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Better, cheaper oligonucleotides for DNA nanotechnology

Foresight Update 26.04—June 12, 2013
ISSN 1078-9731

Nanotech News

Discuss these news stories at

In this issue:

Mass production of higher quality oligonucleotides to spur DNA nanotechnology

Currently structural DNA nanotechnology … is the most promising method to build arbitrarily complex multi-million-atom atomically precise structures … One of the major limitations of these methods, however, is the cost and quality of the small, single-stranded DNA molecules required, which are prepared by solid state chemical synthesis. … Fortunately two DNA nanotechnology laboratories at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and at Harvard and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute appear to have solved this problem by harnessing biological molecular machine systems to make large quantities of very high quality single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides. …

Quantum dot conduction impacted by stoichiometry, not dangling bonds

Quantum dots are semiconducting, nanoscale clusters that show electronic characteristics distinct from both bulk-scale materials and single molecules. Their special characteristics make quantum dots attractive for a broad range of potential applications, including photovoltaics and nanoscale transistors.

The size and shape of quantum dots impact electrical properties and can therefore be used to tune the dots (for example, for absorption/emission of desired wavelengths of light). In the case of photovoltaic cells, the performance of quantum dots has not lived up to theoretical potential, and it was expected that the reason had to do with the presence of dangling bonds at the dot surfaces. …

Germanane: germanium's answer to graphane

… a new addition to the family of 2D honeycomb-lattice materials has arrived: germanane. Structurally analogous to graphane, germanane comprises hydrogenated, hexagonally arranged germanium atoms in single (or few) layer sheets. Like silicane and silicene (see companion post Silicene: silicon’s answer to graphene), germanane should have a band gap, possibly allowing it to be implemented sooner than graphene. …

Drexler's book tour extends to U.S. May 6-9

Recently we pointed at a Forbe’s interview with Eric Drexler, in anticipation of his pending new book Radical Abundance.

The book has shipped, and Drexler’s tour schedule now includes a few stops on the coasts of the U.S …

Silicene: silicon's answer to graphene

On the list of potential post-silicon materials for electronics and chips is none other than silicon. More specifically, silicene — 2D sheets of hexagonally arranged silicon atoms, structurally analogous to graphene and experimentally characterized by physicist Guy Le Lay of Aix-Marseille University in France …

A framework to promote critical thinking about nanotechnology

Last year we announced a talk that Miguel F. Aznar, Foresight’s Director of Education, would be givng a talk on critical thinking about nanotechnology. The talk "Critical Thinking about Nanotechnology" is now available on the web; however, only in Spanish. Here for comparison with the output from, are the first two paragraphs from the English draft that Mr. Aznar forwarded …

—Nanodot posts by Stephanie C. and James Lewis.

Foresight Events and News

Foresight Kudos to past President and Welcome to new President

Kudos to Larry Millstein for picking up the role of President over the last year. The Foresight Technical Conference 2013, "Illuminating Atomic Precision," was long overdue and a great success. Professor Neil R. Champness was quoted in the March 2013 issue of Nature Nanotechnology "Foresight technical conference 2013: Illuminating Feynman's vision" saying: "The candid nature of the conference, helped by a strict media policy, allowed free-flowing discussion of both unpublished science and exploitation of nanoscale devices in a commercial setting." Many attendees pronounced this to be the best Foresight Technical Conference ever!

Please join us in welcoming incoming Foresight President Paul Melnyk. Paul has been a community member and active with Foresight since 1998.

Foresight Lectures

7th Annual SAP CEO Summit
Oct. 22-23, 2013 New York City
Christine Peterson will speak on nanotechnology and synthetic biology as part of a plenary panel on Innovation Futures, addressing how these fields are opening up new areas of commercial innovation, and how governments and corporations should respond.

Other Upcoming Activities of Interest

2013 ASME Annual Meeting
June 21-26,2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

About the Foresight Institute
Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality.

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