Nanotechnology for Dummies


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Low-power, high-density computer memory, longer- lasting batteries, and some medical applications including cancer ther- apy and diagnostics will be some of the early products pre Advances in computer processing will follow , and new materials and composites will come online toward The order of events will likely be computers and medical first, and then materials — all overlap- ping but peaking at their respective years.

Energy: Our crystal ball says is going to be the Nanotechnology Energy Year. With demand for energy rising in industrializing countries such as China and India, oil will continue to be that highly-sought-after resource. Oil prices and prosperity have an inverse relationship — as oil prices go up, prosperity goes down.

It has also been suggested by Princeton University geologist Kenneth Deffeyes that world oil production will peak around Thanksgiving Unfortunately, production capacity has grown more slowly than demand, which makes things even worse. Nanotechnology will combine efficient use of our current sources while providing directions to explore for alternate sources of energy.

Robotics: Think However, there are a few driving forces making robotics economically feasible: defense, space exploration, and labor. In the near term, autonomous UAVs short for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will keep continuous watch over our borders, and robots will dispose of roadside bombs in the bat- tlefield.

As nanotechnology develops better sensors and processors and the energy revolution provides abundantly cheap energy, robots will be in demand as cheap manual labor, increasing our overall standard of living. Not only will we have robotic dogs and vacuum cleaners but also assem- bly-line industrial labor, bringing money back to Western nations.


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All this will gradually grow over the next few decades — but once the hardware is in place around , the software and artificial intelligence will soon follow. Some of these years may seem a long way off, but these changes will arrive faster than you may think. Knowing what to expect and not expect Futuristic excitement aside, our expectations for nanotechnology need to be realistic and we need to be patient, for not all the advances that nanotechnol- ogy is set to bring will happen overnight.

Nanotechnology will not be a mira- cle cure. Although there will be some fantastic advances, not everything that we imagine will come to fruition.

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However, nanotechnology is also sure to usher in things that we never envisioned coming — products that could end up changing the world. Scientists know how most things work chemically and physically, but there have been a few surprises — and we learn the rules along the way. Time to take a look at some examples of the nanotechnology we now have, what we can improve upon, what will be new, and what we can confidently say will never happen. What we have Nano applications are already showing up in areas as diverse as computing, transportation safety, and medicine.

The steps may seem modest by future standards, but they get big effects from tiny things. Look for the devices that house them to shrink as well, and for devices that are already small such as cell- phones to become more powerful. These sensors will continue to shrink, becoming more powerful and accurate.

The product takes advantage of how gold nanoparticles of different sizes reflect light differently. If a woman is pregnant, a specific hormone is present that causes the micro-sized and nano-sized particles to clump together — and those bigger particles reflect a distinctive color: a visible pink strip appears on the test sheet. What will be improved Besides introducing new products and procedures, nanotech will advance those that already exist. Nanotechnology was number Most sunscreens are a white, thick and sticky cream. What will be new Nanotechnology promises to be a cornucopia of wonders — improving our healthcare, optimizing our use of resources, increasing our standard of living.

Detecting disease at the molecular level will lead to new treatments for old ills. The development of materials ten times stronger than steel — but a tenth of the weight — offers to make transportation faster and more efficient. Imagine, for example, how air transportation would change if airframes were lighter and stronger, plane engines used less fuel, and sensors and smart material automatically deformed the wings to minimize drag.

New, nanotech- based paints and coatings will prevent dirt and water from adhering to sur- faces such as kitchen counters, vinyl siding, cars, and windows. Conventional disinfectants dissolve in a solvent, and are meant to drown the organisms with toxic chemicals — which can be about as bad for humans as for small organisms. This stuff is so good that Doctors Without Borders used EcoTru in the operating room as an antiseptic when they ran out of their regular antiseptic.

