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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: September 26, 2007

Vision Weekend Unconference registration is now open for newly joining and current Senior Associates. Join us Nov. 3-4 at Yahoo!

Student/Educator discount for Productive Nanosystems Conference ends this Friday.

Top Nano News of the Week

Foresight note: Even before we can send medical nanobots inside a cell to control DNA replication and gene expression, we can control these processes by engineering the nanostructures that a cell contacts.

Headline: Nanotechnology is key to next-generation tissue and cell engineering
News source: Nanowerk Spotlight, written by Michael Berger

…physical properties of [medical implant] materials, especially with regard to their surface's nanostructure, affect cell attachment and eventually the tissue response to the implant. … New research has now been conducted to determine the influence of nanopore size on cellular responses. Interestingly, these studies have revealed that larger nanopores (200 nm) trigger DNA replication and cell proliferation via various signal transduction pathways.

…"We found that several genes involved in cell adhesion, cell morphology, cell cycle, DNA replication, cell proliferation, and signaling transduction pathways are dependent on the surface nanotopography" says [Dr. Liping Tang, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Texas at Arlington].

In this issue:

Health: Bone-growing nanomaterial could improve orthopaedic implants
Health: Smart insulin nanostructures pass feasibility test
Information technology: Computer memory in nanoscale form retrieves data 1,000 times faster
Information technology: Graphene logic gate makes its debut
Toward Productive Nanosystems: Scientists unlock secrets of protein folding
Foresight Events: Productive Nanosystems Conference
Foresight Events: Vision Weekend 2007: The Unconference
Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology - Join Foresight
Conference – Small Times NanoCon International
News: Poll reveals public awareness of nanotech stuck at low level
Editor's Pick: Photon-transistors for the supercomputers of the future
Nanodot: Nanotechnology: Enhancement goals for human body
Nanodot: The next national nanotechnology program
Nanodot: Nanotechnology tool sent to Mars
Nanodot: Heritage Foundation: Conservative on nanotechnology too
Foresight Lectures
Contact Foresight

Nanotechnology that's Good For People

Foresight Challenge: Improving health and longevity

Headline: Bone-growing nanomaterial could improve orthopaedic implants
News source: Brown University

Bone-forming cells grow faster and produce more calcium on anodized titanium covered in carbon nanotubes compared with plain anodized titanium and the non-anodized version currently used in orthopaedic implants, new Brown University research shows. The work … uncovers a new material that can be used to make more successful implants. The research also shows tantalizing promise for an all-new device: a "smart" implant that can sense and report on bone growth.

Nanotechnology abstract

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Foresight Challenge: Improving health and longevity

Headline: Smart insulin nanostructures pass feasibility test, UT study reports
News source: University of Texas

Biomedical engineers at The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston have announced pre-clinical test results … demonstrating the feasibility of a smart particle insulin release system that detects spikes in glucose or blood sugar levels and releases insulin to counteract them.

Designed to mimic functions of the pancreas which produces the blood-sugar regulating hormone insulin, the smart particle system stabilized blood sugar levels in animal models with suppressed pancreatic functions for up to six hours, researchers reported. It is an inhalable system.

International Journal of Nanomedicine abstract

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Nanotechnology that's Good For the Planet

Foresight Challenge: Making information technology available to all

Headline: Penn engineers design computer memory in nanoscale form that retrieves data 1,000 times faster
News source: University of Pennsylvania, via AAAS EurekAlert

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have developed nanowires capable of storing computer data for 100,000 years and retrieving that data a thousand times faster than existing portable memory devices such as Flash memory and micro-drives, all using less power and space than current memory technologies.

Ritesh Agarwal, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and colleagues developed a self-assembling nanowire of germanium antimony telluride, a phase-changing material that switches between amorphous and crystalline structures, the key to read/write computer memory. Fabrication of the nanoscale devices, roughly 100 atoms in diameter, was performed without conventional lithography…

Instead, researchers used self-assembly, a process by which chemical reactants crystallize at lower temperatures mediated by nanoscale metal catalysts to spontaneously form nanowires that were 30-50 nanometers in diameter and 10 micrometers in length, and then they fabricated memory devices on silicon substrates.

Nature Nanotechnology abstract

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Foresight Challenge: Making information technology available to all

Headline: Graphene logic gate makes its debut
News source: nanotechweb.org, written by Belle Dumé (requires free registration)

Graphene-based circuits could become major building blocks for tomorrow's nanoscale circuits and may even provide an alternative to silicon-based electronic devices, which are fast approaching their limits in size and shape. Scientists in China and Canada have now taken an important step forward with the development of a new Z-shaped graphene nanoribbon quantum dot device. The device is the first programmable graphene structure for random access memory (RAM) or logic gate arrays for use in future nanoscale computing.

Applied Physics Letters abstract

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Toward Productive Nanosystems

Foresight note: An inviting road towards advanced nanotechnology envisions engineering proteins to fold into components for molecular machine systems. Deeper understanding of the forces driving the folding of proteins and peptides leads toward engineering the folding process.

Headline: Scientists unlock secrets of protein folding
News source: PhysOrg.com

A team led by biophysicist Jeremy Smith of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory has taken a significant step toward unraveling the mystery of how proteins fold into unique, three-dimensional shapes.

Using ORNL's Cray XT4 Jaguar supercomputer as well as computer systems in Italy and Germany, the team revealed a driving force behind protein folding involving the way its constituents interact with water.

