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Nanotechnology. Science, Technology and Public Affairs PAF 547. S. Tom Picraux Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering Fulton School of Engineering [email protected] Arizona State University. This presentation has 2 objectives: Overview the scientific basis of nanotechnology

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Science, Technology and Public Affairs

PAF 547

S. Tom Picraux

Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Fulton School of Engineering

[email protected]

Arizona State University


  • This presentation has 2 objectives:

  • Overview the scientific basis of nanotechnology

  • Highlight the government’s role and current public policy issues in nanotechnology


Nanotechnology:a definition

— working with matter down to the molecular level to create structures and devices ~1 to 100 nm in size with fundamentally new organization, properties, and performance

  • takes us to the realm where the properties of materials are dramatically different.

  • demands new tools and new understanding.

  • may hold the key to a 21st century industrial revolution.


What are the key challenges of nanoscale science and technology?

Making nanomaterials

Self assembly, top down vs. bottom up

Characterizing nanostructures

Imaging and measuring small things

Understanding properties

“Nanoland” lies between macro world and single atoms and molecules

Nanosystemsintegration & performance

- How do we assemble nanostructures into systems

(this is the high payoff area)

Self assembly nature s approach to nanotechnology

Self-Assembly: Nature’s approach to nanotechnology

  • Living Cell Walls

  • “fluid” molecular arrays rearrange in response to chemical stimuli

  • changes in membrane structure influence intercellular diffusion

  • Photosynthesis centers

  • optical receptor molecules are precisely aligned via spontaneous organization

  • alignment promotes collection, storage, and utilization of light energy

3D molecular arrangements

promote resonant coupling.

Dynamic restructuring of molecular

arrays provides adaptive response.

How to build things at the nanoscale

How to build things at the nanoscale?

Conventional Machines

Build and assemble


Top down - build in place

(m - mm)


Bottom up -

self assembled

(10 - 0.1 µm)

(1- 100 nm)


The Scale of Things – Nanometers and More


~ 5 mm

Dust mite

200 mm

Fly ash

~ 10-20 mm

Things Natural

Things Manmade

1 cm

10 mm

10-2 m

Head of a pin

1-2 mm

The Challenge

1,000,000 nanometers =

10-3 m

1 millimeter (mm)

MicroElectroMechanical (MEMS) devices

10 -100 mm wide


0.1 mm

100 mm

10-4 m

Human hair

~ 50-120 mm wide


0.01 mm

10 mm

10-5 m

Pollen grain

Red blood cells


Red blood cells

with white cell

~ 2-5 mm

Zone plate x-ray “lens”Outer ring spacing ~35 nm

1,000 nanometers =

10-6 m

1 micrometer (mm)


Fabricate and combine nanoscale building blocks to make useful devices, e.g., a photosynthetic reaction center with integral semiconductor storage.

0.1 mm

100 nm

10-7 m



Nature-inspired structureMany 10s of nm


0.01 mm

10 nm

10-8 m

~10 nm diameter

Nanotube electrode

ATP synthase

10-9 m

1 nanometer (nm)

Carbon buckyball

~1 nm diameter

Soft x-ray

Carbon nanotube

~1.3 nm diameter


~2-1/2 nm diameter

10-10 m

0.1 nm

Quantum corral of 48 iron atoms on copper surface

positioned one at a time with an STM tip

Corral diameter 14 nm

Atoms of silicon

spacing ~tenths of nm

Office of Basic Energy Sciences

Office of Science, U.S. DOE


2-nm Al2O3


Nanomaterials: new physics and chemistry revolutionizes materials performance

Single molecule


New phenomena associated with:

  • Small size (e.g. quantized effects)

  • Preponderance of surfaces and interfaces

Lead to:

GPa strength from Ni

  • New modes of electronic transport

  • Radical changes in collective phenomena

  • New chemical reactivities

  • New mechanical properties

Practicing “alchemy” through structure


Carbon Nanotubes: example of extreme properties

The scale of nanostructures

Top down

(~200 nm)

Bottom up

(~1 nm)



Nanotubes for Electronics,

Scientific American, Dec. 2000


Why are nanomaterials attractive?

Information technology

Quantum electronics (logic, memory), magnetic memory, spintronics


Large scale, low cost nanoparticle-based solar energy collection

High efficiency solid state lighting


In situ drug delivery

Diagnostics, active monitoring, performance enhancement


Low cost, nanosensor arrays for health, safety

Nanoparticle based waste destruction


Large area, bottom up assembly for low waste, energy efficient manufacturing


Practical applications are at an early stage

The Top Ten Nanotech Products Of 2003 Robert Paull, The Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report, 12/29/03

1) High-Performance Ski Wax

2) Breathable Waterproof Ski Jacket

3) Wrinkle-Resistant, Stain-Repellent Threads

4) Deep-Penetrating Skin Cream

5) World's First OLED Digital Camera

6) Nanotech DVD and Book Collection

7) Performance Sunglasses

8) Nanocrystalline Sunscreen

9 & 10) High-Tech Tennis Rackets And Balls

It has been estimated that nanostructured materials and processes can be expected to have a market impact of over $340 billion within a decade (Hitachi Research Institute, 2001).


Public visibility is growing

Washington Post, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004


Nanotechnology and Society

  • Are paradigm shifting consequences of nanotechnology likely to occur?

