Friday, April 20, 2007

Picture of the day

Low-friction bearing assembly with two carbon allotropes

Damian Gregory Allis, Low-friction bearing assembly with two carbon allotropes

Copyright Damian Gregory Allis, Ph.D.: In this design, two diamondoid rings replace small segments of a carbon nanotube, providing a lock for a third, larger ring. The larger ring includes a stitch-work of oxygens to create an electron-rich interior whose effective circular van der Waals packing just touches that of the nanotube framework. (click to see larger version)

All images (in this series) are the result of molecular mechanics structure calculations using either Tinker (MM2 parameters) or NAMD (CHARMM). Images were made with VMD. Any inquiries concerning methods, software, or shop talk are directed to

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

Quote of the day

"No informed person doubts that developments at the nanoscale will be significant. We debate the time-frame, the magnitude and the possibilities, but not the likelihood for large-scale change. The least-speculative views suggest that we're in for changes of an order that justifies-if not demands-our undivided attention. Will we be ready?"

~Rocky Rawstern
from an article by Matthew N. Skoufalos, April 4, 2005

The Weekly Roundup

Jeff Wacker, a futurist with Plano-based Electronic Data Systems Corp., said the evolution of nanotech into the consumer arena will be marked by three phases. "I think there's the mild, I think there's the wild, and I think there's the magical," he said. At the "mild" end of the scale in the next few years are lighter, stronger, frictionless and more efficient upgrades to existing materials, such as in airplane wings, solar panels and batteries.

At the "magical" conclusion, 10 years or more down the road, consumers can expect to see nano assemblers, minuscule factories using billions of molecule-size machines to build nearly any product imaginable out of a pile of raw materials.

RR: Another deep thinker who believes, as many others do, that advances in the nanosciences will lead to molecular manufacturing.

To learn more, visit:

From: Small molecules, big impact

Nanostellar, Inc., a leader in nano-engineered catalyst materials, today announced a first in diesel emissions technology: the introduction of gold as an oxidation catalyst. Nanostellar's NS Gold™ catalyst enables manufacturers of light- and heavy-duty diesel engines to reduce noxious emissions by as much as 40 percent more than existing pure-platinum catalysts at equal cost. Nanostellar introduced its first-generation product, based on a platinum and palladium alloy, in mid-2006, and it achieved 25%-30% higher performance than commercial pure-platinum catalysts. NS Gold™, Nanostellar's second-generation product, delivers a further 15%-20% performance increase.

RR: This is great news for the environment. As oil and gas prices rise and concern for the environment turns to action, expect to see technologies like this begin to make a difference.

From: Nanostellar Introduces Gold in Oxidation Catalyst That Can Reduce Diesel Hydrocarbon Emissions by as Much as 40 Percent More Than Commercial Catalysts

FriCSo, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of environmentally friendly technology and polymer-based devices that create a friction reduction nanolayer on moving parts, today announced that a test conducted by the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology found that FriCSo's Surface Engineering Treatment (SET) highly reduces particulate matter emissions, increases engine mechanical efficiency, and reduces fuel consumption.

RR: ditto my previous comment.

From: New Nanolayer-based Technology Highly Reduces Engine Emission and Improves Fuel Consumption

The use of nanotechnology is an innovation in the development of surface coatings, particularly in relation to UV absorbing and penetration. In meeting this challenge, Nanovations has introduced a new VOC-free technology for clear impregnating wood protection.

RR: Nanovations has recently released several new nanotech-enabled products. See then click on Products.

From: Nanovations introduces surface protection for woods

There seems to be an arms race going on among nanotechnology investment and consulting firms as to who can come up with the highest figure for the size of the "nanotechnology market". The current record stands at $2.95 trillion by 2015.

RR: An excellent article! Michael Berger debunks the hyper-hyped “trillion dollar” figures being casually thrown around. “…trillion-dollar forecasts for an artificially constructed ‘market’ are an irritating, sensationalist and unfortunate way of saying that sooner or later nanotechnologies will have a deeply transformative impact on more or less all aspects of our lives.”

From: Debunking the trillion dollar nanotechnology market size hype

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who has made most of his money restructuring failed companies in such unglamorous industries as steel, coal, and most recently, textiles, is not the kind of guy to jump on the latest technology fad. Therefore, when someone like Ross begins investing in nanotechnology, I believe it serves as further validation that the technology is moving into the mainstream.

RR: Jack Uldrich (Access Team member -- sums it up nicely “My point here is that Ross is not a venture capitalist. He is a practical, experienced businessman with a great nose for turning around companies. If he's investing in nanotech, it's not because he thinks it's a fad, but because he thinks there's great value in these companies.”

