Archive for the ‘Week9_Nano’ Category

Week9_Nano_Crystal Lin

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This week’s topic, nanotechnology, is quite thought provoking, if you find an interest in that sort of thing. Actually, I think it would be impossible not to have an interest in it. Though there are those who dwell in the past, most people look to the future for what we can do, what we will do, and what we want to do. Nanotechnology is going to be the leading force in the world for the generations to come.

My previous knowledge of nanotechnology was very limited. I have to admit, when I thought of nanotechnology, I just though of super small particles doing really high tech stuff. It was therefore really exciting for me to hear the Professor, and this week’s lecturer, talk about nanotechnology in this day and age.

I first found it interesting that nanotechnology came before nanoscience. I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising though, that we would begin to imagine creating things at such a small scale even before the actual science became available. The talks this week really reiterated the exact scale related to nanotechnology. One source made a comparison to a strand of hair, but I really like the comparison made to a strip of tape: imagine a thickness of a strip of tape being as tall as the tallest skyscraper, and your basic unit of measure is the nanometer. That’s insane! One of the things that really stuck out to me though, and made me literally drop my jaw in awe, was the video shown in discussion of a cell phone/watch of the future made with nanotechnology. It was as thin as a sheet of metal, and could bend around the shape of your wrist, then become firm after locking it. When it is off your wrist, it becomes a flat device that you can type information on. One fold later and it becomes a cell phone. There were so many other amazing, seemingly impossible features of that device, but I guess they aren’t impossible with nanotechnology! It would be super cool if I could live to see that device get put into production.

Though this deviates from the main point of nanotechnology, I really liked the intro paragraph to the assigned reading for this week.

In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology, for there is nothing even remotely visible to create proof of existence. On the atomic and molecular scale, data is recorded by sensing and probing in a very abstract manner, which requires complex and approximate interpretations. More than in any other science, visualization and creation of a narrative becomes necessary to describe what is sensed, not seen.

When I read this, I started thinking about religion. What if the existence of God was like nanotechnology. It is in a form invisible to the human eye, or even in a form unfathomable to the human mind. In any case, there is just simply a lack of nanoscience to understand the nanotechnology that is a God.

But that is a side note. Another thing that excites me about nanotechnology is its presence in the field of food. One company has designed, using nanotechnology, a way to deliver nutrients to your body through a simple sip of a drink. Imagine cups of spinach, loads of vitamin c, broccoli, lettuce, apples, etc, all packed into one nano-sized molecule of healthiness. That’s what Max International is hoping to do.

Inventions like this could possible solve the issue of world hunger!

Week 9 – “Nano” by Derek Spitters

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Nanotechnology is an amazing new field, which seems to offer an infinite number of practical applications. This promising new technology has even begun to find its way into mainstream entertainment. Nanobots are the focus of Michael Crichton’s book Prey. This novel describes some of the dangers surrounding emergent new technologies. In this story, a cloud of nanorobots with artificial intelligence has gone rogue. The nanobots are programmed based on the swarm behavior of insects. The nanobots have gotten loose from the facility in the desert where they were being manufactured and studied. They create a hive in the desert sand and suffocate all scientists who try to stop them.

Additionally, nanomachines make many appearances in the popular video game series Metal Gear Solid (MGS). In MGS1, the protagonist is injected with nanomachines that maintain his core temperature so that he can survive in the cold climate of the Alaskan archipelago where the story takes place. Throughout the series, characters communicate via CODEC, a technology that uses nanomachines to allow radio transmission directly to the small bones of the ear. In MGS4, soldiers from various mercenary groups are injected with nanomachines that control their behavior. They are physically unable to attack those who employ them. Lastly, there is one character, Vamp, who has such advanced reparative nanobots that he seems immortal. He is even able to survive a gunshot to the head.

The following trailer ( describes the way that nanomachines are used to control soldiers in MGS4. Although it may be a little difficult to try to follow the plot if you haven’t played through the series, just concentrate on the uses of nanotechnology. Additionally, the extensive use of robotics can be seen as well. The final scene in the trailer is a battle between the apparently immortal Vamp and the now cyborg Raiden.

