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Grey goo – Wikipedia

Grey goo (also spelled gray goo) is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves,[1][2] a scenario that has been called ecophagy (“eating the environment”, more literally “eating the habitation”).[3] The original idea assumed machines were designed to have this capability, while popularizations have assumed that machines might somehow gain this capability by accident.

Self-replicating machines of the macroscopic variety were originally described by mathematician John von Neumann, and are sometimes referred to as von Neumann machines or clanking replicators. The term gray goo was coined by nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler in his 1986 book Engines of Creation.[4] In 2004 he stated, “I wish I had never used the term ‘gray goo’.”[5]Engines of Creation mentions “gray goo” in two paragraphs and a note, while the popularized idea of gray goo was first publicized in a mass-circulation magazine, Omni, in November 1986.[6]

The term was first used by molecular nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler in his book Engines of Creation (1986). In Chapter 4, Engines Of Abundance, Drexler illustrates both exponential growth and inherent limits (not gray goo) by describing nanomachines that can function only if given special raw materials:

Imagine such a replicator floating in a bottle of chemicals, making copies of itselfthe first replicator assembles a copy in one thousand seconds, the two replicators then build two more in the next thousand seconds, the four build another four, and the eight build another eight. At the end of ten hours, there are not thirty-six new replicators, but over 68 billion. In less than a day, they would weigh a ton; in less than two days, they would outweigh the Earth; in another four hours, they would exceed the mass of the Sun and all the planets combinedif the bottle of chemicals hadn’t run dry long before.

According to Drexler, the term was popularized by an article in science fiction magazine Omni, which also popularized the term nanotechnology in the same issue. Drexler says arms control is a far greater issue than grey goo “nanobugs”.[7]

In a History Channel broadcast, a contrasting idea (a kind of gray goo) is referred to in a futuristic doomsday scenario: “In a common practice, billions of nanobots are released to clean up an oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. However, due to a programming error, the nanobots devour all carbon based objects, instead of just the hydrocarbons of the oil. The nanobots destroy everything, all the while, replicating themselves. Within days, the planet is turned to dust.”[8]

Drexler describes gray goo in Chapter 11 of Engines Of Creation:

Early assembler-based replicators could beat the most advanced modern organisms. ‘Plants’ with ‘leaves’ no more efficient than today’s solar cells could out-compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough, omnivorous ‘bacteria’ could out-compete real bacteria: they could spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stopat least if we made no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.

Drexler notes that the geometric growth made possible by self-replication is inherently limited by the availability of suitable raw materials.

Drexler used the term “gray goo” not to indicate color or texture, but to emphasize the difference between “superiority” in terms of human values and “superiority” in terms of competitive success:

Though masses of uncontrolled replicators need not be grey or gooey, the term “grey goo” emphasizes that replicators able to obliterate life might be less inspiring than a single species of crabgrass. They might be “superior” in an evolutionary sense, but this need not make them valuable.

Bill Joy, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, discussed some of the problems with pursuing this technology in his now-famous 2000 article in Wired magazine, titled “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us”. In direct response to Joy’s concerns, the first quantitative technical analysis of the ecophagy scenario was published in 2000 by nanomedicine pioneer Robert Freitas.[3]

Drexler more recently conceded that there is no need to build anything that even resembles a potential runaway replicator. This would avoid the problem entirely. In a paper in the journal Nanotechnology, he argues that self-replicating machines are needlessly complex and inefficient. His 1992 technical book on advanced nanotechnologies Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation[9] describes manufacturing systems that are desktop-scale factories with specialized machines in fixed locations and conveyor belts to move parts from place to place. None of these measures would prevent a party from creating a weaponized grey goo, were such a thing possible.

Prince Charles called upon the British Royal Society to investigate the “enormous environmental and social risks” of nanotechnology in a planned report, leading to much media commentary on gray goo. The Royal Society’s report on nanoscience was released on 29 July 2004, and declared the possibility of self-replicating machines to lie too far in the future to be of concern to regulators.[10]

More recent analysis in the paper titled Safe Exponential Manufacturing from the Institute of Physics (co-written by Chris Phoenix, Director of Research of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, and Eric Drexler), shows that the danger of grey goo is far less likely than originally thought.[11] However, other long-term major risks to society and the environment from nanotechnology have been identified.[12] Drexler has made a somewhat public effort to retract his grey goo hypothesis, in an effort to focus the debate on more realistic threats associated with knowledge-enabled nanoterrorism and other misuses.[13]

In Safe Exponential Manufacturing, which was published in a 2004 issue of Nanotechnology, it was suggested that creating manufacturing systems with the ability to self-replicate by the use of their own energy sources would not be needed.[14] The Foresight Institute also recommended embedding controls in the molecular machines. These controls would be able to prevent anyone from purposely abusing nanotechnology, and therefore avoid the grey goo scenario.[15]

Grey goo is a useful construct for considering low-probability, high-impact outcomes from emerging technologies. Thus, it is a useful tool in the ethics of technology. Daniel A. Vallero[16] applied it as a worst-case scenario thought experiment for technologists contemplating possible risks from advancing a technology. This requires that a decision tree or event tree include even extremely low probability events if such events may have an extremely negative and irreversible consequence, i.e. application of the precautionary principle. Dianne Irving[17] admonishes that “any error in science will have a rippling effect….”. Vallero adapted this reference to chaos theory to emerging technologies, wherein slight permutations of initial conditions can lead to unforeseen and profoundly negative downstream effects, for which the technologist and the new technology’s proponents must be held accountable.

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Grey goo – Wikipedia

Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology

Can bird feeders do more harm than good?

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Future Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology will one day be used extensively in the field of medicine. Varying from replicating cells to analyzing broken bones to cleaning up nasty biological hazards, medicine will be greatly enhanced by all of the wonderful things that nanotechnology is capable of doing. In this article, we will thoroughly go over each of the aspects that nanotechnology will play on the medical industry and how it will help both the doctor and you, the patient. Let us begin.

Making Vaccines Nanotechnology will greatly speed up the process of creating vaccines. Take the swine flu vaccines, for example. The reason that it takes so long to come up with a perfect vaccine (even though most vaccines on the market are no where near perfect) is because scientists must be able to take samples of medicines that they think will work and then mix them with the actual virus to see if it neutralizes the virus in a living subject. All of this is mostly trial and error and can take a long time. After that, doctors then have to see what types of negative effects it has on the host (thats the patient) so they know how to counteract the side effects or at least know what theyre dealing with. Nanotechnology will be able to make this all go a lot faster because, being so tiny, you could theoretically load thousands of nanites with thousands of different vaccines and inject them into the host all at once and see if any of them work. If it does work, you could then narrow down your results by trying the same experiment on a new subject and only using half of the original vaccines. If it still works, then you can keep narrowing it down; if it doesnt work, then you know that the vaccine you want is in the second experiment and you could then use the same process to narrow down those vaccines instead.

Cleaning Up Contamination Nanotechnology will also be a big help for cleaning up chemical wastes and other types of biological hazards that may spill into a residential area. Nanotechnology will be able to work quickly by scurrying throughout the area (whether thats on ground, air, water, or in a living subject; or even all at the same time!) and analyzing everything it comes across to decide whether that object is contaminated or not. If it decides that an object is contaminated then it can quickly separate the toxins from the object and surrounding area or simply inject anti-toxins onto the affected area. In the case of living subjects, nanotechnology will be able to continuously provide the person or animal with oxygen, monitor their vital signs, deliver anti-toxins, and constantly update the health of that body.

