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Carbon nanotubes

Nobel conversation
The future for Sir Harry Kroto

Smart Yarns
Spinning next generation materials

Plumbing on the nanoscale
Welding nanotubes together for smart circuits

Credit crunch
How market changes will impact nanotech

Investing in the future
Japan on a mission to stay top in technology

What’s New in Nano
Keep up with the latest news



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In the next issue: The Developing World: From energy resources to agriculture to medicine, nanotechnology is set to have a major impact on progress in the less developed world. This special issue highlights some new technologies being developed to clean water, eliminate disease and improve energy efficiency in developing nations. What’s new in Nano? Nanomedicine, ethics… and lots more


Issue 6 April 2008
Editor: Elaine Mulcahy elaine.mulcahy@ +44 (0)1786 447520 IoN Publishing Ltd Subscriptions Gemma McCulloch +44 (0)1786 447520 Design: Contributors Kshitij Aditeya Singh, Institute of Nanotechnology. Sir John Pendry, Imperial College London. Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania. Ray Baughman, University of Texas in Dallas. Edward Wright, British Embassy in Tokyo. Ottilia Saxl, Institute of Nanotechnology. Kazu Suenaga and Dr Chuanhong Jin National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan. Maria Losurdo, University of Bari. Norbert Esser, Institute for Analytical Sciences. Richard Moore, Institute of Nanotechnology. Pythagoras Petratos, University of London ©2008 IoN Publishing Ltd 6 The Alpha Centre Stirling University Innovation Park Stirling FK9 4NF Scotland Advertising:

Nanotechnology in Japan ...................024 Big investment to stay top in technology

Carbon nanotubes ...............................012 Applications and Markets

A trick of the light? .............................016 Professor Sir John Pendry explains metamaterials and negative refraction


Financial markets ................................040 How the current economic crisis will effect nanotechnology development

Smart Yarns...........................................020 Scaffolds for growing skin and nerves just some of the potentials of this technology


Nobel Conversation ............................028 Ottilia Saxl speaks to Sir Harry Kroto

Plumbing carbon nanotubes .............032 Novel technologies for welding tubes together like water pipes



Editorial.................................................004 Events ....................................................006

Ellipsometry and Polarimetry ...........034 New techniques for understanding and predicting the properties of nanoparticles and nanocomposites

What’s new in nano .............................008 Nanomedicine ......................................038 Keeping things in perspective





Nanotechnology and miracle materials
In this issue of NANO we turn to carbon nanotubes. From their discovery to the opportunity and potential they offer to the demand for new technologies, we explore a range of areas impacted by this miracle material.
Carbon nanotubes also possess amazing electronic, thermal and structural properties. They are as good as copper at conducting electricity, making them ideal candidates for future computer chips and circuits, for example, that will operate in the nanoscale. The list goes on. Kshitij Aditeya Singh from the Institute of Nanotechnology provides further insight in this issue, listing a range of current and potential applications and technologies that utilise carbon nanotubes as well as an insight into markets that will be influenced by the technology. Discovery Research and development of carbon nanotubes technologies have exploded since the early 1990s following the discovery and characterisation of the soccer ball-shaped carbon C60 fullerene molecule in 1985. Buckyballs are sphericallyshaped fullerenes, while carbon nanotubes are cylindrical. We are privileged in this issue to include an interview with Professor Sir Harry Kroto FRS (University of Sussex), who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 along with Robert F Curl and Richard E Smalley (Rice University) for their discovery of fullerenes. He spoke to the Institute of Nanotechnology’s Ottilia Saxl about his predictions for big changes in civil engineering and discusses moves to encourage communication among the next generation of scientists. Scaffolds and plumbing Research at the laboratories of Professor Ray Baughman at the University of Texas in Dallas is leading the world in applications to create new materials using spinning

Elaine Mulcahy PhD, Editor


arbon nanotubes are likely to impact a huge range of structures, technologies, materials, medicines and markets over the coming years. It is impossible to cover it all or indeed to measure the significance this material will have on future generations. Smart clothing will change the experience an astronaut has in space, while photovoltaic cells will harvest solar energy on earth. The possibilities extend to all areas of science from engineering to medicine and textiles to energy generation.

So what makes carbon nanotubes so special? Firstly, they are unique, possessing properties that seem impossible and push the boundaries of science. Their strength is a good example. A “ribbon” of carbon nanotube may weigh just one sixth that of a comparable ribbon of steel. But the nanotube is 100 times stronger. This property alone opens a range of possibilities – super strong structures that are also very light, such as the outer surface of a space shuttle or coatings for automobiles. More futuristic is the possibility of a space elevator, which researchers around the globe are now racing to build. If successful, a cable of carbon nanotube material will one day transport people and payloads into space.


The increasing miniaturization of integrated circuits. Much publicity has been given to the concept of an invisibility cloak which would exploit this technology but the potential applications are much greater than this. Japan is our profiled country in this issue.nano techniques for extracting “yarns” from nanotube forests. 005 . AS THE FIELD OF NANOTECHNOLOGY ADVANCES. Bending over backwards Diverging slightly from the theme of carbon nanotubes. Professor Sir John Pendry at Imperial College London provides an insight into metamaterials – materials with negative refractive index capable of bending light in seemingly impossible directions.5 billion yen (equivalent to half a billion euro) in nanotechnology and materials. the country is investing billions in nanotechnology. WE MAY SEE A COLLISION OF THE TWO MATERIALS (NANO AND META) TO CREATE NOVEL STRUCTURES CAPABLE OF BENDING LIGHT BACKWARDS. The latest advances in these techniques are described by experts from NanoCharm. a new European consortium that will provide scientists and companies with leading edge tools to help them succeed in this globally important and competitive nanotech market. we may see a collision of the two materials (nano and meta) to create novel structures capable of bending light backwards. nanoscale sensitivity. Such techniques have the potential to enable the creation of nanotube circuits which could radically change electronics. The subprime mortgage collapse in the US this year and the knock-on effect it has had across the globe has resulted in great disruption and uncertainty both at the high street bank and the stock markets. The use of nanotube sheets and yarns as scaffolds for growing skin and nervous tissue as well as harvesting energy and building artificial muscles are some of the new technologies being developed that we present in this issue of NANO. we explore another fascinating material that appears to defy the laws of physics. as Nader Engheta explains. along with advances in knowledge of structures at the nanoscale and the development of composite and smart materials demands the continuous development and enhancement of novel analytical techniques. As the field of nanotechnology advances. Ellipsometry and polarimetry are two techniques gaining much attention due to their non-destructive. Progress in the new field of nanotechnology may also be squeezed by the credit crunch and we welcome the insight of Pythagoras Petratos from Queen Mary. energy. Indeed. electronics could see significant miniaturisation of circuits in parallel with an increase in storage capacity as we switch to nano-scale circuitry capable of directing light (rather than electrons). Determined to maintain its place as a technology leader. Japan is also investing heavily in other key priority areas of life sciences. MUCH PUBLICITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE CONCEPT OF AN INVISIBILITY CLOAK WHICH WOULD EXPLOIT THIS TECHNOLOGY BUT THE POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS ARE MUCH GREATER THAN THIS. infrastructure. University of London on markets and nanotech investment during these difficult times. This is up five percent on previous years. Pendry envisages devices capable of harvesting radiation and guiding signals around an optical chip. Also discussed are novel techniques for “plumbing” nanotubes together like water pipes. Investment and markets Investments and markets are an uncertain entity. which are being developed at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. manufacturing and space. The Council for Science and Technology 2008 budget recently revealed planned investment of 86. environment.

France This meeting will bring leading scientists in the area of nanotube science together to evaluate past and define future trends of this exciting 006 . www. Hong Kong International conference and exhibition focusing on state-of-the-art research and June 10 NanoMedNet Workshop: ‘Nanomedicine: Smart Materials and Nanostructured Surface’ Cambridge. manufacturing.TS EN EV Events Calendar EVERY MONTH WE HIGHLIGHT THE KEY CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS WHERE INDUSTRY EXPERTS. UK This workshop will bring together leading clinicians and medical June 29-July 4 Science and Application of Nanotubes. systems. May 28-29 Nanotechnology: Towards reducing animal testing London. characterization. June 8-13 May 26-30 E-MRS Symposium 2008 Strasbourg. manipulate or manufacture molecules or supramolecular assemblies to improve human health. a plenary session with talks by outstanding researchers and a social event www. This conference will highlight some of the potential applications in nanotechnology in reducing animal experiments while maintaining safety for patients and consumers.nanomaterials08. June 3-5 2nd Integration & Commercialization of Micro & Nanosystems Kowloon. Structures and Systems” will cover outstanding areas of the subject from the molecular and nano scales to large complex integrated systems. Spain The major focus of the NanoBio-Europe Conference is set on medical applications of nanobiotechnology. July 7-9 Nanomaterials 2008 development in Micro. If you would like your event listed please contact the editor: elaine. machinery and interaction to control. industry experts and business specialists in a multidisciplinary and interactive forum to collectively examine and propose ways of bringing new medical nanomaterials effectively to the clinic.nano.nano. UK Due to the limitations and costs of animal experimentation there is a great deal of research being carried out on finding viable and effective June 9-13 NanoBio MicroNano08 June 22-25 ANM 2008 Aveiro. in particular the characterization of cellular processes. Portugal The 2nd International Conference on Advanced Nano Materials brings together eminent researchers from academia and industry to discuss and share the latest developments in June 1-5 2008 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show – Nanotech 2008.veeco. www. Germany The annual scientific conference focusing on nanostructural imaging. www. developers of new “smart” or functionalized nanomaterials.cimtec-congress. rather than technology and theoretical benefits. UK NanoMaterials08 will focus on the commercialisation of nanomaterials. www.nsti.biosensors-congress. ACADEMICS AND POLICY MAKERS CONVENE May 14-16 Biosensors 2008 Acireale.cnrs-imn.web. China The tenth world congress on biosensors will feature presentations on topics ranging from DNA chips and nucleic acid sensors to commercial developments. manufacturing and markets. France The E-MRS 2008 Spring Meeting features 17 technical symposia. an exhibit.and Nano-technologies. and modification using scanning probe microscopy (SPM) and related techniques www.and Nano-scale CIMTEC July 9-11 Seeing at the Nanoscale Berlin. Boston USA The largest and most comprehensive technical and business event in nanotechnology world-wide with over 30 technical & business symposia.mulcahy@nanomagazine. as well as the commercialization of Micro. www. The conference will address progress at the frontiers of fundamental as well as applied research and will allow participants to exchange ideas and results of their latest work in an informal atmosphere. Italy More than seven hundred technical contributions featured by the several Symposia of the 3rd International Conference “Smart Materials.


www.nasa. has become one for the largest and most creative in 008 . Among his other awards are NASA’s outstanding leadership medal and the US President’s Meritorious Award. The award recognizes his leadership in nanotechnology. The new technology was recently presented at the 34th Fulerene Nanotubes General Symposium in Japan. The resulting paper was extremely and through his efforts.tsinghua. The team also put their material to more practical use by using it to make supercapacitors—devices that can store up to 1000 times more electrical energy than standard capacitors and are often used when a large but brief surge of energy is required. The research was published in the journal Nanotechnology.S EW N NASA’s nano pioneer awarded Meyya Meyyappan has been awarded the 2008 Judith A Resnik Award from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). particularly his contribution to nanotubes and their applications in sensors. yet an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity.S. government. The scientists created their ‘buckypaper’ by rolling a small steel cylinder across an array of carbon nanotubes. graphene is known for its high electron mobility. such as in electronic devices. Carbon nanostructures that combine these two materials therefore hold potential for material research and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd have successfully combined carbon nanotubes and graphene to form a new nano-scale carbon composite. The Centre is considered the strongest nanotechnology research laboratory of any of the federal laboratories. Supercapacitors are also being used in some prototype fuel-cell and hybrid cars to improve acceleration.arc. instrumentation and nanodevices in both aerospace and industrial applications. NASA Ames Research Centre in California. such as driving the starter motor of a large Image courtesy of IEEE World’s First New Carbon Nanotube Composite Nanotube paper rolled out Physicists at Tsinghua University in China have invented a super-thin nanotube paper which has potential for use in a range of materials that boost performance of high energy density supercapacitors or remove heat from computer chips. Meyyappan is director of the Center for Nanotechnology. While carbon nanotubes have properties including high thermal conductivity and high current-density tolerance. www.ipt. Meyyappan’s research focuses on carbon nanotubes and inorganic nanowires. which are vulnerable to heat. The buckypaper is also extremely strong – demonstrated by Changhong Liu and his colleagues by folding their CNT material into an origami swan. in 1991. which he helped found.

