Nanoscience Imitating Nature (By David Pescovitz, ScienceMatters @ Berkeley)
- It's tough to build things that are 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Biology has had a few billion years to perfect the craft of building from the bottom up. That's why UC Berkeley nanoscientist Matthew Francis collaborates closely with Mother Nature. Francis and his research group use organic chemistry to assemble nanoscale devices with unprecedented capabilities that could revolutionize cancer treatment or lead to the development of highly efficient solar cells.
"Our goal is to address a big challenge in nanoscience, which is how to position objects with exquisite resolution so that the exciting components people are developing can be combined into functional devices," Francis says.
In recent years, he explains, materials scientists have developed a wide array of impressive building blocks for nanoscale systems, from computer components fashioned from single molecules to promising drug delivery systems. The problem though is constructing useful devices from these materials. Some of the new nanoparticles are too small for current lithographic techniques like those used to fabricate integrated circuits. Others are a bit oversized for precise "bottom up" positioning using organic chemistry. More here
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