NanoCommerce/SEMI NanoForum Speakers Outline Industrial Apps for Nanotechnology

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Nano Materials Hold Major Implications for Energy and Homeland Security

CHICAGO, IL. – November 3, 2005 – Nanotechnology research and development in the energy and government sectors was the dominant theme of track two on the second day of the 2005 NanoCommerce/SEMI NanoForum. Building on the previous day’s message of commercialization, keynote and panel speakers today discussed the proliferation of nanotechnology in key vertical markets.

Floyd Kvamme, keynote speaker and chairman of the President’s Council on Science and Technology (PCAST), discussed PCAST’s review of the National Nanotech Initiative (NNI).

“The vision of the National Nanotech Initiative is a future in which the ability to understand and control matter on the nano scale leads to a revolution in technology and industry,” said Kvamme. “Clearly, we want to see the economic benefit, we want to ensure national and homeland security and we want to improve the quality of life.” Kvamme also noted that the responsible development of nanotech is critical and that 10 percent of the NNI funds are directed towards nanotech environmental, health and safety.

According to Kvamme, in the next five years nano chemicals, nano composites and nano membranes will be incorporated into commercial products. This will be followed in five to ten years by targeted drug therapies, medical imaging, energy and solar cell activities leveraging nanotechnology.

“The premises of nanotech,” according to keynote speaker Vahe Sarkissian, FEI company chairman and CEO, “are the scale that we operate in, and second, in this range materials behave differently and we have to make sure that we understand them.” He added, “The tools are key in driving our understanding,” because they allow novel behaviors to be observed and controlled.

“The rate of adoption of nanotechnology will be driven by economic factors and it’s the commercialization of nanotechnology which will ultimately drive the leadership in this area-and it is a competitive race. [Nanotechnology] is pervasive and will influence all aspects of our lives,” said Sarkissian.

During a panel discussion on energy, Wasiq Bokhari, Quantum Insight Managing Partner, commented that great promise lies in using nano materials and nano structures that are more conducive to capturing stray electrons in photovoltaic (solar) cells, thereby reducing waste and making the cells more efficient. This in turn can lead to lower cost and longer lasting solar cells that are likely to be more broadly accepted.

Solar energy panelist, Seamus Curran of the New Mexico State University Nanotechnology Lab discussed his experience working with polymers before and after incorporating nano materials.

“Anybody who works in polymers, lives with the frustration that polymers will degrade,” said Curran. “They are very unstable, especially the electronic polymers. What we discovered was when we started adding carbon nanotubes they serve to stabilize the materials–the polymers–and that led to revised architectures.” The new architectures can be used in the development of different types of electronics, sensors, solar cells and many other applications.

In a panel discussion of nanotechnology in homeland security, Dr. Wayne Marsh, DuPont Coordinator for the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT discussed using nano fibers, nano coatings and nano particles in several different applications to improve soldier comfort and safety. Examples included the development of lighter and more pervasive ballistics protection, particularly for extremities since an increasing number of soldier casualties are the result of wounds to extremities, and the use of sensors incorporated into the uniform to detect the location and well-being (body temperature, moisture levels) of the soldier.

SEMI NanoForum™ 2006 will be held in San Jose, CA October 30 through November 2 continues at the San Jose Convention Center/San Jose Marriott.

About SEMI
SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that provide equipment, materials and services used to manufacture semiconductors, displays, nano-scaled structures, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and related technologies. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose (Calif.), Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Scott Smith