they provide a promising storage medium. the researchers report.pku. The research was published in Nanotechnology. Further research is needed. which offers camouflage to the insect. the energy required to compress hydrogen for storage can outweigh the benefits of energy it can CNT key to hydrogen storage? Researchers at Stanford University Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory have developed a new technology for storing hydrogen with carbon nanotubes. renewable energy – it can be used in fuel cells to produce electricity. http://en. The new discovery involved packing hydrogen into single-walled carbon nanotubes through the formation of bonds with carbon atoms. For example. The new reflective material could then be peeled off using tweezers. The researchers deposited the wing in a gold form before transferring the pattern onto a film before being heated. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the university and therefore provides a valuable source of clean. Because the nanotubes have a large surface area. bringing us a step closer to realizing hydrogen as a source of energy. The gold mould could be used for more than ten times. However. The fascinating. The anti-reflective property of the cicada wing.nano Anti-reflective films inspired by insect wings Nature has inspired Chinese researchers to produce a nanostructured anti-reflective 009 .edu. to date a safe. Image courtesy of Anders R Nilsson www. anti-reflective properties of the cicada’s wing was used by the scientists at Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Nanotechnology and Engineering to produce the new material. efficient and inexpensive way of storing hydrogen for use in such fuel cells has proved a challenge. with the only byproduct being water. but there is hope for the potentials of nanotubes to contribute to future hydrogen-storing technologies. is due to a gradual refractive index profile at the interface between the wing and the air. The research was published in Nano Letters.

Conventional methods for treating broken bones is a lengthy process.tennessee. CNTs placed in contact with damaged bones not only helped to regenerate bone tissue but also reduced inflammation during Gripping secrets of ivy revealed Researchers at the University of Tennessee have discovered the secret behind the ivy plant’s amazing gripping abilities – they appear to secrete nanoparticles that help them grip to surfaces.uiuc. Measurements taken as the new bone was forming revealed that the CNTs become integrated into the bone matrix and appear to act as a starting point for new bone tissue to begin to grow. commonly used to facilitate bone regrowth. Atomic force microscopy has now lifted the lid on the yellowish matter and revealed that it contains uniform particles 70nm across. They will also investigate whether they could use ivy to produce other nanoparticles. it was believed that silicon would be too brittle to use in flexible chips as it is quite brittle and rigid. that involves weeks of cast or splint wearing for the patient. Previously. The new technology could lead to much faster healing processes for those who experience broken bones. 010 . The research team is now working out the mechanism by which the ivy produces nanoparticles and hope to work out exactly how they help the plant stick to surfaces. Details of the new invention were published in the journal Nanoribbons lead to bendable circuits Nanoribbons have been used to develop flexible circuit boards that could be integrated into wearable computers or biomedical devices.S EW N Carbon Nanotubes Help Mend Bones Image courtesy of John Rogers Japanese scientists have discovered that carbon nanotubes could help to speed up the recovery of broken bones. However. Microscopic rootlets spring out from the stems and secrete a “little yellowish matter”. the researchers led by John Rogers at the University of Illinois were able to optimize the silicon used in the nanoribbons to produce circuits that were fully foldable and stretchable. www. When the CNTs were used in conjunction with a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP). as first described by Charles Darwin in 1876. the production of new bone material was accelerated even further. The researchers believe the nanoparticles are produced inside the stem and then secreted out through the rootlets. The nanoribbons are formed from ultrathin sheets of silicon bonded to sheets of rubber. These are the first flexibile chips to use silicon.

meaning that they are better suited to the British Eco-friendly Power Paint RESEARCHERS AT SWANSEA UNIVERSITY ARE DEVELOPING A NEW.500 gigawatts of electricity through the solar cells annually. the materials being developed at Swansea are more efficient at capturing low light radiation. Dr Worsley believes that the potential for the product is immense. Bangor University. the interference patterns were distorted and the colour appeared black. It is this property that interested researchers at the University of Namur in Belgium who have closely examined structures in the shell that enable it to produce these colour changes. www. with a view to the eventual commercialisation of the product. He said: “Corus Colours produces around 100 million square metres of steel building cladding a year. However. capable of carrying up to 850 times its own weight. thanks to its super-strong protective shell. If we could mimic the colour-changing abilities of the shell. where monitoring the moisture level is of critical importance. Paint is applied to steel when it is passed through rollers during the manufacturing process. If this was treated with the photovoltaic material.fundp.” Dr Worsley will be working closely with Corus to research practical.swansea. www. and the Imperial College London to develop commercially viable photovoltaic materials for use within the steel industry is now underway.nano Hercules Beetle Inspires Intelligent Materials The Hercules Beetle is regarded to be the strongest creature in the world. it could help to devise smart materials that could act as humidity ECO-FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGY THAT THEY CLAIM COULD GENERATE AS MUCH ELECTRICITY AS 50 WIND FARMS. a Reader in the Materials Research Centre at the University’s School of Engineering. when water penetrated the surface. The researchers’ aim is to produce cells that can be painted onto a flexible steel surface at a rate of 30-40m2 a 011 . The research was published in the New Journal of Physics. They found that normal light interference patterns within the shell resulted in a green colour. University of Bath. The beetles’ shell changes from green to black as its surrounding atmosphere gets more humid. then we could be looking at generating 4. Collaboration between Swansea University. and assuming a conservative 5% energy conversion rate. is investigating ways of painting solar cells onto the flexible steel surfaces commonly used for cladding buildings. Unlike conventional solar Dr Dave Worsley. That’s the equivalent output of roughly 50 wind farms. and it is hoped that the same approach can be used to build up layers of the solar cell system. costefficient methods of mounting the system on steel structures. in food processing plants for example. The shell also has other properties – the ability to change colour – which is helping scientists to design a new range of ‘intelligent materials’.

GY LO NO CH TE Illustration by artist Pat Rawling showing the concept of a space elevator as viewed from the geostationary transfer station looking down the length of the elevator towards Earth. Picture courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. 012 .

Researchers at the University of Sydney are studying the impact of projectiles on carbon nanotubes for use as a shield and explosion proof blankets. NASA has demonstrated Multi-walled Relatively mature applications – Reinforcements and interconnects Research groups and companies are actively working in applications of carbon nanotubes such as interconnects. Nano Emissive Displays developed by Motorola as a 5 inch prototype have demonstrated the use of carbon nanotubes in display. composites. reinforcements and polymer composites. while being 10 times lighter and more flexible gives them added advantage. Tennis rackets were one of the first applications to have been reinforced with carbon nanotubes. opto-electronics and electronic windscreen. flat panel displays. probes in microscopes. and storage. ALMOST 36 THOUSAND KILOMETRES LONG. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can dissipate heat as effectively as copper. optical.nano Carbon Nanotubes Applications and Markets IMAGINE A CABLE. This development is expected to change the design and fabrication of flat panel displays. chemical. Sensors Carbon nanotube applications in sensing applications such as biosensors. CARBON NANOTUBES. Carbon nanotubes intercalated with copper create a composite material exhibiting good thermal properties that can be ideal for chip cooling. CONSIDERED AS THE WONDER MATERIAL OF THE 21ST CENTURY. Arrays of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes intercalated with silicon dioxide are being developed for interconnect applications. Stanford University in collaboration with Toshiba Corporation have demonstrated a CMOS circuit using carbon nanotube as interconnects. structural. electronic. while many more are being researched. Such interconnects are ideal for use in Dynamic Random Access Memories and developing three dimensional architecture. ARE A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE MATERIAL IN THIS REVOLUTIONARY CONCEPT OF THE SPACE ELEVATOR. Thin film transistors made from networks of single walled carbon nanotubes at Hanyang University in Seoul have demonstrated the potential of thin film transparent electronics that can be used in e-paper. a group led by Professor Nikhil Koratkar have developed a method using carbon nanotubes for detecting and repairing cracks in nearly all types of polymers. EXTENDING FROM THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH AND CAPABLE OF TRANSPORTING PAYLOADS AND PEOPLE INTO SPACE. The concept of CNT reinforcement has evolved since and. Carbon nanotubes have also been demonstrated in light bullet proof vests and » 013 . The processor run at 1GHz speed is comparable with other CMOS chips. body armor of vehicles. Their use has been demonstrated in over 25 applications ranging from nano-scale electronics. T he range of physical. thermal and mechanical properties offered by carbon nanotubes has created an immense interest in this nanomaterial. Pacing Applications – Displays and thermal conductors Among the applications of carbon nanotubes that use electronic and thermal conductivity are thin film transistors. flat panel displays and thermal management system. biomedical. chemical and pressure sensors are being investigated. KSHITIJ ADITEYA SINGH EXPLORES THE RANGE OF APPLICATIONS CARBON NANOTUBES WILL OFFER AND PROVIDES A PERSPECTIVE ON THE EMERGING NANOMATERIALS MARKETPLACE.

