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Nanotechnology

Technology Sharing Transforms Asia-Pacific Region

November 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The United Nations is running an Asia-Pacific technology transfer program that puts necessary capabilities in the hands of developing countries while improving international relations in the region. Efforts assist large and small states to harness the potential of technology to create a better future for their citizens.

Established in 1977 and headquartered in New Dehli, the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) is one of five regional institutions of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). The center creates an enabling environment to assist the commission’s members by strengthening their capabilities to develop and manage national innovation systems; develop, transfer, adapt and apply technology; improve the terms of transfer of technology; and identify and promote the development and transfer of technologies relevant to the region. A total of 53 member states and nine associate members make up UN ESCAP and are part of the center. “The role for technology innovation in the Asia-Pacific region is quite enormous,” Michael Williamson, head of the APCTT, explains. Applications include the deterrence of climate change, food security, energy, sanitation and clean water. “For all of these challenges, we need new and innovative technologies,” Williamson says.

In 2013, the center developed a strategic plan with three main goals: science, technology and innovation (STI); technology transfer; and technology intelligence. The APCTT assists member countries by strengthening those fields, including by cooperating with small and medium enterprises that can help. The organization is not a technology hub but a resource to help countries manage the technology transfer process.

Micro
 Robotics 
Research Pays Off

September 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army is preparing—for the first time—to develop and field micro robotic systems under programs of record, indicating confidence that the technology has matured and years of research are paying off. The small systems will provide individual soldiers and squads with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in jungles, buildings and caves that larger systems can’t reach.

Alion Awarded Nanotechnology Delivery Order

August 4, 2014

Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Illinois, has been awarded a $10,027,721 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (0067) on the AMMTIAC indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source (FA4600-06-D-0003) for nanotechnology development and technology transfer. AMMTIAC will provide technical, engineering, and expertise in nanotechnology applications in materials, manufacturing and testing of interest to the military. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

Researchers Develop One-of-a-Kind Nanocomputer

January 31, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.

Nanowire Sensor Detects Minute Amounts of Explosives, Chemicals

December 1, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

A prototype nanotechnology-based sensor offers the possibility for ubiquitous, networked, real-time chemical agent detection and tracking. By using easily produced super-small components, the devices potentially can be installed in a variety of devices, such as smartphones, robots or commercial appliances.

Nanowire-Based Memory Technology Records Movement, Pressure

December 1, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

Physical movement stored as memory in a microchip could lead to advances in touch screens, robot control devices and medical implants. Researchers are arraying nanowires on a microchip to form a write-read memory cell as part of ongoing work that could convert motions, such as a hand in a glove or pressing a display, into memory. Moving or putting pressure on the nanowires creates an electrical current that can be read and recorded as memory. Arrays of such cells offer the potential for a variety of user interface applications and for new ways to convert mechanical or biological actions into electronic data.

Developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), the piezoelectrically modulated resistive memory (PRM) system relies on the piezoelectric effect, where some materials, in this case zinc oxide nanowires, will generate electrical current when they are put under pressure or moved, which causes them to temporarily bend or deform. Piezoelectric materials also create mechanical strain (movement) when they are exposed to an electric current. PRM technology allows the creation of a new type of transistor that is switched on or off through movement or mechanical activity, explains Zhong Lin Wang, regents professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Material Science and Engineering in Atlanta.

Current memory systems, such as flash memory, are mainly if not entirely electronic, Wang says. But PRM technology allows the direct writing of electrical or optical memory through physical means. “Once you introduce the piezoelectric effect into the memory, you talk about the memory of strain and stress,” Wang notes.

Nano Looms as the Next Pervasive Technology

December 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

Nanotechnology is the new cyber, according to several major leaders in the field. Just as cyber is entrenched across global society now, nano is poised to be the major capabilities enabler of the next decades. Expert members from the National Nanotechnology Initiative representing government and science disciplines say nano has great significance for the military and the general public.

According to the initiative, its aim is to move discoveries from the laboratory into products for commercial and public benefit; encourage students and teachers to become involved in nanotechnology education; create a skilled work force and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology; and support responsible development. The initiative involves more than two dozen government agencies, industry, academic partners and international participants.

Dr. Mihail Roco is the main architect and founding chair of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). In addition to that work, he sits on various committees and serves as the senior adviser for nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Having helped advance the field to its current point, he predicts that in the next five to 10 years the focus will shift to application. Because of improved tools for more accurate measurement and control at the nanoscale level, he foresees more economical development of nanotechnology. “We’ll be able to understand and build robust solutions,” he states. Most solutions now are based on assumptions and trial and error. For these reasons, they are still expensive, he adds.

Nanomaterial Fabrication Moving to Desktop

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

A new printing technology could move the production of nano-sized electronic components from multibillion-dollar facilities into the hands of users, including military users in the field. The device, which is about the size of a desktop printer, will allow rapid prototyping of nanomaterials, contribute to stem cell and other medical research, offer a range of commercial uses and save potentially billions of dollars. Furthermore, because the product builds upon already widely available technology, it could be fielded within two years, researchers say.

New Touch Technology Has Sensitive Skin

July 26, 2013

Engineers at UC Berkeley have created a system of sensors on flexible plastic that reacts to pressure by lighting up. The new "e-skin" recognizes the amount of pressure and responds with a brighter or dimmer light accordingly.

The technology can be used to give robots a more precise sense of touch and also might be used to create interactive wallpapers or automobile dashboards.

What differentiates the e-skin from other touch sensor networks is its flexibility and interactivity, says Chuan Wang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University. Wang participated in the research as a post-doctoral student at UC Berkeley, as part of a research team led by Ali Javey. Because the e-skin is pliable, it can be applied as a laminate to other surfaces.



You can view the e-skin in action here:

 

Nanosatellites STARE at Space Junk

May 17, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

 

 

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