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Rise of Nanotech

Rise of Nanotech

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Published by Holmes Adler

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Published by: Holmes Adler on Jun 24, 2011
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05/29/2013

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special edition on nanotechnology
NANOTECH
THE
 
RISE
 
OF
Carbonnanotube
REPORTS
Bending Light with Plasmonics
Tiny MachinesSpeak to Cells
ElectronicsGets a Boost 
Small Size,Big Differences
How control of moleculesis changing the world
COPYRIGHT 2007 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC.
 
Page Intentionally Blank
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN Digital
 
EDITOR IN CHIEF:
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Scientific American Reports
is publishedby the staff of 
Scientific American,
with project management by:
Small World
if you have
heard about nano-technology at all, you may be awareof its science-fiction-sounding hype.Proponents picture a future in whichtiny bots would magically repair tis-sue to prolong our life span. On thedark side is the disturbing vision of “gray goo,” where self-replicatingnanodevices destroy the planet. Thereality of the burgeoning field of nanotech, however, is hardly lessstartling in its transformative poten-tial. Some have proclaimed it “thenext industrial revolution.“Nanotechnology” broadly ap-plies to control of materials and com-ponents only a few billionths of a me-ter in size. Already manufacturers sellseveral hundred products that use nanotech, mainly skin lotions. Next up areadvances in biotechnology and electronics
and a merging of the two.Consider, for instance, molecular building blocks called bis-amino acids,which chemists string together into proteinlike structures, as described byChristian E. Schafmeister in his article, “Molecular Lego,” starting on page22. Applications include medicines, enzymes for catalyzing reactions, sen-sors, nanoscale valves and computer storage devices. Other researchers areusing natural molecular machines to process information: they receive inputfrom other biological molecules and output a tangible result, such as a signalor a therapeutic drug. For more, turn to “Bringing DNA Computers to Life,”by Ehud Shapiro and Yaakov Benenson, on page 40.Nanoscience advances are pushing traditional electronics in new direc-tions as well. In “Carbon Nanonets Spark New Electronics” (
 page 48
),George Gruner describes applications that encompass sensors, solar cells,electronic paper and bendable touch screens. Imagine a morning “paper”with headlines that change as news breaks.Or how about an invisibility cloak? In “The Promise of Plasmonics” (
 page56
), Harry A. Atwater explains how optical signals squeeze through minus-cule wires, producing so-called plasmons. Plasmonic circuits could help tomove lots of data and improve the resolution of microscopes, the efficiencyof light-emitting diodes, and the sensitivity of detectors. Such materials couldalter the electromagnetic field around an object to such an extent that it wouldbecome invisible. The nanoregime offers enormous promise indeed.
www.SciAm.comSCIENTIFIC AMERICAN REPORTS
 
1
letter from the editor
Mariette DiChristinaExecutive Editor
 Scientific American
    A    L    F    R    E    D    P    A    S    I    E    K    A
    S    P    L    /    P    h   o    t   o    R   e   s   e   a   r   c    h   e   r   s ,    I   n   c .
REPORTS
Carbonnanotube
COPYRIGHT 2007 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC.

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