Markets The carbon nanotubes market can be viewed as a market of the material and applications. and quantity. robotics. This change is noticeable for single-walled carbon nanotubes more than multi-walled carbon nanotubes. It is expected to be used as a dry adhesive in microelectronics. to bring prices down has not been achieved. which are in turn more expensive than 60%-purity tubes. Codes of conduct. No accurate estimate of production capacity is available though it remains in few thousands of tonnes. act as an ultra sensitive sensor for detecting the hybridisation of target DNAs. In relation to market understanding. These will have a positive impact on the development of the carbon nanotube market. There is also a decrease in the price of carbon nanotubes with increasing quantities. One of the causes of uncertainty in the development of the market has been the toxicity of carbon nanotubes on health and the environment. Researchers are constantly coming out with new ideas and applications of carbon nanotubes are expected to grow over the next decade. Sharp price decreases for nanotubes have been observed around 100 gram. One of the biomedical applications of nanotube is its use as a drug delivery vehicle. Organisations in Europe such as ISO. double walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes. President of Bawa Biotechnology. the smaller the diameter of tube. For example the price of a functionalized nanotube is more than 90%-purity nanotubes. Among other factors that will assist the development of mass market of carbon nanotube is standardization and codes of conduct.GY LO NO CH TE Carbon Nano tube array electrode functionalised with DNA. Surrey University has recently demonstrated chemical sensors while Rensselaer researchers have demonstrated that a small block of carbon nanotubes can be used as a highly effective pressure sensor. acquisition of intellectual property has assumed a disproportionately more important role in positioning of products within the carbon nanotube market. Carbon nanotubes have three main variations based on the diameter of the tubes – single walled. The risk governance frameworks developed by organizations such as IRGC and first certification of risk management and monitoring such as CENARIOS® seek to address some of the issues raised by the uncertainities of carbon nanotubes. Analysts in 2004 had predicted the cost for a kilogram of carbon nanotube to reach $ 284 in three years. along with organizations in China. consists of a layer of diamond-like carbon over a layer of aligned carbon nanotubes. The main factors affecting the pricing of carbon nanotube are type of tube. the higher the price. The nanomatteress developed at the Nanyang Technological University. Emerging application Emerging application examples of the carbon nanotubes have been observed in vibration isolation applications and are being considered in the design of NASA morphing wing of gliders. The production capacity of individual companies remains in hundreds of tonnes. such as those developed by the European Commission for responsible conduct in research and Responsible NanoCode developed in UK. Drug delivery to yarns Carbon nanotubes have the potential for use across biomedical. The development and rate of maturity of these applications will be determined by a range ofcausal factors. ASTM in the United States. Researchers at the University of London are investigating the carbon nanotube penetration of cells membranes and their interaction with different cell types. Carbon nanotubes just 10-50nm in size spun in a yarn have great potential for use within textiles. purity. space and other fields. Georgia Tech Research Institute have used carbon nanotubes as supports for arrays of photovoltaic material and also serve to connect them to the silicon wafers. This is expected to be used in mobile phones and environment sensors. durable. Governmental organizations are keen to regulate the market in order to avoid a fiasco similar to that resulting from the use of asbestos in the 1980’s. However not all applications will make it to market. For instance an 8nm tube is more expensive than a 30nm diameter nanotube. Korea and Russia are also active. BSI and CEN are developing carbon nanotube characterization related standards. Poor definition of market segments and the subsequent positioning in the market has been one of the main blocks in realizing potential. The level of scale-up required for production units by 2007. Such yarns are strong. significant patent thickets were reported for carbon nanotubes. The composite material has excellent mechanical properties and can provide vibration isolation and wear resistance applications in harsh environments. It is none the less certain that the use of carbon nanotube as a material for multi-disciplinary engineering will continue to increase and may one day become a commodity material. will have a positive bearing by defining boundaries of carbon nanotube companies and their behaviour in capital market. University of Akron has demonstrated an adhesive application with 200 times the gripping power of gecko’s foot. flexible and retain the electrical properties of the nanotubes. Therefore it is important that forecasting figures are assessed with cautious optimism. Kshitij Aditeya Singh works at the Institute of Nanotechnology (UK) 014 . energy. An example of this is the nanocomposite market of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes in energy applications have been demonstrated in fuel cells as backing material for the electrodes in the membrane electrode assembly and also for the storage of hydrogen. Patent thickets and potential litigation remains a serious issue to be addressed if the markets are to realize their potential. diameter. Pricing plays an important role in successful uptake of products in the market. In solar cell applications. Researchers at University of California have demonstrated a nanoscale radio where the main component of the circuit consists of a single carbon nanotube. industrial adhesives and textile sectors. The challenges of each application vary at each stage of the development cycle and technology adoption. For example Nanocyl has recently demonstrated a production capacity of 100 tonnes per annum. Also. The toxicity results available are not consistent and not conclusive as yet. In a recent paper by Raj Bawa. mainly in the general category and electronics applications. functionality.


016 .LS IA ER AT M Adapted from an image courtesy of Anthony Hoffman.

The holy grail of meta-materials thus far has been one that bends light backwards. ELAINE MULCAHY SPEAKS TO PROFESSOR SIR JOHN PENDRY ABOUT THESE FASCINATING MATERIALS THAT PLAY TRICKS WITH THE LIGHT. who had postulated that if we could find such materials. » 017 . T From this property all manner of extraordinary possibilities have emerged. they could bend. He noticed that apart from this relatively mundane property of absorbing radar waves. The present generation was first discovered by Professor Pendry while he was investigating radar absorbing materials for the Marconi Company. ABLE TO BEND WAVES AROUND CORNERS AND MAKE SOLID OBJECTS INVISIBLE ARE JUST SOME OF THE MIND-BOGGLING IDEAS THAT PHYSICISTS WORKING IN THE OBSCURE WORLD OF META-MATERIALS BELIEVE COULD ONE DAY BE REALITY. the new materials could also be used to reverse electric and magnetic fields. obeying the mysterious and somewhat controversial concept of a negative refractive index. he very origins of meta-materials defy common logic.nano A trick of the light? MATERIALS CAPABLE OF HARVESTING LIGHT. Victor Veselago. This enabled the realisation of a brilliant theoretical suggestion made in 1967 by a Russian scientist. light in the opposite direction to ordinary substances such as glass. or refract. like an invisible mirror.

that is. but rather to feel the collective response of many elements. along with scientists at Marconi Materials Technology in England.” Electromagnetic waves. The electrical component causes electrons to move back and forth. Normally. rather than exerting an equal but opposite force on A. they oscillate at a resonant waves in ways that were previously impossible. This is why they sparkle. for example – when A exerts a force on B.” “The most fundamental aspect of this design is that these structures are considerably smaller than the wavelength of 018 . he predicted. Light is just one example of an electromagnetic wave. air and water.” In this case. they disrupt the flow of the wave. “Chemistry is not the only path to developing materials with an interesting electromagnetic response. B starts moving in the other direction. while the magnetic component causes the electrons to go round in circles. Refraction is what gives the lens in the eye the ability to bend incoming light so that it comes to focus on the retina. it will start to arc higher and higher. The refractive index is a measure of how much a wave will change direction as it enters or leaves a material. the Russian physicist Victor Veselago had an idea for a material with a negative refractive index. scenario that we aim to achieve in meta-materials. It is this. if you try to push at a faster rate. As light. but in reverse. as their name suggests. such as from air to glass or water.LS IA ER AT M Meta-cloak.4. for example. In 1967.3 and diamonds have a refractive index of 2. electrons in the water feel the force of the incoming energy and move in response. In a material with a negative index of refraction. passes from air into water. glass has a refractive index of 1. “We can also engineer electromagnetic responses by creating tiny structures that are embedded in the material and force it to behave the way we want it to. and what makes an object sitting in a glass of water appear closer to the surface than it actually is.” Pendry says. It was not until 30 years later that the possibility of realising Veselago’s dream became reality when Professor Pendry. This is its resonant frequency. Image courtesy of Duke University. Naturally. in time with this swinging. It is a well known phenomenon that occurs when light waves bend as they pass from one material to another. would make light flow backwards and would have almost magical attributes that would let it outperform any other known material. Take Newton’s third law. If you push the swing periodically. is different. This concept appears to defy some of the most basic laws of physics. B exerts and equal but opposite force on A. How is this possible? Pendry explains – Resonance is the key. the electromagnetic wave we are trying to control. But finding a material with a negative refractive index was not straightforward. Any past student of physics or science will most likely have learnt about refraction. The combined electrical and magnetic responses define a material’s refractive index and they must both be negative in order to yield a negative refractive index. repeating rows of tiny circuits consisting of wires and split-ring resonators mimic the electrical and magnetic responses of electrons in a natural material. “Imagine a swing oscillating at a consistent rate. generate two responses in a material. one that induces an electrical and magnetic response in the material and it is this characteristic that scientists have been able to manipulate to create meta-materials. We don’t want the wave to “see” the individual elements. almost backwards. Air has a refractive index of 1. refraction occurs because the chemical makeup of the materials. As they soak up the energy. Such a material. discovered that materials could be engineered to respond to electromagnetic Meta-materials contain tiny circuits and wires that mimic the actions of electromagnetic responses typical of natural materials. the push will go out of phase with the motion of the swing and you will come to a point where your arms are outstretched (force A) and the swing (force B) is rushing back towards you. However.

microwaves. designed to curve incoming microwaves around an object placed in the centre of the cylinder and then merging them back together on the other side. “The blueprint for optical nanocircuitry that links the fields of metamaterials. copper pipe invisible to microwaves. visible light. Although not perfect on the first attempt (there was some shadow and grey areas). I think it is these broader applications that will be most important. The elements of a meta-material capable of responding to visible light need to be orders of magnitude less than the wavelength. has provided an insight into future electronics which could see significant miniaturisation of circuits in parallel with an increase in storage capacity as we switch to nano-scale circuitry capable of exploiting light rather than electrons. or guiding signals around an optical chip. Smith has since refined his meta-material. By exploiting the optical properties of metamaterials. inductor. including the first invisibility cloak. or metactronics as coined by Professor Nader Engheta. which some people with noisy neighbours might welcome!” Pendry says. Engheta’s circuits are created from a collection of nanoparticles of different materials and properties aligned next to one another. The next challenge is to build meta-materials containing nano-scale circuitry capable of manipulating the direction of visible light. rendering the object invisible. optics and electronics has been laid down. Images courtesy of Martin Wegener Professor Sir John Pendry is Chair in Theoretical Solid State Physics at Imperial College London 019 . But. resistor. The different nanoparticle elements represent elements typical of a conventional electronic circuit – capacitor. The first demonstration of a meta-material with a negative refractive index was developed by Dr David Smith and colleagues at the University of California. Pendry stresses. Now at Duke University. just like the swing swinging towards the outstretched hands. ONE THAT INDUCES AN ELECTRICAL AND MAGNETIC RESPONSE IN THE MATERIAL AND IT IS THIS CHARACTERISTIC THAT SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MANIPULATE TO CREATE META-MATERIALS. proving in 2006 the concept of an invisibility cloak and generating widespread international excitement and media attention that we might all one day possess the ability to hide from our adversaries. which places less demand on the fine detail required of the material circuitry.” it showed in principal that invisibility could be achieved and was not bad for a first attempt! Radio-waves. Image courtesy of Keith Drake “LIGHT IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF AN ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVE. the nano-circuit elements shape and tailor optical fields in the circuit. and therefore in the nanoscale. Smith’s cloak has proved the concept of invisibility. Published in Science. infrared. In principle. who heads research into optical nanocircuits at the University of Pennsylvania. just like the swing. though practicalities do limit this. We may also be able to make an acoustic cloak. it was a major scientific breakthrough.nano frequency. “Static magnetic fields can also be cloaked and that may have some applications to screening the fields in an MRI set-up. Illustration showing what happens in negative refraction. “The concept is much broader than just being able to hide something. A person with microwave vision would only see what was behind the cloak. was recently developed and described by him in Science.” Visible light sits somewhere in the middle on the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths in the range 400-700 nm. “The coming years will be an exciting time as we build on this knowledge to create new technologies and devices in this evolving field. The list of potential applications is significant. San Diego in 2000. Smith’s invisibility cloak made a slightly less magical.” Illustration showing what happens in normal refraction. yet no less astounding. ultra-violet.” Indeed. Obvious examples are the converse of the cloak – a harvester of radiation. apply a wave above the resonant frequency and the response is negative – the electrons begin to oppose the incoming wave. Smith used microwaves in his design because of their long wavelengths. Smith’s cylindrical cloak was built from layers of repeating wire and split ring circuits. These wires and split rings have become the building blocks of a wide assortment of meta-materials with various interesting properties. Engheta.” Engheta says. “The most obvious application of these meta-materials is radar and similar stealth applications. x-rays and gamma rays cover the spectrum of electromagnetic wave types. we can literally make electromagnetic energy go where we please. the new emerging field of metamaterial-inspired electronics. THAT IS. just like Harry Potter! Rather than hiding a young wizard. from radio-waves with the longest wavelength to gamma rays with the shortest wavelengths.

LS IA ER AT M 020 .