Link: MGS4 Trailer

Download: MGS4 Trailer

However, apart from these over exaggerated renditions of nanotechnology, there really are some amazing things being done with these tiny particles. One example is medicine. There are many potential applications such as imaging, drug delivery, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and nano surgery. Imagine being able to repair tissues without having to perform invasive surgery. The following video ( shows how a nanobot could theoretically replace human nerve cells with artificial nerve cells. This could allow doctors and scientist to repair some forms of brain damage.

NASA has another use for nanotechnology. Currently, they have plans to send autonomous nanotechnology swarms to Mars at some point in the future. Although their proposal still requires some future technological development, the basic idea is that these nanomachines would take the shape of a tetrahedron and would move by shifting their centers of mass. Hypothetically, these nanomachines would be able to traverse any type of terrain and would therefore be ideal for exploration missions on Mars (

–Derek Spitters

Week 9_Nanotech & Sound Science Symposium_Wenjing WU

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Week 9 passed and we again immersed in the ocean of rich information. Both lectures were very inspiring. Wish we could have more time for Prof. Gimzewski’s talk because I really want to know more about that part about “Rainbow Effect” and other interesting traits of nanomaterials. When I was reading “The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the construction of a new science”, it felt like going over week 9’s lectures again. Meanwhile the mention of robotics and biotechnology also helped me review some other topics I learned in this class, which helped me to connect the information together and think the “Nanomeme” as a complex and active culture phenomenon.


Illusion? Reality?

Illusion? Reality?

While reading the paper, I kept recalling my own memory and felt even strongly agree with what the authors said. For instance, when introducing the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), the authors concluded that “the average person looking through the lenses maintains his or her illusion of seeing a reality, and interprets the image in terms of common human experience related to the scale in which one normally observes the world”. More than once the concept of “sensing instead of seeing” appeared in the paper. This reminds me of my Microbiology teacher, Ms Li. She’s a Buddhist and tends to see everything in the world as whimsical emptiness. She used to tell us that sciences were based on illusions because within the tiny field of view under the microscope you could never get a whole picture or reach the reality. Therefore though she’s a microbiologist she never fully trust the image captured by microscopes. The problem occur to me on this issue was that “what are we supposed to trust if the microscope, which is manufactured according to scientific principles, is not even trustworthy?” I agree with the view of considering technology as extended human body. Examples include automobiles, telescopes and microscopes. Yet as Schrodinger’s Cat experiment, there’s no completely objective observation. The moment we sense, we change the object. In the paper the authors also mentioned “the high energies and conditions required to make these higher resolution images started to destroy the very objects they wanted to ‘see’”. I remember the visionary when I was checking experimental results using a Transmission Electron Microscope. Since the energy of the electron flow was too high and the thickness of my specimen is at nano scale, I often found that there are big holes being enlarged very quickly, which meant the specimen was going to be “burned out” if I hesitated any moment in taking selected images. Curiosity killed my objects.



The lectures from the Sound+Science Symposium were extremely interesting as well. I went to James Crutchfield’s Insects, Trees, and Climate, and also Rene Lysloff and Paulo Chagas’s Sound, Consciousness, and Culture. In the former presentation, Prof. Crutchfield’s study of pattern and complexity was so impressive and it offered us new ways of observing, such as listening to the ultrasound of pine trees and barkbeatles. In the second one we had a lot of audios which explained the feeling of time through music. I like Prof. Lysloff’s part especially because he constructed perfect correlation between sound technology and culture. He came to the conclusion that “to say something is to do something” and “words have social consequences” by narrating his own confused experience at a electronic concert.




