Archive for the ‘week9_nano’ Category

Wk 9-Nanotechnology-Gindy Nagabayashi

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Nanotechnology. What does nano mean? Literally looking at the prefix nano means 10 to the power of -9 of something, so nanotechnology 10^-9 technology. Does this mean we’re looking at something infinitesimally small? According to Vesna and Gimzewski nanotechnology marks the shift of how we view reality “from a purely visual culture to one based on sensing and connectivity.” I agree that “this new science will eventually revolutionize and impact every single aspect of our lives.” I believe that nanotechnology will influence how we approach ecology and sustainability. It makes sense that these two ideas converge. One of the major concerns of this century is ecological responsibility and with the emergence of nanotechnology infiltrating our culture, emerges nano-ecology. One author, Doug Mulhall, proposes that nanotechnology has the potential to introduce more efficient ways to waste management than the current methods. This field of nano-ecology is in its infancy.
On another note, upon searching up nano landscapes, I came across an artist named Michael Oliveri, an artist who explored nanoscale landscapes. His exhibit called innerspace, captures landscapes using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) of samples from materials generated from scientist Zhengwei Pan. Pan heated metals until they vaporize. In this process the metals settle down to form various shapes. Oliveri used SEM to capture these samples combining them to create panoramas that resemble landscapes. The particular artwork I was interested in was the “The Fractal Geometric Valley”. This valley consists of scans of zinc oxide. The combined effect is beautiful. Oliveri’s work reminded me of a desert landscape, such as this one. The realism of the artwork is so convincing because of the seemingly rough terrain and contrasting textures. The interesting note is that this artwork captures the natural interactions of zinc oxides. Other artwork could stem from this idea, by taking SEM of other metals or materials.

-Gindy Nagabayashi

Week9/Guitars and Quantum Computers/Connor Petty

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Nanotechnology is a fascinating subject. It is a subject of almost unlimited potential, and personally one of my favorite. There have been many advancements in the construction of nanostructures. And a humorous, but good example of such nanostructures would be the Nano-guitar.

The original Nano-guitar was created in 1997, it measured only 10 microns long and the strings measured only 50 nanometers (a mere 100 atoms) in width. It is impressive to consider the size of the guitar, considering that the diameter of a human hair is 200 microns. On might ask, “What is the point in making such a small guitar? Nobody could play it!” As it turns out, in 1997 nobody was able to play the guitar, but in late 2003, scientist were able to strum the guitar using a laser light to vibrate the strings at 40-megahertz. That’s roughly 17 octaves higher than any normal guitar, far above what could heard by a human ear. While the existence of such a guitar is not important, what is important is how it demonstrated the potential of using a high-voltage electron beam machine to craft nano scale solid body objects, in this case a guitar made from a single crystal of silicon.

But the significance of this nano scale construction technology  is most prominent in the area of computer architecture. Every two years, the number of transistors on a computer processing chip doubles. This is known as Moore’s law. Nanotechnology is extremely important in this field since transistors are getting smaller and smaller, and chip design must be done on a nano scale. Computer chips currently have over 1 billion transistors, this equates to nearly 1 transistor every half-mircometer squared. A question that one might ask is where this is all heading. Intersting enough, research is being done in the area of quantum computing that will revolutionize the speed and size of computers. In a normal computer bits are used to represent data as 0’s and 1’s. In a quantum computer bits are replaced with qubits that hold a 1, 0, or more importantly any quantum superposition of these states. A group of qubits could in fact represent multiple numbers at a single time through the use of superposition. The reason that quantum computers are held in such interest is that they would allow efficient implementation of certain algorithms. Shor’s algorithm is a quantum algorithm that solves number factorization in sub-exponential time. Normal algorithms for today’s computers can only preform this task in exponential time. This is extremely important since number factorization could be used to “break” the widely used public-key cryptography scheme used known as RSA. Modern day cryptography relies on the fact that attempts to break the keys would require number factorization, and since normal computers would take an obscenly long time to perform factorize the large numbers used as keys, those keys are considered safe to use. Quantum computers would make it possible to break the keys fairly quickly. This advancement in essentially “hacking” would force the advancement in crytography as well. There is much research being done in the area of quantum cryptography algorithms in order to prevent the crisis that would arise once RSA becomes breakable.


