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March 31st, 2007

The wacky world of nanotechnology consumer products

The nanotechnology revolution will bring us a cure for cancer and a Star Trek-like replicator - right? Well, maybe.
Trying to exploit today the huge technological potential that is quite a few years or even decades away, the marketing folks at consumer product companies have no problem of riding the hype wave when it comes to nanotechnology. This might create a bit of confusion when on one hand you read how billions of dollars are invested worldwide in nanotechnology research and on the other hand the only products you can buy are stain-resistant pants, better golf balls or the ultimate in comfy bedsheets.

While serious nanoscientists are still deep into basic research, publishing papers with titles like "Chain Conformations and Bound-Layer Correlations in Polymer Nanocomposites" or "Experimental Signature of Phonon-Mediated Spin Relaxation in a Two-Electron Quantum Dot", JCPenney talks about how "breakthrough nanotechnology brings you a breathable sheet thats [sic] engineered to keep you cool and comfy."


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