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Home > News > Setting the nanotech research agenda

January 15th, 2008

Setting the nanotech research agenda

Abstract:
In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Twenty-first Century Nanotechnology Research & Development Act, establishing a framework for enabling what some have described as "the next industrial revolution." Four years on, the act is up for reauthorization. As legislators grapple with how the nanotechnology landscape has changed in the intervening years, they face the complex task of continuing to ensure U.S. leadership in the development of nanotechnologies that are successful, sustainable, and above all, safe.

Nanotechnology is opening up new avenues of manipulating matter on a scale a little larger than atoms and molecules--the stuff that makes up the world we live in. The instruments of nanotechnology allow researchers to see and manipulate small nanometer-scale clusters of matter and even individual atoms. And because this toolbox is not constrained to any one discipline, it encourages cross-fertilization between different areas of study. If scientists can manipulate matter in new ways, perhaps tapping into unique phenomena that only appear in small groups of atoms, and if they can transcend barriers that conventionally isolate research fields, they have the chance to address some of the greatest challenges facing society--poverty, disease, renewable energy, and even old age. And they also have a powerful economic driver--the possibility of creating wealth and jobs through exploiting nanotechnology's promise ahead of the competition.

Source:
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