Thursday, April 5, 2007

Picture of the day


Charles Ostman, Nano-biodevice

Courtesy of and Copyright © Charles Ostman: This is a 3D rendering of a theoretical neural repair "nano-biodevice", reconstructing the insulating outer membrane of a damaged neural axon. Like the "neural interface biochip" this is a slide extracted from the animation. This animation was eventually shown at SigGraph, on PBS televsion, and has been incorporated in related content for events in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Special thanks to Kevin Cain, then the director of computer graphics animation at AAC, and the spectacular efforts of over 30 students and fellow instructors who worked for approx. 9 months to create this production. Rendered in Maya 3D, and a variety of other rendering applications.

Visit his Evolution into the Next Millennium site.

To see the entire series, visit the Nanotechnology Now Gallery.

Quote of the day

"Nanotechnology is about to dramatically change virtually every aspect of how we work, live, and play; in fact the process has already begun. If you've used a UV-blocking sunscreen it may well be 'powered' by nanospheres of titanium dioxide - the opaque stuff of lifeguards' noses - which, in its nano form, happens to be transparent to visible light, but not to UV. Similarly, nanospheres in your toothpaste are (or will soon be) giving you that ultra-bright smile. And Berkeley Lab's 'Materials Sciences Division' has recently demonstrated how to use a new electro-thermal technique on carbon nanotubes to turn them into 'conveyor belts' that move individual atoms to precise targets, potentially forming the basis for far more efficient nanoscale manufacturing."

~Jeffrey R. Harrow, author of The Harrow Technology Report. From:

Interview with FEI's Mike Thompson

Today, I would like to present an interview I did with Mike Thompson, Business Development Manager, Nanotechnology at FEI Company.

RR: "Nanotechnology" is an oft-abused term; what definition do you use?

Your oft-abused comment is justified as the term "Nanotechnology" has a chameleon quality and shifts according to the environment in which it is placed; now as our awareness of Nanotech becomes mature we need to be more specific.

The interest and considerable investment associated with the nanotechnology rests in the fact that there is a transitions zone in the properties of matter as one shifts from atoms to bulk materials. The zone in which properties change rapidly is in the linear dimensional range of approximately 1nm to 100nm, this range is often quoted in definitions. As range is an approximation we can capture its meaning by using the term "nanoscale". The objective of nanotechnology is new, and is to functionalize this size/shape property dependence of nanoscale matter. This approach differs from past, current and future engineering which has the objective of functionalizing the "invariant properties" of bulk matter.

Many definitions of "Nanotechnology" are misleading as they can include "science" as a component of the definition. This is at best a convenience as much of what we read about today relates to science at the nanoscale. Here we should emphasize that nanoscale research is essential work as we cannot efficiently functionalize events at the nanoscale until we can understand, and characterize, their properties. The amount of research and engineering which is required to commercialize Nanotechnology is a huge undertaking and has probably been underestimated. While science is a precursor to the creation of a potential product, the contribution is one of the enablement and as should not be incorporated in the definition of "Nanotechnology."

RR: By your estimation, how large (in terms of $US) is the nanotech tools market today? How does that compare to 10 years ago, and how will it compare to 10 years from now?

In 1995, the "nanotools" market was under $US 300 Million US. The total Nanotech tools served available market in 2005 was close to $US 1 Billion. Market growth is expected to be roughly 14% per year through 2008. Predictions beyond this point are speculative and will depend upon the rate of adoption rate of tools by industry as nanoscience-based products move from prototyping through to production.

Read the entire interview, here: