[extropy-chat] The Nanogirl News~

Gina Miller nanogirl at halcyon.com
Sun Feb 8 21:08:32 UTC 2004

The Nanogirl News
February 8, 2004

Nanotech spy eyes life inside the cell. In Prey, Michael Crichton's tale of nanotech gone awry, a swarm of light-sensitive nanoparticles swim through a human body, creating the ultimate medical imaging system. In the real world, biochemists are hoping to go one step further, deploying viruses as "nano-cameras" to get a unique picture of what goes on inside living cells and a greater understanding of how viruses themselves work. A team led by Bogdan Dragnea at Indiana University in Bloomington is exploiting the ability of viruses laden with gold to break into cells, along with the viral shell's own telltale response to laser light. Together these give an unprecedented picture of the chemical and physical activity in cells. (New Scientist 1/31/04) http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994615

Nanostructure may be key to regeneration. A tiny new scaffold that assembles itself inside the body could point the way to regeneration of spinal cords and the ability to grow tissues ranging from bone cartilage to blood vessels, scientists say. "This is a magic material," said one of the scaffold's inventors, Northwestern University chemistry professor Samuel Stupp, who reported the discovery last week in Science magazine. (Sunspot 1/26/04)
Also see: http://www.nature.com/nsu/040119/040119-13.html

New pollution eating paint will clean the air. A new form of paint that can absorb some of the noxious gases from vehicle exhausts goes on sale across Europe next month. Its manufacturers hope it will give architects and town planners a new weapon in the fight against pollution, an article in New Scientist reports. The new product, Ecopaint, is designed to absorb nitrogen oxides, one of the causes of respiratory problems and smog production. Dr Robert McIntyre, of Millenium Chemicals who developed the paint, says a typical 0.3 millimetre layer would be enough to last five years in a heavily polluted city. (edie 2/6/04)

Chemists Learn To Build Curved Structures With Nanoscale Building Blocks. The natural world is full of curves and three dimensions, but the ability to deliberately and rationally construct such complex structures using nanoscale building blocks has eluded nanotechnologists who are eager to add curved structures to their toolbox. Now a team of Northwestern University chemists report they have discovered ways to construct nanoscale building blocks that assemble into flat or curved structures with a high level of predictability, depending on the architecture and composition of the building blocks. The results are published in the Jan. 16 issue of the journal Science.
(ScienceDaily 1/19/04) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040119082010.htm

(Written by Douglas Mulhall, author of "Our Molecular Future." Incorporate disassembly into every self-assembled nanotech product. There is a growing mantra in the nanotech community that molecular nanotechnology (MNT) and its precursors will clean up the toxic mess left by older technologies, then produce clean energy and materials to replace them. Yet each time that I suggest building such features into nanotechnology from the start, the reply is: "We've got other things to worry about such as how to build the darn assembler and keep it militarily secured, and besides that it might be hard to achieve such perfection with early versions." This is disturbingly reminiscent of "nuclear power will give us clean limitless energy, and don't worry, we'll deal with the byproducts later because we'll have the tools by then." However, we can avoid such risks from the start by using "self-regulating assembly" and "disassembly." (Smalltimes 2/6/04) http://www.smalltimes.com/print_doc.cfm?doc_id=7382

Nano-scientist's dark secret. One of the most brilliant scientific researchers of recent years stands accused of committing an elaborate scientific fraud, fooling many eminent experts. In 2001, a team led by Hendrik Schoen appeared to have invented the smallest organic transistor ever made. 
(BBC 2/4/04) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3459769.stm

National Nanotechnology Initiative Workshop on Nano-electronics, photonics, and -magnets. A National Nanotechnology Initiative Interagency Workshop on Nano-electronics, -photonics, and -magnetics, will be held Feb. 11-13, 2004, at the Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston, Arlington, VA. Media are invited to attend this workshop where leading scientists and engineers from government, academia and industry will exchange information, research findings and ideas toward identifying needs and opportunities for applications of nanostructured materials and devices. A draft agenda is available. (EurekAlert 2/5/04) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-02/nnco-nni020504.php

Elements 115 and 113 discovered in Dubna. A team of Russian and American physicists that discovered elements 114 and 116 in 1998 and 2000 now believe they may have created two other superheavy elements - 113 and 115. If confirmed, these results would lend even more weight to the idea of an "island of stability" at the edge of the periodic table (Y Oganessian et al. 2003 Phys. Rev. C 69 021601) (Physics Web 2/3/04) http://www.physicsweb.org/article/news/8/2/1