TO MAKE THEM SMARTER. YARNS MADE FROM NANOTUBE FIBRES COULD BE INCORPORATED INTO CLOTHING. Individual short fibres are twisted together to create long. have grown forests of individual nanotubes just 1-5 nm in diameter that are more than two millimetres tall. for example. ” There has been much progress in the creation of these nanotube forests over the past number of years from groups working around the world. they have progressed research into the development of nanotube sheets and yarns that could be used as scaffolds for growing nerve cells as well as for application in a range of smart textiles. which makes them potentially very useful as electrodes for flat panel displays and solar cells. Our Stone Age ancestors twisted tufts of animal hair with their hands to make strong pieces of string. they wove the first nanotube textile from these yarns – it was the size of a finger nail and super strong. High growth rates to provide organized structures provide advantages compared to conventional glass and plastic scaffolds. OUR STONE AGE ANCESTORS TWISTED TUFTS OF ANIMAL HAIR WITH THEIR HANDS TO MAKE STRONG PIECES OF STRING. The researchers think the sheets were so effective because of the giant surface area they present to the cells. MEANWHILE. the strength of these nanotube sheets is higher than the strongest steel plate! As well as super strength.000 times longer than their diameter. PROFESSOR RAY BAUGHMAN EXPLAINS SOME EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE LEADING TO A NEW GENERATION OF SMART MATERIALS. In a continuous process. The challenge is to assemble these extremely long lengths of nanotubes into yarn and sheets at industrially useful rates. OR EVEN ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES. textiles and electronics industries. which may be more similar to the natural internal environment of the body than glass or plastic can provide. Today. Indeed. STRONGER AND MORE POWERFUL.nano Smart Yarns Advances in carbon nanotube technologies are driving the generation of a new class of materials that cross the biomedical. In 2006. which was 50. “Carbon nanotubes in a nanotube forest are arranged like bamboo trees in a bamboo forest. much more sophisticated equipment is used to spin cotton and wool to create yarns for a range of textiles from clothing to car seats. without breaking. This yarn can in turn be twisted together to create even stronger yarns. The Japanese team of Kenji Hata and Sumio Iijima at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).000 times more massive than the sheet area where it sat. Metre long sheets of nanotube fibres up to 5 cm wide and just 50 nm thick were formed and displayed enormous strength – a sheet could hold a droplet of water. FUTURE APPLICATIONS COULD USE NERVE CELLS GROWN ON NANOTUBE YARNS AS INTERCONNECTS FOR THOUGHT-BASED CONTROL OF ARTIFICIAL LIMBS. The science of spinning goes way back. Since then. MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED EQUIPMENT IS USED TO SPIN COTTON AND WOOL TO CREATE YARNS FOR A RANGE OF TEXTILES FROM CLOTHING TO CAR SEATS” 021 . which can even be the sticky edge of a Post-it note. which reach centimetre lengths. “THE SCIENCE OF SPINNING GOES WAY BACK. Baughman’s colleagues Anvar Zakhidov and John Ferraris recently started a company called Solarno that focuses on using carbon nanotube sheets in combination with other nanotechnologybased materials for solar energy harvesting. Scaffolds for building on Baughman’s collaborators Pedro Galvan and Mario Romero of Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas successfully grew human skin fibroblasts and animal brain cells on carbon nanotube sheet scaffolds. However. TODAY. On a per weight basis. Baughman and his colleagues at the University of Texas in Dallas have downsized such twist-based spinning to the nanoscale by replacing conventional yarn fibres with a thousand times thinner carbon nanotubes. Sheets of strength Baughman and his colleagues were able to draw sheets of nanotubes from the sides of such forests using an adhesive strip. but the basic technology remains the same. Nanotube Forests But where do the nanotubes for spinning these yarns come from? “Carbon nanotube sheets and yarns are made by drawing nanotubes from the side of a ‘nanotube forest’. sensors and electronic components. high strength yarn. fast-growing forests of carbon nanotubes could be grown on one end of a moving belt and stripped off at the other end to create our sheets and yarns. A research group at the University of Cincinnati have grown even taller nanotube forests. This seems feasible since we have already demonstrated sheet draw from nanotube forests at 30 metre per minute. This means that there is about three billion kilometres of nanotubes in each kilogram of yarn. the nanotube sheets are transparent and able to conduct electricity.” Baughman explains. over 30. these nanotubes are skinny.

Their strength. The NanoTech Institutes’ fuel powered muscles. Other artificial muscles developed by the NanoTech Institute are instead powered by highly energetic fuels. the neurons appeared to thrive on the sheets. These fuel powered muscles. The cross section of one of these yarns. which can use ether carbon nanotubes or special nanotech-based metal wires. for example.” Muscle power Creating artificial muscles using nano-yarns is another area of applications research at the Nanotech Institute. able to do 100 times greater work per cycle and produce. Baughman and his team have developed technology to spin nanotube fibres to create yarns that have unlimited lengths. autonomous robots having very long 022 . help solve one of the problems with electrically powering artificial muscles – the amount of energy that can be stored in a battery is too low for long operation of highly athletic advanced robots. they could eliminate the uncomfortable rigidity sometimes found in textiles that contain metal wires to provide heating. they could be used to monitor heart rate and vital signs of astronauts travelling to outer space or athletes seeking to enhance performance.” “The ability to grow nerve cells on CNT sheets has great potential for electrically interfacing neurons. from cold electron emitters for intense lamps and miniature x-ray sources to electronic textiles. and so on. toughness and conducting properties mean these yarns have potential in a vast array of technologies. If successful.LS IA ER AT M Nerve cells.000 individual nanotube fibres – a thousand times greater number than for commercial wool or cotton yarns having much larger diameter. 4-. “Because the yarns have extremely small diameters. extending axons outwards from the cell body. such as the ability to actuate as an artificial muscle and to store energy as a super-capacitor or battery. at reduced strengths. “We are now investigating whether we can record and stimulate neurons over the longterm on these CNT sheets. nanotube yarns or sheets could be wonderful scaffolds for repairing nerve injuries and even the creation of highresolution brain-machine interfaces.” Baughman says. artificial muscles. When electrically powered. for example. larger contractions than natural muscles. or neurons. are 100 times stronger than natural muscles. bullet proof vests. “smart skins” and morphing structures for air and marine vehicles. Baughman says. Baughman and his team have managed to successfully grow neurons on CNT sheets. Among other possibilities. and composites for making lighter aircraft. electrostatic discharge protection and microwave absorption. “The highly supportive nature of carbon nanotube sheets for directed cellular growth and migration could have applications in areas such as wound healing and nerve regeneration.” Spinning yarns As well as drawing sheets from nanotube forests. these nanotube muscles can generate over a hundred times the force of a natural muscle. These yarns are flexible.” Baughman says. which is ten times smaller in diameter than a human hair. As textiles used for smart clothing. However. 10-ply yarns. tough and highly conducting. contains about 100. are extremely sensitive to their environment and can be quite difficult to grow. In fact. “Replacing metal wires in electronic textiles with these nanotube yarns could provide important new functionalities. these muscles could enable fuel-powered artificial limbs. which use either alcohol or hydrogen for fuel. Nanotubes about 10 nm in diameter are simultaneously drawn from the forest and twisted to generate strong yarns having a thousand times larger diameter. Individual yarns can in turn be spun together to generate 2-.

as supercapacitor electrodes to store this electrical energy as injected charge. energy storage. Professor Ray Baughman is the Director of the Alan G. related electrochemical cells are being used for storing electrical energy. Likewise. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas 023 . Also. Driving forward These and other related applications of carbon nanotube yarns and sheets are grouped within the Institutes NanoEnergetics program. In some instances. some of the artificial muscles can be driven mechanically. THESE NANOTUBE MUSCLES CAN GENERATE OVER A HUNDRED TIMES THE FORCE OF A NATURAL MUSCLE. WHEN ELECTRICALLY POWERED. optical. and as artificial muscles to use changes in injected charge to provide actuation. harvesting solar energy or waste thermal energy. and for the operation of artificial muscles. mission capabilities and smart sensors that detect and self-actuate to change the environment. so that advances in one application enable advances in others. these are exciting times for research on carbon nanotubes.nano CREATING ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES USING NANOYARNS IS ANOTHER AREA OF APPLICATIONS RESEARCH AT THE NANOTECH INSTITUTE. associate director of the NanoTech Institute. Anvar Zakhidov. and mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes are used for energy harvesting. where the novel electronic. says Baughman. “While none of these applications of our nanotube yarns and sheets have yet reached the market place. a single electrode is multifunctional – fuel powered artificial muscle electrodes act as fuel cell electrodes to convert chemical energy to electrical energy. Synergism exists. leads key projects on solar energy harvesting and high efficiency light sources that use oppositely directed processes that are intimately related. and energy conversion. For example. We and others around the world are making rapid advances that might lead to game-changing products”. so that mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy.

Four priority research areas – life sciences. infrastructure and space/oceans. Japanese spending on research and development today is one of the greatest in the world. the Science and Technology Basic Law was enacted which led to the implementation of a series of “Basic Plans” to focus R&D spending and scientific achievement to specific areas deemed of national and international importance. maximise national potential. and protect the nation’s health and security. even in the deteriorating financial circumstances. Nanotech The Government has poured significant amounts of money into nanotechnology – 86. environmental sciences and nano technology/materials – are the priority focus for research investment and all are geared towards achieving the three core ideas of human wisdom. “However. the Japanese economy has recovered and we are looking toward a more sustainable growth path. The private sector has also made large commitments to the field. the environment. Japan’s position as a leader in technology over the past two decades have come in large part from a realisation by the government during the 1990s of a need to excel in the sciences in order to set Japan apart. a country possessing excellent Science and Technology is expected. First Secretary of Science and Innovation at the British Embassy in Tokyo says.5bn (500m Euro) investment is planned for 2008. more than ever before. Japan does feel the pressure of its convictions on the global scale. The first and second Basic Plans were successfully implemented from 1996-2000 and 2001-2005 respectively. national potential and protection.” Indeed. The Ministry of Economy. “The first and second basic plans were formulated and carried out during a period of prolonged economic stagnation in Japan following the collapse of the bubble economy. Trade and Industry (METI) estimates private sector investment of more than Y40 billion on nanoscience R&D in 2003 and there are currently around 500 nanotechnology related companies in 024 . energy and resources. which commenced in 2006. The third Basic Plan. manufacturing technology. “Japan.” Wright says. governmental R&D expenditure increased. will run until 2010 and see investment estimated at about 25 trillion Yen (160 billion euro).” “Many efforts have been made to resolve global-scale problems concerning population. Science and Technology achievements will need to be great if we are to avoid passing these problems to the next generation. But. information and telecommunications. “Being a world leader means expectations are high. consistently exceeding that of many other developed nations by millions of pounds and believed to account for a quarter of global R&D spend. As a result.LD OR W Nanotechnology in Japan JAPAN HAS LONG BEEN RECOGNISED AS A WORLD LEADER AND KEY PLAYER IN GLOBAL ADVANCES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND RECENT INVESTMENT AND PROGRESS IS ESTABLISHING THE COUNTRY’S PLACE IN THE GLOBAL NANOTECHNOLOGY ARENA. but difficult challenges still remain such as sustainable development of human society.” Dr Edward Wright. to contribute to human society through the resolution of the difficult challenges we face by using its national S&T capability. Now onto the third Basic Plan. food.” The Basic Plan is based on three core ideas: To create human wisdom. Secondary prioritised areas are energy.

