Interesting tech developments in nanotech, nanostructured materials, etc.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Friday, March 26, 2004
Friday, March 19, 2004
Nano industry should address environmental issues:
"Nanotechnology will best flourish in an environment that is largely self-regulated but includes measured governmental oversight, according to a report released today by a think tank in California. Emerging technologies of the past, especially biotechnology, offer lessons that could help businesses, researchers and policy-makers acknowledge and address public fears that could stifle growth. But it is critical that nanotechnology’s advocates and those who are concerned about new technology’s impact on society and the environment begin discussions now, before ideology and politics come into play." Full report
issued Nov 2002. Greenpeace issued a comparable position
advocating government studies in July 2003. 10:38:27 AM
Quantum Dots (QD) Used To Visualize Cellular Processes
: Great application of quantum dots. From the press release
: "These are nano-sized semiconductor crystals a mere ten millionth of a millimeter in diameter that fluoresce in several different colors upon excitation with a laser source. These crystals enabled the researchers to deliver real-time video-clips of signal transmission in the so-called erbB receptor family, important targets for many anti-tumor drugs such as antibodies directed against breast cancer. Among other processes, the movies capture the uptake and subsequent redistribution of the receptor-growth factor complexes into the interior of the cell. .. Conventional tools, such as fluorescent dyes and polymer spheres, bleach too quickly - sometimes within seconds - to be of use for extended video images of living cells, according to the researchers. Quantum Dots, on the other hand, are not only very photostable but also very bright, making it possible to trace many elements of the cell for minutes or even hours at a time. " 3:29:20 AM
Profile of Nanosys
: "Nanosys is like industrial design company IDEO, which doesn't make products but improves them. .. Similarly, firms knock on Nanosys' door with a need or an idea, and Nanosys figures out how nanotechnology might help.
For some of its partners, Nanosys is working on what it calls nanostructured surface coatings. By messing with atoms, Nanosys can create a coating that can do things never before possible. For instance, one coating is super-hydrophobic — which means, as Empedocles tells me, it can make an item "so water resistant that water literally bounces off it." This might someday make windshields that never need windshield wipers. Or clothes that could be worn underwater and remain dry. ..
Another Nanosys project, with Japan's Matsushita Electric, is making a photovoltaic liquid that can be poured onto a surface, turning the surface into a solar energy panel. Within a couple of years, Matsushita hopes to market roofing tiles with Nanosys' coating. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for unsightly conventional glass solar panels, you could just turn your roof into a solar energy collector for maybe one-tenth the cost...
Nanosys is essentially developing liquid electronics. Pour it onto a surface, and when it solidifies, its nanowires can turn that surface into a display. The process would be cheap, and could be done on thin sheets of plastic at low temperatures." 2:21:28 AM
IBM Researchers Develop Low-Cost Method for Making High-Performance Semiconductors: "A team of researchers at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, NY.) recently developed a simple, low-cost process to make extraordinarily thin films of semiconducting materials that allows electrical charges to move through them about 10 times more easily than had been reported for all other similar approaches. Such an increase can enable a broad array of low-cost electronics and new pervasive-computing applications. "These types of easily processed semiconducting films could eventually be used to make circuitry for very-low-cost or flexible displays, high-performance smart cards, sensors and solar cells or for flexible electronics coated onto a wide variety of molded or plastic shapes," said the IBM Research team leader, David Mitzi. ..
Spin coating is simple and cheap: Several drops of a liquid solution are simply placed onto a spinning platter. Centripetal forces then spread the liquid to a uniform thickness over the entire surface. The film's thickness is usually determined by the solution's viscosity (its resistance to flow) and the rate and duration of spinning. The liquid is then cured into a solid thin film upon which transistors and other various electronic devices can be made. Until now, the only semiconducting materials that could be made using spin coating had limited usefulness due to their low charge "mobility" -- a measure of how fast electronic circuits made with a semiconductor can operate. Better semiconductors could not be dissolved in any liquid that would result in a thin film that retained the desired mobility. Mitzi's team developed a way to dissolve such higher-mobility materials in a liquid that could be used in a spin-coating process, leaving a very uniformly-controlled film. Moreover, in a transistor made on the films, the materials exhibited 10 times the charge mobility of any previously spin-coated seniconductor. " 2:06:33 AM