Of the patients that they used EcoTru on, none got an infection. What will not happen Science fiction writers describe swarms of molecule-size robots swimming through your bloodstream cleaning your arteries while shooting cancer cells. These scenarios are highly improbable, if not impossible. As marvelous as it is to envision nanobots curing our bodies and quickly assembling and disassembling inanimate objects, these methods may not even be the most efficient approach.

After all, some of the best medicine involves coaxing the body to help fix itself — and building inanimate objects one atom at a time even something as simple as a chair is no quick task. There may be a better, more inventive way to use engineering principles at the nano scale — one that takes advantage of the opportunities that chem- istry and intermolecular interactions offer. But those opportunities are far more modest and well, yeah small-scale than science fiction would suggest.

The dramatic creation and transformation of macro-scale objects makes for spectacular entertainment but dicey science. At each reaction site, the atoms feel the influence of neighboring atoms. To do any mechanics at this level which is what nanobots would have to do for this to work , you would need to control the motion of each and every atom — a very difficult juggling act. A lot of this nano-zealous science fiction got started in , when K. Eric Drexler, founder of the Foresight Institute a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about nanotechnology , penned Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology.

In it, he describes self- replicating nanoassemblers building objects one atom at a time. Getting a Small Piece of Nanotechnology for Yourself Nanotechnology is set to insinuate its way into our economy in ways that we can only imagine — more probably, in ways that we could never dream. Familiar products will be the first to take advantage of nanotech — clothing, cosmet- ics, and novel industrial coatings. When the processes to make these products are mastered, new and innovative products will begin to emerge.

Crichton takes us to the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, where the self-replicating microscopic machines prey on the scientists. In the end, the humans prevail sorry to ruin the ending, but hey, somebody had to be left alive to buy the book.


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  7. This book, and others like it in the grand tradition of high-tech disaster fiction, pilfers the most visually stunning aspects of an emerging technology and then pre- sents the worst-case scenario of what could go wrong. Unfortunately, in an effort to make his story plausible, Crichton mixes a little too much science fiction with reality — even the company name Xymos suggests the name of a real nanotech company Zyvex. Synapses, junctions interconnecting the neurons of the central nervous system, are only a few atoms wide and these nanobots are at least a hundred times bigger.

    These books may offer some benefit by gener- ating interest in the subject and drawing people into science. Unfortunately, they may also instill some unnecessary fear and anxiety in our soci- ety as new technologies emerge. However, according to Lux Research Inc. Nanotechnology, because of its complexity and reach over different industries, will grow slowly over many decades. Therefore, we must be patient and not expect a huge explosion of products coming online all at once. National Science Foundation Dept. Nanotech Initiative in millions The U. There are three entities from which nanotechnology will emerge: open research universities and national labs , large corporations, and start- ups.

    These entities, in turn, have three options: They can produce their dis- coveries, license them, or sell the rights to them outright. Licensing may be an attractive option — it creates cash flow with minimal overhead. Big companies will have some advantage here, given their resources and abil- ity to purchase high-end measurement equipment.

    Some large industries, such as pharmaceuticals and microchips, will be able to successfully inte- grate nanotechnology because they already have the processes and facilities in place to get their product to market — something small companies may not have access to. Small companies are set to develop products, processes, and intel- lectual property, becoming attractive takeover candidates by big companies.

    In the end, everyone wins — investors make money, small companies develop products rapidly and efficiently, and big companies produce and distribute the end product to the consumer. Not only will they exchange research but also resources. For example, Rice University has a partnership with the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. Additionally, Rice as well as other universities across the nation has broken down some financial barriers by developing the Shared Equipment Authority SEA , which will train and allow businesses to use million-dollar measurement equipment for reasonable prices.

    Battle of the bubbles: Nanotech versus Internet Every industry has an economic bubble — speculation in a commodity that causes the price to increase, which produces more speculation, which causes the price to increase.

    What is Nanotechnology?