Electromagnets double up. Physicists in the US have developed a new technique for making nanostructures that have both ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. So-called ferroelectromagnetic materials could be used to help convert electric energy into magnetic energy, and vice versa, in devices such as transducers, sensors and actuators (H Zheng et al. 2004 Science 303 661). (Physics web 1/30/04) http://physicsweb.org/article/news/8/1/15

Functionalized C60 Peas in a Pod. Fullerene derivatives are inserted into carbon nanotubes at low temperatures. Using supercritical carbon dioxide, scientists in England have inserted fullerene molecules with exterior organic functional groups into single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). The team also showed that encapsulation of the functionalized fullerenes can be enhanced or inhibited by altering the functional group. (C&E 1/26/04) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/topstory/8204/8204notw4.html

'Centipedes' could lead to nano-Velcro. Scientists from the University of Michigan and Purdue University in the US, and the University of Vigo in Spain, have made "bristled nano-centipedes". The structures consist of a bristled silica coating on a cadmium tellurium (CdTe) nanowire core. "We were initially dumbfounded by the formation of the centipedes," Nick Kotov of the University of Michigan told nanotechweb.org. "The topology of the nanowires is very interesting - it could be exceptionally useful for the design of optically active and remarkably strong nanocomposites, due to the 'Velcro' effect." (nanotechweb 1/21/04) http://nanotechweb.org/articles/news/3/1/5/1

(Glenn Harlan Reynolds) The Nano-Ostrich Approach Doesn't Work. Ostriches don't really bury their heads in the sand when confronted with danger. People, however, sometimes do. Certainly that seems to be what's happening with the nanotechnology industry. Last week, I wrote about prospects for nanotechnology, and in particular about what I saw as the nanotechnology business community's rather shortsighted efforts to dampen public debate on the subject. I thought it was rather clear that my column, like all my nanotechnology writings, came from a generally pro-nanotechnology standpoint, though I concluded: [W]hile I feel a certain degree of sympathy for the dinosaurs, I think that if the nanotechnology business community, because of the PR strategy that it has chosen, finds itself scissored between the scientists and visionaries on one side, and the environmentalists on the other, it will have cause to regret its rather shortsighted PR strategy. It's too early to predict that outcome now. But, like a lot of things relating to nanotechnology, it's not too early to worry about it. In fact, it wasn't very much too soon at all -- because if you read this Washington Post article by Rick Weiss, which appeared just a few days after my column, you can see exactly that scissoring starting to take place. The article, which is well worth reading (as is this sidebar on near-term applications), shows the industry being criticized not only by environmental groups, but by long-time nanotechnology boosters. And, in fact, it suggests that Monsanto's problems with public fears regarding its genetically modified organisms are a harbinger of what might happen with regard to nanotechnology. (TCS 2/4/04) http://www.techcentralstation.com/020504C.html

Paper warns of 'Nano-divide' between have and have-not countries. The chasm between have and have-not countries will grow even wider if nanotechnology research is upended by the unbalanced positions of high-profile opponents like Prince Charles, warns a new analysis from a leading global medical ethics think-tank. Nanotechnology is the building of working devices, systems and materials molecule by molecule by manipulating matter measured in billionths of a meter. The research seeks to exploit the unique and powerful electrical, physical and chemical properties found at an infinitesimally small scale. While legitimate risks and issues have been flagged, they can and should be addressed without a crippling moratorium being called for on budding research that promises vast improvement in the lives of five billion people in developing countries, according to medical ethics experts at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. (nanotechwire 1/28/04) http://nanotechwire.com/news.asp?nid=675

Asian-Pacific Governments Invest in Nano Labs and Research Centers. A number of new research parks have opened in the Asia-Pacific region in the past few months, illustrating an increased level of commitment by local governments toward investment in nanotechnology and related fields. 
(Smalltimes 1/22/04) http://www.smalltimes.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=7269

