[extropy-chat] The Nanogirl News~

Gina Miller nanogirl at halcyon.com
Thu Feb 26 05:47:45 UTC 2004

The Nanogirl News
February 25,2004

Intercellular Telephone Wires. Thin tubes between cells transport organelles but block small molecules. A cell extends a threadlike tube to a neighbor, attaches, and transfers a small organelle from one cell to the other. Such a scenario describes a newly discovered type of cell-to-cell communication [Science, 303, 1007 (2004)]. "The discovery is spectacular," says Owe Orwar, professor of biophysical chemistry at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden. Orwar has helped develop artificial systems that demonstrate similar transport (C&EN, May 19, 2003, page 14).
(C&E 2/16/04) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/topstory/8207/8207notw1.html

Chelmsford, Mass.-Area Firm to Unveil Cancer-Fighting Nanotechnology. A local company working with UMass Lowell is getting ready for clinical trials on a nanotechnology-based cancer treatment for prostate and breast cancer. "We're getting a little too big for our incubator. We're about to pop out of our shell," said Dr. Samuel Straface, CEO of Triton BioSystems, which collaborated with UMass Lowell to develop the treatment. Representatives from Triton and UMass Lowell, as well as U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan were scheduled to unveil details during a press conference Wednesday at Triton's Turnpike Road headquarters. (Miami Herald 2/18/04) http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/7982426.htm

Nano-Origami: Scientists Create Single, Clonable Strand of DNA That Folds into an Octahedron. A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has designed, constructed, and imaged a single strand of DNA that spontaneously folds into a highly rigid, nanoscale octahedron that is several million times smaller than the length of a standard ruler and about the size of several other common biological structures, such as a small virus or a cellular ribosome. (Scripps Research Institute Issue 6 / Feb.23-04) http://www.scripps.edu/newsandviews/e_20040223/nano.html

Nerve Cells on a Microchip. Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that nerve cells grown on a microchip can learn and memorize information which can be communicated to the brain. "We discovered that when we used the chip to stimulate the neurons, their synaptic strength was enhanced," said Naweed Syed, a neurobiologist at the University of Calgary's faculty of medicine.  (sophists.org 2/20/04) http://www.sophists.org/article184.html
Also see: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Science/2004/02/19/353566-cp.html

Glass Beads Reveal Molecular Interactions. Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers have developed a fast, cheap, and highly sensitive way to detect molecular interactions without using sophisticated equipment. Their technique, which uses thousands of microscopic glass beads coated with a substance that mimics a cell membrane, opens the door for the high throughput evaluation of an ever-growing family of pharmaceuticals that fight diseases by targeting membrane-bound receptors. (Berkeley lab Science Beat 2/17/04) 

Nanotech shows great promise on medical application. The science of nanotechnology is rapidly moving from its early beginnings in electronics, computers and telecommunications into the expanding field of nanomedicine. The emerging nanomedicine has the potential to change medical science dramatically in the 21st century, scientists said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle. (Chinaview 2/18/04)

LG Chem uses nano technology to develop leak-proof plastic. LG Chem Ltd., the nation's largest chemical company, has used nano technology to develop a plastic to make high-performance containers. The company says the innovation is a world's first and it hopes to lead the multi-trillion won container materials market. The plastic, known as hyperier, is extremely leak-resistant and can be used in automotive gasoline tanks and chemical containers. (The Korea Herald 2/20/04)

Tunneling Nanotubes...The researchers, from the University of Heidelberg in Germany and other European institutions, observed what they called tunneling nanotubes among embryonic human kidney cells and normal rat kidney cells. The structures were 50 to 200 nanometers in diameter (at the upper end, about one 100-thousandths of an inch) and up to several cell diameters in length. Time-lapse videos show that the tubes form in several minutes when a slender protrusion from one cell contacts another cell. (The New York Times 2/17/04)

Lord Sainsbury Sees Nanotechnology In Action At Seagate. British Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury visited the Seagate Technology plant at Springtown in Derry this week as part of a day-long look at the North's micro and nanotechnology sector. (ic Derry 2/20/04)

U.S. and Israeli nanotech researchers set sights on clean water. Israel's nanotechnology program got a significant boost recently, with the first meeting of stakeholders in the Nanotechnology Clean Water Initiative. The Initiative - the result of combined efforts by Dr. Uri Sagman, Prof. Samuel Pohoryles and former prime minister Shimon Peres - has, for the first time, brought together major Israeli university researchers and global industry principals to work on nanotech-based solutions to the water shortage in the Middle East. (Isreal21 2/22/04)

(5 pages) If It's Nano, It's Big. Investors Are Building Mountains Out of Tiny Tech...Carbon Nanotechologies Inc., the company building the new furnace, isn't publicly traded, but a few other companies with "nano" in their names are, and their stocks have roared off the launch pad lately. Nanogen Inc.: up 183 percent since the first of December and 503 percent since the beginning of 2003. Altair Nanotechnologies Inc.: up 502 percent since early 2003. Nanometrics Inc.: up 347 percent since early 2003. Recalling the dot-com bubble years, Internet message boards are buzzing with chatter about nanotechnology stocks going UP! UP! UP! For several years, government leaders have referred to nanotechnology as the "next industrial revolution," and predicted that products based on it could be worth $1 trillion in a decade. 
(WashingtonPost 2/22/04)
Nanopore Analytical Instrument Developed by UCSC's new Department of Biomolecular Engineering... One project that illustrates several aspects of biomolecular engineering is the nanopore analytical instrument being developed by research scientist Mark Akeson with Deamer, Haussler, and their students. The nanopore instrument is built around a membrane containing a tiny hole just a few nanometers in diameter (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). An electrical field drives single molecules such as DNA through the nanopore. As a molecule enters the pore, it produces an electrical signal that provides information about its concentration, identity, and composition. The pore itself is a naturally occurring bacterial toxin made of self-assembling protein molecules. Potential applications of the nanopore device include ultrarapid DNA sequencing. (nanotechwire 2/21/04) http://nanotechwire.com/news.asp?nid=727