Friday, March 13th, 2009

A quote that comes to mind when thinking of nanotechnology is from Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Horst Störmer (here is a link to one of his lectures:, who said that the nanoscale is more interesting than the atomic scale because the nanoscale is the first point where we can start assembling something. I never really looked at nanotechnology from this point of view before, as the smallest useful building blocks. As an engineer, the goal is always to make something smaller and more efficient, but to see it from the other few (building up from the atomic level), nanotechnology takes on a whole new perspective. Atoms fall within fractions of the nanoscale, but its true that the things that are useful to us now are created by pulling these atoms together.

I found an interesting metaphor about the importance and small scale of nanotechnolgy:  “[Creating things without nanotechnology is] like trying to make things out of LEGO blocks with boxing gloves on your hands. Yes, you can push the LEGO blocks into great heaps and pile them up, but you can’t really snap them together the way you’d like. In the future, nanotechnology will let us take off the boxing gloves. We’ll be able to snap together the fundamental building blocks of nature easily, inexpensively and in most of the ways permitted by the laws of physics. ”

The idea that we can “take off our boxing gloves” and create things with such precision is fascinating. When working on the atomic level, the only way to go is up. It is important to utilize the lack of “boxing gloves” to create new advances in the world of nanotechnology.

All scientists utilize nanotechnology in their varying fields today (some of the many different benefits of nanotechnology are shown in this video: Everyone wants to make things smaller, faster, more economical. The widespread use of nanotechnology is important in our modern world.

In our current economic condition, it is tough to rationalize spending the money on the research for these “small” advancements. However, these advancements will be important to our growth in the future. By being able to build and produce things inexpensively and with less materials, we will be able to help preserve our worlds natural resources. These resources cannot be recreated later no matter the technology we develop. It is so important now to find more efficient ways to do the things we do on a daily basis in order to help our world as a whole in the future. If we can produce a computer that uses little to no energy using the advantages of nanotechnology, we can cut back on our energy use to a large degree.

Driving a car that is powered using alternative energy created through nanoscience will not only save our fuel sources, but will also reduce the number of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. A doctor that can safely perform surgeries thanks to equipment that was created on a nanoscale will be more effective and more cost efficient in the long run.

Engineers and scientists alike have been working hard to make our world more compact and efficient. Now, with dwindling resources and an unstable economic condition, this research and their efforts become invaluable to society. Now, the goal is not to get “bigger and better,” but it is, in fact, to cut back and utilize the small things in life. These small advances and small technologies will be our future.

Useful Links:

Week 9 / Nanotechnology / Erum Farooque

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Nanotechnology is such a broad topic, I have no idea what to talk about. So I searched for nanotechnology art on the Internet and came across this fascinating contest that judged microscopic pictures based how beautiful and bizarre they were. This contest judges each microscopic image from a technological and artistic perspective. In 2005, the picture that won the Most Bizarre category was called the Nano Toilet.The Nano Toilet Here it is:

This contest definitely combines art, science and technology together in that scientists take pictures from a microscope of the small world and nanotechnology and use technology to give an artistic perspective on it. I have also included other entries that are quite interesting and very artistic. The Debutante's Ball

This one on the right looks like many woman attending a ball so it was called The Debutante’s Ball. The one below looks like the inside of a cave filled with icicles or something of the sort but it is called Christmas Tree, which I can see as well  but I think the cave idea works better, or a forest of trees on fire. This brings the nanotechnology of science truly into art. It turned a scientific photograph into an artwork which people can critique and share their different perspectives and ideas of what it

Lastly, this one about the dog is named Fluffy and I just found it adorable and it totally looks like cells joining together to make one large organism so it’s like the formation of large life (us and animals) from small life (like cells).  This website link has the winners for the contest for 2008 and I put up the link to show the winner for the best nominee category: . The video looks like a revolving crown, pretty neat stuff.

