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By Rocky Rawstern
Editor Nanotechnology Now
June 20th, 2003
Prompted by the ever-increasing pace of innovation, investments, new product developments, and the slowly evolving debate over the ethics of nanotechnology, we have created a space dedicated to the idea that "This Could Change Everything!"
Nanotube Transistors Make Memory
If this discovery proves to be both feasible and inexpensive to implement, then the way that memory is created -- as well as the amount of it that can be stuffed into increasingly limited space -- takes on a whole new dimension. At potentially 200 gigabits (that's 200 Billion-with-a-capitol-"B" bits) per square inch (consider the surface area of your watch face), we'll be seeing significant improvements and enhancements to what we today consider the smallest "consumer" spaces, like your PDA, cell phone, laptop and digital camera, and then on down to products dreamt of but as yet unrealized.READ THE STORY
Nanotube computer memory shows promise
And the same news on non-volatile computer memory comes from Nantero. Although they say "20 times as strong as steel," the figure most often quoted is "100 times stronger than steel" (at about one-sixth the weight). But given the predicted densities - "a trillion bits worth of data storage on a chip the size of a postage stamp" - strength is not the issue here.READ THE STORY
Nanotube yarn toughs it out over spider silk
Carbon nanotube fibres, four times tougher than spider silk, 17 times tougher than Kevlar, with a tensile strength of 1.8 GPa (1.8 Billion Pascals), which exhibit twice the stiffness and strength, and 20 times the toughness of a steel wire with the same weight and length. (Notes: "tensile strength" equals the load at which, when tested under laboratory conditions, something can be expected to break. It takes just a couple gigapascals to convert graphite to diamond. One gigapascal equals approximately 145,038 pounds per square inch.) This stuff is STRONG! And they're making it in 100 meter lengths, using a process that is "amenable to upscaling," which I believe is a cautious way of saying that commercial quantities are possible. I can hear the VC's scuttling about now, looking for that extra bit of cash that they've squirreled away for a rainy day. Well, I see storm clouds gathering just over the horizon! And did I mention that they've made supercapacitors out of them too? Hmmmm. let's see ... what can we build with these strength and electrical characteristics?
For other possible applications, see UTD Scientists Spin Nanotubes with Record Strength and Toughness
And on the "legislative" and "investment" fronts, we have this significant news to report:
All of these changes serve to emphasize the need for immediate action focused towards the development of a set of ethics to apply to advanced technologies. This set of ethics needs to cover all advanced technologies, including but not limited to nanoscale technologies.
"May you live in interesting times!" has been - at various times - attributed to the Chinese, the Scottish, and a sci-fi writer. In one incarnation, it is supposedly used as a curse; in other, a blessing. Regardless of its pedigree, I choose to say yes! we do live in interesting times, and that ain't all bad! In fact, it "trends towards goodness," helping more and more of us live better and better lives. Further, where there remains hunger, oppression, ignorance, fear, poverty, torture, and tyranny, we can reasonably predict that - with proper stewardship - the unselfish distribution of advanced technology will go a long way towards righting those wrongs, and contributing to a world of peace and plenty. May you live in interesting times!