Biological Analysis Nanotechnology will one day be able to scurry throughout our bodies via the circulatory system (traveling through our blood) and monitor every single vital sign that exists. Nanites will be able to address whether theres any broken bones, torn muscle tissue, irregularities, monitor metabolism levels, monitor cholesterol levels, make sure that the organs are functioning properly, and any other type of requirement for a healthy body. If you thought that one of those cameras they stick down your throat (or rectum!) was a sign of advanced medical breakthroughs, think again! Nanites will be able to monitor your every need and alert the doctor of any problems with anything in your body. Its like thousands of tiny, little cameras zooming around your blood stream at all hours. Rest assured, nanotechnology on its way to save the day!

Regeneration Nanotechnology may also be able to aid and even perfect the act of regenerating cells. In case you dont know, regeneration is the process of bringing a person back to life. Today, there are many different problems with doing so but nanotechnology may be able to fix most if not all of them. One of the biggest problems is due to the crystalization of frozen cells but nanotechnology may be able to warm those cells and even remake some of them so that the person doesnt biologically fall apart when theyre revived. Nanotechnology may be able to also simply cure cell damage as soon as we die which means we wouldnt even have to be frozen first.

Cancer With over ten million Americans alone with some form of cancer or another, people are eagerly searching for remedies and treatment options. Nanotechnology may very well be the answer to the long search weve been hoping for. Below are two different methods of curing cancer due to nanotechnology:

Odots Odots are gold nanites that are able to track down cancer cells in the body and identify them so that doctors can now know exactly where all cancer cells are in the body without even having to use one of those awful rectal cameras.

Nanoparticles Nanoparticles will be able to inject chemotherapy directly into cancer cells themselves with very minimal damage to the surrounding cells. Today, chemotherapy leaves a cancer victim extremely weak and nearly dead; tomorrow, chemotherapy will be a quick, painless procedure and youll only feel the positive effects of the treatment. Hurray for nanotechnology!

Nanoshells Nanoshells work similarly to nanoparticles but instead of injecting the cancer cells with chemotherapy, they will simply use the heat from infrared light. You may be surprised but scientists have discovered that when these nanites are irradiated by xrays, they produce electrons that destroy the cancer cells without harming much of the surrounding area. That means no more chemotherapy and no more sickness! Nanoshells will make cancer seem easier than the common cold.

Heal Broken Bones In order to heal broken bones, companies are developing what is commonly known as nanotubes in order to provide bones with a proper structure in order for them to grow back in the way that they are supposed to. Coupled with other medicines, we may one day even be able to grow entire bones back within a very short period of time whethers thats a few days or a few weeks is anybodys guess, but it still beats todays methods.

Biomarkers A biomarker will bea form of nanotechnology that is able to attach itself to various diseased cells inside of the body in order for a doctor to be able to analyze it and treat the person accordingly. In todays world, many diseases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, leading to even more complications. With this new technology, however, we will be able to save many more lives simply by being more informed.

Faster Wound Healing A company called Z-Medica is producing medical gauze that contains special nanotechnology known as nanoparticles. These nanoparticles will be loaded with a drug called aluminosilicate, which helps blood clot faster in open wounds. Knife wound victims today have a fair chance of dying depending on how deep the cut is, where it is, and how fast that person is treated. In tomorrows world, however, people may carry this type of gauze on them at all times and could easily bandage themselves up in a jiffy and they will be ok until they can receive proper emergency treatment.

I hope this article has shone some light into your world concerning the various ways that nanotechnology will aid and revolutionize the medical industry. In the future, we wont be so stressed out about medical conditions or even would-be fatal injuries that todays medicine simply cant help. In the world of tomorrow, we will be safer and more aware of and against the dangers surrounding us.

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Future Nanotechnology

History of nanotechnology – Wikipedia

The history of nanotechnology traces the development of the concepts and experimental work falling under the broad category of nanotechnology. Although nanotechnology is a relatively recent development in scientific research, the development of its central concepts happened over a longer period of time. The emergence of nanotechnology in the 1980s was caused by the convergence of experimental advances such as the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 and the discovery of fullerenes in 1985, with the elucidation and popularization of a conceptual framework for the goals of nanotechnology beginning with the 1986 publication of the book Engines of Creation. The field was subject to growing public awareness and controversy in the early 2000s, with prominent debates about both its potential implications as well as the feasibility of the applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, and with governments moving to promote and fund research into nanotechnology. The early 2000s also saw the beginnings of commercial applications of nanotechnology, although these were limited to bulk applications of nanomaterials rather than the transformative applications envisioned by the field.

The earliest evidence of the use and applications of nanotechnology can be traced back to carbon nanotubes, cementite nanowires found in the microstructure of wootz steel manufactured in ancient india from the time period of 600 BC and exported globally.[1]

Although nanoparticles are associated with modern science, they were used by artisans as far back as the ninth century in Mesopotamia for creating a glittering effect on the surface of pots.[2][3]

In modern times, pottery from the Middle Ages and Renaissance often retains a distinct gold- or copper-colored metallic glitter. This luster is caused by a metallic film that was applied to the transparent surface of a glazing, which containes silver and copper nanoparticles dispersed homogeneously in the glassy matrix of the ceramic glaze. These nanoparticles are created by the artisans by adding copper and silver salts and oxides together with vinegar, ochre, and clay on the surface of previously-glazed pottery. The technique originated in the Muslim world. As Muslims were not allowed to use gold in artistic representations, they sought a way to create a similar effect without using real gold. The solution they found was using luster.[3][4]

The American physicist Richard Feynman lectured, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” at an American Physical Society meeting at Caltech on December 29, 1959, which is often held to have provided inspiration for the field of nanotechnology. Feynman had described a process by which the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules might be developed, using one set of precise tools to build and operate another proportionally smaller set, so on down to the needed scale. In the course of this, he noted, scaling issues would arise from the changing magnitude of various physical phenomena: gravity would become less important, surface tension and Van der Waals attraction would become more important.[5]

After Feynman’s death, scholars studying the historical development of nanotechnology have concluded that his actual role in catalyzing nanotechnology research was limited, based on recollections from many of the people active in the nascent field in the 1980s and 1990s. Chris Toumey, a cultural anthropologist at the University of South Carolina, found that the published versions of Feynmans talk had a negligible influence in the twenty years after it was first published, as measured by citations in the scientific literature, and not much more influence in the decade after the Scanning Tunneling Microscope was invented in 1981. Subsequently, interest in Plenty of Room in the scientific literature greatly increased in the early 1990s. This is probably because the term nanotechnology gained serious attention just before that time, following its use by K. Eric Drexler in his 1986 book, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which took the Feynman concept of a billion tiny factories and added the idea that they could make more copies of themselves via computer control instead of control by a human operator; and in a cover article headlined “Nanotechnology”,[6][7] published later that year in a mass-circulation science-oriented magazine, OMNI. Toumeys analysis also includes comments from distinguished scientists in nanotechnology who say that Plenty of Room did not influence their early work, and in fact most of them had not read it until a later date.[8][9]

These and other developments hint that the retroactive rediscovery of Feynmans Plenty of Room gave nanotechnology a packaged history that provided an early date of December 1959, plus a connection to the charisma and genius of Richard Feynman. Feynman’s stature as a Nobel laureate and as an iconic figure in 20th century science surely helped advocates of nanotechnology and provided a valuable intellectual link to the past.[10]

The Japanese scientist called Norio Taniguchi of the Tokyo University of Science was the first to use the term “nano-technology” in a 1974 conference,[11] to describe semiconductor processes such as thin film deposition and ion beam milling exhibiting characteristic control on the order of a nanometer. His definition was, “‘Nano-technology’ mainly consists of the processing of, separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom or one molecule.” However, the term was not used again until 1981 when Eric Drexler, who was unaware of Taniguchi’s prior use of the term, published his first paper on nanotechnology in 1981.[12][13][14]

In the 1980s the idea of nanotechnology as a deterministic, rather than stochastic, handling of individual atoms and molecules was conceptually explored in depth by K. Eric Drexler, who promoted the technological significance of nano-scale phenomena and devices through speeches and two influential books.