In solar power generation. Science and Technology (MEXT) has led policy development on the strategic promotion and development of » 025 . for example. The Ministry of Education. Culture. the environment relating to Science and Technology is expected to change remarkably at home and abroad and much effort has been focussed on advancing research in sustainable and environmental sciences. During the period of the third basic plan.5 trillion and expected to increase to over Y19 trillion by 2010. Japan achieved the world’s highest power conversion efficiency and developed the technology for mass production. a significant proportion of Japan’s nanotechnology research efforts take on an environmental agenda. while the amount of solar power generated in Japan accounts for 50 per cent of the global total. An estimate from the Mitsubishi Research Institute and Nikkei Shimbun puts the size of the market for Japanese nano-related technologies in 2005 at Y8. Japan already prides itself on leading the world in energy. such as reducing the weight of transportation equipment and the creation of energy saving buildings equipped with light controlling glass and humidity-controlling walls. Japan. Sports. Image courtesy of Kenji Hata.nano A nano-flower: Aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes synthesized by water-assisted CVD on patterned catalysts. JAPAN’S POSITION AS A LEADER IN TECHNOLOGY OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES HAVE COME IN LARGE PART FROM A REALISATION BY THE GOVERNMENT DURING THE 1990S OF A NEED TO EXCEL IN THE SCIENCES IN ORDER TO SET JAPAN APART. Going back to the key research themes.


have an opportunity to compete and receive fair judgement. molecular/bio/spin electronics based on novel materials and functions (single molecular integrated devices. People also expect contribution to society. environment and society are also considered. AIST Much of Japan’s research advances emerge from the National Institute. single-spin memory chips and sensor devices).nano nanotechnology and materials. The Nanotechnology Business Creation Initiative (NBCI). modeling/simulation of nanomaterials and first-principal calculations/molecular dynamics calculations. Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) published the first roadmap for the risk assessment of nanomaterials. which is changing remarkably due to the rapidly aging population and declining birth rate. providing a schedule for the analysis and exposure. nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMSs).” Wright says. The establishment of research networks that span disciplines and a concentrated effort to strengthen human resources in nanomaterials at universities and international exchange programmes to encourage a new generation of experts in these emerging areas of science are also of key importance along with collaboration across industry. post-doctoral fellows and students. and with a minimal end-of-life effect on the environment. programmed self-organization). The new idea of “minimal manufacturing” is a key strategy area at AIST. The concept describes technological systems that are capable of creating products with maximum functions from minimal resource inputs using minimal energy in the manufacturing process. The current basic plan is based on encouraging more public information and support and an emphasis on fostering human resources and competitive research environments. such as the establishment of a large-scale R&D centre and measurement and analysis technologies and facilities that are becoming more and more important for understanding nano-scale design and materials. Significant advances that have already emerged from AIST include technologies for growing nano-forests. Recommendations by MEXT also include the strategic enhancement of facilities. a consortium of 320 private companies. nextgeneration electronics for high-speed and large-capacity information processing (terabit memory chips. covering all of Japan’s priority R&D areas.” Wright says. The potential societal implications and risks associated with nanotechnology are not lost in any of the Japanese government’s investment strategies. single-molecular manipulators). THE CONCEPT DESCRIBES TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEMS THAT ARE CAPABLE OF CREATING PRODUCTS WITH MAXIMUM FUNCTIONS FROM MINIMAL RESOURCE INPUTS USING MINIMAL ENERGY IN THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS. such as sustainable development and global warming countermeasures. the potential negative impact on the human body. The ministry’s efforts also include support for human resource development and multidisciplinary R&D. “Academia has proven to be successful at generating the seed technologies. nanomeasurement/analysis/fabrication (three-dimensional visualization technology of nanostructures and nanoscale properties. AND WITH A MINIMAL END-OF-LIFE EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT. government and universities. launched in 2001. the resolution of safety issues relating to public concerns about large scale natural disasters and security issues. has also established a working group for societal impacts and standardisation of nanocarbon materials. and the resolution of global-scale problems concerning populations and the environment. it is important that science and technology return more than economic benefits. it is important for people engaged in S&T to generate creative ideas. followed by risk assessment. Society In Japan. A number of research Institutes have been established at AIST to drive forward research in many areas of nanotechnology. nano-soft machines. quantum memory/relay chips). as well as the more traditional nanotech fields of Advanced manufacturing and carbon materials among others. While nanotechnology is recognised as a field that will raise new studies and new industries and is expected to perform a grand contribution for the development of society and the economy as well as improving living conditions. AIST is an amalgamation of 15 research institutes employing about 2500 researchers and more than 3000 visiting academics. bionanomaterials. molecular/bio/ spin electronics Environment: Environment/energy nanomaterials for realizing higher efficiency and new functions (nanostructure-controlled materials for fuel cells. “For the development of a competitive environment in S&T. quantum dot optical devices and power devices) Life Sciences: Bionanotechnology for realizing tailor-made diagnosis/therapy (cell therapy. It is imperative that industry takes the initiative to enable this research to flourish to practical applications. particularly carbon nanotubes. ultra-highspeed/highly integrated LSIs. eco-energy conversion nanomaterials and nanocatalysts) Basic technologies: Fabrication technology for developing novel nanostructure-controlled materials to realize new functions and significant improvements in material property (sub-nano-tailored materials. quantum computation. active targeting drug-delivery nanoparticles and development of the world’s highest resolution magnetic force microscope. Four prioritized areas identified are: Information technology: Quantum information and communications for highspeed and ultra-large-capacity information processing (quantum information and communications. THE NEW IDEA OF “MINIMAL MANUFACTURING” IS A KEY STRATEGY AREA AT AIST. bionanomachines and bio-inspirednanodevices/systems). 027 .

and then I wanted to live in the States. so I moved there.EW VI R TE IN Nobel conversation OTTILIA SAXL INTERVIEWS SIR HARRY KROTO. but what I really wanted to be was a Wimbledon champion. ran a small family business. GeoSet. so I went to work for a time in Bell Labs. Essentially. SIR HARRY IS CONVINCED THAT THE WORLD OF CIVIL ENGINEERING WILL CHANGE AS DEFECT-FREE STRUCTURES ARE CREATED ONCE LONG LENGTHS OF CARBON NANOTUBES HAVING A CONSISTENT DIAMETER CAN BE ROUTINELY SYNTHESIZED. I was good at chemistry. using video and powerpoint. AN ENTIRELY NEW FORM OF CARBON WITH MANY INTRIGUING PROPERTIES. After a while I wanted to get back to the UK. ALONG WITH ROBERT CURL AND RICHARD SMALLEY FOR THE DISCOVERY OF CARBON C60. A OS: What inspired you to become a chemist? HK: Well. But both my chemistry teacher and my art teacher were very supportive of me continuing my studies. and did so by taking a PhD in Spectroscopy. I did so many things there that I wanted to stay on. and came to Sussex. so I gave it a try for 5 years. Harry Heaney. A post-doc opportunity then opened up in Canada. WHO RECEIVED THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR CHEMISTRY. who had been a refugee. and still views the world of graphic design as where his real interests and talents lie! 028 . who encouraged me to go to Sheffield University. but in the ‘50’s there was no real future in these as a career.. and was keen for me to join him. got involved in athletics and worked on the student magazine. and has more recently set up a new website. I also found that University was a way to continue my education and interests! – I played tennis for Sheffield.000 a year to £1.400! But we survived. OS: What were the highlights along the path that led to the discovery of Carbon C60? In spite of winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry as one of the discoverers of carbon C60. part from his research and other interests. University for me was a place I could do all the things I was interested in. which offers a forum for young scientists to share their ideas and research. My father. and it was my chemistry teacher. I was good at art and graphics as well. So I went to University and read chemistry (science was certainly one of the better options for getting a job!) where I became fascinated by quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. buckminster fullerene. Sir Harry Kroto bemoans missing out on a Wimbledon title. IN 1996. Coming home was certainly a shock – particularly a financial shock – my salary dropped from $14. Sir Harry has been active in enabling leading scientists to communicate with the public through the Vega Trust.

condenses in an atmosphere of inert gas. and measuring absorbed / emitted radio waves had many similarities to working on interstellar space where unusual carbon molecules can be found. were the most abundant with a high stability. a polyhedron with 20 hexagonal (6-angled) surfaces and 12 pentagonal (5-angled) surfaces. Defects do not propagate in this kind of structure. It was suggested that C60 could be a "truncated icosahedron cage". All materials have problems based on defects. Taken from the Press Release. BUT IN THE ‘50’S THERE WAS NO REAL FUTURE IN THESE AS A CAREER New forms of the element carbon . or a tree can be cut by sawing into a defect. Glue them together and the box becomes incredibly strong. for example a diamond will crack along a which the atoms are arranged in closed shells were discovered in 1985 by Robert F Curl. as does the geodetic dome designed by the American architect R. coming from carbon stars. For example.nano I WAS GOOD AT CHEMISTRY.from which the start of my role in the discovery of C60 can be directly traced. Smalley. The discovery of C60 led to a recognition of the strength of caged structures.called fullerenes . Buckminster Fuller for the 1967 Montreal World Exhibition. the defects of many structures could be overcome. Kroto and Smalley were able produce clusters with 60 carbon atoms and clusters with 70. 029 . Another highlight was my work on carbon chain molecules undertaken with David Walton – polyamine spectroscopists have always had a close relationship with radio astronomers! . but my big success at Sussex was pioneering studies on molecules with carbon-phosphorus multiple bonds that led to the now prolific field of phosphor alkene / alkyne chemistry. Kroto and Richard E. . Curl. C60. a box of loose straws is weak. Looking at microwave spectroscopy in the lab. The pattern of a European football has exactly this structure. BUT WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO BE WAS A WIMBLEDON CHAMPION. they will have no strength. If you could make these cages. Harold W. and it solves a long-standing problem of how to design out defects. I WAS GOOD AT ART AND GRAPHICS AS WELL. Clusters of 60 carbon atoms. This led eventually to the discovery of carbon C60 (in collaboration with Curl and Smalley). The researchers named the newly-discovered structure buckminsterfullerene after him. 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry OS: Where do you think the discovery of carbon C60 is leading? HK: The discovery of carbon C60 opened up our understanding of carbonaceous network structures that hadn’t been forseen. Fullerenes are formed when vaporised carbon HK: One of the highlights was getting a job! I enjoyed teaching.

I wanted to create a set of programmes where great scientists could communicate their views directly to the public on issues of importance. put there by bright young scientists who are communicating their ideas in order to educate the wider world about their research. COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND. What is the Trust about. 1m long and 1nm in diameter for defect-free applications.EW VI R TE IN Sir Harry Kroto. while also providing role models for other youngsters. sharing it with Richard Smalley and Robert Curl. We are not going to have any revolutionary breakthrough in creating ultra strong materials unless we are able to routinely control the diameter and chirality of the » tubes. if we can talk about the Vega Trust you formed. In the late 1980’s lab experiments at Rice University in Houston. and I want other universities to set up a similar opportunity for their students to contribute to GeoSet. less costly (!) site. 030 . OS: So. lectures and panel debates and discussions with world-class scientists of the last 50 years. was founded originally to create a platform for scientists to communicate directly with the public. with the help of the OU.vega. We have now set up another. consistency of production is still in its infancy. IT EVEN CONTAINS RARE FOOTAGE OF FOUR LECTURES GIVEN BY RICHARD FEYNMAN IN NEW ZEALAND. The Vega site is now a tremendous archive of the scientific thinkers of the day and I want to see it continuing to be added to. Dept Chemistry. and in the late 1970’s his work led him to discover that long linear chain molecules existed in interstellar space and within stars. revealing that C60 could self-assemble. Sir Harry was knighted in 1996 and received the Nobel Prize in the same year for the discovery of C60. His early research focused on the creation of new molecules with multiple bonds. This has been achieved. It contains video and downloadable powerpoint slides. We can’t overcome the existing technologies that are in place at present. courtesy of the University of Auckland. The sticking point is that we cannot control the synthesis of carbon nanotubes. and then get back to art and graphics! THE VEGA TRUST PROGRAMMES INCLUDE EXTRAORDINARY INTERVIEWS. My hope is that in 10 years. and sheet materials in general. www. what about future plans? HK: I would like to do one more good piece of scientific work in Florida. and 55 of these have been shown on the BBC. OS: Sir Harry. LECTURES AND PANEL DEBATES AND DISCUSSIONS WITH WORLD-CLASS SCIENTISTS OF THE LAST 50 YEARS. What we need is a ‘box’ of CNT ‘straws’ – at least 1015 of them. This changed the whole perspective on the nanoscale behaviour of graphite in particular.geoset. It is a parallel initiative. Although we can produce a good yield. The Vega Trust programmes include extraordinary interviews. but a revolution in civil engineering will be possible once we can control the production of CNTs in a consistent manner. Carbon nanotubes would have incredible properties if we could make them of a consistent diameter and in large quantities. were able to simulate the chemical reactions taking place in red giant It even contains rare footage of four lectures given by Richard Feynman in New Zealand. everything on modern science education will be in which will be as meaningful for science and education as Wikipedia and YouTube are for their communities of interest. Florida State University Sir Harry obtained his BSc and PhD at Sheffield University. and what are its goals? HK: The Vega Trust (www. 150 programmes have now been made. but we just don’t know how to yet. There are already niche applications of CNTs but we need to develop those that are in competition with mainstream technologies. a new form of carbon.


