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What nanotech research would you like to know about?

Posted on 26th Aug 2009 at 08:14 by Mark Mackay with 22 comments

Mark Mackay
Most tech enthusiasts will be familiar with the word nanotechnology but for those that aren’t, here’s an outline, because I'm sure you'll find it a fascinating topic. The term ‘nano’ it means ‘tiny’ or ‘minute’ - a nanometre is one millionth of a mm.

Nanotechnology generally refers to any technology that is on a scale of nanometres and often involves manipulating matter on an atomic or molecular scale. I'm going to be writing a feature on it over the next month or so, and I'm after your suggestions of specific projects to look at.

Research has been going on in this area for many years, but there have been a few very exciting developments recently - in fact we might just be on the brink of a nanotechnology revolution. This promises hefty ramifications for computing - think super-fast self-assembling processors for starters. It seems like a great time to write about the topic.

What nanotech research would you like to know about?
Nanotech has the potential to get so small, we could make robots apply medicine to us on a cellular level

Despite concerning tiny inventions, nanotech is a field of epic proportions. Websites such as Nanowerk report on the onslaught of nanotech advancements much in the same way bit-tech does hardware and game advancements, and big companies such as IBM aren't shy about announcing their achievements, but I'm just as interested in spotlighting smaller, less well known projects.

I've got a good few weeks to research the piece to do my own reading, and I've been following the field for the last few months, but if you’ve seen any cool nanotech stuff on your internet browsing eTravels that you thought looked especially awesome, let me know. Ideally it will be computer-related and the more fantastical, the better.

22 Comments

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Herbicide 26th August 2009, 12:14 Quote
Full-colour nanocrystal printing (of static images or displays) sounds awesome. [ooh... Just think of the dot pitch...]

Two different attempts at what seems to be the same goal:
Via Nanowerk* and NS

And/or a look at DNA (in) computing...


*Bookmarked.
Ninja_182 26th August 2009, 13:32 Quote
Nano-fibre reinforcement of ceramics for a wild picking out of the air. My interestin in nanotechnology has drastically reduced since I lefy university and thus no longer came into contact with it.
CardJoe 26th August 2009, 14:08 Quote
I'd like to know about using nanotechnology to build myself a robotic horse with a monkey tail and a Hitler moustache.

I'll explain later.
Cutter McJ1b 26th August 2009, 14:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I'd like to know about using nanotechnology to build myself a robotic horse with a monkey tail and a Hitler moustache.

I'll explain later.

What's to explain?
Stuey 26th August 2009, 14:34 Quote
Quote:
The term ‘nano’ it means ‘tiny’ or ‘minute’ - a nanometre is one millionth of a mm.
"nano" is a prefix defined as one billionth of a unit, and does not "mean tiny or minute."
Quote:
Nanotechnology generally refers to any technology that is on a scale of less than 100 nanometres and sometimes involves manipulating matter on an atomic or molecular scale.
Fixed.
Quote:
I'm going to be writing a feature on it over the next month or so, and I'm after your suggestions of specific projects to look at.
Sounds good!

Be careful, though - a lot of companies throw "nano" around just for its marketing value.

I'll be looking forward to the features! :D
Cutter McJ1b 26th August 2009, 15:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuey
Quote:
The term ‘nano’ it means ‘tiny’ or ‘minute’ - a nanometre is one millionth of a mm.
"nano" is a prefix defined as one billionth of a unit, and does not "mean tiny or minute." :D

Thanks for the reply, Stuey. Here's where I got my definition. The website's usually very trustworthy in my experience.

From www.dictionary.com

nano-

a combining form with the meaning “very small, minute,” used in the formation of compound words (nanoplankton); in the names of units of measure it has the specific sense “one billionth” (10-9): nanomole; nanosecond.

Was there anything in particular in the world of nanotech you would be interested in reading about?
Bauul 26th August 2009, 15:56 Quote
I was in Ikea the other day measuring rugs in nanogigameters. Yeah, I'm cool.
alpaca 26th August 2009, 15:57 Quote
nano powder coating FTW!

on a serious note: self assembling processors really did hit the 'interesting' button.
Omnituens 26th August 2009, 16:57 Quote
Medical nanotech is where it's at. If a robot can tell the difference between normal cells and EVUL cells (cancer, HIV etc), that would be a HUGE breakthough.

