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February 20th, 2007
Nanotechnology: the next frontier for maritime security
Over 20 million shipping containers enter the U.S. each year, most onboard ships. These containers are the life blood of a national economy fed by an industry that depends upon the just-in-time delivery of goods and supplies rather than maintaining expensive inventories. Any actions that slow the flow of these containers will have a significant economic impact. Yet containers are very affordable, Council on Foreign Affairs' Dr. Stephen Flynn noted in his book "America the Vulnerable" (Harper Collins), "The challenge of securing the loading and movement of containers is formidable. Anyone who has $3,000 to $5,000 can lease one of the many millions of containers that circulate around the globe. They can pack it with up to 65,000 pounds of items, close the door, and lock it with a seal that costs a half-dollar."
Scientists and engineers are hard at work seeking technological solutions to the container security challenge. One area that offers promise is nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the development of devices, such as sensors, that are on a nano scale.
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