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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: May 17, 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 news items announces a lecture on improving solar cells using nanocoatings.

Headline: Improving Solar Cells, Research
News source: TechNews

With research that will make an impact ranging from solar-cell technology to new and improved packaging materials, one University of Houston professor is leading the way in a nanocoatings conference that will bring academia, government and industry research into one venue.

Rigoberto Advincula, an associate professor of chemistry and adjunct associate professor of chemical engineering at UH, will lead a workshop at, The Future of Nanocoatings and Ultra-thin Films, conference May 18, 2006 in Miami. The coatings industry includes a large segment of industries, such as those dealing with paints, printing and packaging. Other coatings of high value are related to biomedical, sensing, military and lighting applications. This conference addresses how to move from lab to market, bringing together experts from across the supply and user chain to explore and demonstrate routes to commercial success with the use of nanotechnology.

"Much of these are everyday things we sometimes don't pay attention to, but they are produced on an industrial scale and involve a lot of science and engineering to develop," Advincula said. "Most are based on resin, polymer and adhesive technologies that have not been largely influenced by nanotechnology. This symposium is aimed toward advancing the use of nanotechnology."
The Future of Nanocoating and Ultra-thin Films
Rigoberto Advincula

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: These nanobrushes will eventually clean up pollutants as well as sweep "nano dust" according to this article.

Headline: Nanotech researchers create world's smallest brushes
News source: FoxNews.com

University of Hawaii nanotechnology experts have invented the world's smallest brush — a device boasting bristles a thousand times finer than a strand of human hair.

Mehrdad Ghasemi-Nejhad, a professor of mechanical engineering at the university, said the brush may be used to sweep nano dust, paint small micro- tubes and clean pollutants in water.

"We need to look at the needs in the nano-world, where machines and materials can be the size of atoms and molecules," said UH doctoral student Vinod P. Veedu. "As in the 'bigger' world, there are messes to sweep, walls to paint, tubes to unclog and electronics to power. So our invention … demonstrates a way to make the tiniest of brushes to do these jobs."
Mehrdad Ghasemi-Nejhad

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: Harmful cholesterol levels are the target of this nanoscience research.

Headline: Nanotechnology shows early promise to treat cardiovascular disease
News source: Nanotechnology.net

A new tactic in the battle against cardiovascular disease — employing nanoengineered molecules called "nanolipoblockers" as frontline infantry against harmful cholesterol — is showing promise in early laboratory studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

In a paper scheduled for publication June 12th in the American Chemical Society's journal Biomacromolecules and now appearing on that journal's Web site, Rutgers researchers propose a way to combat clogged arteries by attacking how bad cholesterol triggers inflammation and causes plaque buildup at specific blood vessel sites.

Their approach contrasts with today's statin drug therapy, which aims to reduce the amount of low density lipids, or LDLs ("bad" cholesterol), throughout the body.

In an ironic twist, the Rutgers approach aims to thwart a biological process that is typically beneficial and necessary. Prabhas Moghe, the principal investigator and associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemical and biochemical engineering at Rutgers, said that vascular plaque and inflammation develop when certain forms of LDL are attacked by white blood cells that scavenge cellular debris and disease agents.
Prabhas Moghe

4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: This conference features several presentations on variety of nanotech and food issues including packaging, pesticides, interactive food, and potential applications.

Headline: Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture
News source: Agra-net.com

Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture is scheduled for June 6-7, 2006 in Washington, DC.

Track topics to be covered include:

Christine Peterson, Vice President of Public Policy, will also speak at this meeting.

5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: This newly established nanotech research project uses spintronics to explore unknown semiconductor manufacturing technology.

Headline: California colleges, industry team to explore post-CMOS frontier
News source: Micromagazine.com

One of the newest outposts on the post-CMOS frontier is located in a tight cluster of classroom buildings on the southern part of the University of California Los Angeles campus. The engineering school there will house the headquarters of an ambitious new research project to explore terra incognita at the far reaches of the semiconductor industry's technology roadmap.

Launched in March, the Western Institute of Nanoelectronics (WIN) links UCLA with three other California universities and six industrial sponsors in a program that will initially examine the use of spintronics for semiconductor manufacturing. The participants say the technology, developed by French and German physicists in 1988, is the most promising of several nontraditional methods for making devices with feature sizes well below 65 nm.
Western Institute of Nanoelectronics

6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: Space elevator company, Liftport, Inc., is the featured company at this presentation.