Tiny new rulers for the 'ultrasmall'. Scientists can sometimes get away with approximations. What's a few million years when you're calculating the age of the cosmos? But engineers need precision. They cannot reliably make what they cannot measure. And in the world of nanotechnology, where a billionth of a meter can make a huge difference, they've had a tough time. Now they're beginning to get some help. Three recently reported achievements show how researchers finally are mastering the exquisite precision needed when devices are built atom by atom. For example, MIT scientists have come up with a tool to make what they call "the world's most precise rulers - with 'ticks' only a few hundred billionths of a meter apart." It can lay out a grate of lines and spaces across a large semiconductor wafer with unprecedented speed. (csmoniter Feb 2604 issue) http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0226/p16s01-stct.html

Governor lobbies White House for nanotech center in Oregon. Gov. Ted Kulongoski met with a top Bush administration science advisor Tuesday to pitch Oregon as a site for one of the country's 10 new federally mandated nanotechnology research centers. Kulongoski said the purpose of his meeting with Richard Russell of the Office of Science Technology Policy was to establish a critical "point of contact" inside the Bush administration. "The real objective was to sell Oregon," Kulongoski said. (BendBulletin 2/25/04) http://www.bendbulletin.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=12756

Homeland Insecurity: New book relegates nanotechnology threat to science fiction. A recently published book, entitled "Nanotechnology and Homeland Security," claims to be scientific, but has neither source notes nor bibliography. I discussed its two authors with nanotechnologists. Mark A. Ratner (the father) is a very well regarded scientist. But his son Dan, who figures as the first author, ahead of his father, has done his father a disservice - the book represents the worst case of "Political Correctness," is light on science, bloated on arrogance, and concentrates on trivia. 
(World Tribune 2/10/04)

New Index to Track Nano Stocks, But Large-Caps Stay Off For Now. Investors interested in tracking nanotechnology finally got what they wanted: a stock index. It comes from Punk, Ziegel & Co., a New York-based investment bank specializing in health-care technology and biotech. The firm has been tracking nanotechnology closely the last two years and it successfully underwrote a 2.3-million-share secondary public offering for Harris & Harris Group Inc., (Nasdaq: TINY, News, Web), a venture firm specializing in micro- and nanotechnology, in 2003. The index includes 15 publicly traded companies active in nanotechnology. (smalltimes 2/24/04)

Nano Patterning. IBM brings closer to reality chips that put themselves together. Self-assembly has become a critical implement in the toolbox of nanotechnologists. Scientists and engineers who explore the nano realm posit that the same types of forces that construct a snowflake--the natural attractions and repulsions that prompt molecules to form intricate patterns--can build useful structures--say, medical implants or components in electronic chips. 
(Scientific American March 2004 Issue) 

Nanotubes Go with the Flow. Researchers have assembled carbon nanotubes into arrays of loops, lassos, and hooks, according to the 13 February PRL. Physicists hope to use these several-nanometer-diameter tubes to build tiny mechanical and electronic devices, and the unexpected bending shows that they are more versatile than had been assumed. As one example, these bent tubes might lead to more sensitive sensors to detect fluid flow. (Physical Review Focus 2/13/04)

Imagine a computer with amazing processing power, a 3D display (literally, not figuratively) instant response, able to run every available OS and application at the same time, virtually no power consumption, zero moving parts and complete security - and whose physical component is about the size of a pack of playing cards. That's not all. It would also hold every music CD and movie DVD you ever owned, or will own, and still leave space for not only your family album, but your brother's, sister's, aunt's and uncle's too. And no more expensive upgrades. As better designs and firmware became available, you'd simply send the Optocom back to the maker and its holographic circuitry would be re-programmed with new circuits and firmware. Optocom? It reads like science fiction but it's short for Optical Computer, and it's based on firm science fact, says Michael Thomas, inventor of the atomic holographic nanotechnology that will make it possible. And it would only cost about $1,000. (P2net 2/25/04) http://p2pnet.net/story/842

Marine sponges provide model for nanoscale materials production. "Nature was nano before nano was cool," stated Henry Fountain in a recent New York Times article on the proliferation of nanotechnology research projects. No one is more aware of this fact of nature than Dan Morse of the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research groups have been studying the ways that nature builds ocean organisms at the nanoscale for over ten years. (Scienceblog 2/25/04)

OHSU researchers discover way to grow silicon nanowires. Oregon Health & Science University researchers have discovered a new way to accurately grow silicon nanowires on an electrode for use in fabricating transistors. A portion of these findings will be published in the Feb. 23 issue of Applied Physics Letter. The discovery has important implications for semiconductor research and may one day help engineers build faster computer chips. (OHSU 2/23/04) 

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
Email: nanogirl at halcyon.com
"Nanotechnology: Solutions for the future."

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