A feature-length look at the nanotechnology sectorIn depth RSS feed
Dec 23, 2003
2003 was the year when nanotechnology collided with the real world. It was a painful collision, bringing prophecies of doom, fears of hidden dangers and calls for a moratorium on nanoscience. But the appearance of an ethical dimension to nanotechnology may serve the useful purpose of forcing other emerging technologies to confront questions about public understanding and perceptions about social responsibility. And, for nanoscience in particular, it may help to sharpen views about what the field comprises and where it is headed. Philip Ball looks at what we have learnt from the year that “nano” hit the headlines, in a feature based on a talk he gave at the International Conference on Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing held at The Royal Society, London, UK, on 15-16 December 2003.
Dec 9, 2003
Quantum dots will be to this century what ball-bearings were to the last - the unseen enablers of a new era of human invention. So says Paul O’Brien, head of chemistry at Manchester University in the UK and founder of a company called Nanoco that manufactures these nanometre-sized lumps of semiconductor. Edwin Cartlidge finds out more.
Sep 15, 2003
Back in June, the UK government commissioned an investigation into the implications of nanotechnology. Ann Dowling, chair of the working group carrying out the study, gives more details.
Jul 10, 2003
Last month saw more than 70 delegates gather in the north-west of England to discuss the exploitation of micro- and nanotechnology. Liz Kalaugher reports.
May 7, 2003
Nanocrystals have overcome their fear of water to image living embryonic cells. Laurent A Bentolila and Shimon Weiss give the details.
Feb 21, 2003
It's unlikely that many nanotechnologists are familiar with diatoms - a group of single-celled shelled algae - but that could change following a world-first conference on diatom nanotechnology that's set to take place in the US in October. Liz Kalaugher spoke to conference organizer Richard Gordon of the University of Manitoba, Canada, to find out more.
Feb 7, 2003
As traditional silicon circuitry continues to shrink towards a point where it can no longer function, researchers are searching for alternative methods to develop smaller, faster, and smarter computer chips. Yong Chen explains his research group's recent work to create the memory circuits of the future.
Jan 17, 2003
In order to make nanoelectronic structures, researchers must manipulate both the architecture and the electronic properties of very small volumes of matter. This can be achieved mechanically using atomic force microscopy or chemically through self-assembly. Now, a new type of device in which electron transport is manipulated by both electrical and mechanical means has been built. Mats Jonson and Robert Shekhter report.
Jan 7, 2003
Femtosecond lasers can now create 3D structures as small as human cells and beat the diffraction limit to generate sub-wavelength microstructures. Phillip Hill finds out more about the latest developments at Laser Zentrum Hannover.
Dec 12, 2002
In June 2002, German semiconductor giant Infineon announced that it had developed a procedure for growing carbon nanotubes on silicon wafers that was compatible with standard microelectronics techniques. Liz Kalaugher spoke to Infineon's Wolfgang Hoenlein and Franz Kreupl to get an update.
Dec 6, 2002
The volume of data transported across communications networks continues to grow, forcing service providers to design, build, and add capacity to their systems. Optical networks are essential to meet these future communications needs. Ted Sargent discusses the role nanoscale science can play in creating the necessary technologies and components.
Nov 22, 2002
According to the publicity material, Prey - the latest book by Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park - explores the emerging realms of nanotechnology and artificial distributed intelligence. With this in mind, Glenn Fishbine looks at the issues behind "investing in science fiction".
Nov 8, 2002
Bell Labs' decision to fire Jan Hendrik Schön for faking data shows that physics is vulnerable to scientific misconduct when the wrong factors line up. David Goodstein argues that the physics community must continue to root out misconduct wherever it appears.
Nov 1, 2002
In recent years there has been much interest in making rectifiers that work in the quantum regime, prompted by the availability of smaller and smaller semiconductor nanostructures and the prospect of technological applications. Miriam Blaauboer tells us more.
Oct 24, 2002
Back in the mid-1980s the inventors of the atomic force microscope (AFM) - a device that profiles surfaces by scanning them with a sharp probe mounted on a cantilever beam - probably never imagined that one day sensors based on AFM technology would be able to "smell" whisky. But now cantilever-based nanomechanic devices can do all this and more. Liz Kalaugher reports.
Oct 18, 2002
Nanotechnologists battling to systematically organize and manipulate matter at the nanoscale must use all of the tools available to increase the performance of materials and devices while reducing their size. One such tool is computational chemistry - in particular, molecular modelling and simulation. Michael Francis of Accelrys explains why.
Oct 16, 2002
The ability to remotely control matter with lasers has had a major impact in physics and biology, and has now reached the point where researchers can construct new types of material. Kishan Dholakia, Gabriel Spalding and Michael MacDonald explain.
Oct 2, 2002
Practical, affordable yet unique and exciting new accelerator facilities could advance vital research capabilities for nano- and bioscience, says Swapan Chattopadhyay.
Sep 20, 2002
The attractive force between two surfaces in a vacuum - first predicted by Hendrik Casimir over 50 years ago - could affect everything from micromachines to unified theories of nature. Astrid Lambrecht explains.