Another interesting nanotechproject I found is about Paul Doherty. He found the little toy that kids play with that makes a whirling sound fascinating and dissected the physics behind it. He used the “whirlies”, as he likes to call them, to make different sounds and music. Interestingly enough, the sound they make is not due to the air rushing past the tube so fast as most would expect. To explain what really happens, he compared the air in the tube to marbles. The air is forced out of the tube really fast as the whirlie is spun around like like a tube full of marbles spinning around would force the marbles to burst out. The sudden forceful bursting out of air makes the sounds. Different notes can be played by the whirlies as well. Spinning faster would cause higher notes to be produced, whilst slowing down would make lower notes. He uses whirlies to make music, a unique and creative way for sure. A cellist who was initialy interested in using these toys to make music now uses them sometimes at her concerts, or it is rumoured that you can always hear one playing at her concerts. Her name would be Sarah Hopkins.

Here is the link to Paul Doherty’s findings:

~*~Erum Farooque

Week 9/Nanotechnology’s Two Sides/Jay Park

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Nanotechnology is hailed as the future of our technological advances. Indeed, the abilities of nanotechnology seems endlessly beneficial for not only the human race, but for the environment as well.  The medicinal and environmental capabilities can only be attributed to the awesome potential that nanotechnology offers. However, this is precisely the point like in all other instances of discovering and attempting to harness great power, where man must tread carefully. The excitement over nanotechnology has most people oblivious to the countermeasures of the beneficial products the same technology can just as easily produce. For each potential benefit, there is a potential risk.

                Nanotechnology can create molecular level robotics that can be injected into patients to treat many kinds of diseases. Nanorobots can perform dialysis on a routinely basis with only the recyclable power of our body temperature. However, the same technology that can save our lives can effectly destroy our lives. Biohazardous nanorobots can be used as effective weapons of terrorism. The same nanorobots used to clean our blood can be reprogrammed to destroy our blood. There will be no more need for bullets and bombs, when a more efficient and stealthy assassin can be simply inhaled or injected. It is not only the dangers of malicious intent that should stall nanotechnology, but the inequality that the technology can promote. At the forefront of technology, medical nanotech might only be affordable to certain classes. The nanorobots can be redesigned to artificially increase braincell production, increase memory capacity, increase growth or even improve athletic abilities. The implications of the inequality that can result from the wide use of the technology is only shortsighted to the overall artificial evolution that can take place because of it. Nanotechnology can be used in infinite ways that would change the very biochemistry and essence of being humans.

                Economically speaking, the advances in nanotechnology can deeply impact the market that can lead to economic disruption and artificial price inflation.  The benefits of nanotechnology in our agricultural industry is evident, but the risks are often laid down and silenced. Crops can harness the power of nanotechnology and utilize nanorobots to help protect the fields against pests, improve the quality of soil, and even support the crops in supernatural growth. Besides the obvious effects and dangers to the natural equilibrium, the markets would have a disastrous time coping with the dramatic changes in prices due to minimalized labor and production costs.  Farmers wouldn’t have to tend their crops as nanorobots would remove the necessity of labor as it performs the duties of pesticide, fertilizer, and laborer all in one.  Jobs would disappear, but more importantly, humanities dependence technology will only exponentially increase. This sudden and accelerated dependency on technology will only hamper our abilities to respond to presence of danger and risk inherent in that technology, and can leave us helplessly accepting the risks.

                Nanotechnology can have a lasting impact on global politics as well, as the economic and weaponized products of nanotechnology alters the balance of power and reshapes the atmosphere of political agendas. But, by no means is the message being sent to stay clear of nanotechnology. It is simply a caveat of utilizing a great power. Involved with the development and pursuit of nanotechnology, a thorough system of checks and balances must be in place to keep the technology from straying down the wrong path.  However, this idea of subjugating the technology to multi-layered scrutiny does lack appeal to those ambitious for the technology even in the purest of altruistic intent.  The potential of nanotechnology can be hampered, if not altogether stunted in progress, if the restrictions and restraints implemented onto the technology is too strict. In the end, a balance must be acheived for efficiently allowing nanotechnology to safely operate.  This will be a difficult task for the review boards and councils created in the future to oversee nanotechnological operations. But, it will be a cost and trouble well worth the prevention of disasters that can come out of nanotechnology.