In 1980, Drexler encountered Feynman’s provocative 1959 talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” while preparing his initial scientific paper on the subject, Molecular Engineering: An approach to the development of general capabilities for molecular manipulation, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1981.[1] The term “nanotechnology” (which paralleled Taniguchi’s “nano-technology”) was independently applied by Drexler in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which proposed the idea of a nanoscale “assembler” which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity. He also first published the term “grey goo” to describe what might happen if a hypothetical self-replicating machine, capable of independent operation, were constructed and released. Drexler’s vision of nanotechnology is often called “Molecular Nanotechnology” (MNT) or “molecular manufacturing.”

His 1991 Ph.D. work at the MIT Media Lab was the first doctoral degree on the topic of molecular nanotechnology and (after some editing) his thesis, “Molecular Machinery and Manufacturing with Applications to Computation,”[15] was published as Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation,[16] which received the Association of American Publishers award for Best Computer Science Book of 1992. Drexler founded the Foresight Institute in 1986 with the mission of “Preparing for nanotechnology. Drexler is no longer a member of the Foresight Institute.[citation needed]

Nanotechnology and nanoscience got a boost in the early 1980s with two major developments: the birth of cluster science and the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM). These developments led to the discovery of fullerenes in 1985 and the structural assignment of carbon nanotubes a few years later

The scanning tunneling microscope, an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level, was developed in 1981 by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986.[17][18] Binnig, Calvin Quate and Christoph Gerber invented the first atomic force microscope in 1986. The first commercially available atomic force microscope was introduced in 1989.

IBM researcher Don Eigler was the first to manipulate atoms using a scanning tunneling microscope in 1989. He used 35 Xenon atoms to spell out the IBM logo.[19] He shared the 2010 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for this work.[20]

Interface and colloid science had existed for nearly a century before they became associated with nanotechnology.[21][22] The first observations and size measurements of nanoparticles had been made during the first decade of the 20th century by Richard Adolf Zsigmondy, winner of the 1925 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, who made a detailed study of gold sols and other nanomaterials with sizes down to 10nm using an ultramicroscope which was capable of visualizing particles much smaller than the light wavelength.[23] Zsigmondy was also the first to use the term “nanometer” explicitly for characterizing particle size. In the 1920s, Irving Langmuir, winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Katharine B. Blodgett introduced the concept of a monolayer, a layer of material one molecule thick. In the early 1950s, Derjaguin and Abrikosova conducted the first measurement of surface forces.[24]

In 1974 the process of atomic layer deposition for depositing uniform thin films one atomic layer at a time was developed and patented by Tuomo Suntola and co-workers in Finland.[25]

In another development, the synthesis and properties of semiconductor nanocrystals were studied. This led to a fast increasing number of semiconductor nanoparticles of quantum dots.

Fullerenes were discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl, who together won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Smalley’s research in physical chemistry investigated formation of inorganic and semiconductor clusters using pulsed molecular beams and time of flight mass spectrometry. As a consequence of this expertise, Curl introduced him to Kroto in order to investigate a question about the constituents of astronomical dust. These are carbon rich grains expelled by old stars such as R Corona Borealis. The result of this collaboration was the discovery of C60 and the fullerenes as the third allotropic form of carbon. Subsequent discoveries included the endohedral fullerenes, and the larger family of fullerenes the following year.[26][27]

The discovery of carbon nanotubes is largely attributed to Sumio Iijima of NEC in 1991, although carbon nanotubes have been produced and observed under a variety of conditions prior to 1991.[28] Iijima’s discovery of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in the insoluble material of arc-burned graphite rods in 1991[29] and Mintmire, Dunlap, and White’s independent prediction that if single-walled carbon nanotubes could be made, then they would exhibit remarkable conducting properties[30] helped create the initial buzz that is now associated with carbon nanotubes. Nanotube research accelerated greatly following the independent discoveries[31][32] by Bethune at IBM[33] and Iijima at NEC of single-walled carbon nanotubes and methods to specifically produce them by adding transition-metal catalysts to the carbon in an arc discharge.

In the early 1990s Huffman and Kraetschmer, of the University of Arizona, discovered how to synthesize and purify large quantities of fullerenes. This opened the door to their characterization and functionalization by hundreds of investigators in government and industrial laboratories. Shortly after, rubidium doped C60 was found to be a mid temperature (Tc = 32 K) superconductor. At a meeting of the Materials Research Society in 1992, Dr. T. Ebbesen (NEC) described to a spellbound audience his discovery and characterization of carbon nanotubes. This event sent those in attendance and others downwind of his presentation into their laboratories to reproduce and push those discoveries forward. Using the same or similar tools as those used by Huffman and Kratschmer, hundreds of researchers further developed the field of nanotube-based nanotechnology.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative is a United States federal nanotechnology research and development program. The NNI serves as the central point of communication, cooperation, and collaboration for all Federal agencies engaged in nanotechnology research, bringing together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field.”[34] Its goals are to advance a world-class nanotechnology research and development (R&D) program, foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit, develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology, and support responsible development of nanotechnology. The initiative was spearheaded by Mihail Roco, who formally proposed the National Nanotechnology Initiative to the Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton administration in 1999, and was a key architect in its development. He is currently the Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation, as well as the founding chair of the National Science and Technology Council subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology.[35]

President Bill Clinton advocated nanotechnology development. In a 21 January 2000 speech[36] at the California Institute of Technology, Clinton said, “Some of our research goals may take twenty or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government.” Feynman’s stature and concept of atomically precise fabrication played a role in securing funding for nanotechnology research, as mentioned in President Clinton’s speech:

My budget supports a major new National Nanotechnology Initiative, worth $500 million. Caltech is no stranger to the idea of nanotechnology the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level. Over 40 years ago, Caltech’s own Richard Feynman asked, “What would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them?”[37]

President George W. Bush further increased funding for nanotechnology. On December 3, 2003 Bush signed into law the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act,[38] which authorizes expenditures for five of the participating agencies totaling US$3.63 billion over four years.[39] The NNI budget supplement for Fiscal Year 2009 provides $1.5 billion to the NNI, reflecting steady growth in the nanotechnology investment.[40]

“Why the future doesn’t need us” is an article written by Bill Joy, then Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems, in the April 2000 issue of Wired magazine. In the article, he argues that “Our most powerful 21st-century technologies robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech are threatening to make humans an endangered species.” Joy argues that developing technologies provide a much greater danger to humanity than any technology before it has ever presented. In particular, he focuses on genetics, nanotechnology and robotics. He argues that 20th-century technologies of destruction, such as the nuclear bomb, were limited to large governments, due to the complexity and cost of such devices, as well as the difficulty in acquiring the required materials. He also voices concern about increasing computer power. His worry is that computers will eventually become more intelligent than we are, leading to such dystopian scenarios as robot rebellion. He notably quotes the Unabomber on this topic. After the publication of the article, Bill Joy suggested assessing technologies to gauge their implicit dangers, as well as having scientists refuse to work on technologies that have the potential to cause harm.

In the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Yearbook 2001 article titled A Response to Bill Joy and the Doom-and-Gloom Technofuturists, Bill Joy was criticized for having technological tunnel vision on his prediction, by failing to consider social factors.[41] In Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near, he questioned the regulation of potentially dangerous technology, asking “Should we tell the millions of people afflicted with cancer and other devastating conditions that we are canceling the development of all bioengineered treatments because there is a risk that these same technologies may someday be used for malevolent purposes?”.

