Extra Credit: Professor Jim Hutchinson (Dwayne Myhre)

The lecture by Professor Jim Hutchinson from the Department of Chemistry was very interesting and provided quite a lot of insight into the world of nanotechnology.  Essentially, there was much that I learned from listening to him because I have no background with nanotechnology.  For one, nanotechnology consists of so much power contained in a small entity.  With this power, there is much that can be done such as new discoveries in medicine, improvements in energy production, and advancements in electronics.  According to Professor Hutchinson, many companies add silver into their clothing to help prevent bacteria.  Unfortunately, by rinsing the clothing with water, the silver comes out and thus defeats the purpose.  Rather than using water, there is another method to cleaning clothing.  This is done with antimicrobial fabrics, which can remain within the realms of nanotechnology.  Antimicrobial fabrics posses high antibacterial activity and are coated with a solution of a silver salt.  As a result of this, the growth of microbes is inhibited and microbes that exist are killed off.

Professor Hutchinson’s main focus for his lecture was around two ideas.  These were the desires to use nontechnology in order to design ways for waste reduction, thus creating a greener world, and to design safer nanomaterial.  In order to tackle the idea of designing safer nanomaterial, there are two processes; to either focus on the hazard issue or to focus on the exposure of nanomaterial to people and the public.  This is because the risk of using nanotechnology results from the hazards and exposures of nanotechnology.  According to the lecture, Professor Hutchinson believes that it is more practical to focus on minimizing the hazard issue rather than the exposure.  This is because by focusing on the hazard, one will most likely find success in lessening the threat of nanotechnology.  Also, the disadvantages of focusing on the exposure includes a possible failure overall because there are so many branches of exposure that scientists may end up focusing on the wrong commodity of exposure.  Thus, there will be a ton of work with no result.  Concerning the idea of greener world with waste reduction and creating a safer nanotechnology, Professor Hutchinson offers several solutions.  It should be noted that nanoparticels can be prepared by ligand exchange, which is able to bind to and form a complex with a biomolecule to serve a biological purpose.  Because of this ligand exchange, several ways to safer nanotechnology include ultracentrifugation, dialysis, chromatography, or stirred cell filtration.  The other, similar, idea is diafiltration, which is the best solution for getting rid of organic materials.  Diafiltration is a process where the pore size of the nanoparticle determines the retention or transmission of solution components.  Essentially, diafiltration is a fast pump-driven method, which includes aspects of membrane pore size and a continuous flow in order to purify a nanoparticle.

Dwayne Myhre

A link where I found some more information
http://www.nsti.org/Nanotech2008/showabstract.html?absno=416

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