Week 9: Invisible but still there by claudia zapien

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

The concept of nano art is a great example of the world of science and art coming together. two world that are sometimes considered as opposite as night and day and for many people they are two fields that don’t come together, but that is the biggest misconception there is. Nanotechnology can be very beneficial and also very dangerous if not used in the right manor. It is a new way to capture and image and the depth achieved by nano art is better than that of photography because instead of using photons as it is used in photography, nano art, electrons are and the electrons create much deeper depth. The nano landscapes consist of the molecular and atomic landscapes from the matter used at atomic scale and nano sculptures which are the structures created by scientists and artists by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes. The final product is seen through scanning electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes and their images are captured and at many time undergo other artistic techniques to convert them into pieces of art.  

Africa made fomr silicon atoms at atomic scale

Africa made fomr silicon atoms at atomic scale

As i was looking through nano technology and trying to find interesting artwork done with the help of advancement in nano technology i came across a very interesting exhibition done by Alessandro Ascali and Robin Goode. They have incorporated their nano art to be a driving political force. They like the notion that the artwork that they are doing is invisible to the naked eye, yet t does exist. This idea that only because you cannot see it it doesnt mean it isn’t there. They have a few pieces of art that incorporate this concept but the one that caught my attention was the sculpture of africa. As we all know or should know, the origin of human life comes from Africa. It is a huge continent and i theory how could it be neglected, yet it is. African is a continent that is poor, neglected and exploited for its natural resources. Even with its major contributions to humans we still act as if it doesn’t exist as if it is the forgotten continent. Making a image of africa single silicon atoms is a great metaphor for the situation we are caught in. Atoms are the building blocks of everything and they are invisible to the human eyes. Only because we do not see the atoms doesn’t mean that they are not there and that they are not important. Without the atoms which are the building blocks for everything we would have nothing and Africa fall under the same lines, without africa we wouldnt be where we are today. We might not ever exist.

By Claudia Zapien

Week 9/Nanotechnology and Its possibilities/Yu Hsiao

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

In our capitalist society, it seems like the more the better. We’re always trying to push the limit of everything. We try to earn as much money as we can. Engineers try to push the limit of technology as far as they can. We’re constantly improving technology and making the impossible possible. With the breakthroughs of nanotechnology, there are endless possibilities to its frontier. By making circuits down to the size of atoms, computer chips could be more efficient and a lot smaller so more information could be stored. IBM has made incredible advance in nano-sized chips. Engineers at IBM achieve this by using the property of self assembly to generate the circuits for the computer chip. Because there’s limit to Moore’s Law, because we can only go so far with minimizing the size of silicon chips. There’s technological barrier to it. So IBM chose molecules that have self assembly property. I thought this was interesting because it’s sort of an indirect way to engineer a product. Instead of making the circuits directly, molecules are put to self assemble themselves into a functional system.

I thought the self assembly feature could be applied to artists. By knowing how molecules could self assemble, arts could use it to their advantage. So they could indirectly working on their art work. By designing combination of molecules that are put together. This way, the artist only has part of the control over his/her art work. We’ve talked about a lot of art works that are created from chance, and chaos, where the artist has little part in controlling the outcome of the art work. But using nanotechnology, we could have a new form of art which the artists has control, but not total control over his/her work. This way, an artist might be expecting a molecule to self assemble into something, but he/she might have made a mistake in designing the molecules, and the molecules come out different. It’s a new way to be creative, and to create different possibilities.

