To consolidate and coordinate research efforts in the field of nanotechnology, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC) have formed a partnership to solicit, manage and fund university nanoelectronic research projects. They will follow a program called the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. The NSF is putting up $4 million in awards in its 2004 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Competition which will be coordinated with the SRC’s university research program. The SRC anticipates spending $40 million in university research in 2004. The NSF awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts each year.
Electronic Design, March 15, 2004, p 25
JAPAN:A TINY LEAP FORWARD
Having missed a controlling interest in info tech and biotech, the Japanese are not planning to take a back seat in nanotechnology. In 2002 alone, the Japanese government budgeted $1 billion for nano R & D. Three well known Japanese companies put in another $ 1 Billion of their own money in that year.
There may be substantial payoff, because the Japanese discovery of the original unannounced in 1991 has been extended to a new Japanese discovery the nano horn. This micro device can be hooked together to form clusters with major roles in fuel cells. Sony is replacing graphite materials in electrodes with nanotubes to increase battery life.
Toyota is pursuing a braided nanotube material to more effectively store hydrogen for fuel cell (or hydrogen powered ICE) vehicles.
Forecasters see growth of nanotech business into the realm of $200 billion by 2010.
Ref: Business Week, April 21, 2003, pp. 75-76
(May 2002) Nanosys Incorporated announces breakthrough in solar element manufacturing. The team led by Dr. Paul Alivisatos has discovered a novel nanomaterial for the efficient production of solar energy. Dr. Alivisatos states, “Traditional silicon-based photovoltaic elements are expensive to manufacture in large volumes, requiring extremely high temperature, high vacuum and numerous lithographic steps. That’s why we chose to pursue the hybrid nanocomposite approach, incorporating inorganic nanorods into organic semiconductor films. The nanorod/polymer hybrid elements can be mass-produced under ambient conditions without any of these complicated and expensive steps. By growing nanorods with a specific diameter, we can also precisely control the band gap of the nanocomposite, adjusting it for optimal absorption of ambient light; that’s not possible to do with traditional semiconducting materials.”
Professor Keith Barnham of Imperial College, London and a pioneer in the use of quantum well nanostructures in high efficiency solar cells, commented on the discovery made by Dr. Alivisatos and his team, “There has been much interest in the possibility of making cheap, plastic solar cells. The efficiencies of these plastic-cells, however, are currently far too low for commercial exploitation. Professor Alivisatos’ group has made a breakthrough by incorporating nanorods into polymer devices, so as to give them many features of conventional, high-efficiency crystalline cells.” His optimism is continued in his next statement when he said, “I think this hybrid approach is a most promising way to achieve the efficiences necessary to make plastic solar cells commerciallyviable. It would help to make solar electricity competitive with fossil fuels.”