From: Nanotech Wins a Convert

"Nanotechnology could not only change our whole economy and the quality of life of Russian people, but can also drastically change all our perception about modern warfare." Sergei Ivanov, Russian first deputy prime minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the government to ensure the effective spending of the major funds that will be invested in the development of nano-technologies. “This is a line of business the state will spare no effort or funds to develop,” Putin said at a conference devoted to the development of this branch of science. “The question is how to ensure this be arranged for properly and the funds be spend (sic) effectively. He said nanotechnology will lay the groundwork for new weapon systems, both offensive and defensive.

Russia is currently concentrating material and human resources to produce arm systems based on nanotechnologies, President Vladimir Putin said.

Russia will pour over US$1 billion (€740 million) in the next three years into equipment for nanotechnology research as it uses massive oil and gas export earnings… Ivanov predicted that 90 percent of nanotechnology developments would be used for civilian purposes and 10 percent for military purposes.

RR: This one is pieced together from three articles. Given the thousands of scientists at large in Russia, combined with the billion dollar investment, expect to see significant progress in the nanosciences.

Since the 1960s, the best way to isolate precise instruments like atomic-force and scanning-tunneling microscopes along with fab tools from vibration was passive air tables that support weight on a cushion of air. A recent alternative is using active electronic feedback to send cancelling forces that damp out oscillations in springs.

RR: Good news on the “tools” front.

From: 'Negative stiffness' used to damp vibrations

A domestic water filter that uses metal nanoparticles to remove dissolved pesticide residues is about to enter the Indian market. Its developers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai (formerly Madras) believe it is the first product of its kind in the world to be commercialized. 'Based on consumption patterns of a typical Indian household, the filter is designed to have enough nanomaterials to provide 6000 litres of pesticide-free water for one year,' Pradeep said. 'After that, the company will recycle the filters to recover the silver.'

RR: At an estimated cost of £115 ($230) it may find difficulties entering the US market in any quantity. I can buy water that has been micron filtered, UV irradiated, charcoal and reverse osmosis filtered for 25 cents per gallon at the local food mart. At $230 for the filter, it would cost about $7 per gallon, which may be an acceptable figure for areas with pesticide residue problems.

From: Pesticide filter debuts in India

Nanoexa announced today that its subsidiary Decktron will combine technologies to develop lithium batteries that will outperform currently available batteries. The batteries could end up in plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

RR: Yet another entry in the rapidly expanding list of companies that are vying for king of the nanotech-enabled battery market. Given the incentives (think global warming, massive pollution, and peak oil) I don’t doubt that before the dust settles there will be many more companies trying to cash in on this seemingly lucrative market.

From: High-Performance Batteries Could Solve Energy Storage Problem for HEVs

G24 Innovations Limited (G24i), a Cardiff -based company that aims to revolutionise solar power by leading the development of extremely lightweight, flexible solar cells, is to sponsor a competition with students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to design a product that uses the company's cutting edge technology.

RR: Good news, and another indicator that alternative energy technologies are being taken seriously.

From: Cardiff sponsors solar energy contest

Curcumin, an element found in the cooking spice turmeric has long been known to have positive effects against certain types of cancer. Effective treatments based on curcumin however have been limited due to its poor dissolving capabilities in water based substances, leading to low absorption rates when ingested. Researchers affiliated with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University report to have overcome this problem by encapsulating free curcumin with a polymeric nanoparticle, creating nanocurcumin.

RR: I find it encouraging that scientists continue looking to nature in an effort to deal with one of mankind’s most deadly killers. Add “nanocurcumin” to your list of nano-things to watch.

From: Polymer Coated Curcumin Promises Effective Against Cancer

The ability to eliminate waste and toxins from production processes early on, to create more efficient and flexible solar panels, and to remove contaminants from water, is becoming an exciting reality with nanotechnology. This "green nanotechnology" involves designing nanoproducts for the environment and with the environment in mind.

RR: Live webcast, Thursday, April 26, 2007, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

From: Green Nanotechnology: It’s Easier Than You Think

The global search for a sustainable energy supply is making significant strides at Wake Forest University as researchers at the university's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have announced that they have pushed the efficiency of plastic solar cells to more than 6 percent.

RR: Given the rising cost of silicon, couple with the need for alternative energy sources, efficient plastic solar cells (should they become more efficient and/or cheap) may make, as they say “plastic devices the photovoltaic of choice.”

From: Plastic solar cell efficiency breaks record at WFU nanotechnology center

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. (Pink Sheets:INTK), an emerging global leader in nanotechnology, announced today that it has entered into negotiations with a Fortune 100 company for the incorporation of the Company's patented nanotechnology based coating, Nansulate®, into their products. The Company estimates the value of the project to be approximately 4.5 million dollars annually once an agreement is reached.

RR: These guys are everywhere with their insulation product. Keep an eye on them as they break into new industries.

From: Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Enters Negotiations with Major Electronics Manufacturer

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