Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New Report Explores Nanotechnology’s Future

Abstract:
From Advanced Healthcare to Clean Energy, Nanotech Promises Long-Term Benefits

New Report Explores Nanotechnology’s Future

Washington, DC | Posted on April 22nd, 2007

Controlling the properties and behavior of matter at the smallest scale—in effect, "domesticating atoms"—can help to overcome some of the world's biggest challenges, concludes a new report on how diverse experts view the future of nanotechnology. Released today, NanoFrontiers: Visions for the Future of Nanotechnology, summarizes discussions among over 50 scientists, engineers, ethicists, policymakers, and other experts, as well as information gathered in follow-up interviews and from specially prepared background papers, about the long-term potential of nanotechnology.

Written by freelance science writer Karen F. Schmidt, the report examines several compelling opportunities for significant, widespread benefit, focusing on nanotechnology's ability to address the "energy crisis, the need for better medical treatments, and the demand for clean water." Synthesizing perspectives offered at a two-day NanoFrontiers Workshop held in February 2006, the report aims to "provide a glimpse into a vast new world of technological possibilities and to stimulate broader discussion of the goals and vision for nanotechnology in both scientific and public realms."

The report is the product of a forecasting and awareness-raising activity sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, which is an initiative of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report—along with the first in a series of related podcasts—is available online at http://www.nanotechproject.org/114

"This report is a window onto the future of nanotechnology. It looks at what is coming down the road and what we need to do now to prepare for and harness its potential," said David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Wilson Center. "These foresight exercises are critical to understanding the long-term advantages and challenges posed by the applications of nanotechnology."

Nanotechnology is still very much a work in progress, with the potential to deliver a range of benefits today and for many decades to come. For example, most first-generation nanomedicines, according to the report, are reformulations of existing drugs, usually modified to enable new methods of delivery inside the body. However, farther down the road, experts predict the creation of novel nanostructures that could serve as new kinds of drugs for treating cancer, Parkinson's and cardiovascular disease.

Researchers also are working toward engineered nanomaterials for use as artificial tissues that will replace diseased kidneys and livers, and even repair nerve damage. "Nanotechnology can be used very effectively to extract critical information about the inception of the disease process at the level of the molecule and the atom, and as such, it presents us with a huge horizon of exploration," NIH Director Elias Zerhouni observed at the workshop.

The report envisions a similar progression of nanotechnology-enabled efforts to produce clean water and energy across the globe. Today, nanotechnology is delivering promising methods for cleaning up polluted sites and for monitoring water supplies. Tomorrow, it could provide the technical means for economical community-based systems that treat water at its point of use. Similarly, new solutions to the world's energy problems are also possible using nanotechnology, ranging from improving the efficiency in production, storage, and transmission of fossil-fuel-based sources of energy to overcoming many of the obstacles to a hydrogen-based transportation system with fuel-cell powered cars and trucks, helping to render fossil fuels obsolete as an energy source.

Relevant to nearly every industry, nanotechnology is considered a "platform technology," the report says, because "it readily merges and converges with other technologies and could change how we do just about everything." The report singles out advances in three underpinning technical areas—research tools, information management, and assembly and manufacturing—as fundamental to progress across the entire spectrum of nanotechnology research and development needs.

"Nanotechnology is in an early phase of development and, as of now, only relatively rudimentary nanostructures are being used to make improvements in existing materials and systems," noted Mihail Roco, NSF senior advisor for nanotechnology. "We are aiming at the systematic control of matter at the nanoscale to create revolutionary new generations of products and nanosystems as the primary foundation for converging and emerging technologies. For this reason, we need a transformative, responsible and anticipatory global governance approach for nanotechnology that involves both researchers and the public across many countries, scientific and engineering domains."

In the area of tools, workshop participants called for better devices for imaging, measuring, manipulating, and modeling at the nanoscale, or between 1 nanometer and 100 nanometers. As impressive as microscopes that "see" single atoms and as the other tools in the current generation of research instruments may seem, "these kinds of innovative nanotools are just the beginning," the report says. "The Nano Toolshed is still relatively empty." Filling it with more powerful instruments would translate into gains in scientifically useful knowledge, the starting point for next-generation nanotechnologies.

Researchers also expressed a need for integrated sets of probes and other tools capable of yielding the combined data necessary to gain a "fuller picture of the nanoworld in 3-D and in real time." However, gathering enormous volumes of information also presents practical challenges. Participants advised that scientists and policy planners should focus systematically on "nanoinformatics"—a discipline that begins to address how best to organize, standardize, share, compare, analyze and visualize the vast amounts of physical and biological data being gathered at the nanoscale.

Finally, in addition to tools and informatics, the report emphasizes the importance of establishing practical methods for making and integrating complex nanostructures. Workshop participants acknowledged that "the benefits of nanotechnology would be reaped only if there were breakthroughs in nanoscale building and manufacturing." Recognizing that the ultimately most attractive approaches may be decades away from application, participants recommended sustained research efforts across a range of possible approaches to manufacturing and assembling at the nanoscale.

####

About The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to http://www.nanotechproject.org .

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology entails the measurement, prediction and construction of materials on the scale of atoms and molecules. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, and nanotechnology typically deals with particles and structures larger than 1 nanometer, but smaller than 100 nanometers. To put this into perspective, the width of a human hair is approximately 80,000 nanometers. A nanometer-size particle is twice the diameter of a gold atom and a very small fraction of the size of a living cell. Such a particle can be seen only with the most powerful microscopes.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov .

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.6 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes nearly 10,000 new funding awards. NSF supports about 3,500 research awards and trains over 10,000 students and teachers in nanoscale science and engineering with an annual budget of $374 million in fiscal year 2007. For more information, visit http://www.nsf.gov , http://www.nsf.gov/nano or contact Josh Chamot, Media Officer, National Science Foundation at (703) 292-7730 or

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sharon McCarter
Phone: (202) 691-4016

Copyright © Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Nanomedicine

Novel nanoparticle-based approach detects and treats oral plaque without drugs August 17th, 2018

Research brief: UMN researchers use green gold to rapidly detect and identify harmful bacteria August 15th, 2018

New technology can detect hundreds of proteins in a single sample: Improvement of barcoding technique offers cost-effective alternative to current technology August 13th, 2018

Scientists squeeze nanocrystals in a liquid droplet into a solid-like state and back again: Simple chemical technique transforms crystal mixture where 2 liquids meet August 9th, 2018

Announcements

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

Novel nanoparticle-based approach detects and treats oral plaque without drugs August 17th, 2018

UVA multidisciplinary engineering team designs technology for smart materials: The invention could lead to devices and manufactured goods, such as fabrics, that can dynamically regulate between thermally insulating and cooling August 17th, 2018

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

Novel nanoparticle-based approach detects and treats oral plaque without drugs August 17th, 2018

UVA multidisciplinary engineering team designs technology for smart materials: The invention could lead to devices and manufactured goods, such as fabrics, that can dynamically regulate between thermally insulating and cooling August 17th, 2018

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Tools

Novel nanoparticle-based approach detects and treats oral plaque without drugs August 17th, 2018

Nanometrics Delivers 100th: Atlas III System for Advanced Process Control Metrology Atlas III: Systems are qualified and in production for advanced devices in DRAM, 3D-NAND and Foundry/Logic August 2nd, 2018

Picosun’s ALD solutions make quality watches tick July 26th, 2018

Nanometrics Announces Participation in Upcoming Investor Conferences July 25th, 2018

Energy

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte: Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials August 17th, 2018

Scientists turn to the quantum realm to improve energy transportation August 17th, 2018

Particles pull last drops of oil from well water: Rice University engineers find nanoscale solution to 'produced water' problem August 15th, 2018

CTI Materials drives nano commercialization with it's patented surfactant free nanoparticle dispersions August 15th, 2018

Water

Particles pull last drops of oil from well water: Rice University engineers find nanoscale solution to 'produced water' problem August 15th, 2018

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules July 3rd, 2018

NIST Researchers Simulate Simple Logic for Nanofluidic Computing June 30th, 2018

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Events/Classes

Kavli Lectures: New vision of nanomaterial synthesis and light-fueled space travel August 8th, 2018

Nanoscience and the future of healthcare kick off first day of ACS national meeting in Boston: Presidential events highlight safety, diversity and groundbreaking research August 2nd, 2018

Leti & CMP Announce World’s First Multi-Project-Wafer Service with Integrated Silicon OxRAM: Oxide-Based Resistive Ram Memory Platform Development for Backend Memories To Offer Non-Volatility Associated with Embedded Designs August 2nd, 2018

Strategic Materials Conference 2018 Highlights “Materials Shaping the Future of Electronics” July 30th, 2018

Fuel Cells

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis May 3rd, 2018

A new way to find better battery materials: Design principles could point to better electrolytes for next-generation lithium batteries March 29th, 2018

Rice sleuths find metal in 'metal-free' catalysts: Study of graphene catalysts finds trace of manganese, suggests better ultrathin fuel-cell components February 26th, 2018

Study boosts hope for cheaper fuel cells: Rice University researchers show how to optimize nanomaterials for fuel-cell cathodes January 6th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project