from breaking of the original carbon nanotube to joining the two daughter nanotubes. “The whole process. “A systematic investigation of a large number of carbon nanotubes has further reinforced these findings. SCIENTISTS AT JAPAN’S NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DESCRIBE A NOVEL “PLUMBING” TECHNIQUE THAT CONNECTS CARBON NANOTUBES TOGETHER LIKE WATER PIPES. the scientists first split a carbon nanotube by bridging it across two electrodes and gradually increasing the current between them. All 13 attempts at Research led by Dr Kazu Suenaga and Dr Chuanhong Jin recently reported in Nature Nanotechnology on a new method of plumbing carbon nanotubes. So far. the section of nanotube between the two electrodes narrowed until eventually. it has been repeatable. At certain threshold values. can be repeated many times over. like we see in many plumbing systems. But. it split into two daughter nanotubes. BUT BEFORE NANOTUBE CIRCUITS CAN BE BUILT. we have successfully repeated it up to seven times on the same nanotube. at approximately 12µA. the two daughter nanotubes reconnected in a process so quick and sudden that the researchers are still unsure about how it worked. together. both of the same and different diameters. T Connecting nanotubes of different diameters together has proved to be extremely difficult and so the researchers first explored mechanisms for connecting nanotubes of the same diameter. 032 . As the current increased.” Jin said. such as field-effect transistors and current lead-wires. he possibility of connecting carbon nanotubes together like water pipes has enormous potential for both creating longer tubes and adding Tjunctions and changes in direction. The two capped ends were moved close together and again the voltage and current were gradually increased. Such an advance would provide us with the technology to start building a new group of bottom-up engineered nanostructures and devices with a range of applications in electronics.CH AR SE RE Plumbing carbon nanotubes CARBON NANOTUBES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO RADICALLY CHANGE ELECTRONICS AND ARE AMONG THE MOST LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR MINIATURIZING ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS BEYOND THE MICRO-SCALE. each with a closed-cap head. Using a transmission electron microscope to watch the nano-structures in action. Jin and his colleagues then set out to reattach the nanotubes to create a single tube again. SCIENTISTS FIRST NEED TO PERFECT THE TECHNOLOGY FOR ATTACHING AND WELDING NANOTUBES TOGETHER.

” Jin said. Jin believes this is down to differences in the way the atoms are organised.” “This simple method of plumbing carbon nanotubes.nano “THIS SIMPLE METHOD OF PLUMBING CARBON NANOTUBES. Vol. “Such technologies have positive implications for device applications of carbon nanotubes such as field-effect transistors. LIKE WATER PIPES. Nanotubes from the same mother tube have the same chirality and so re-connecting them is more straightforward. “In this way. But attempts to force nanotubes of different chiralities together do not work because of a mismatch at the atomic level.” The ability to split and re-connect carbon nanotubes is important in terms of scientific discovery but may lack practical application when it comes to building bottom-up electronic devices. joining ‘cap to cap’ carbon nanotubes were successful when they stemmed from the same tube. will enable us to build longer and multi-branched nanotubes with serial junctions made by repeated joining. iron and doped boron may also yield similar results. but it can also be used to connect nanotubes of the same diameter.” JIN SAID. connection of nanotubes from different parent tubes and at different locations along the tubes (such as cap to side-wall) may be far more relevant – and has proven far more difficult. and is therefore intriguing in the field of electronics and optics. Further reading Chuanhong Jin. like water pipes. they start to shrink and detach and appear to do everything they can not to join.” Drs Chuanhong Jin and Kazu Suenaga are researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.” Jin said. 033 . or the chirality. from simply increasing their aspect ratio to making integrated carbon nanotube devices. it caused the surrounding atoms to re-align and essentially create a common layer.” Jin said. Deformities appear on the surface. as did repeated attempts to form a Y-type junction in a ‘capto-wall’ orientation. Nature Nanotechnology. In this regard. “It seems to be intrinsically difficult to join two carbon nanotubes with completely different diameters. rather than joining together. however. Tungsten has long been known to help carbon atoms organise themselves into ordered structures. Sumio Ijima (2008). Moving the tungsten particle back and forth helped to strengthen the bond between the two nanotubes. “Eventually a new carbon nanotube is fabricated and a seamless connection between the two tubes with completely different diameters is achieved. consists of pentagonshaped cells that need to adjust in order for the two tubes to join. What the scientists needed was the equivalent of a plumbing fixture to smooth the transition from one tube to the next. The major benefit is that it requires much lower temperatures than connection without the tungsten particle. the potential to manipulate individual quantum objects provides great promise for realizing exotic physical properties. “Not only does this mechanism work for nanotubes of different diameters. Plumbing carbon nanotubes.” Kazu Suenaga added. Carbon nanotubes typically consist of a repeating lattice of hexagonal carbon cells. “SUCH TECHNOLOGIES HAVE POSITIVE IMPLICATIONS FOR DEVICE APPLICATIONS OF CARBON NANOTUBES SUCH AS FIELDEFFECT TRANSISTORS. “We believe the present work is a tour-de-force of nanotechnology and demonstrates the possibilities for the ultimate bottom-up process to fabricate nanodevices. Jin and his colleagues found that when they placed a tungsten particle between two carbon nanotubes of different diameters. all 16 attempts at joining nanotubes with different diameters failed. tungsten is not the only particle that could be used – nickel. connecting a semiconducting nanotube and a metallic nanotube to build a nano-diode is now definitely achievable. Tungsten provided this solution. Also. Also.” In fact. WILL ENABLE US TO BUILD LONGER AND MULTIBRANCHED NANOTUBES WITH SERIAL JUNCTIONS MADE BY REPEATED JOINING. carbon nanotubes of different diameters tend to shy away from each other.” The possibility of connecting carbon nanotubes together in this manner opens a range of possibilities for bottom-up engineering of nanotube structures. Kazu Suenaga. The cap of the nanotube. “Using the techniques described above. in different nanotubes. 3 January 2008.

UE IQ HN EC T Ellipsometry and Polarimetry Towards understanding and predicting the properties of nanoparticles and nanocomposites 034 .

consequently. This exciting field has become known as “Plasmonics”. silver. at first glance. and as a consequence. From an electromagnetic point of view. AND BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS RANGING FROM THERAPEUTICS TO DIAGNOSTICS. the use of metallic structures to transmit light signals seems impractical. depending on their nanostructure size. and. FUNCTIONAL OPTICAL PROPERTIES AND COLOUR FOR OPTICS. Recent interest has been focused on the exploitation of the synchronized oscillations of the conduction electrons that are displaced when visible light strikes some metal nanoparticles. materials physics design of thin film multilayer surfaces. the size of the nanostructure is responsible for the colour (or wavelength) of the emitted light. composite and smart materials and materials engineering at the nanoscale. a world-class consortium of experts has been brought together in the European Coordination Action NanoCharM that will provide scientists and companies with the leadingedge tools they need to succeed in this globally important and competitive market.nano RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THE VERSATILE NATURE OF ELLIPSOMETRY AS A FUNCTIONAL. In addition to the type of semiconductor material. the metal nanoparticles can then reflect back only the light that is not absorbed. So. Of especial importance. and lead to a plethora of intriguing physical phenomena and applications. Typically metals are thought of as either conductors (in electronics) or reflectors (in optics). indium. the optical properties of nanostructures depend very much on their size and shape. Plasmonic surface resonance can dramatically enhance the local electro-magnetic (EM) field by concentrating EM energy into nanoscale volumes. Naturally. Characterization of nanoparticles and nanomaterials is absolutely fundamental to science and technology success in all those fields. and so on. metals can be considered as plasmas. the wavelength of the light they emit. This gives rise to extra absorption at characteristic wavelengths. gallium. breakthroughs in knowledge of biological macromolecules deriving from DNA and protein surface research. NANOSCALE SENSITIVE AND NON-DESTRUCTIVE TECHNIQUE THAT IS PAVING AN EFFECTIVE WAY FOR ENGINEERING A RANGE OF NEW NANOSTRUCTURES WITH TAILORED. copper. Metal Nanostructures – The Colour of Size In contrast to simple bulk materials. and to address this. metallic nanostructures with a characteristic size of few tens-hundreds of nanometers are now attracting a growing interest. T oday’s ellipsometry is becoming popular in a widening field of applications because of the increasing miniaturization of integrated circuits. PHOTONICS. A different kind. called surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Metal nanostructures are a different story: they may absorb only certain wavelengths of light. is the so-called quantum size effect in semiconductor nanostructures that may result in light being emitted when an electrical current is passed through the semiconductor. and so can appear in many dramatically different colours. because metals are known for their high optical losses. palladium. A bulk metal typically reflects more or less all of the impinging light. Because of their fascinating optical properties. for instance. such as gold. This is because electrons in the material at the border of the nanostructure experience changes in energy. Here. size and shape. depending on the composition. but even more dramatic example concerns the colour of simple metals. NanoCharm provide an insightful look at metal nanostructures and the impact of ellipsometry on this exciting new field. We can all see this effect when we look in the mirror. comprising fixed. as well as the composition of the material in which they are found. as long as its surface is smooth. positive ion cores and free conduction electrons. to size and shape-dependent colours that are characteristic of each material. 035 .

they can be used for special effects in paints and cosmetics. engineers can now make carefully controlled nanostructures of many kinds of metals in the quality. the size and shape of these nanostructures may dominate the optical response. indium. In fact. 4th Century A. those effects have been used since middle age times for producing glowing colours. and exploit various metals. the basis of optical behavior of different nanostructures remain a great challenge. and as functionalised (covered with suitable coatings and bio-molecules) metal nanoparticles in ultrasensitive chemical and biological sensors. the high the speed of ellipsometry. however “seeing” nanoparticles is no longer enough we need to know how they obtain their properties and what they can be used for. Another famous example of the use of metal nanoparticles is the Lycurgus Cup (British Museum. Metal nanoparticles can be used in optoelectronics to enhance light emitters (lasers) and photodetectors. Shining a light on the mysteries of the nanoverse Microscopy techniques are used to image nanostructures. This requires an understanding of how the novel optical phenomena relate to the nano-dimensionality of the nanostructure. whose colour changes from greenish to red when it is illuminated from inside because of the plasmonic excitation of the gold nanoparticles within the glass. while optical properties of simple bulk materials are mostly well understood. quantity. If a nanocomposite consists of metal nano-islands of similar size and shape for example. makes it a powerful method for non-invasive and non-destructive investigations of nanostructure dynamics in real time. Controlling the optical behavior of nanoparticles is of key importance for exploiting their properties in several 036 . and its sensitivity to sub-monolayer changes in thin films.D. in high throughput cancer screening and also in colorimetric chemical and photochemical reactions Bringing ancient technologies into the 21st century The colours obtained from some metal nanoparticles were known to medieval artisans unconscious of the fact that they were early nanotechnologists.) containing gold nanoparticles of typically 5nm – 60 nm in size. copper and palladium. who mixed gold and copper nanoparticles into molten glass to create composite materials that absorbed and reflected light in a way that produced a rich ruby colour. particularly for ‘stained’ glass in church windows. as tracers in pharmaceuticals. Thanks to advances in modern nanotechnology and the science behind it. However. in spectacular self-cleaning surface coatings. This process is aided by advances in hardware and software that have improved optical diagnostic capabilities to the point where fast. metal nanostructures are created based on the rational design of size and shape. Nowadays. Among the various optical techniques. and yield required for the systematic investigation of their peculiar properties. real-time nanoparticle-formation processes can now be monitored. not just gold and silver but also gallium. Examples are many and varied.UE IQ HN EC T Stained glass windows are an example of materials that use nanoparticles to add colour.

