Diatoms & Nanotechnology: Think Future, Think Small
Ambience: Bubble column and Mixer (lab equipment)
JM: If you want to envision the future of science and technology – think small. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
GR: “Nanotechnology is the science of making materials and devices that have features of less than 100 nanometers in length. A nanometer is 1/100,000 the width of a human hair. That’s really, really small. Nanotechnology’s important, because it offers a whole new way to make new and better products that will improve our way of life.”
JM: Dr. Greg Rorrer is an associate professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University.
GR: “Currently, nanotechnology is being used in industry to make nanomaterials, and nanomaterials possess superior strength, are lighter weight, and have more resistance to wear and tear than conventional materials that we use in everyday life, such as metals and plastics.”
JM: The promise of nanotechnology is not just materials, but tiny machines made from those materials.
GR: “To the best of my knowledge, extraordinarily small nanomachines as such don’t exist yet, but many nanosized machine components, such as molecular switches, molecular motors, and even molecular electronic circuits are under development right now. Living cells, which naturally have nanoscale elements are inspirational sources of these nanosized machine components. Two prominent examples that I know of, of products and processes that could use nanotechnology include microelectronic devices and drug delivery vehicles for new cancer treatments.”
JM: With the help of microorganisms that have existed on our planet since the time of the dinosaurs, Dr. Rorrer and his colleagues are discovering new ways to create nanomaterials. We’ll hear more in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation I’m Jim Metzner.