectroscopy, atomic-layer deposition, and others are driving the development of expanded vacuum technologies.

Vacuum systems and instrumentation that may have been adequate at high vacuum (HV) levels (10-1 to 10-4 Pa), however, are now being driven into the UHV range (10-4 to 10-9 Pa) from a need to precisely understand the nanoscale relationships and characteristics and the need to develop even newer research and fabrication techniques.

Headline: FDA Announces Plans for Nanotechnology Public Meeting
News source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Press Release

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be holding a public meeting in the fall of this year, designed to gather information about current developments in uses of nanotechnology materials in FDA regulated products. In a Federal Register notice displayed today announcing the meeting, FDA asks that those interested in presenting at or attending the meeting inform the agency of their interest.

Nanotechnology is described by the National Nanotechnology Initiative as the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Essentially, nanotechnology is a branch of science devoted to the design and production of extremely small matter.

Due to the small size and special properties of nanotechnology materials, they have great potential for use in a vast array of FDA-regulated products. These small materials often have physical or chemical properties that are different than those of their larger counterparts. Differences include altered magnetic properties, altered electrical or optical activity, increased structural integrity, and enhanced chemical and biological properties.

Headline: Planning Nanotech from the Ground Up
News source: Chemical & Engineering News by Stephen K. Ritter

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That timeless admonition, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, could become a mantra for the fledgling nanotechnology industry, according to a developing community of chemists who advocate infusing green chemistry and engineering into the design of nanotech-based products. It's an opportunity to build the new industry to be environmentally clean from the beginning, they believe, by using pollution- prevention strategies to control risks.

"In the past, society did not always think about the consequences of introducing new technologies," observed Barbara P. Karn, an environmental scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency. "But we have come to a point in our civilization where we do think about it, where we have started to ask questions when there's a new technology. Is it harmful? Can the products be made without pollution? Do we have an adequate infrastructure to handle it? How will it affect society?"

Green Nanotechnology III—Engineering Green Nanotechnology
April 26, 2006
Sponsored by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Washington, DC

NanoBusiness 2006 – Conference
May 17-19, 2006
Sponsored by NanoBusiness Alliance
New York, New York
The agenda for this meeting has been published.

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

Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes – Deadline June 30, 2006

The Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman, are given in two categories, one for experiment and the other for theory in nanotechnology. Established in 1993, these prizes are given to researchers whose recent work has most advanced the achievement of Feynman's goal for nanotechnology: the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems.

Foresight Institute Prize in Communication – Deadline June 30, 2006

The Foresight Institute Prize in Communication recognizes outstanding journalistic or other communication endeavors that lead to a better understanding of molecular nanotechnology and its high social and environmental impact. This prize was created to encourage responsible coverage of molecular nanotechnology as a means for engaging the public in dialogue leading to improved public policy on this important issue. This prize was established in 2000 and is generously underwritten by the law firm Millstein & Taylor, PC.

Foresight Distinguished Student Award – Deadline June 30, 2006

The Foresight Distinguished Student Award was established in 1997 and is given to a college undergraduate or graduate student whose work is notable in the field of nanotechnology. This award highlights the winning student's research and underwrites the student's travel to the award conference. This prize is generously supported by Dr. James Ellenbogen, Ravi Pandya, and James Von Ehr, III.

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.

Nanotechnology will impact our world through applications but it will also change how laboratory facilities are being built. This article details the changes that are being made to build "nano-friendly" facilities.

Headline: Building a Nano-Friendly Facility?
News source: R&D

With the increasing emphasis on research and development in nano-scale subjects — including nanomedicine, nanofabrication, and the imaging of nano- scale structures in bioengineering, proteomics/genomics, and other emerging fields — facilities must be planned and designed to meet the complex physical requirements of highly sophisticated imaging and analysis equipment while efficiently meeting the needs of the scientists who use these instruments.

In particular, the use of MRI, NMR, and SPECT-CT instrumentation, and the installation of nanofabrication clean suites raise challenging planning and design issues, including space planning, structural capacity, vibration and noise isolation, magnetic and radiofrequency shielding, and instrument quench exhaust. Here is a look at the issues and practical solutions.

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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