Prey is a 2002 novel by Michael Crichton which features an artificial swarm of nanorobots which develop intelligence and threaten their human inventors. The novel generated concern within the nanotechnology community that the novel could negatively affect public perception of nanotechnology by creating fear of a similar scenario in real life.[42]

Richard Smalley, best known for co-discovering the soccer ball-shaped buckyball molecule and a leading advocate of nanotechnology and its many applications, was an outspoken critic of the idea of molecular assemblers, as advocated by Eric Drexler. In 2001 he introduced scientific objections to them[43] attacking the notion of universal assemblers in a 2001 Scientific American article, leading to a rebuttal later that year from Drexler and colleagues,[44] and eventually to an exchange of open letters in 2003.[45]

Smalley criticized Drexler’s work on nanotechnology as naive, arguing that chemistry is extremely complicated, reactions are hard to control, and that a universal assembler is science fiction. Smalley believed that such assemblers were not physically possible and introduced scientific objections to them. His two principal technical objections, which he had termed the fat fingers problem” and the “sticky fingers problem, argued against the feasibility of molecular assemblers being able to precisely select and place individual atoms. He also believed that Drexlers speculations about apocalyptic dangers of molecular assemblers threaten the public support for development of nanotechnology.

Smalley first argued that “fat fingers” made MNT impossible. He later argued that nanomachines would have to resemble chemical enzymes more than Drexler’s assemblers and could only work in water. He believed these would exclude the possibility of “molecular assemblers” that worked by precision picking and placing of individual atoms. Also, Smalley argued that nearly all of modern chemistry involves reactions that take place in a solvent (usually water), because the small molecules of a solvent contribute many things, such as lowering binding energies for transition states. Since nearly all known chemistry requires a solvent, Smalley felt that Drexler’s proposal to use a high vacuum environment was not feasible.

Smalley also believed that Drexler’s speculations about apocalyptic dangers of self-replicating machines that have been equated with “molecular assemblers” would threaten the public support for development of nanotechnology. To address the debate between Drexler and Smalley regarding molecular assemblers Chemical & Engineering News published a point-counterpoint consisting of an exchange of letters that addressed the issues.[45]

Drexler and coworkers responded to these two issues[44] in a 2001 publication. Drexler and colleagues noted that Drexler never proposed universal assemblers able to make absolutely anything, but instead proposed more limited assemblers able to make a very wide variety of things. They challenged the relevance of Smalley’s arguments to the more specific proposals advanced in Nanosystems. Drexler maintained that both were straw man arguments, and in the case of enzymes, Prof. Klibanov wrote in 1994, “…using an enzyme in organic solvents eliminates several obstacles…”[46] Drexler also addresses this in Nanosystems by showing mathematically that well designed catalysts can provide the effects of a solvent and can fundamentally be made even more efficient than a solvent/enzyme reaction could ever be. Drexler had difficulty in getting Smalley to respond, but in December 2003, Chemical & Engineering News carried a 4-part debate.[45]

Ray Kurzweil spends four pages in his book ‘The Singularity Is Near’ to showing that Richard Smalley’s arguments are not valid, and disputing them point by point. Kurzweil ends by stating that Drexler’s visions are very practicable and even happening already.[47]

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2004 report on the implications of nanoscience and nanotechnologies[48] was inspired by Prince Charles’ concerns about nanotechnology, including molecular manufacturing. However, the report spent almost no time on molecular manufacturing.[49] In fact, the word “Drexler” appears only once in the body of the report (in passing), and “molecular manufacturing” or “molecular nanotechnology” not at all. The report covers various risks of nanoscale technologies, such as nanoparticle toxicology. It also provides a useful overview of several nanoscale fields. The report contains an annex (appendix) on grey goo, which cites a weaker variation of Richard Smalley’s contested argument against molecular manufacturing. It concludes that there is no evidence that autonomous, self replicating nanomachines will be developed in the foreseeable future, and suggests that regulators should be more concerned with issues of nanoparticle toxicology.

The early 2000s saw the beginnings of the use of nanotechnology in commercial products, although most applications are limited to the bulk use of passive nanomaterials. Examples include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen, cosmetics and some food products; silver nanoparticles in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants and household appliances such as Silver Nano; carbon nanotubes for stain-resistant textiles; and cerium oxide as a fuel catalyst.[50] As of March 10, 2011, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies estimated that over 1300 manufacturer-identified nanotech products are publicly available, with new ones hitting the market at a pace of 34 per week.[51]

The National Science Foundation funded researcher David Berube to study the field of nanotechnology. His findings are published in the monograph Nano-Hype: The Truth Behind the Nanotechnology Buzz. This study concludes that much of what is sold as nanotechnology is in fact a recasting of straightforward materials science, which is leading to a nanotech industry built solely on selling nanotubes, nanowires, and the like which will end up with a few suppliers selling low margin products in huge volumes.” Further applications which require actual manipulation or arrangement of nanoscale components await further research. Though technologies branded with the term ‘nano’ are sometimes little related to and fall far short of the most ambitious and transformative technological goals of the sort in molecular manufacturing proposals, the term still connotes such ideas. According to Berube, there may be a danger that a “nano bubble” will form, or is forming already, from the use of the term by scientists and entrepreneurs to garner funding, regardless of interest in the transformative possibilities of more ambitious and far-sighted work.[52]

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History of nanotechnology – Wikipedia

Nanotechnology – Wikibooks, open books for an open world

Nanotechnology and nanoscience is about controlling and understanding matter on the sub-micrometer and atomic scale.

This wikibook on nanoscience and nanotechnology gathers information about the various tools, methods and systems to provide students, researchers and everyone else an open-source handbook and overview guide to this vast interdisciplinary and expanding field – a book that can be adjusted as new things appear and improved by you!

Why is nanotechnology such a ‘hot’ subject – and is it more hype than substance? This part gives a brief introduction to the visions of nanotechnology and why so many people are working on it around the world. To help set a perspective there are overview tables with timelines, length scales and information resources.

Microscopes allows us to probe the structure of matter with high spatial resolution, making it possible to see for instance individual atoms with tools such as the scanning tunneling microscope, the atomic force microscope, and the transmission electron microscope. With the related spectroscopic methods, we can study the energy levels in nanosystems. This part gives an overview of the tools and methods used in microscopy and spectroscopy of nanostructures.

On the nanoscale force that we in everyday life do not consider strong, such as contact adhesion, become much more important. In addition, many things behave in a quantum mechanical way. This chapter looks into the scaling of the forces and fundamental dynamics of matter on the nanoscale.

Many unique nanostructured materials have been made, such as carbon nanotubes that can be mechanically stronger than diamond. This part provides an overview of nanoscale materials such as carbon nanotubes, nanowires, quantum dots and nanoparticles, their unique properties and fabrication methods.

To understand the novel possibilities in nanotechnology, this part gives an overview of some typical nanoscale systems – simple experimental devices that show unique nanoscale behavior useful in for instance electronics.

Combining nanodevices into functional units for real life application is a daunting task because making controlled structures with molecularly sized components requires extreme precision and control. Here we look at ways to assemble nanosystems into functional units or working devices with top-down or bottom-up approaches.

See also the Wikibook on Microtechnology which contains information about many fabrication and processing details.

Your body is based on a fantastic amount of biological nanotechnology operating right now in each of your body’s cells, which has evolved over aeons to an awesome level of complexity. Much of current nanotechnology research is aimed at bio-applications, such as bio-sensors and biologically active nanoparticles for medical therapy or targeting cancer. This part is an introduction to this cross-disciplinary field.

People are very enthusiastic about the visions of nanotechnology, but at the same time there is a natural worry about the environmental issues of the emerging technologies. This area is being increasingly brought into focus to ensure a healthy development.

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Nanotechnology – Wikibooks, open books for an open world

Nanotechnology – The New York Times

Latest Articles

Alain Kaloyeros, president of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, resigned from the boards of two groups that seek to revive upstate cities.