Nano not terrifying. American scientists said recently the application of nanotechnology could affect human health as nanometer scale particles can easily penetrate the human body and may cause diseases. Meanwhile Chinese scientists say this negative aspect of nanotechnology should not be exaggerated...Dr. Jiang Lei, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been engaged in the research of nanotechnology for years. He says the test result is one-sided. "Nano particles do exist and can easily penetrate into the respiratory tract and skin of human beings. But there is also a question of quantity. How many such particles could affect human health? At the present no scientists anywhere are able to answer this." Dr. Jiang Lei also tells us how to protect ourselves in nano research. "In the course of research, we can try our best to avoid the presence of nano-scale objects in particle form. However in the liquid or solid states they are unable to penetrate human bodies." (1/14/03) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-01/14/content_1275787.htm

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology 'Plans Ahead'. On Jan. 21-26, 2004, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) posted a six-page article entitled "Responsible Nanotechnology."The article describes eight scenarios for the future of mankind in connection with molecular nanotechnology, including molecular nano assemblers, capable of destroying enemy means of nuclear retaliation and thus circumventing Mutual Assured Destruction, on which the peace between the three nuclear powers (the USA, Russia and China) has rested. (2/6/04)

Nanotechnology is area giant. Here's one of the "Look Ma, no hands" perks of owning a stain-repellent shirt: Fill up the pocket with water and watch it hold the liquid like a cup, without any leakage. "All you need is a straw," quipped David Offord, chief scientific officer at Nano-Tex, the start-up that developed the technology, during a demonstration. Naturally, the regular marketed advantages of owning stain- and liquid-repellent clothing come in handy, too. Enhanced through nanotechnology, the material allows even the clumsiest person who dribbles ketchup or spills coffee to wipe it off as easily as brushing off cookie crumbs. Here in the East Bay, nanotechnology has become the fabric of our lives. (ContraCostaTimes 2/1/04) http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/business/7849397.htm

(65nm Chips discussion). Semiconductor companies are becoming increasingly confident about making 65 nanometer chips. Some are even stating that the 90 nm to 65 nm transition will be easier than the 130 nm to 90 nm shift. Many of the technical problems associated with 65 nm chip production have been solved, and Intel has already demonstrated 65 nanometer SRAM chips. Intel will probably create the first prototype 65 nanometer microprocessors sometime in 2004, and hopes to have volume production of 65 nanometer chips by 2005. 65 nanometer chips will be made with 193 nanometer lithography, and will suffer from severe electrical leakage issues. As a result, chipmakers are making a concerted effort to introduce multi-gate transistors at the 65 nanometer node.
(Geek.com 2/6/04) http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2004Feb/bch20040206023770.htm

Reverse-direction Movement of a Molecular Motor. German scientists mastermind a backwards-moving molecular motor. In a new study, which appears in the Feb. 5 issue of Nature, researchers based at Hannover Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany describe the engineering of an artificial backwards-moving myosin from three pre-existing molecular building blocks. (MaxPlanck Society 2/4/04) HTML: http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/pressReleases/2004/pressRelease20040203/index.html

Weighed in the nanoscale. It's no longer 'scary science' in tomorrow's world. With decisions looming on our nanotech future, Vidhya Alakeson and Tim Aldrich look at how to win public engagement. They're coming - big time. Heavyweight reports with nanotechnology in their titles are hitting our bookshelves with increasing frequency. Since the last Green Futures article on this little understood technology of the seriously small [GF34], we've a pile of studies by everyone from the ETC Group and Greenpeace to the Economic and Social Research Council and the Better Regulation Taskforce. (Green Futures 2/7/04) http://www.greenfutures.org.uk/features/default.asp?id=1723

Virtual Nanotech. Modeling materials one atom at a time. It's hard enough to thread a needle. Imagine trying to manipulate threads and needles miniaturized to one-millionth the normal size. Now, you're thinking like the emerging group of nanotechnologists whose growing dexterity at fashioning new materials and devices may eventually improve every arena of technology, from aerospace to drug development. While many researchers focus on developing tools for working on nanoscale materials, others are pursuing a virtual pathway toward nanotechnology applications. As ever-more powerful computers have become ever more affordable, computational nanoscientists can readily simulate materials atom by atom. (ScienceNews 2/7/04) http://www.sciencenews.org/20040207/bob8.asp

Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
Nanotechnology Industries
Personal: http://www.nanogirl.com
Foresight Senior Associate http://www.foresight.org
Nanotechnology Advisor Extropy Institute  http://www.extropy.org
Tech-Aid Advisor http://www.tech-aid.info/t/all-about.html
nanogirl at halcyon.com
"Nanotechnology: Solutions for the future."
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