    Additionally, the crash that follows can cause great economic problems. Many industries have had bubbles — the railroad industry, the automobile industry, even the tulip industry had an economic bubble. The most recent example was the Internet bubble in the late s. So, is it foolish to invest now in nanotechnology?

    Not necessarily. Nobody was quite sure what to do with the idea yet. The essentials of the scientific knowledge base could be pretty well absorbed by your average information-technology technician after only a few months of training. Nanotechnology and nanoscience research, on the other hand, are a much more complex kettle of fish. They require in-depth scientific knowledge and a Ph. This knowledge base will be indispensable to any nanotech start-up company, ensuring that the field will not be inundated by every Tom, Dick, and Harry.

    There is a shortage of talent — a limited supply of scientists coming up against increasing demand. Additionally, product-cycle times — the time from research to market — is long. On the flipside, nanotech has fewer barri- ers to market adoption than the Internet had. In order for online stores to be successful, customers had to own a computer, establish an Internet connection, and gain confidence in online transactions. Nanotechnology will already be integrated into existing products — no massive new-product- adoption process will be required.

    Thing will be its patentable intellectual property. Web-based innova- tions were difficult to patent, allowing competitors to quickly adapt and clone a product within months. The time cost to replicate is measured in years, encouraging the competitor to either take a different approach or license the patent. This barrier to entry is fantastic for small companies; they have more time to develop without getting immedi- ately crushed by the big dogs. Caveat Emptor — Buyer Beware If recent history is any indication, our coming nanotech bubble may be over- hyped and fueled with stock speculation.

    In this section, we hope to quell some of this speculation early on and paint a realistic picture for you. Currently, very few nanotech companies are public that is, offering stock for public purchase — and the ones that are have a stock chart that reads more like a cardiogram than a steady line of growth. This section takes a look at two particular compa- nies and throws in some indexes you can follow as well.

    They are a company rich in patents — over — but alas, no profits yet sigh. We do not anticipate that our first products will be commercially available for at least several years, if at all. Not the rosiest picture. Nano Inside. These are just a few words and phrases that folks have tried to trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Global Aerospace, for example, which uses nanofiber technology in its cockpit doors, recently changed its name to U.

    Nanogen makes micro arrays for genetic research. Its NanoChip array has test sites 80 microns in size, spaced microns apart — not quite nano but headed in the right direction. Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. On February 10, , Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. On this news, the stock spiked. On April 19, , they announced the initial shipment of their electrode nanomaterial for testing at a partner company, Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc.

    Investment tools and strategies Whether or not Altair Nanotechnologies or Nanosys are going to be the next eBay is certainly up in the air. Unfortunately, there are no nanotech ETFs or mutual funds at this time. The index consists of 22 small companies whose future business strategy is based on nanotech- nology. Lux Research, Inc. As you conquer your greed and quell your fears both wise moves , here are a few generic tips to keep in mind. Be mindful of large volume shifts, indicating large institution investment.

    If stocks are going up, buy; if going down, sell. Buy low, sell high. Like viewing sausage being made I suppose it is not always so glamorous to see what is behind the scenes it what it consists of. Meaning you need to be a bit of a technical wonk, especially in chemistry to understand and apply. Yet this book offers a good rendition of what it is all about and the many areas it affects.

    Nanotechnology For Dummies - AbeBooks - Richard D. Booker; Earl Boysen:

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    Nanotechnology for Dummies. Average rating: 3. Walmart According to the Foresight people who really do understand this stuff, Nanotech for Dummies is due out on Monday. Rocket Science for Dummies? Therefore, I set out to dispel science fiction and lay out realistic expectations of nanotechnology as clear as possible. We now have tools capable of aiding our discovery. Commercial applications will begin to emerge within the next five years making profound impact to computers, materials, and healthcare. In the book, we draw relationships between these industries hopefully facilitating long-term understanding and nanotech growth while quelling unnecessary fear.

    Feel free to read the entire first chapter and table of contents on dummies.

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