By JESSE McKINLEY

The finding may be the key to once again increasing the speed of computer processors, which has been stalled for the last decade.

By JOHN MARKOFF

A consortium of which the company is a part has made working versions of ultradense seven-nanometer chips, capable of holding much more information than existing chips.

By JOHN MARKOFF

A new technique makes minute biological features, some just 70 nanometers wide, more visible through regular optical microscopes.

By JOHN MARKOFF

Submicroscopic particles of gold and silver create unusual optical effects.

By CATHERINE CHAPMAN

Ben Jensen, a British scientist, explains why his companys new invention, Vantablack, may not work in your home. Not even on an accent wall.

By LINDA LEE

Researchers say they have developed an electrical conductor that is highly flexible and transparent, a combination that could help usher in flexible flat-screen televisions and smartphones.

By DOUGLAS QUENQUA

Scientists are looking for new ways to make computer chips and investigating materials that can self-assemble.

By JOHN MARKOFF

The achievement was reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday. Carbon nanotubes are viewed as having the potential to extend the limits of silicon.

By JOHN MARKOFF

Researchers using nanoparticles of gold have been able to stop blood in test tubes from clotting, and then make it clot again.

By SINDYA N. BHANOO

Dr. Rohrer helped invent the scanning tunneling microscope, which made it possible to see individual atoms and move them around.

By DOUGLAS MARTIN

Carbon nanotubes may prove to be the material of the future when todays silicon-based chips reach their fundamental physical limits.

The group As You Sow said nanoparticles, the size of molecules, have been found in the blood stream after ingestion and inhalation.

A new wave of imaging technologies, driven by the falling cost of computing, is transforming the way doctors can examine patients.

Scientists have made a vibrating bridgelike device millionths of a meter long that changes frequency when a molecule arrives; the change is measured to determine the molecules mass.

Nicknamed the Queen of Carbon, Mildred Spiewak Dresselhaus studies the fundamental properties of carbon, as insulator one moment, superconductor the next.

The work of the winning scientists spanned the outer reaches of the solar system and penetrated the inner workings of brain circuits and nanotubes.

Industries based on nanotechnology are a rapidly growing niche in the economy of the Czech Republic, which, although small, is widely respected for its technical prowess.

A National Academy of Sciences committee called for further study of the minuscule substances, which are found in products from makeup to paint and drive a $225 billion market.

Findings from research conducted at I.B.M., being reported Thursday in the journal Science, could lead to a new class of more powerful and efficient nanomaterials.

Alain Kaloyeros, president of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, resigned from the boards of two groups that seek to revive upstate cities.

By JESSE McKINLEY

The finding may be the key to once again increasing the speed of computer processors, which has been stalled for the last decade.

By JOHN MARKOFF

A consortium of which the company is a part has made working versions of ultradense seven-nanometer chips, capable of holding much more information than existing chips.

By JOHN MARKOFF

A new technique makes minute biological features, some just 70 nanometers wide, more visible through regular optical microscopes.

By JOHN MARKOFF

Submicroscopic particles of gold and silver create unusual optical effects.

By CATHERINE CHAPMAN

Ben Jensen, a British scientist, explains why his companys new invention, Vantablack, may not work in your home. Not even on an accent wall.

By LINDA LEE

Researchers say they have developed an electrical conductor that is highly flexible and transparent, a combination that could help usher in flexible flat-screen televisions and smartphones.

By DOUGLAS QUENQUA

Scientists are looking for new ways to make computer chips and investigating materials that can self-assemble.

By JOHN MARKOFF

The achievement was reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday. Carbon nanotubes are viewed as having the potential to extend the limits of silicon.

By JOHN MARKOFF

Researchers using nanoparticles of gold have been able to stop blood in test tubes from clotting, and then make it clot again.

By SINDYA N. BHANOO

Dr. Rohrer helped invent the scanning tunneling microscope, which made it possible to see individual atoms and move them around.

By DOUGLAS MARTIN

Carbon nanotubes may prove to be the material of the future when todays silicon-based chips reach their fundamental physical limits.

The group As You Sow said nanoparticles, the size of molecules, have been found in the blood stream after ingestion and inhalation.

A new wave of imaging technologies, driven by the falling cost of computing, is transforming the way doctors can examine patients.

Scientists have made a vibrating bridgelike device millionths of a meter long that changes frequency when a molecule arrives; the change is measured to determine the molecules mass.

Nicknamed the Queen of Carbon, Mildred Spiewak Dresselhaus studies the fundamental properties of carbon, as insulator one moment, superconductor the next.

The work of the winning scientists spanned the outer reaches of the solar system and penetrated the inner workings of brain circuits and nanotubes.

Industries based on nanotechnology are a rapidly growing niche in the economy of the Czech Republic, which, although small, is widely respected for its technical prowess.

A National Academy of Sciences committee called for further study of the minuscule substances, which are found in products from makeup to paint and drive a $225 billion market.

Findings from research conducted at I.B.M., being reported Thursday in the journal Science, could lead to a new class of more powerful and efficient nanomaterials.

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Nanotechnology – The New York Times

Nanotechnology: The Basics – Rice University | Coursera

About the Course

Nanotechnology is an exciting research area that spans disciplines from electrical engineering to biology. Over the last two decades the basic science of this area has launched new technologies, the first examples of which are finding their way into commercial products. This four week course will provide students with a bird’s eye view into this fast moving area and leave students with an appreciation of the importance and foundation of super-small materials and devices.

Nanotechnology: The Basics Week 1: Small, strange and useful! This first week we will introduce nanotechnology. As you will learn, defining the term itself can be a challenge and the discipline has a rich and somewhat controversial history. We will conclude the week with a tour of the different types of materials in the nanotechnology pantheon that sets up the class for the weeks to come.

Week 2: Electronics when materials are super small. There is no doubt our lives have been changed by the small and powerful computers we now use in everything from our cell phones to our coffeemakers. This week you will learn how nanotechnology has been a part of this revolution and what the limits are to making wires and transistors super, super small.

Week 3: How magnets change when they are made small. Magnetism is quite mysterious and the foundation of such cool technologies as flash drives and MRI imaging. Nanotechnology has played a crucial role in advancing all of these diverse applications and in week 3 you’ll gain some insight into how that is possible.

Week 4: Shedding light on nanoscale materials and photonics. Compared to electrons, photons are difficult things to trap and control with normal materials. Nanomaterials offer completely new approaches to manipulating light. Whether its through diffraction, or plasmonics, nanotechnology can provide new capabilities for solid state lasers as well as super resolution microscopes.

We expect some knowledge of freshman chemistry and physics, as well as algebra. Access to a spreadsheet program would also be of value. However, we recognize that for some interested participants this knowledge may be rusty and will provide where possible optional review videos to go over terminology and concepts relevant to the week’s material.

Every week students will be expected to view between6 and9 video lectures which are about 10 minutes each; optional refresher lectures will sometimes be added to provide background on concepts relevant for the week. Most lectures will have integrated questions to keep students engaged, and these will not count towards any grade. There will also be weekly ‘basic’quizzes and a final exam for students seeking a statement of accomplishment. For those seeking a statement of accomplishment with distinction, ‘in-depth’ quizzes and a peer-graded project will be required in addition to the statement of accomplishment criteria. Students will have two weeks to complete every assignment once its posted, and eight late days to apply as needed.

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Nanotechnology: The Basics – Rice University | Coursera

nanotechnology | eBay

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nanotechnology | eBay

Nanotechnology – US Forest Service Research & Development

Small and the Technology of Small

Nano is small, really, really, small. It comes from a Greek word meaning dwarf. One nanometer (nm) is one billionth of a meter (1 meter = 39.4 inches).