selective optical filters. (Figure 6). For example. IMIP-CNR. such as variations in temperature and pressure.G.A. Xia. such as antibodies. In ellipsometry and polarimetry. and also the thickness or height of the nanoparticle assembly. various details can be inferred including the refractive index. Another important advantage of ellipsometry is that nanoparticles can be measured without any constraint on substrate (except that it must reflect light). Mie: Ann.Weyl: Coloured Glasses (Dawson’s of Pall Mall. composition and nano-dimensionality of the material. London 1959) The above figure shows an example of 50nm gold nanoparticles assembled to mimic a raspberry on a silicon surface. *NanoCharM (Multifunctional Nanomaterials Characterization Exploiting Ellipso-Metry and Polarimetry). Italy. N. whose corresponding ellipsometric spectra shows the SPR absorption peak at a wavelength of 620nm. novel solar cells configurations. functional nanoscale technique that may play an important role in the generation of a new range of highly specified nanostructures for optics. non-destructive and non-invasive diagnostic techniques that allow the interplay of nanostructures – properties – functionalities to be addressed with a sensitivity down to Angstrom resolution. this is an extremely versatile tool for determining the size of nanoparticles in real time. please visit www.G. 377 (1908): The Mie theory W. but primarily on its refractive index and on the refractive index of the surrounding media. Despite the great importance of the optical response of nanoparticles. New York 1999) Y. Germany For further reading: H.A Irene: Handbook of Ellipsometry (William Andrew. bio-sensors and nanoparticle tracers for cancer detection are among the many applications that use the optical properties of gold nanoparticles that derive from surface plasmon resonances which in turn depend strongly on the anisotropy of the particle shape. Dortmund and Berlin. University of Bari. and the addition of analytes (gases and biomolecules) during chemical sensing and bio-sensing. absorption. The peak wavelength (620 nm) of the plasmon absorption band is larger than that of the same gold nanoparticles in solution (520 nm-green). Therefore. 25. without addressing the optical and functional properties). Dr Maria Losurdo. The dielectric function (refractive index) is the principle behind ellipsometry. a light beam of known polarization impinges on the surface of a material. while the amplitude of the peak gives information on the density and inter-coupling of nanoparticles. as well as their phase transformation. Phys. Halas.J. Tompkins. co-ordinator of the FP7 NanoCharM* project and Norbert Esser. This differentiates ellipsometry from the more conventional reflectance and absorption spectroscopies which are limited by the use of transparent substrates such as glass and quartz to support metal nanostructures. How “nano” is the nanostructure and what optical properties does it have? Ellipsometry can give a direct answer by acquiring the spectra of the nanoparticles’ absorption. The size of the nanoparticles can be inferred by the position of the SPR peak. It is a valuable method for investigating the dynamic changes in metallic nanostructures caused by an external stimulus. the SPR characteristics . When reflected it changes its polarization state. 037 . MRS Bullettin 30. Light impinging on a sample can light up optical phenomena such as the plasmon resonance of the sample. the presence and variation of electrical and magnetic fields. Ellipsometry as an ‘interactive diagnostic’ controlling light with light The ellipsometry technique is highly attractive for under-standing both the optical and electrical properties.nanocharm.which are determinant for addressing the nanoparticles’ functionality. making it suitable and sensitive to detect and tailor the optical response of metal nanostructures. allowing the optical properties to be extracted (namely the refractive index and absorption of the sample) in a quantitative way. and the limited number of ways known for controlling and tailoring them. photonics and biomedical applications. This red-shift resulted from the aggregation of nanoparticles on the silicon substrate. This situation is not due to the negligence of scientists but rather to the intrinsic difficulty of accurately characterizing the properties of the nanoparticles. Ellipsometric probing/exploring all changes: tailoring of metal nano-structure colour for great sensitivity in bio-interfacing and colorimetric sensing Ellipsometry and polarimetry techniques open up the possibility of studying the kinetics of nanostructure formation and the environmental parameters affecting the growth of metal nanostructures. Applied Science Piublisher. Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and Plasmas. Ellipsometry and polarimetry Ellipsometry and polarimetry are optical.McGahan: Spectroscopic Ellipsometry and Reflectometry (Wiley. The power of the technique comes from the fact that it is very sensitive to thin layers and small optical index variations. from one single measurement on a substrate. From “seeing” nanoparticles to defining the optical and physical properties of nanoscale materials. since it can be used as an interactive diagnostic. which is 91±1Å as determined by ellipsometry. The surface plasmon resonance of metal nanostructures depends on nanoparticles size and shape.nano emerging technologies. ISAS (Institute for Analytical Sciences). The ellipsometric sensitivity and SPR response to “dressing” the metal nanoparticles with coatings and biomolecules can yield data on the thickness of the layer covering the nanoparticles and the surface of nanoparticles engineered to target specific gases (chemical sensing) or specific proteins and cells. as compared to 92Å measured by atomic force microscopy (the latter images geometry only. thickness of thin layers and interfaces. To learn more about the project and the consortium partners. it is generally not easily characterized and practically never able to be controlled. ellipsometry techniques represent a step forward in metal nanoparticle characterization without contacting or damaging the sample. corresponding to a ruby colour. It is worth noting that the ellipsometry analysis simultaneously gives the optical response. E. 2006) H. as well as the dimensionality of metal nanostructures. This versatile nature of ellipsometry is proving it to be a promising. Tompkins. 328 (2005) Shape-Controlled Synthesis and Surface Plasmonic Properties of Metallic Nanostructures G. and simultaneously detect and analyse the phenomena themselves. A Concerted Action of the EU’s Framework Programme 7.

Eric Drexler. This development is likely to be a gradual and incremental process across a number 038 . Yet. This prospect is reflected in the huge amount of EU research funding in the “priority streams” of health and nanotechnology. WHILST RAISING SCEPTICISM IN OTHERS? FOR CLUES WE PERHAPS NEED TO LOOK BACK TO THE EARLY DAYS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY. diseases. THERE IS A HUGE HYPE AND FUSS ABOUT “NANOTECHNOLOGY” AND THE APPEARANCE OF THE “NANO“ PREFIX ON A WIDE RANGE OF CONSUMER PRODUCTS FROM SKIN CREAM TO PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS TO STONE CLEANERS.. Striking a balance Currently.1 billion and €3. sometimes previously untreatable. While. This predicted nanoscale “universal assemblers” capable of creating“…almost anything that the laws of nature allow to exist”. The book was a hit and inspired the start of a huge amount of research at the nanoscale. this technology may become feasible. creating an immediate public interest in the new field of “nanotechnology” which has remained. for better or worse.” in 19984 and continues an exploration of the future possibilities for medical nanorobotics in the Nanomedicine series. the “respirocyte. whole new generations of highly miniaturized medical devices. medicine at the nanoscale offers the prospect of highly effective new drug delivery systems. biosensing and diagnosis. CHEMISTRY OR BIOLOGY. a large proportion of which is directed towards research in nanomedicine. He published the first detailed prospective technical design study for a medical nanodevice. the idea of the medical robot busily repairing cells in the bloodstream remains firmly in the public imagination and is an image regularly repeated in the popular media. new structures and materials for use in regenerative medicine (where the body is encouraged to regenerate tissues itself). science is currently at a much less complex stage of implementing medical solutions at the nanoscale. Engines of Creation. Robert Freitas Jr. California and author of the Nanomedicine series3 is a leading proponent of the concept of medical nanorobotics. until the present. some €6. greatly improved imaging. Futuristic visions of nanomedicine do not only come from science fiction.5 billion respectively. diabetes and other. SO WHY HAS “NANO” BECOME SUCH A BUZZWORD FOR SOME. RICHARD MOORE EXPLORERS THE ORIGINS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY While the term “nanotechnology” (one nanometre (nm) equals one billionth of a metre and the nanoscale is generally considered to be the region 1 to 100 nm) was first coined by Norio Taniguchi in his 1974 paper entitled “On the Basic Concept of “Nano-Technology” it first came to the attention of the public in the mid 1980s when its first major proponent. in the long term. laid out an ambitious futuristic scenario in his book.AL IC ED M Nanomedicine: Keeping things in perspective MANY SCIENTISTS CLAIM THAT NANOTECHNOLOGY IS A RATHER ARTIFICIAL TERM AND THAT IT IS ONLY “…WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING FOR AGES” …WHETHER IN PHYSICS. and exciting new treatments for cancer. Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing in Palo Alto. At the same time the idea was picked up by the popular media. ON THE OTHER HAND.

USA (1986) Robert A. This needs to include informing them about both benefits and risks. some new technology or scientific issues have been badly mishandled in the way that information about risks has been communicated to the public. the design of advanced medical materials and novel drug delivery systems typically involves interfaces and interactions between biology and chemistry. On the Basic Concept of “Nano-Technology. Defining nanotechnology Returning to the original question… is nanotechnology something new or merely an extension of existing science and technology? It is probably both. short and long-term. most people are able to take complex decisions about risks if they are sufficiently and properly informed and perceive a benefit that substantially outweighs any risks. “Exploratory Design in Medical Nanotechnology: A Mechanical Artificial Red Cell. of the type foreseen by Freitas and others. 2008. microscopic devices. perhaps only culminating in the much longer term in smart. Media reports frequently ignore scientific fact and dwell on phantom risks. It is defined in the British Standards Institution’s PAS 71 as the “design.nanomedicine. multifunctional. New York. As the science becomes more complex and “invisible” it is therefore necessary to put a proportionately greater effort into risk research of novel nanomaterials and nanotechnology-based products and applications.nano of converging disciplines. Nanomedicine (series). the ability to investigate nanoscale phenomena can be seen as the natural and logical extension to existing sciences. and that how these risks are addressed and communicated can affect the public’s perception. OR OTHERWISE MISINTERPRET THEM BADLY. YET. Such incidents have left public trust in scientists. This is also driven by the ever greater understanding of biochemical processes and the sometimes novel ways that nanomaterials react with the human body. genetically modified organisms (GMOs).. Article adapted from one by the same author that previously appeared in Medical Device Technology. Biotech. Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology. and certainly not the range of products in current development and envisioned for the future.. certain industries and government institutions at a rather low ebb. diagnostics. and Immobil. Taniguchi. physics. materials science and other fields. devices and systems by controlling shape and size at the nanoscale” and it is multidisciplinary and product-focused by its very nature. and engaging them in the governance processes that will undoubtedly impact on their lives in the not-so-distant future. as well as the measures that have been taken to reduce risks. Drexler.” Proc. The application of nanoscience and nanotechnology to imaging. scientists and medical researchers. built up from nanoscale components. and into communicating the results with the public. British Standards Institution (2005) MEDIA REPORTS FREQUENTLY IGNORE SCIENTIFIC FACT AND DWELL ON PHANTOM RISKS. however. Conf. Freitas Jr. Eric K. While it is not wise to raise public expectations or fears by some of the more outlandish ideas of science fiction.” Artificial Cells. Nanomedicine. as has molecular biology. it is perhaps valid to postulate on where the increased ability to engineer at the nanoscale may take society. is characterized by a strong convergence of different disciplines. Tokyo.” But nanotechnology is defined by many of its practitioners as being more than that. or otherwise misinterpret them badly. characterization. targeted “theranostic” nanoparticles capable of being imaged and activated at the chosen disease site This list of examples is by no means exhaustive and there are many other clinical areas and applications where nanotechnology is beginning to have a major impact. in addition to benefits. 039 . contaminated blood. Part II. Richard Moore is Manager of Nanomedicine and Life Sciences at the Institute of Nanotechnology. be potential new risks arising from nanoscale properties of materials. 26. through the inspiration of new generations of students. Until fairly recently it was impossible to consistently apply the necessary tools and control at the nanoscale to manufacture more than simple materials and structures. Certainly. Intl. A number of medical products incorporating nanotechnology-based materials have already appeared on the market such as • suture needles incorporating stainless steel nanocrystals • nanodiamond-coated surgical blades • superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles for magnetic resonance imaging • wound dressings incorporating nanocrystalline silver particles Other more advanced nanomedical products currently in development include • nanoporous drug-eluting vascular stent coatings • nanobubbles for ultrasonic imaging • nanoshells for photothermal ablation cancer treatment • magnetic nanoparticles for cancer treatment • drug delivery systems based on a wide range of nanoparticles and other nanostructures • nanotechnology-based biosensors • lab-on-a-chip devices with nanoscale features • nanofeatured tissue-engineering scaffolds • multifunctional. Further Reading N. Freitas Jr. Vocabulary. Prod. manufactured by “bottom-up” molecular assembly. regenerative medicine. Japan Society of Precision Engineering (1974). in particular. Landes Bioscience (also available online at www. and the notion of a nanotechnology “grey goo” (the latter involving fears arising from a science fiction story further amplified by press misunderstanding of the science). Anchor Books. Robert A. Nanoparticles. Notable examples include BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “mad cow disease”). In the past. Perhaps. MOST PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO TAKE COMPLEX DECISIONS ABOUT RISKS IF THEY ARE SUFFICIENTLY AND PROPERLY INFORMED AND PERCEIVE A BENEFIT THAT SUBSTANTIALLY OUTWEIGHS ANY RISKS. and practitioners of those sciences can justifiably claim to have always “done nanotechnology. 411–430 (1998) Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 71:2005. Blood Substitutes. New York.. production and application of structures. Chemistry and some branches of physics have always been concerned with nanoscale interactions. this rapid progress has in part been fuelled by the visions of Robert Freitas and other pioneers. Yet. Understanding and communicating nanotechnology risks While such research progresses it is important not to forget that there may.