Week 9 - Nanotechnology By Isaac Arjonilla

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This week’s lecture focused on nanotechnology, a field in science that is quickly becoming one of the most interesting and sophisticated ones. In lecture we were shown a video about a cell phone with the ability to change in form, size and still be able to carry out all of its regular functions. Personally I think this is amazing, because I remember what cell phones were five years ago: giant blocks. The recent upsurge of nanotechnology has begun to show the benefits that would later come from this technology. An aspect of nanotechnology I find very impressive is the amount of processes it can carry out, especially in medicine. However, since it’s a very young filed we still cannot see how “big” this field can become, the only thing that is clear at the moment is that nanotechnology has a great deal of potential behind it. The midterm I did was based mostly on nanotechnology and camouflage, and the research I did showed me how much could be done once this science develops more. I got inspiration from a video I found ( where the armor can not only withstand hits, but also change its appearance and texture according to the pattern or the color that surrounds it. But going back to the health topic, nanotechnology could be the most revolutionary topic of the century, simply because of the fact that it has the potential to cure diseases that have plagued society for years. Other materials that have come out of nanotechnology are metamaterials, a metamaterial is a manmade three dimensional material that has the ability to bend light, some believe that this can lead to a cloaking device but it is yet to be proven. During lecture this week, Professor Jim Gimzewski explained the many resources that could come out of nanotechnology, for example a type of energy source that could last for an incredible amount of time. Thinking of what could come out of this technology is just amazing, nanotechnology is involved with basically most of the known sciences: chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics. It is only a matter of time before nanotechnology will be so advanced it will be able to cure many of the medical problems that we deal with today. Aside from advancing medical research, nanotechnology will people’s lifestyles much more convenient , as seen in last week’s video ( Environmentally, this new science should give us a better understanding on energy consumption, and ecosystems at a molecular level. This week’s lecture on nanotechnology has been one of the most interesting and entertaining yet, it has shown us how much more we have to grow, technologically. Soon enough, human’s health will be vastly improved, diseases will be cured, and the overall lifestyle of people will hopefully improve as well. What was once fantasy found in science fiction stories has now begun to grow into a fundamental branch of science, and technology.


“Nanomedicine is the preservation and improvement of human health using molecular tools and molecular knowledge of the human body.” - Robert A. Freitas Jr.

-Isaac Arjonilla

Week 9_ Nanotechnology_Long Lau

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Prior to Professor James Gimzewski’s guest lecture, I was not aware that products made from nanotechnology had been around in the market for quite some time. The term “nanotechnology” had always sounded so “state-of-the-art” that I imagined it was a newly born technology that humans are still tinkering with. The fact that there are nanoparticles in  sunblock lotions and make-up products really caught me by surprise. However, I was once again reminded by the lack of health and safety regulations in these products that this field is still in its infancy. I find it ironic that a young field such as this where uncertainty is high actually has less product regulation than other more developed fields. In my research for the final project (in which carbon nanotubes are involved), I came across this article:

Carbon Nanotubes May Pose Asbestos-Like Threat to Human Health

Asbestos is a natural mineral people sometimes use as insulating materials for houses. The tiny asbestos fibers are harmful substances if inhaled because they stay in your lungs and may cause lung cancer. According to the article, carbon nanotubes behave a little like asbestos fibers because they are long, insoluble molecules, which may cause similar illnesses like those caused by asbestos if inhaled for a prolonged exposure. This article demonstrates clearly that careful and extensive research should be done regarding the health and safety issues of these newly made nanoparticles before the products are marketed. Also, the media should raise awareness of these products. Of course, I do not encourage the media to cause a public hysteria about nanotechnology but there are too many loop-holes in the FDA policies that customers ought to have at least a basic knowledge to at least be aware of the potential dangers. It may turn out that the products on market now are actually harmless, but prevention is always better than trying to fix the problem afterwards.

