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Championing Nanotech Innovation: Lessons Learned Presented by Christine Peterson Vice President, Foresight Institute Accelerating Change 2004 November 2004 © Foresight Institute 2004 What is nanotechnology?

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championing nanotech innovation lessons learned

Championing Nanotech Innovation: Lessons Learned

Presented by Christine Peterson

Vice President, Foresight Institute

Accelerating Change 2004

November 2004

© Foresight Institute 2004

what is nanotechnology
What is nanotechnology?
  • Creating and using structures, devices, and systems that have useful properties and functions because of their structure at the 1 to 100 nanometer size
  • Today, same as chemistry and materials science (sexy marketing term)
  • Longer-term: combines with mechanical engineering to give molecular manufacturing
funding levels rising
Funding levels rising
  • U.S. Nanotech Nanotech Initiative $3.7 billion over 4 years (plus military) authorized
  • European Union and Japan gov’ts spending roughly similar to U.S.
  • Other Asian nations, Australia, Israel also competing. India wants in.
  • China has cost advantage
  • Increasing amounts being spent in private sector; figures vary widely; can rationalize almost any number
near term products 5 yrs mostly materials
Near-term products (< 5 yrs):Mostly materials
  • Drug delivery, medical implants, sensors (bio & chemical), solar energy (photovoltaic or direct hydrogen production), batteries, displays & e-paper, nanotube and nanoparticle composites, catalysts, coatings, alloys, insulation (thermal & electrical), filters, glues, abrasives, lubricants, paints, fuels & explosives, textiles, hard drives, computer memory, optical components, etc.
  • Not an integrated “industry” — incremental products in many industries
near term nanoparticles
Near-term: Nanoparticles
  • Just one sector of today’s nanotech
  • Positive example: gold-coated particles with biological functionality bind to tumor cells and then heated, to treat cancer
  • Concerns about unwanted side effects. Recent result: control of toxicity by design
  • Regulatory agencies need awareness and expertise: environmental protection (EPA), occupational safety (OSHA), food and drug (FDA). Process has begun, not complete.
  • Similar to regulation of new chemicals
tools for looking ahead to advanced nanotech
Tools for looking ahead to advanced nanotech
  • Laws of physics
  • Laws of economics
  • Laws of human nature
  • Result: technological advance to the limits allowed by nature
  • Process does not result in a time estimate
  • Does result in 4th generation nanotech: nanoscale productive systems

Feynman, 1959

“The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom. It is not an attempt to violate any laws; it is something, in principle, that can be done; but in practice, it has not been done because we are too big.”

There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

molecular manufacturing
Molecular manufacturing
  • New way of viewing matter
  • Today, can have atomic precision or large complex structures, not both
  • Want both at the same time
  • Goal: Direct control down to molecular level, not indirect control as today (e.g. drugs, surgery) for products of any size
  • Can change/repair structure of all physical things including human body
basis of advanced nanotech molecular machines
Basis of advanced nanotech:Molecular machines
  • Found in nature (e.g. molecular motors)
  • Now learning to design and build new molecular machine systems
  • Goal: nanosystems for manufacturing complex, atomically-precise products of any size (from cubic-micron mainframes to aircraft carriers)
  • Digital-style control of matter: patterning it as today we write a CD

Standard confusions about molecular machine images

  • Mistaken for artist’s conceptions (“pretty pictures”)
  • Mistaken for final, immutable designs, which—if not perfect now—invalidate molecular machine systems concept
  • Actually: examples of designs possible with today’s tools plus conservative engineering assumptions: “something like this should work, after iteration”
molecular manufacturing of nanosystems 4th gen
Molecular manufacturing of nanosystems (4th gen.)
  • Extreme decrease in direct manufacturing costs (not including insurance, legal, IP licensing, etc)
  • Extreme decrease in pollution: “zero waste” of materials, minimum use of energy
  • Extreme increase in device complexity possible (e.g. medical nanorobots)
lessons learned 1976 2004
Lessons learned (1976-2004)
  • The following are some lessons learned at each stage of the nanotech process to date
  • Should be useful for other areas of substantial innovation
  • Some things we did right and succeeded with — some we did wrong and paid the price
extremely early research stage late 70 s early 80 s pre competitive
Extremely early research stage (late 70’s, early 80’s), pre-competitive
  • Few will understand, no matter what you do
  • Don’t worry about someone stealing your ideas — no one is paying attention
  • Call your new field by a name that no one will want to redefine (not too sexy or generic)
  • Publish in refereed journals
  • Write technical books
  • Avoid the popular press and public
very early research stage 80 s still pre competitive
Very early research stage (80’s), still pre-competitive
  • Hold invitational workshops to find the few others who “get it”
    • Invitational to keep out the flakes
  • Teach a Stanford class on your work so that a Steve Jurvetson will attend and later fund relevant work
    • Not a joke
  • Publish proceedings, refereed journals articles
  • Write technical books
  • Avoid the popular press and public
early research stage early 90 s still pre competitive
Early research stage (early 90’s), still pre-competitive
  • Engage with gov’t research funding process, play the game
    • Lots of funding sources, sidestep those not interested
    • Find research allies, esp. experimentalists, get funding circle going
    • Takes time, political skills, strong stomach
  • Hold invitational conferences
  • Publish proceedings, refereed articles
  • Write technical books
  • Avoid the popular press and public
early r d stage 90 s to now
Early R&D stage (90’s to now)
  • “Funding gap”
  • Try DARPA
  • Good luck
early commercialization stage now
Early commercialization stage (now)
  • Probably better not to put nano in your company name or product name
  • Use the term only where it will help
  • Watch out for regulatory issues (nanoparticle report from Swiss Re)
  • Try Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs?
maximizing social benefits of innovation
Maximizing social benefits of innovation
  • Lowering direct costs (industry, w/some government contracts): In progress
  • Lowering IP costs: Keep basic tools as open source?Nonexclusive licensing? (e.g., HTML)
  • Preventing accidents (industry/ government partnership): Doable: more control enables more responsibility
  • Reducing use in war, terrorism (mostly government, w/ industry cooperation): Very difficult challenge
  • Preserving freedom and privacy in a world capable of nanosurveillance
guidelines for responsible development
Guidelines for Responsible Development
  • Foresight Guidelines Version 4.0: Self Assessment Scorecards for Safer Development of Nanotechnology
  • Scorecards for nanotech professionals, industry, and government policy
  • Ongoing process: your comments greatly encouraged
sounds like science fiction
“Sounds like science fiction”
  • If you’re trying to look far ahead, and what you see seems like science fiction, it might be wrong.
  • But if it doesn’t seem like science fiction, it’s definitely wrong.
for more information
For more information
  • — main site, includes large section on Nanomedicine
  • — searchable news site
  • Abstracts for recent 1st Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology, Oct. 22-24, 2004
  • Foresight Vision Weekend 2005
  • Books: Nanomedicine Vol. I and II, Engines of Creation, Nanosystems