industries and technologies. TRIGGERED BY THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE COLLAPSE IN THE US IS LIKELY TO HAVE FAR-REACHING IMPLICATIONS. The main characteristic of the subprime market is that it lends to borrowers with poor credit history. As it has now proved. The aim is to identify some important parameters that might have a significant impact on nanotechnology development. and credit history. at the World Economic Forum at Davos there was concern of either an economic slowdown or recession. The subprime crisis may have revealed a deeper problem on the management of 040 . And it is not only the US economy. When the price of houses started to decline. is likely to have a harmful impact on other national economies. Analyzing the current economic crisis is complicated because it depends on numerous factors. subprime mortgages are financed with the issuance of mortgage bonds. credit risk. As a starting point. There are two crucial features presented above: The bond market. or even worse a recession. Therefore a slowdown.investment groups and banks lost many billions of A year has passed since the first pessimistic voices about a potential US subprime mortgage crisis were heard. Rather than the traditional home owner repaying the bank relationship. The opinions however differed on the severity of the crisis. we look to the lending market as this is where subprime mortgages belong. the mortgage bond market failed to fulfill expectations. this was realism rather than pessimism. Recently.T EN M OM C How the current economic crisis will effect nanotechnology development THE CURRENT ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN. Globalization has increased association among various economies. The results were significant losses . PYTHAGORAS PETRATOS DESCRIBES THE CURRENT CRISIS AND OUTLINES THE EFFECTS IT IS LIKELY TO HAVE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF NANOTECHNOLOGY. It has also triggered a liquidity crisis that has negative effects for the whole economy. which is in a sense an extension of the lending market.

have approved $146 billion in tax cuts while there are actions for additional subprime rescue plans. Times. the evolution of nanotechnology is perhaps slower since it has not yet experienced a “boom” as in biotechnology or the internet industries. The US House of Representatives. November 21. These rates might be prohibitive for some nanotechnology entrepreneurs. current caveats such as limited liquidity in the financial markets and credit risk mentioned above. modern financial markets provide numerous alternatives. Particularly in the current situation. The examination of economic factors and their association and impact to each other is much more complicated. The sector of nanotechnology is relatively new and while promising. which enhances the difficulty of borrowing. AFTER PROFITS CONCERNS BY TECHNOLOGY FIRMS THAT A SLOWING US ECONOMY COULD HURT CORPORATE EARNINGS GLOBALLY. January 29. dollars. Consequently this contagion can influence the nanotechnology industry. Financial . Many national governments and authorities such as the European Union have supported the promotion of nanotechnology by providing funds. The warnings by technology companies reveal that in current conditions it is likely that reduction in their profits will occur. Wednesday. During a crisis investors usually try to avoid risky assets with the purpose of reducing risk in their portfolios. This poses substantial problems for nanotechnology companies. And. 2007. Thus. Corporate profit concerns drive global shares lower. MUTUAL AND HEDGE FUNDS PLUMMETED AS US. Reuters. and accordingly the rate of return. Private equity predicts economic slowdown at http://www. University of London Information was sourced from the following to complete this article: BBC News The US sub-prime crisis in graphics. Venture capital is probably the most common in the high tech industries. Pythagoras Petratos is a Researcher at Queen Mary. Monday. using for example appropriate November 16. BANKS. less risky investments. 2008. the technology industry transmits caution and investors will probably turn to safer. after profits concerns by technology firms that a slowing US economy could hurt corporate earnings globally.. who naturally want a good share of returns to be rewarded for their risky effort too. An example is the preference to gold and other precious metals which significantly increased their demand and their market price. British Venture Capital Association. The result today is that banks and other lenders are cutting back on how much credit they will make available. February 7. such as nanotechnology companies. 2008. It seems the economic slowdown that the private equity and venture capital industry prepares for is likely to be a contagious effect of the broader financial crisis. it might now be much harder to raise capital and even more difficult to sell new products. a good credit rating is necessary.nano DURING A CRISIS INVESTORS USUALLY TRY TO AVOID RISKY ASSETS WITH THE PURPOSE OF REDUCING RISK IN THEIR PORTFOLIOS. but at least it has briefly highlighted the influence that the current economic crisis might have on the development of nanotechnology. for example. now that the restrictions on lending have been toughened. This is not going to be an easy year for the economy or for private equity. House moves quickly to pass stimulus bill. A natural consequence is that there is a lack of financial data for nanotechnology companies. (2008). Raising capital is important for high tech firms. Therefore nanotechnology companies can find a source of funds for further development. Of course there are sophisticated techniques in finance. Asia Edition 1. Secondly. The resources are parts of budgets. but this increases uncertainty in credit rating. since it is likely that numerous resources are essential before a company becomes profitable. some of its money could be allocated in other activities. This can be summarized in the phrase of Simon Walker. This analysis is rather simplistic since only few aspects are presented. Thursday. Friday. Banks. Credit risk increases too. a major factor is credit history. Betts P et al. The disadvantage however is that Venture Capital firms or other types of private equity as business angels require an increased Rate Of Return on investments in order to match the associated large Waki N. augment the rate of borrowing money. The role of government in the development of nanotechnology has proved critical. the chief executive of British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) that “clouds are gathering. USA Today 041 . This is a fundamental problem for nanotechnology companies. national or federal. 2007. Banks and lenders in general use historical evidence in order to view not only the current credit worthiness. mutual and hedge funds plummeted as US. Wolf R. it is still an immature technology. local. On the other hand. Subprime Blows. In addition to the traditional sizeable amount of risk in high tech firms. but also to forecast the risk associated with future ability to repay debts and loans.bvca. EUROPEAN AND ASIAN STOCKS FELL. The economic environment is becoming much tougher”. This could be translated to budget cuts in other fields. Firstly. European and Asian stocks fell. And taking into account that technology and nanotechnology is risky. In a period of economic crisis it is likely that some government economic resources will be channeled to solve it.

programs and centers. 3-D wafer-scale system-ina-package integration.000 square feet of stateof-the-art facilities at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech complex. This convergence will accelerate growth in a broad array of industries by enabling the development of pervasive tether-free computing. New York’s investments provide the critical “missing link” for commercialization by reducing the risk. The increasing cost and related risk associated with atomic scale manufacturing requires a closer coupling between research. the world’s leading university-research funding agency for nanoelectronics and related technologies has developed a world-class consortium designed to enable new advances in nanoelectronics that are critical to the production of smaller.advertorial UAlbany NanoCollege Addresses Unique Nanotechnology Challenges Amid the approaching limits of conventional computer chip scaling. engineers and technicians from many of the world’s leading nanoelectronics companies.5 billion in corporate investments at CNSE. Ebara. industry compliant approaches for integrating logic. such as IBM. sensors.000 scientists. 3-D waferscale packaging and ALD processing. led by CNSE. enabling pervasive tether-free computing in diverse market segments over the next three to five years. which supports partnerships between the NanoCollege and small. courtesy of an expansion project that will swell the size of CNSE’s Albany NanoTech to more than 800.000 square feet of Class 1 capable. the UAlbany NanoCollege is home to over 2. Applied Materials. SEMATECH. creating a Quick-Turn-Around-Time (QTAT) 200mm and 300mm wafer pilot-prototyping and workforce training capability at CNSE. wireless and power will soon be available. responding to the unique challenges and opportunities created by nanotechnology. ASML. such as Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) and direct-write electron-beam. Micron. However.000 square feet. biohealth and security will remain elusive until a common integration platform and a coherent roadmap for achieving interoperability is established. photonics. Michael Fancher Assistant VP for Economic Outreach & Business Development Associate Professor of Nanoeconomics UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering . education and technology deployment that offers industry and government a highly leveraged return on its investment in projects. the convergence of nanotechnology with electronics. medium and large-sized companies in verticallyintegrated teams.2 billion located within 450. enables the successful integration of multifunctional devices for low-cost. Freescale.000 square feet and its Class 1 capable 300mm wafer cleanroom space to 80. NY CAIST is just the latest program playing an integral role in New York State’s pioneering strategy to further establish an R&D-manufacturing ecosystem already well underway at the UAlbany NanoCollege. faster and cheaper computer nanochips The Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) in February designated the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany-SUNY as the headquarters and lead of the New York Center for Advanced Interconnect Science and Technology (NY CAIST). and nanostructured materials’ processes such as atomic layer deposition (ALD) and silicon-on-insulator (SOI). Vistec Lithography and Atotech. cost and time to market of nanotechnology-enabled devices for our industry partners. unlocking the enormous market opportunities in such diverse sectors as energy. Toshiba. The high-tech workforce on-site will increase to more than 2. in partnership with more than 250 global industry partners. among many others. Albany’s unique IPoriented Integration Lab Model. These institutions are establishing a new paradigm for cutting-edge research. field-robust. which engages the best and brightest from more than a dozen leading research universities who are collaborating to ensure continuation of the furious pace of innovation within the nanoelectronics industry. researchers. combined with over $3. 300mm wafer cleanrooms. are some of the key technology drivers under development for integrating nanotechnology in logic and memory devices at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech. AMD. With a current net asset base of $4. including 65. development and manufacturing. cross-disciplinary models is emerging. The development of nanolithography technology. A new generation of institutions executing dynamic cross-industry. With the development of the industry supply chain for nanolithography. microsystems and wireless technologies is rapidly approaching.500 by mid-2009. memory. bioelectronics. tether-free computing applications. Tokyo Electron. Combined with the emergence of nanofabrication infrastructure on the 300mm wafer format. New York State is leading the world by providing over $700 million in governmental support.

Image courtesy of Dr Ghim Wei Ho and Prof Mark E Welland. University of Cambridge. 043 .nano NanoArt EACH MONTH WE BRING YOU OUR CHOICE OF NANO ART. Nanoscience Centre. PLEASE WRITE TO US AT THE ADDRESS AT THE FRONT OF THE MAGAZINE TO SUBMIT YOUR PICTURES. University of Cambridge. The image shows nanowires of Silicon Carbide that have been guided into forming individual flower-like structures through controlling catalytic growth at the nanoscale. The image featured in this issue – Nano Bouquet was created by Dr Ghim Wei and Professor Mark E Welland at the Nanoscience Centre.

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