  • Are there areas where broad societal debate needs to be carried out concurrent with research?

  • What is the role of government?

  • What are the responsibilities of scientists and engineers?


Governments play a significant role in the development of Nanotech

National Nanotechnology Initiative

U.S. Funding

Total NNI Funding



FY01 funding

Fiscal Year

Worldwide nanotech funding ~$3.5B in FY03:

(Europe, Japan, US, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China, …)


Nanotechnology cuts across a wide area of society

FY04 Funding by Agency

NNI Funding


U.S. Government Agency


The enormous U.S. investment in nanotechnology is predicated on economic competitiveness and societal impact

NNI Program Grand Challenges

  • Nanostructured materials by design

  • Manufacturing at the nanoscale

  • Chemical-biological-radiological-explosive detection

  • Nanoscale instrumentation and metrology

  • Nano-electronics, photonics, and magnetics

  • Healthcare, therapeutics and diagnostics

  • Efficient energy conversion and storage

  • Microcraft and robotics

  • Nanoscale processes for environmental improvement


Governments respond to societal priorities and concerns

National Nanotechnology Bill

S189 signed Dec. 3, 2003

  • An authorization bill

  • Follows the NNI program directions

  • Emphasizes program:

    • management

    • coordination

    • review/oversight

    • and ethical, legal, environmental and societal concerns!


Specific societal-driven inclusions in the S189 Bill

  • The National Nanotechnology Bill creates:

  • American Nanotechnology Preparedness Center

    1) “conduct, coordinate, collect, and disseminate studies on the societal, ethical, environmental, educational, legal and workforce implications of nanotechnology”

    2) “identify anticipated issues related to the responsible research, development, and application of nanotechnology, as well as provide recommendations for preventing or addressing such issues”

  • Center for Nanomaterials Manufacturing

    • encourage, conduct, …. research on new manufacturing technologies for materials, devices, and systems …

    • Develop mechanisms to transfer such manufacturing technologies to U.S. industries


Nanotechnology and Society:

  • Nanoparticles – Potential Health Risks

  • Properties change with size.

    • Can some sizes + compositions have adverse health effects?

    • Implications for gov’t regulatory system.

      Same chemical, different forms: e.g., carbon black, diamond, buckyball, nanotube

      Same chemical, different size: e.g. TiO2, quantum dots (CdS, CdSe)

  • Can nanoscale particles cross biological barriers?

  • What are our responsibilities and precautions?

    • in the lab?

    • in the factory or the environment?

    • in consumer products?

Nanoscale materials categorizations

Nanoscale Materials Categorizations

Naturally occurring “ultrafine particles”

  • Virus – 10 to 60 nm

  • Bacteria – 30 to 10 µm

  • Dust from deserts - ~ 100 nm

  • Volcanic ash, Forest fire smoke

    “Ultrafine particles” from established technologies or by products of conventional Processes

  • Combustion soot – 10 to 80 nm

  • Paint pigments – 80 to 100 nm

  • Welding fumes – 10 to 50 nm

  • Diesel exhaust particles – (Small mode) 7 to 40 nm

  • Carbon black for photocopier toner – 10 to 400 nm

    Engineered nanoscale materials – “nanomaterials”

  • Fullerenes – buckyballs – 1 nm: nanotubes – 1 to 5 nm x 10 µm

  • Quantum dots for medical diagnosis– 5 to 20 nm

  • Semiconductor wires for sensors – 10 to 100 nm diam. x 1 µm

NNI Clayton Teague presentation, 4/2/04


Some Initial Health Studies of Nanoparticles

  • Lam et al. (2004) – washed 3 kinds of carbon nanotubes into lungs of mice; all caused lung granulomas

  • Dupont injected nanotubes into rat lungs; 15% died (highest death rate seen in such studies)

  • SMU – buckyballs cause extensive brain damage in fish

  • Rice University – studies show nanoparticles bioaccumulate in living tissues


Specific Federal Projects on Implications

NIH/ NIEHS – support of the new National Toxicology Program, ~$3M multi-year project initiated in FY2004

  • Studies to evaluate the toxic and carcinogenic potential of test agents (quantum dots, nanotubes) in laboratory animals via inhalation exposure

    EPA – Impacts of manufactured nanomaterials on human health and the environment, $4M in FY2004

  • Toxicology of manufactured nanomaterials

  • Fate, transport, and tranformation of manuf. Nanomaterials

  • Human exposure and bioavailability

NNI Clayton Teague presentation, 4/2/04


Nanotechnology and Society: Public Debate


  • Ubiquitous Nanosensors – Privacy of the individual

  • What if the walls have eyes and ears?

  • What if sensors can be attached to me without my knowledge?

  • Is my health and genetic susceptibilities private information?


Nanotechnology and Society: Public Debate


  • “Bots” – Self replicating nanomachines

  • Is it feasible?

  • What previous experience can we draw upon?

  • Is responsible action needed?


Nanotechnology and Society: Public Debate


  • “NanoAssistors” – Human-machine interfaces

  • Are human assistive devices for the disabled appropriate nanotechnology to support?

  • Should nanotechnology be used to enhance human performance?

    • for warfighters?

    • for athletes?

    • for my children?

  • Who decides?

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