Posted tagged ‘nanotechnology’

Alberta and Texas collaborate on Nanotech and Energy

October 2, 2009

The two leEd Stelmachading nanotechnology research centres in North America are located at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Now, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Premier Ed Stelmach and David Leebron, president of Rice University, these two research agencies are combining their expertise to advance work on clean energy development.
Partners in the MOU are nanoAlberta (through Alberta Advanced Education and Technology), The Richard E Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and Rice University.
The agreement encourages collaboration on projects that can enhance sustainable energy development and the development of clean technologies, and improve efficiency in renewable energy technologies and applications of nanoscience.
“In both Alberta and Texas energy is our foundation… and technology and innovation are our future,” says Premier Stelmach. “Combining the energy and nanotechnology expertise of teams in Alberta and Texas could help bring about energy technology solutions that haven’t even been considered yet.”
Leebron says the Houston area and cities in Alberta have much in common, and he looks forward to an effective partnership. “The extraordinary scholars and researchers of the Smalley Institute of Rice University are developing advanced nanoscale technologies to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Collaborating with nanoAlberta…has great potential to benefit North America and the rest of the world with new solutions to energy and related environmental challenges.”


Are nano particles risky?

July 31, 2009

Aug09-JoanneShatkin2Engineering new materials at the nano or atomic scale holds great potential for improving products and industrial processes.
But what risks do these novel materials pose human health or the environment?
Joanne Shatkin addressed this issue at the recent Conference on nanotechnology and forest products hosted by TAPPI and Alberta Ingenuity.
Shatkin is an author and managing director of CLF Ventures, an affiliate of the Conservation Law Foundation in the United States.
According to Shatkin, “All the properties that make nanomaterials so exciting as new materials are really novel properties. They behave differently from existing substances that we’re used to working with. That’s what raises the concern. If they behave differently from an engineering perspective, they also may behave differently from a biological and environmental perspective. So it raises some concerns that we need to address as these materials are being developed before they go widely out into the market.”
That’s why Shatkin advocates industry and regulators take a proactive approach toward nanotechnology. “My goal,” she says, “is to try to build sustainability into these new products early on. The exciting piece about nanotechnology is that you can engineer out the properties that you don’t want. So if we are looking for those properties now… if we’re thinking about potential harm, then we can identify it early and deal with it.”
These issues are outlined in her book, entitled Nanotechnology: Health and Environmental Risks.

Optics improve nanofabrication

July 31, 2009

Aug09-MartinMoskovitsWave goodbye to silicon chips.
Thanks to advances in nanotechnology, the chips that power computers and other electronic devices may one day be made from the cellulose of trees.
But manufacturing these tiny electronic circuits at the nano or atomic scale depends on optics or new ways of dealing with light.
That’s what Dr. Martin Moskovits talked about at the recent conference on Nanotechnology and Forest Products. He is the former dean of science at the University of California Santa Barbara, and is currently the chief technology officer with API Nanotronics in New York.
“We live in a highly electronic world in which almost all of our devices are controlled by integrated circuits,” he explains. “These integrated circuits are created through a form of lithography. It’s almost like printing… but printing very, very tiny structures. It is really the backbone of the electronics industry. If you want to put more and more transistors in the same space, you need to make finer and finer features. And, for that, you need to use light of shorter and shorter wavelengths. And so we went from red light to blue light to violet light, and now we’re into the ultraviolet domain. Now, using deep ultraviolet produces certain challenges in controlling and shaping this light. That requires new optics and new technology just to support this printing with ultraviolet.”
At API Nanotronics, Dr. Moskovits specializes in the development of polarizers and optical retarders that shape and control light for the nano fabrication of circuits. √