Another application would be tools that can be reconfigured easily went new techniques are developed. or a REALLY cool multitool.
C-Sniper 26th August 2009, 19:26 Quote
Well preferably not this...

http://hackaday.com/2009/07/07/tiny-medical-bot/

This thing just sounds creepy...
Phil Rhodes 26th August 2009, 19:39 Quote
Carbon nanotubes.

Well enough advanced in research that there's plenty of facts to relate without having to resort to an artist's impression of a space elevator, and many uses from very high (or very low) thermal conductivity materials, use in integrated circuits, and of course, an artist's impression of a space elevator!

P
pimonserry 26th August 2009, 19:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnituens
Medical nanotech is where it's at.

+1. I'm more interested in how it's going to affect medicinal practice, and when we'll all look like we came out of Deus Ex (and I don't mean blocky).
Skiddywinks 26th August 2009, 20:48 Quote
+1 for carbon nanotubes, and +1 for the medical ramifications of nanobots and the like.
popcornuk1983 27th August 2009, 01:45 Quote
http://www.nokia.com/about-nokia/research/demos/the-morph-concept

Not sure if anyone has seen this before. It's concept phone from nokia. They developed the concept in conjunction with the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre.

The site has a fairly long video explaining all the features. Very cool stuff if it actually gets made at some point. iPhone killer for sure ;-)
DiegoAAC 1st September 2009, 03:29 Quote
Nano diamonds, carbon nanotubes or graphene applied to IC cooling (and overclocking!)
woodshop 1st September 2009, 04:09 Quote
building/growing freeways that are solar collectors with a diamond shell for protection.
B3CK 1st September 2009, 07:40 Quote
+1 for nanotubes
Also, for creating a jack port into my skull for getting away from these pesky keyboards and mice. http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=2177.php
Of course, then I will need some memory for links, and notes and what-have-you, http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2006/05/10/water_will_help_improve_our_memory/1.
Then throw in some LeD's that grow on the end of some nano tubes that will go through my optic nerves to allow my eyes to glow in the dark, red please, don't want to ruin my night vision too much. And sure throw in some camera's so I can take pics of what I'm really looking at. And some IR LeD's so my camera's can see in the dark.
Oh, and enough self building goo to build a copy of Jessica.
Stuey 1st September 2009, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter McJ1b
Thanks for the reply, Stuey. Here's where I got my definition. The website's usually very trustworthy in my experience.

From www.dictionary.com

nano-

a combining form with the meaning “very small, minute,” used in the formation of compound words (nanoplankton); in the names of units of measure it has the specific sense “one billionth” (10-9): nanomole; nanosecond.

Was there anything in particular in the world of nanotech you would be interested in reading about?

Sorry about that - I didn't see that this thread had been updated.

I don't like dictionary.com at all - their advertisements are too "in your face," but I previously thought them to be relatively trustworrty as well. Still, I prefer Merriam-Webster (m-w.com) and Oxford (oed.com).

Something nanoscaled is very small and minute, but it's not defined as such. For some reason, "micro" is officially defined as the 10^-6 prefix, and to mean something small and minute. I wonder if the same will happen to nano now that it's more commonly used, but it would not be a good move. So many companies are tying to peddle their products as having nano-this, nano-that since nano is a buzzword that makes for great ad copy.

Anyhow, I'm interested in reading [almost] anything about nanotech. Since this is a computer tech forum, maybe you could start off with how CPU dies are fabricated?
kenco_uk 1st September 2009, 14:58 Quote
An invisibility cloak.
Mithyx 3rd September 2009, 07:40 Quote
When do we get self-replicating nano-machines and what's stopping that from leading to the Grey Goo scenario?

Also, everyone loves Carbon Nanotubes.
Cutter McJ1b 8th September 2009, 11:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
An invisibility cloak.

We've already got one in for the next 'On Our Desks' gadgets round up so it probably wont make it into the feature...
kenco_uk 8th September 2009, 16:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter McJ1b
We've already got one in for the next 'On Our Desks' gadgets round up so it probably wont make it into the feature...

Ooh, sounds interesting! Thanks for the heads up.
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