"When we do eventually find out how to calculate protein structure from sequence," [Smith] said, "then a major revolution will come upon us … and the applications will range from rationally designing drugs to fit clefts in protein structures to engineering protein shapes for useful functions in nanotechnology and bioenergy."

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences abstract

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Foresight Events

Productive Nanosystems: Launching the Technology Roadmap

Conference sponsored by Foresight Nanotech Institute and Society of Manufacturing Engineers with support from Battelle
October 9-10, 2007
DoubleTree Crystal City in Arlington, VA

Now, for the first time, the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems will describe the R&D pathways and products resulting from this ultimate technological revolution. Join us as we explore the power of advanced "bottom-up" nanotechnology in this 14th Foresight Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology.

Feynman Prize luncheon on October 9, 2007

The full conference program (October 9, October 10) and brochure (PDF 987 KB) are now available.

Special thanks to The Waitt Family Foundation and Sun Microsystems for financial support of the Roadmap project.

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Foresight Vision Weekend 2007: The Unconference

November 3-4, 2007
Yahoo! HQ in Silicon Valley, CA

This year we are experimenting with the highly popular Unconference format. Special thanks to Yahoo! for donating their conference center as our venue.

Registration is now open for current and newly joining Senior Associates.

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Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology

Do you believe that nanotechnology will give society the ability to tackle the hard challenges facing humanity? What's your priority for nanotechnology: cancer treatments and longevity therapies, sustainable energy, clean water, a restored environment, space development, or "zero waste" manufacturing? Or perhaps there are potential nanotech scenarios you would like to prevent.

If you would like to help influence the direction of this powerful technology, please consider becoming a member of Foresight Nanotech Institute. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on beneficial nanotechnology and what it will mean to our society.

Members receive the Foresight Nanotech Update newsletter. For a sample from the archives, see the article "Healing and preserving the environment." Progress in nanotechnology already promises near term environmental benefits, but has also raised fears that nanomaterials themselves might harm human health or the environment. Join Foresight and help steer nanotech in the directions you personally support most!

"Healing and preserving the environment" in Update 58

To join:

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Foresight Partners

SmallTimes NanoCon International
The Leading Nanotechnology and MEMS Networking Event
November 14-16, 2007
Santa Clara, CA

Attracting hundreds of decision makers from around the world, Small Times NanoCon International is your premier source for business alliances, information exchange and commercial strategy.

Event Highlights:

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Nanotech News

Headline: Poll reveals public awareness of nanotech stuck at low level
News source: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

National survey findings released today indicate that Americans' awareness of nanotechnology remains low. Popular awareness is nearly as small as the tiny nanoscale materials and nano-enabled devices and products now flowing onto the market from this rapidly progressing technology that experts believe will usher in a new industrial revolution.

The poll also finds that most Americans continue to prefer that government, not industry, oversee and manage risks associated with advances in new areas of science and technology like nanotech, even though public confidence in U.S. regulatory agencies overall is declining.

"As in previous polls, the results of this survey indicate that public wants more information about nanotechnology. Most Americans will be reluctant to use nano food and food-related products until they know enough to evaluate the merits of these products," according to [David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies].

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Editor's Pick

We continue our tradition of citing a special story that strikes the Editor as especially cool, but which doesn't fit within the usual editorial categories of the News Digest.

It's cool to see that the availability of nanostructures—in this case conducting nanowires—can inspire proposals to use fundamental particles—in this case photons—to do truly novel and potentially revolutionary things—in this case interact strongly to create single-photon transistors.

— Jim

Headline: Photon-transistors for the supercomputers of the future
News source: PhysOrg.com

Scientist[s] from the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen and from Harvard University have worked out a new theory which describe[s] how the necessary transistors for the quantum computers of the future may be created…

Researchers dream of quantum computers. Incredibly fast super computers which can solve such extremely complicated tasks that it will revolutionise the application possibilities. But there are some serious difficulties. One of them is the transistors, which are the systems that process the signals.

Today the signal is an electrical current. For a quantum computer the signal can be an optical one, and it works using a single photon, which is the smallest component of light.

Nature Physics abstract

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Nanodot: A sample from Foresight's blog

Headline: Nanotechnology: Enhancement goals for human body

Forbes.com did a poll to find out what human body enhancements their readers would most like. The poll seems to be gone, but nanotechnology commentator Gregor Wolbring quotes it in his own column…

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Headline: The next national nanotechnology program

Alan Shalleck of NanoClarity writes over at Nanotechnology Now on how the U.S. should go about planning its future federal funding of nanotech…

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Headline: Nanotechnology tool sent to Mars

The company Nanoscience Instruments in its Scanline newsletter (PDF, Vol. 2, Issue. 2) lets us know that one of their nanotechnology products, the Nanosurf atomic force microscope, is on its way to Mars…

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Headline: Heritage Foundation: Conservative on nanotechnology too

The Heritage Foundation portrays itself as a conservative think tank, and by gosh, they are! Specifically, they are conservative on the longer term prospects for nanotechnology…

—Nanodot post by Christine Peterson

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Foresight Lectures

October 6-7, 2007
7th Alcor Conference on Life Extension
Alcor Life Extension Foundation
Scottsdale, Arizona
Christine Peterson will speak on life extension.
Click here for conference details

October 26, 2007
nanoUtah 2007 Conference
Utah Technology Council
Salt Lake City, Utah
Pearl Chin will give the dinner keynote address.
Click here for conference details

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Contact Foresight

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:

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Dr. James Lewis, Research Analyst 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 him with comments about the News Digest, please send an email to editor@foresight.org

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