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Business loves Nano

Page history last edited by frogheart@... 13 years ago

Unlike the 19th century which saw scientific leaps made largely by amateurs, hobbyists, and academic scientists,[1] [2]many of the major nanotechnology breakthroughs happen (and happened) in commercial labs 


One of the first big breakthroughs, the ability to focus on individual atoms, came from two scientists working in the IBM Labs in Zurich. Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer developed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) in 1982 and won the Nobel Prize for the accomplishment in 1986.[3] IBM established leadership early and continues to add to the body of knowledge. (For more about microscopy, under Jump joint, click See me, feel me.) 


HP Labs, in April 2008, announced that their scientists had proved the existence of memristors, first theorized in 1971 as a fourth basic element in integrated circuits.[4] Then, in June 2008, HP scientists announced that they had achieved engineering control and that memristors can operate in both digital and analog modes. These breakthroughs could lead in the long term to computer hardware (not software as most would think) that learns.[5] (For more about memristors, under Jump joints, click on Memristors.)


All this activity is not purely altruistic or to satisfy curiosity. There is a bottom line at stake. One of the more 'realistic' market estimates, noting that the 2007 global market for nanotechnology was $11.6 billion US, suggests that in 2008, it will be $12.7 billion US. By the end of 2013, the estimate rises to $27.0 billion US.[6] There are more exciting estimates including one which suggests that products containing nanotechnology will contribute $1 trillion US to the global economy by the end of 2015.[7]

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  1. Stwertka, A. (2002) A Guide to the Elements. 2nd ed. Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press.
  2. Saks, Oliver (2001) Uncle Tungsten; memories of a chemical boyhood. New York and Toronto, Alfred A. Knopf (a division of Random House).
  3. Edwards, S. A. (2006) The Nanotech Pioneers; Where Are They Taking Us? Weinheim, Federal Republic of Germany, WILEY-VCH.
  4. Jordan, S. (May 5, 2008) True news from H-P--memristor nano-memory element. Carpe Nano. [Online blog posting] (Accessed May 6, 2008, from http://carpenano.blogspot.com/2008/05/true-news-from-h-p-memristor-nano.html)
  5. Beckett, J. (2008) Engineering memristor; control over device could pave way to computers that learn. HP Labs News, June 2008. [Online article] (Accessed June 23, 2008 from http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/engineering_memristor.html)
  6. Small Times (May 29, 2008) Long nanotube developer NanoComp reveals safety procedures. [Online article] (Accessed May 30, 2008 from http://www.smalltimes.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=ONART&PUBLICATION_ID=109&ARTICLE_ID=330028&C=Manuf&dcmp=rss)
  7. Roco, M. (2006) Nanotechnolog;s future. Scientific American. August 2006, vol. 295 (2), p. 39

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