On a more enthusiastic note, I am amazed by the potential and all the possibilities that nanotech has to offer to human kind. Having been working in a evolutionary biology lab, I have always wondered if there are more efficient ways to amplify DNA than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure. It’s not that PCR isn’t fast and effective, in fact, it is an amazing invention in itself for its simplicity and elegance. However, like how professor Gimzewski appropriately puts it, traditional science techniques go by the “heat-beat-treat” routine; we manipulate molecules macroscopically and hope for the reactions to work out well so we don’t have to repeat the laborious procedures. Some researchers even label PCR as “voodoo magic” because it sometimes fails mysteriously even when all the conditions are met. If nanotechnology can open up a road to “nanobots”, DNA segments could be replicated and amplified in vitro by these nanobots one nucleotide at a time, greatly increasing the precision and reliability of the procedure.

Week 9_Nanotechnology by Catherine Yang

Monday, March 9th, 2009

In this week’s lecture on Nanotechnology, it brought science and art to a whole new level.  Nanotechnology is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Nanotechnology intertwined art and science together quite well through seeing the Buckminsterfullerene molecule project. It was really amazing seeing people play with the Buckminsterfullerene because the shape was like a spherical shape that could be folded in by a person’s shadow. It can also be called Buckyball and is the molecular structure for C60 and C70. It is made up of carbon structures called fullerenes. They can be hollow spheres, ellipsoids, or tubes and they resemble the shape of a soccer ball. The Fullerenes can have pentagonal or hexagonal rings.


Nanotechnology is even within sports. A company called NanoDynamics plans to sell a nanotech golf ball that can dramatically reduce hooks and slices. They change the molecular level of the golf ball to have less weight as the ball spins. Even in tennis rackets, Wilson Company allowed the material in tennis rackets to get stiffer and lighter, allowing fast speeds and power serves. Also, a European company with U.S. operation in Boulder is marketing a line of tennis rackets constructed with nanotechnology. However, these rackets were made for amateurs or club players not pros. The president of Babolat V.S. North American Inc. says, “By using nanotechnology, we increase the resistance of a racket.” Babolat, a French- based manufacturer tennis racket and strings partners with a French technology company, Nanoledge, to manipulate carbon at the nanometer level producing “nano carbon tubes.” Usually rackets are made of fibers of graphite or carbon, but Babolat combines nano carbon tubes with regular carbon fibers to produce stiffer rackets. This stiffness allows more power to be produced and the frame does not bend as much when the ball impacts the racket. At first, they released their two rackets the VS Nanotube Power and VS Nanotube Drive. Later, they released a new line with the VS NCT Drive and the VS NCT Control. These models have stabilizers from top of handle to middle of the frame on each side of racket to reduce bending and twisting of the frame when the ball hits it. Babolat’s president believes that upgrades will not ever result in 100% nano carbon tennis racket because the racket would be way too stiff and the cost would be very expensive since nano carbon is more expensive than gold. This all reminds me of the times I played tennis in high school because my friends owned Wilson and Babolat rackets. They were really light, but the power impact from hitting the ball was extremely strong. After playing with my friend’s racket for a while, it felt like the racket was not even there. This light weight racket allows many people to be able to carry this weight. Since, past rackets were heavy and did not produce as much strength because you would need lots of energy to hit the ball and control the racket. With this great introduction of nanotechnology, it creates a great change in everyday uses from sports, to art, and to science.


Catherine Yang

Week 9 Nanotechnology by Mindy Truong

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Tuesday’s guest speaker introduced us to how different sounds that are produced have taken another perspective to art. His emphasis on sound took away from how some people stress the visual side of art. The guest speaker brought me back to the extra credit lecture of Linda Weintraub. Weintraub wanted to expand beauty and art beyond the visual and showed us the beauty and art in death and decay. However, Tuesday’s guest speaker showed a whole new view of art, thru sound. Instead of seeing the world for what it is, the guest speaker wanted us to listen to the surrounding sounds. His emphasis on sound took me back a bit, I didn’t think that the sound that certain substances make as it heats up or the sound of animals croaking could be considered art. I was so caught up on the stereotypical perception of art just as a visual like a painting or photograph that I forget all the art that surrounds me such as through sound.