Headline: Nanotechnology Gives Lift to Space Elevator
News source: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is hosting a presentation by Michael Laine, President and Founder of Liftport, Inc. on May 30th at 12:30 p.m. in Washington D.C. Since their founding in 2003, LiftPort, Inc. has gone through 14 generations of robots, successfully climbed over 1000 feet, and opened their first carbon nanotube factory in Millville, NJ. They envision a carbon nanotube composite ribbon-like a small railroad track stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space. Robotic elevator cars — lifters — would move up and down the ribbon, carrying payloads of satellites, solar power systems, exploration probes, factories, and eventually passengers.
Liftport, Inc.

Foresight Lectures

Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights
May 26-28, 2006
Stanford, California

Christine Peterson, Founder and Vice President of Public Policy for Foresight Nanotech Institute, will speak at "Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights" on May 28, 2006 at Stanford, California. Her focus will be the prospects, ethics & limits of using technology for body enhancement.
Event web site

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.

September 27-28, 2006 – nanoTX '06 – Conference & Expo
The Promises of Tomorrow, The Business of Nanotechnology
Dallas Convention Center, Texas

Ross Perot of Dallas, internationally renowned business leader and two time Presidential candidate, will give the opening keynote at nanoTX' 06 September 27, 2006. Chosen in 2004 as one of history's 10 greatest entrepreneurs, Perot is known to have followed advances in nanotechnology since 1999. Today Perot is heavily invested in nanotechnology firms with undervalued intellectual property rights, including trademarks, trade secrets, patents and copyrightable material. His opening message on the business of nanotechnology will be riveting, bringing new insights in his most quotable style. The 2006 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes will also be presented at this event.

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Nanotech News & Events

Headline: FDA urged to limit nanoparticles use in cosmetics and sunscreens
News source: San Francisco Chronicle by Keay Davidson

Numerous products such as sunscreens and cosmetics contain potentially hazardous nanoparticles but lack adequate warning labels of their possible health effects, two activist groups charged Tuesday.

The groups — Friends of the Earth and International Center for Technology Assessment — formally petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, demanding that the agency better monitor and regulate products containing nanoparticles — and said they would sue if the agency does nothing.

Their announcement coincided with the release of a report by the groups that highlighted the number of personal care products with nanoingredients, material typically 100 nanometers wide — far smaller than a red blood cell — or smaller.

Headline: Buckyballs worth their weight in gold
News source: Chemistry World

Move over carbon, a team of US chemists and physicists has uncovered evidence for the existence of hollow buckyball-like cages made of gold.

Scientists have already developed a range of spherical nanostructures based on inorganic molecules. Nanotech firm NanoMaterials, Israel, has developed a novel lubricant based on buckyball-like nanospheres made of tungsten disulphide. But no one had managed to make hollow spherical nanostructures constructed entirely from a metallic element.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska and Washington State University decided to investigate gold because of its range of highly impressive properties at the nanoscale, including catalytic activity and fluorescence. Previous studies had suggested that gold molecules with less than 13 atoms formed flat, planar structures, while a 20-atom gold molecule formed a pyramid structure. The researchers wondered whether gold molecules containing between 14 and 19 atoms would form spherical structures, as they step-change from the flat to the pyramid structure.

Green Nanotechnology – Policy Options For Greening New Technologies – May 24, 2006
Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Event web site

Call for Clean Tech Business Plans – Deadline May 31, 2006
California Clean Tech Open
Sponsored by Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth

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, II.

September 18-20, 2006
Commercialization of NanoMaterials 2006 – Conference
Sponsored by TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society)
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.

Nanosurveillance issues are a real concern for many of us. This article discusses some of the issues in a cursory fashion, but it covers many key points. Also, the headline caught my eye and there is pretty cool graphic as well.
— Judy

Headline: Is Big Brother a cockroach?
News source: ABC Capricornia by David Anderson & Jodie van de Wetering

Next time you wander into the kitchen in the middle of the night and find a cockroach scuttling along the bench, look closely. It might be spying on you.

The next generation of surveillance technology could be hitching a ride on insects' backs, according to Doctor Lynn Zelmer from Central Queensland University's faculty of business and informatics. "I'm a science fiction buff," he admits, "and one of the standard themes in science fiction for years has been the use of spy devices of one kind or another, let's call it spy dust — fairy dust if you want to call it that. Something that you can sprinkle on, or touch on in whatever way, and it'll give you information back. What's happening more and more in recent science fiction is nanotechnology, 'nano' being so small being that you can't even see it through an electron microscope."

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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