A nanometer is much, much smaller than a spot on a lady bug. An ant is about 5,000,000 nm (0.2 inches) long; human hair is about 100,000 nm (0.004 inches) wide; and an atom is approximately 1 nm.

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties can emerge in materials at the nanoscale. Nanotechnology also encompasses any nanoscale systems and devices and unique systems and devices that are involved in the manufacturing of nanoscale materials.

As an enabling technology, nanotechnology has the potential to benefit all aspects of forestry and forest products: from plants, forest management, harvesting, forest operations, wood-base products, application of wood-based products to the understanding of consumer behavior. In international conferences, scientists have briefly touched upon the ideas of using nanotechnology enabled products in resolving issue of international interest such as climate change (nanotechnology enabled sensors for example), energy efficiency (nanotechnology enabled catalysts for example) and water resources (nanotechnology enabled water harvesting for example). The forest products industry has identified nanotechnology as one of the technologies that will enable new products and product features.

The industry has goals to create new bio-based composites and nanomaterials, and to achieve improvement in the performance-to-weight ratio of paper and packaging products through nanotechnology and nanotechnology-enabled new paper features such as optical, electronic, barrier, sensing thermal and surface texture.

Due to its ability to reduce carbon footprints of petroleum based products, renewable forest-based nanocelluloses, together with other natural-occurring nanocelluloses, have been the subject of active research and development internationally. Often requested by user industries, nanocellulose has found its way in the research and development of plastics, coatings, sensors, electronics, automobile body and aerospace materials, medical implants and body armor. In the future, we can claim plastics, cellular telephones, medical implants, body armors and flexible displays as forest products.

Lux Research estimated that by 2015, US$3.1 trillion worth of products will have incorporated nanotechnology in their value chain. Successful realization of this technology using sustainable forest-based products will increase use of materials from renewable resources and decrease reliance on petroleum-based products and other non-renewable materials. With adequate investing in Forest Service nanotechnology R&D, the forest products industry envisions replacing the 300,000 jobs lost since 2006 with skilled workers, many of them in rural America – using materials we can grow, transport, and assemble into finished products in the United States more efficiently than nearly anywhere else in the world.

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Nanotechnology – US Forest Service Research & Development

Nanotechnology : ATS

Considered futuristic a just a few years ago, nanotechnology where scientists utilize nano-sized objects measuring less than 1/100,000 the width of a human hair today is showing great promise in areas such as medicine, materials science and defense technology.

The Technions Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute is a world-leader in nanotechnology research having made seminal discoveries in the field.

Prof. Ester Segal and a team of Israeli and American researchers find that silicon nanomaterials used for the localized delivery of chemotherapy drugs behave differently in cancerous tumors than they do in healthy tissues. The findings could help scientists better design such materials to facilitate the controlled and targeted release of the chemotherapy drugs to tumors.

Associate Professor Alex Leshansky of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering is part of an international team that has created a tiny screw-shaped propeller that can move in a gel-like fluid, mimicking the environment in a living organism. The breakthrough brings closer the day robots that are only nanometers billionths of a meter in length, can maneuver and perform medicine inside the human body and possibly inside human cells.

Prof. Amit Miller and a team of researchers at the Technion and Boston University have discovered a simple way to control the passage of DNA molecules through nanopore sensors. The breakthrough could lead to low-cost, ultra-fast DNA sequencing that would revolutionize healthcare and biomedical research, and spark major advances in drug development, preventative medicine and personalized medicine.

To read more Technion breakthroughs in nanotechnology, please click here.

For more information, please contact breakthroughs@ats.org.

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Nanotechnology : ATS

NASA – Nanotechnology

Ultrasensitive Label-Free Electronic Biochips Based on Carbon Nanotube Nanoelectrode Arrays The potential for low-cost disposable chips for rapid molecular analysis using handheld devices is ideal for space applications. + Read More Bulk Single-walled Carbon Nanotube Growth Carbon nanotubes can play a variety of roles in future space systems, including wiring, high-strength lightweight composite materials, thermal protection and cooling systems and electronics/sensors. + Read More CAD for Miniaturized Electronics and Sensors Computer-aided design of nanoscale devices and sensors is a cost effective way to infuse emerging nanoelectronics technologies in on-board information processing. + Read More Carbon Nanotube Field Emitters We are developing Carbon Nanotube (CNT) field emitters to improve their efficiency and durability. Current densities of ~1A/cm2 have been measured from these emitters. + Read More Nanoengineered Heat Sink Materials Advanced thermal materials will radically improve the performance of devices and instruments such as high-performance computers and high power optical components used in exploration hardware. + Read More Human-Implantable Thermoelectric Devices We are developing thermoelectric power sources that will be able to generate power from even a small temperature gradient, such as temperature variations available internally and externally throughout the human body. + Read More Automatic Program Synthesis for Data Monitors and Classifiers The AutoBayes and AutoFilter program synthesis systems can automatically generate efficient, certified code for data monitors from compact specifications. The tools enable advanced on-board statistical data analysis algorithms and highly flexible ISHM. + Read More Carbon Nanotubes for Removal of Toxic Gases in Life Support Systems Single walled carbon nanotubes can greatly increase the catalytic efficiency and decrease the mass and energy requirements of life support systems on future space missions, allowing new thermal processes for waste management and resource recovery. + Read More Carbon Nanotube Sensors for Gas Detection A nanosensor technology has been developed using nanostructures: single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), combined with a silicon-based microfabrication and micromachining process. + Read More Carbon Nanotubes as Vertical Interconnects A bottom-up approach is developed to integrate vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into nanoscale vertical interconnects, which can conduct much higher currents and enable more layers for Si-based integrated circuit (IC) chips. + Read More Nanoelectronics for Logic and Memory Nanowire-based electronic devices offer great potential to implement future integrated nanoelectronic systems for both on-board computing and information storage. + Read More Nonvolatile Molecular Memory Approaching the limits in miniaturization for ultra-high density, low power consumption media, this capability may enable orders of magnitude increases in on-board data storage capabilities that are compatible with space exploration system resource limitations of mass, power and volume. + Read More Large-Scale Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube Probe Tips for Space Imaging and Sensing Applications An innovative approach has been developed that combines nanopatterning and nanomaterials synthesis with traditional silicon micromachining technologies for large-scale fabrication of carbon nanotube (CNT) probe tips. + Read More Nano and Micro Fabrication Process Modeling Development of manufacturable technologies for nanoelectronics and MEMS devices for advanced computing and sensing applications presents significant challenges. + Read More Nanoelectronics for Space Extracting a signal from radiation resistant devices or nanoscale devices for NASA mission is highly challenging. We study the electrode-device contact systematically. + Read More Solid-state Nanopores for Gene Sequencing he objective of this project is to develop a revolutionary device that can sequence single molecules of nucleic acid, DNA or RNA, at a rate of a million bases per second by electrophoresis of the charged polymers through a solid-state nanopore channel of molecular dimensions. + Read More Nanoscale Mass Transport and Carbon Nanotube Based Membranes Carbon nanotube based membranes known as buckypaper may be used as filter media for analytical mission instruments or implantable device support for astronaut health monitoring. + Read More Nanotechnology at Ames The Life Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center conducts research and development in nanotechnology to address critical life science questions. + Read More Optoelectronics and Nanophotonics Developing smaller, faster, and more efficient lasers, detectors, and sensors through first-principle design, nanoscale engineering, and prototyping for space communications, computing, lidar ranging, and spectroscopic profiling applications. + Read More Plasma Diagnostics A standardized plasma diagnostic reactor, known as the “GEC Cell” is equipped with a wide range of diagnostics for measuring and understanding plasma physics and chemistry for a variety of low temperature plasmas + Read More Thermal, Radiation and Impact Protective Shields (TRIPS) Nanotechnology is providing new concepts for multipurpose shields against the triple threats of Aeroheating during atmospheric entry, Radiation (Solar and Galactic Cosmic Rays) and Micrometeoroid/Orbital Debris (MMOD) strikes. + Read More

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NASA – Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology – Friends of the Earth

Nanotechnology is a powerful emerging technology for engineering nature at the atomic and molecular level. Nanoparticles are infinitesimally small, about 1000 times thinner than a human hair. At this scale, familiar substances change in ways that scientists may not expect or predict, presenting new toxicity risks. A growing body of scientific data suggests that nanoparticles can be harmful to our health and to the environment.