Thursday’s guest speaker lectured us about nanotechnology and how it is being used in the art field. It’s amazing to see how something so small can do so much and have such a great effect. On last Tuesday’s discussion section John showed us a short video on the collaboration of Nokia and Cambridge Nanotechnology Center. Even though the Morph technology is not existent right now, it is shocking to know that something like this could be created as the years progressed. Nanotechnology is at a world of its own. I didn’t understand, at first, how nanotechnology is being utilized in the world today. However, Professor James GImzewsk introduced me to many fields in which such technology is being used. It’s just amazing all the endless possibilities that comes from nanotechnology. Desma 9 is definitely a great learning experience for me because I would not have known the other side to both art and science if it wasn’t for this class.

Mindy Truong

Week 9: Nanotechnology or Nanoscience, by Erick Romero

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

This week’s lecture about Nanotechnology brought a lot of confusion to my mind.  It seems hard to me to understand the implications of working at the ‘nano’ scale.  Such a small world, how can you work at such small scales, at something you can’t see, but only imagine?  How precise can you be at this scale, and how critical a small error margin becomes at this point?  Not to mention how difficult to work on this scale would be, since at this scale, everyday materials start to act in unimaginable ways.  All this questions and ideas made me realize that this is truly an amazing subject, and that really amazing things could be done if we could posses this technology.  Imagine the applications of this technology:  faster computers, tiny medical devices that repair cells, just to mention a couple.  Now try imagining building nanomechanical machines to do all this work.  It certainly can blow your mind away!

But as impossible as nanotechnology might seem (at least to me) right now, it is an intense field of research today.  Even in our own campus, we have the special distinction to host the California NanoSystems Institute (, where some of the world’s preeminent scientists in the field work.  Some of the research areas explored at UCLA CNSI include NanoBiotechnology and Biomaterials, Nanoelectronics, Photonics and Architectonics, and Nanomechanical and Nanofluidic Systems.  I don’t know what any of these fields really does, even after reading some of the information on them online.

While doing some more research online, I found this really great video on youtube explaining topics on nanotechnology, being worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (  They basically mention many concepts involved in nanotechnology, and applications of it such as in medicine, computers, and alternative sources of energy.  They video even mention that nanotechnology “makes it possible for scientists to begin building working nanomechanical machines”, which hints that we will soon have these so called “nanobots”, which are robots of nanoscale that can go into our bodies and ‘repair’ us from inside of any disease or illness we might have in say our arteries, or even on braincells.  Although we are still many years away of seeing a fully functioning nanobot, the technology is here, and the applications are enless.  I searched for a few videos on nanobots on youtube, and found these two very interesting: ( (

However, as I stated before, we are far, actually, very far, from seeing what this technology can do.  We are in the early stage of nanotechnology, which is more a new science than a technology, as Prof. Vesna and Jim Gimzewski tell us in their essay “The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of fact & fiction in the construction of a new science”.  They also warn us that “Sensation-based media happily propagates this powerful and misleading cocktail combining scientific data, graphically intense visualizations together with science fiction artwork”, stating how nanotechnology is perceived in the general public. 


So now I go back to my initial excitement about nanotechnology, knowing now that it is all theory, only dreams and hopes, and not factual at all, that excitement seems to disappear.  But it doesn’t, because we have seen many things that were thought to be impossible become true.  So we need to start calling it NanoScience to avoid public misperception.  We don’t have a current nanotechonology, it is merely a new science, beginning to study this new field.  This will certainly not become possibly in the near future, but maybe, some day, we will actually have a ‘nano’ technology application, and start to plan to build those nanobots and other applications.  Dreaming is not bad, but we need to be real as well.

by Erick Romero.

Wk9_Nanotechnology by Alana Chin

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

This week’s word of the day was “nanotechnology!” Alright then, great, but what does that mean? I feel like we spent a good deal of time trying to define nanotechnology in a scope that we can relate to. We all know that it has to do with absurdly small things but exactly why is that important? Apparently a nanometer is so many times smaller than the thickness of a human hair or the thickness of your nail or whatever. I’m sure that’s very impressive but I can assure you anything that no one really knows what that means. After a certain point numbers and figures just go over your head. But the importan thing is the applications behind it. And that’s where I really woke up.

