Interesting tech developments in nanotech, nanostructured materials, etc.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Nanotechnologists' new plastic can see in the dark (Jan 10/05): U of Toronto Professor Ted Sargent and his team used quantum dots trapped in lead and sulfur. "“We made particles from semiconductor crystals which were exactly two, three or four nanometres in size. The nanoparticles were so small they remained dispersed in everyday solvents just like the particles in paint,” explains Sargent. Then, they tuned the tiny nanocrystals to catch light at very long wavelengths. The result – a sprayable infrared detector. ..
The discovery may also help in the quest for renewable energy sources. Flexible, roller-processed solar cells have the potential to harness the sun’s power, but efficiency, flexibility and cost are going to determine how that potential becomes practice, says Josh Wolfe [of Lux Capital]. “These flexible photovoltaics could harness half of the sun’s spectrum not previously accessed.” .. Professor Peter Peumans of Stanford University, reviewed the U of T team’s research.. “Our calculations show that, with further improvements in efficiency, combining infrared and visible photovoltaics could allow up to 30 per cent of the sun’s radiant energy to be harnessed, compared to six per cent in today’s best plastic solar cells.”
U of T graduate student Steve MacDonald carried out many of the experiments .. “The key was finding the right molecules to wrap around our nanoparticles,” he explains. “Too long and the particles couldn’t deliver their electrical energy to our circuit; too short, and they clumped up, losing their nanoscale properties. It turned out that one nanometer – eight carbon atoms strung together in a chain – was ‘just right’.” 12:14:10 AM
Monday, May 23, 2005
: A new theme and a new website. "Foresight’s new mission is to ensure the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology." It's a good change; I've been a member for 4 years and had advocated more of a focus on environmental issues and benefits. Nice to see that of their six nanotech 'challenges'
, #1 is clean energy, #2 is water quality and supply, and #4 is agriculture. 8:38:40 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Environmental Defense gets proactive about nanotech: "The science of the very small has big potential: improved energy generation, information technology, health care delivery and a wide range of other applications, including some with potentially enormous environmental benefits. But as with any potentially revolutionary technology, it only makes sense to look before we leap. .. New physical and chemical properties represent what's both exciting and worrisome about nanotechnology. While the ability of some nano particles to pass through a cell or skin could lead to breakthroughs in a cure for cancer or in the detection of Alzheimer's, these same features can pose environmental and health risks. .. Environmental Defense is starting to work with companies looking into this important new technology to make sure both positives and negatives are considered beforehand. We're also advocating to increase federal funding for research into nanotechnology's potential risks, and pushing to enhance safety regulations to ensure that nanotechnology products are properly evaluated before getting to market.
There is a flurry of activity around nanotechnology in government agencies and at scientific conferences. The U.S. government alone is investing approximately $1 billion per year in nanotechnology research and development. We are pushing government to allocate at least 10% of that investment towards understanding the implications of the nanotechnology applications being developed. We are working with the International Council on Nanotechnolgy, the American National Standards Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials, as they begin to develop consensus standards for several aspects of nanotechnology; such standards may help shape government regulations down the road. We're also exploring partnering with individual companies to develop risk management to develop standards, and sharing information with a wide array of scientific and environmental organizations. ..
This is the promising future of this exciting new science, and our hope is to ensure that with proper attention paid now to the risks, we can avoid the mistakes of the past while reaping the benefits that nanotechnology may bring. " 12:25:44 PM
Monday, May 16, 2005
Water Filters Rely on Nanotech: Report from the October 2004 NanoWater conference. "A slow, methodical transformation of the $400-billion-a-year water-management industry is currently in progress, and nanotechnology appears to be leading the way. .. Two products incorporating nanotechnology are going to hit the market within the next year and are already being tested in developing nations. .. Matrikx water filters will be on store shelves within the next year after already having experienced success in 50 pilot programs throughout central Asia. Argonide's president, Fred Tepper, is trying to get his product in the hands of consumers in the next 60 to 90 days, he said, having recently secured a distribution deal with a European company ..
Though these breakthroughs seem cutting-edge, the technology is not terribly new. Water-treatment plants have been using nanofiltration and ultrafiltration membranes to separate good water from bad for more than five years. And already the technology is becoming the industry standard. .. The same technology is allowing desalination -- the process of removing salts from fresh or sea water -- to occur at a much greater rate. The largest desalination plant in the world will begin operating in Ashkelon, Israel, in March 2005."
Argonide Nanomaterials has an interesting history of collaborations with US govt labs, Russian institutes active in nanotechnology, and others in Italy, Japan, and Singapore. 12:29:13 PM
Friday, May 13, 2005
Motorola Debuts First Ever Nano Flat Screen: "Motorola Labs today unveiled a working 5-inch color video display prototype based on proprietary Carbon Nanotube (CNT) technology.. Optimized for a large screen High Definition Television (HDTV) that is less than 1-inch thick, this first-of-its kind NED 5-inch prototype harnesses the power of CNTs to fundamentally change the design and fabrication of flat panel displays.
The development of such a flat panel display is possible due to Motorola Labs Nano Emissive Display (NED) technology, a scalable method of growing CNTs directly on glass to enable an energy efficient design that excels at emitting electrons. ..
“Motorola’s NED technology is demonstrating full color video with good response time,” said Barry Young, VP and CFO of DisplaySearch, a leading flat panel display market research and consulting company. “And according to a detailed cost model analysis conducted by our firm, we estimate the manufactured cost for a 40-inch NED panel could be under $400.”
Motorola’s proprietary CNT growth process provides excellent precision in designing and manipulating a material at its molecular level – enhancing specific characteristics – and, in the case of flat panel displays, producing high-definition images. .. Motorola’s industry-first working prototype demonstrates:
• Operational full color 5" video section of a 1280 x 720, 16:9, 42-inch HDTV 10:52:02 PM
• High quality brightness
• Bright, vivid colors using standard Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TV phosphors
• Display panel thickness of 3.3 millimeters (about 1/8th of an inch)
• Low cost display drive electronics (similar to LCD, much lower than Plasma)
• Display characteristics meet or exceed CRTs, such as fast response time, wide
viewing angle, wide operation temperature "