Nanomaterials are now being used in hundreds of consumer products, from toys to clothes to toothpaste. These new products are being commercialized largely outside of public view or debate and with few regulations to protect workers, the public and the environment.

As just one example of potential concerns, studies indicate that manufactured nanomaterials used in sunscreens have the potential to harm our health. When we shower or swim, the nanoparticles in sunscreens end up in our water systems — these substances could damage microbes that are helpful to ecosystems and could be absorbed up the food chain from smaller to larger organisms.

Friends of the Earth is pushing policymakers in the U.S. and internationally to apply a precautionary approach to the regulation of nanotechnology by putting the health of people and the environment before corporate profits. We are also advocating for mandatory labeling of products that contain nanomaterials so that consumers can make informed decisions.

Friends of the Earth has published several groundbreaking reports on the prevalence and risks of nanomaterials to inform public debate and government solutions, and we work with a variety of partners around the world to monitor the increasing use of this technology and advance common principles for government oversight. We joined over 70 groups from six continents to endorse a guiding document called Principles for the Oversight of Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials.

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Nanotechnology – Friends of the Earth

Erie Community College :: Nanotechnology

The Nanotechnology AAS degree program is designed to help prepare students from a broad range of disciplines for careers in fields involving Nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is engineering at theatomiclength scale, a size range which until recently was only available to nature. Being able to engineer such small structures opens the door to a multitude of new opportunities in the fields of electronic and semiconductor fabrication technology, micro-technology labs, material science labs, chemical technology, biotechnology, biopharmaceutical technology, and environmental science.

Students will study electronic device and circuit behavior, basic chemistry and fabrication techniques used to create micron and submicron scale structures. Techniques covered include reactive ion etching, metallization, thick and thin film deposition and photolithography.

Graduates will enter the job market with the skills necessary for positions in the following areas:

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Nanotechnology, the graduate will be qualified in working with the following items and their associated tasks:

Total Degree Credits: 63.0

First Year, Fall Semester NS 100 – Introduction to Nanotechnology Credit Hours: 3 BI 110 – Biology I Credit Hours: 3 BI 115 – Laboratory for BI 110 Credit Hours: 1.5 EL 118 – Electrical Circuits I Credit Hours: 2 EN 110 – College Composition Credit Hours: 3 MT 125 – College Mathematics Credit Hours: 4

First Year, Spring Semester CH 180 – University Chemistry I Credit Hours: 3 CH 181 – Lab for CH 180 Credit Hours: 1.5 MT 126 – College Mathematics II Credit Hours: 4 PH 270 – College Physics I Credit Hours: 4.5 PH 271 – Lab for PH 270 Credit Hours: (Included in the 4.5 credit hours for PH 270) Social Science or Humanities Elective Credit Hours: 3

Second Year, Fall Semester NS 201 – Materials, Safety and Equipment Overview for Nanotechnology Credit Hours: 3 EL 158 – Electrical Circuits II Credit Hours: 3 EL 159 – Lab for EL 158 Credit Hours: 1 PH 272 – College Physics II Credit Hours: 4.5 PH 273 – Lab for PH 272 Credit Hours: (Included in the 4.5 credit hours for PH 272) Approved Elective Credit Hours: 4*

Second Year, Spring Semester NS 202 – Basic Nanotechnology Processes Credit Hours: 3 NS 203 – Characterization of Nanotechnology Structures and Materials Credit Hours: 3 NS 204 – Materials in Nanotechnology Credit Hours: 3 NS 205 – Patterning for Nanotechnology Credit Hours: 3 NS 206 – Vacuum Systems and Nanotechnology Applications Credit Hours: 3

*Approved Electives: BI 230/231 Microbiology and Lab (4 credits); CH 182/183 University Chemistry II and Lab (4.5 credits); EL 154/155 Electronics I and Lab (4 credits); IT 126 Statistical Process Control (3 credits) and IT 210 Industrial Inspection/Metrology(2 credits); MT 143 Introductory Statistics I (4 credits); MT 180 Pre-Calculus Mathematics (4 credits)

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Erie Community College :: Nanotechnology

Learn About Nanotechnology in Cancer

Nanotechnologythe science and engineering of controlling matter, at the molecular scale, to create devices with novel chemical, physical and/or biological propertieshas the potential to radically change how we diagnose and treat cancer. Although scientists and engineers have only recently (ca. 1980’s) developed the ability to industrialize technologies at this scale, there has been good progress in translating nano-based cancer therapies and diagnostics into the clinic and many more are in development.

Nanoscale objectstypically, although not exclusively, with dimensions smaller than 100 nanometerscan be useful by themselves or as part of larger devices containing multiple nanoscale objects. Nanotechnology is being applied to almost every field imaginable including biosciences, electronics, magnetics, optics, information technology, and materials development, all of which have an impact on biomedicine. Explore the world of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology can provide rapid and sensitive detection of cancer-related targets, enabling scientists to detect molecular changes even when they occur only in a small percentage of cells. Nanotechnology also has the potential to generate unique and highly effective theraputic agents. Learn about nanotechnology in cancer research

The use of nanotechnology for diagnosis and treatment of cancer is largely still in the development phase. However, there are already several nanocarrier-based drugs on the market and many more nano-based therapeutics in clinical trials. Read about current developments

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Learn About Nanotechnology in Cancer

Nanotechnology – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale to produce new structures, materials and devices. The technology promises scientific advancement in many sectors such as medicine, consumer products, energy, materials and manufacturing. Nanotechnology is generally defined as engineered structures, devices, and systems. Nanomaterials are defined as those things that have a length scale between 1 and 100 nanometers. At this size, materials begin to exhibit unique properties that affect physical, chemical, and biological behavior. Researching, developing, and utilizing these properties is at the heart of new technology.

Workers within nanotechnology-related industries have the potential to be exposed to uniquely engineered materials with novel sizes, shapes, and physical and chemical properties. Occupational health risks associated with manufacturing and using nanomaterials are not yet clearly understood. Minimal information is currently available on dominant exposure routes, potential exposure levels, and material toxicity of nanomaterials.

Studies have indicated that low solubility nanoparticles are more toxic than larger particles on a mass for mass basis. There are strong indications that particle surface area and surface chemistry are responsible for observed responses in cell cultures and animals. Studies suggests that some nanoparticles can move from the respiratory system to other organs. Research is continuing to understand how these unique properties may lead to specific health effects.

NIOSH leads the federal government nanotechnology initiative. Research and activities are coordinated through the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) established in 2004.

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Nanotechnology – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Ethics of Nanotechnology – Santa Clara University

Introduction

Imagine a world in which cars can be assembled molecule-by-molecule, garbage can be disassembled and turned into beef steaks, and people can be operated on and healed by cell-sized robots. Sound like science fiction? Well, with current semiconductor chip manufacturing encroaching upon the nanometer scale and the ability to move individual atoms at the IBM Almaden laboratory, we are fast approaching the technological ability to fabricate productive machines and devices that can manipulate things at the atomic level. From this ability we will be able to develop molecular-sized computers and robots, which would give us unprecedented control over matter and the ability to shape the physical world as we see fit. Some may see it as pure fantasy, but others speculate that it is an inevitability that will be the beginning of the next technological revolution.