Nanotechnology is such an emerging field that there is just so much potential behind it. It feels so new and it’s still developing. I did a little research on nanotechnology for the final project and I found some very interesting things about nanotechnology. Firstly, I wondered what is so special about it? They’re super tiny but so what? Upon further research, because of it’s incredibly small size, nanoparticles pick up unique traits that are unexpected. Since they have such great surface area for their volume, they are incredibly reactive. Because of this they have certain properties like increased absorption rates. This is leading to promising developments in solar energy synthesis and sanitizers of air-born pathogens. What I found most interesting was its use in cancer treatments. There is a lot of promise as a cure for cancer because its use is way less invasive and harmful than other forms of treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation. I thought it was incredibly interesting exactly how they used nanotechnology to kill cancer cells. At first I thought they were sending little robots to go attack them or something. I was surprised to find that nanotechnology doesn’t just mean robots. For some reason they seemed synonymous. Anyway, nanoparticles were used as markers to target the cancer cells. Because nanoparticles are so reactive, they readily bind to cancer cells. Then a high frequency laser is shown on the area to heat the cells. The cancer cells that are bound to the nanoparticles heat up much more than the unbound cells soonly the bound cells are destroyed. I found this extremely fascinating that this method only killed cancer cells and other cells didn’t act as casualties. This is a huge development that can potentally change our views on cancer. If more healthy tissue is saved, the recovery time decreases and the chances of a full recover increases.

I became really interested in nanotechnology after listening to this week’s lectures and I really do think that there is a lot of potential for many medical breakthroughs. There is also a lot that can be done for energy conservation and pollution. I am very excited for these developments and hope that they really are as promising as they sound.

This is the main website where I got most of my info:
~Alana Chin

Week 9 Nano-by Matt Kramer

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

The concept and reality of nanotechnology is something that has always been somewhat of a puzzling subject to me.  Nanotechnology is supposed to be the control of all matter, which is something astonishing in theory. If nanotechnology can be fully harnessed in the future it can lead to the most important breakthroughs in medicine, technology, environmental issues, and communications.  I have not had much exposure to the topic except for mostly this week.  I had not known that nanotechnology has been around for a few decades and was surprised to hear this.  

Now I have begun to learn that the implications of the development of nanotechnology are endless.  Tiny nanobots could be used to solve so many health issues in the human body because they could easily float around the bloodstream and throughout the body.  

The small devices we already use could become incredibly smaller if the technology continues to develop.  It can also help to lead to amazing creations in art and architecture as well.  The scope with which nanotechnology can relate is endless and extremely exciting to think about.

Since I am a political-science major I often think about the subjects in a social context and the implications they can have with lawmakers and the public.  The effects of nanotechnology are unforeseen as of now, and merely speculated.  Scientists and biologists worry a bit about the health effects of nanotechnology on human biology.  And socially, if this technology were to be extremely expensive, a lot of us would be at an extreme disadvantage if we were unable to participate and utilize the emerging technology.  I have also now read a little bit on the environmental issues at stake with nanotechnology.  The term nanopollution has been coined to refer to all the pollution stemming from nanotechnology.  This pollution is dangerous because the particles are so small that they could possibly go through human, animal, and plant cells, affecting their biology and chemistry.  

Still potential benefits have also been noted that point out that nanotechnology could change the lives of millions of people. It can help developing countries become healthier, cleaning their water.  It can also be a big help in the medical field as already mentioned and lead to military breakthroughs as well.  

The question of who will eventually control nanotechnology is also of great concern.  Whether or not governments will step in and try to regulate nanotechnology is unknown and the corporate world will surely attempt to stake their claim in the field as well.  Nonetheless, I am excited to see what developments are made in the future and learn about the developing potential risks and benefits attached to nanotechnology.  

Matt Kramer