Laboratories, such as the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility (SNF), have already been researching nanofabrication techniques with applications in fiber optics, biotechnology, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and wide variety of other research fields relevant to today’s technology. MEMS, “tiny mechanical devices such as sensors, valves, gears, mirrors, and actuators embedded in semiconductor chips”, are particularly interesting because they are but a mere step away from the molecular machines envisioned by nanotechnology. MEMS are already being used in automobile airbag systems as accelerometers to detect collisions and will become an increasing part of our everyday technology.

In 1986, a researcher from MIT named K. Eric Drexler already foresaw the advent of molecular machines and published a book, Engines of Creation, in which he outlined the possibilities and consequences of this emerging field, which he called nanotechnology. He was inspired by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman’s 1959 lecture, There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, about miniaturization down to the atomic scale. Since then, Drexler has written numerous other books on the subject, such as Unbounding the Future, and has founded the Foresight Institute, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible development of nanotechnology. It hosts conferences and competitions to raise the awareness of nanotechnology and the ethical issues involved in its development.

Today, nanotechnology research and development is quite wide spread, although not high profile yet. Numerous universities, such as Univ. of Washington and Northwestern Univ., have established centers and institutes to study nanotechnology, and the U.S. government has created an organization, the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), to monitor and guide research and development in this field. In fact, as noted in an April 2001 Computerworld article, the Bush administration increased funding to nanoscale science research by 16% through its National Science Foundation (NSF) budget increase. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and the NSF are currently the two largest sources of funding for nanotechnology research and have an enormous influence on the direction of scientific research done in the United States. With so many resources dedicated to its development, nanotechnology will surely have an impact within our lifetime, so it is important to examine its ethical implications while it is still in its infancy.

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology, also called molecular manufacturing, is “a branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacture of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter.” [Whatis.com] The goal of nanotechnology is to be able to manipulate materials at the atomic level to build the smallest possible electromechanical devices, given the physical limitations of matter. Much of the mechanical systems we know how to build will be transferred to the molecular level as some atomic analogy. (see nanogear animation on the right)

As envisioned by Drexler, as well as many others, this would lead to nanocomputers no bigger than bacteria and nanomachines, also known as nanites (from Star Trek: The Next Generation), which could be used as a molecular assemblers and disassemblers to build, repair, or tear down any physical or biological objects.

In essence, the purpose of developing nanotechnology is to have tools to work on the molecular level analogous to the tools we have at the macroworld level. Like the robots we use to build cars and the construction equipment we use to build skyscrapers, nanomachines will enable us to create a plethora of goods and increase our engineering abilities to the limits of the physical world.

Potential Benefits…

It would not take much of a leap, then, to imagine disassemblers dismantling garbage to be recycled at the molecular level, and then given to assemblers for them to build atomically perfect engines. Stretching this vision a bit, you can imagine a Star Trek type replicator which could reassemble matter in the form of a juicy steak, given the correct blueprints and organization of these nanomachines.

Just given the basic premises of nanotechnology, you can imagine the vast potential of this technology. Some of it’s more prominent benefits would be:

Along with all the obvious manufacturing benefits, there are also many potential medical and environmental benefits. With nanomachines, we could better design and synthesize pharmaceuticals; we could directly treat diseased cells like cancer; we could better monitor the life signs of a patient; or we could use nanomachines to make microscopic repairs in hard-to-operate-on areas of the body. With regard to the environment, we could use nanomachines to clean up toxins or oil spills, recycle all garbage, and eliminate landfills, thus reducing our natural resource consumption.

Potential Dangers…

The flip side to these benefits is the possibility of assemblers and disassemblers being used to create weapons, be used as weapons themselves, or for them to run wild and wreak havoc. Other, less invasive, but equally perilous uses of nanotechnology would be in electronic surveillance.

Weapons are an obvious negative use of nanotechnology. Simply extending today’s weapon capabilities by miniaturizing guns, explosives, and electronic components of missiles would be deadly enough. However, with nanotechnology, armies could also develop disassemblers to attack physical structures or even biological organism at the molecular level. A similar hazard would be if general purpose disassemblers got loose in the environment and started disassembling every molecule they encountered. This is known as “The Gray Goo Scenario.” Furthermore, if nanomachines were created to be self replicating and there were a problem with their limiting mechanism, they would multiply endlessly like viruses. Even without considering the extreme disaster scenarios of nanotechnology, we can find plenty of potentially harmful uses for it. It could be used to erode our freedom and privacy; people could use molecular sized microphones, cameras, and homing beacons to monitor and track others.

Ethical Issues & Analysis

With such awesome potential dangers inherent in nanotechnology, we must seriously examine its potential consequences. Granted, nanotechnology may never become as powerful and prolific as envisioned by its evangelists, but as with any potential, near-horizon technology, we should go through the exercise of formulating solutions to potential ethical issues before the technology is irreversibly adopted by society. We must examine the ethics of developing nanotechnology and create policies that will aid in its development so as to eliminate or at least minimize its damaging effects on society.

Ethical Decision Making Worksheet

Most relevant facts

We are reaching a critical point where technology will enable us to build complex molecular machines. Molecular assemblers and disassemblers could be developed from this technology, which would have great potential for both good and bad. The two greatest threats from development of nanotechnology are catastrophic accidents and misuse.

Professional Issues

Legal/Policy Issues

Ethical Issues

Stakeholders

Possible Actions

Consequences

Individual Rights/Fairness

The second and third options seem to be the most prudent course of action since the second option is commonly done now for emerging technologies and the third option consciously prevents designs that could lead to the catastrophic scenarios.

Common Good

The second and third options also seem to advance the most common good since the second option involves promoting ethics within the research community and the third option is a set of design principles to discourage unethical or accidental uses of nanotechnology.

Final Decision

Nanotechnology research should be allowed to continue but with a non-government advisory council to monitor the research and help formulate ethical guidelines and policies. Generally, nanomachines should NOT be designed to be general purpose, self replicating, or to be able to use an abundant natural compound as fuel. Furthermore, complex nanomachines should be tagged with a radioactive isotope so as to allow them to be tracked in case they are lost.

Conclusion

It would be difficult to deny the potential benefits of nanotechnology and stop development of research related to it since it has already begun to penetrate many different fields of research. However, nanotechnology can be developed using guidelines to insure that the technology does not become too potentially harmful. As with any new technology, it is impossible to stop every well funded organization who may seek to develop the technology for harmful purposes. However, if the researchers in this field put together an ethical set of guidelines (e.g. Molecular Nanotechnology Guidelines) and follow them, then we should be able to develop nanotechnology safely while still reaping its promised benefits.

References

Drexler, K. Eric Engines of Creation. New York: Anchor Books, 1986.

Drexler, K. Eric Unbounding the Future. New York: Quill, 1991.

Feynman, Richard P. There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom. 03 March 2002. http://www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html

The Foresight Institute. 03 March 2002. http://www.foresight.org/

Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. 03 March 2002. IMM.org

National Nanotechnology Initiative. 03 March 2002. http://www.nano.gov/

Thibodeau, Patrick. “Nanotech, IT research given boost in Bush budget”. 03 March 2002. (April 11, 2001) CNN.com

[Definitions]. 03 March 2002. Whatis.com

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The Ethics of Nanotechnology – Santa Clara University

Nanotechnology News Conferences and Careers

Nanotechnology

is the manipulation of matter one atom or molecule at a time to make tiny structures or tools with one or more dimensions between one and 100 nanometers (a billionth of a meter). Many nanotech devices are made of new materials and some self-assemble. Some use conventional (Newtonian) physics and quantum mechanics, where physical properties can change in unexpected ways. Nanotech applications include biology and medicine, electronics, mechanics, photonics, and ion transport.

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Nanotechnology News Conferences and Careers


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