In our society, we also try to make building higher and higher. We have high rises, and skylines. If we could built a space elevator, then we would really build a skyline. Now we’re seeing nanotechnology is making space elevator a reality. Carbon nanotubes are being discovered as a very strong material. It is claimed to be stronger than steel. This project is possible if we used space shuttle to carry cable that is as long as the geosynchronous orbit, 21,700 miles. The cable is then snaked into the earth and connected onto a platform like structure. At the platform, using electron laser beam to ride the carbon nanotube ribbons up the cable to make it stronger. Overtime, the cable would carry over 20 tons of carbon nanotube, and the space elevator is a reality.

If a space elevator is built, there are endless possibility to our world. Space travel will be easier, and the cost will probably go down. Everyone will be able to experience space, its weightlessness. It will open up opportunities for the art world as well. Artists will be able to explore how the art medium responds in space without gravity. This is done by using nanotechnology. I thought this is cool because by employing nanotechnology, we opened up a whole new possibility with architecture, the space elevator. But if the elevator becomes a reality, then we will have another whole new breakthrough, where things could be done in space, and space could become more accessible to everyone.

week 9 / (nano)technology - the bugbear of our generation? / ben marafino

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Richard Smalley writes:

“A few weeks ago I gave a talk on nanotechnology and energy titled “Be a Scientist, Save the World” to about 700 middle and high school students in the Spring Branch ISD, a large public school system here in the Houston area. Leading up to my visit, the students were asked to write an essay on “Why I Am a Nanogeek.” Hundreds responded, and I had the privilege of reading the top 30 essays, picking my favorite five. Of the essays I read, nearly half assumed that self-replicating nanobots were possible, and most were deeply worried about what would happen in their future as these nanobots spread around the world. I did what I could to allay their fears, but there is no question that many of these youngsters have been told a bedtime story that is deeply troubling.

You [Drexler] and people around you have scared our children. I don’t expect you to stop, but I hope others in the chemical community will join with me in turning on the light, and showing our children that, while our future in the real world will be challenging and there are real risks, there will be no such monster as the self-replicating mechanical nanobot of your dreams.”


With developing technologies comes some kind of concern, and usually from the most unexpected of fronts. The scientists working on the first atomic bomb took quite morbid bets on whether their contraption, not content on merely exploding, would ignite the Earth’s atmosphere. Today, these sorts of qualms have managed to stick around, but we are much wiser with the passage of years and inventions – all one has to do is witness the recent furor over the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Apparently it seems that this sort of criticism has been relegated to a fringe element – those who really have no idea about what it is that they’re raising the alarm about – in this case, the chances of the LHC producing a black hole that threatens to swallow the Earth, and us all whole.

The same sort of furor has been raised regarding the potential of molecular self-assemblers, or ‘nanobots.’ Theoretically, it is possible that these nanobots could be engineered to make copies of themselves, given sufficient quantities of raw materials in the vicinity. A somewhat ominous clause, isn’t it? Suppose that these nanobots run out of their artificial supplies, and turn to the surrounding environment for new sources of spare parts – there, they begin to feed indiscriminately on whatever might provide them molecular sustenance – perhaps us humans? In the process of consuming us – and the planet, and whatever else… - might they end us as a race? A doomsday scenario, if there was one. Thankfully, the chances of such an eventuality (not quite the word now, is it?) are limited, for reasons that Smalley posits: namely, that it’s difficult to construct an efficient nanobot capable of manipulating single atoms. He essentially asserts that such atomic-scale manipulators have got “fat fingers”: “Chemistry of the complexity, richness, and precision needed to come anywhere close to making a molecular assembler–let alone a self-replicating assembler–cannot be done simply by mushing two molecular objects together. You need more control. There are too many atoms involved to handle in such a clumsy way.”

In his piece, Smalley also goes on to excoriate Drexler – among others - for needlessly raising the alarm about the possibility of these nanobots running amok. In the spirit of his words, we need not turn nanobots into our children’s newest bugbear, particularly when they haven’t been invented yet – and we don’t know whether it’ll even be possible? Such irresponsibility, according to Smalley, detracts from the real risks – the real wolves of the future, and chemists like themselves have got the responsibility to allay these fears and to bring our focus to bear on more pressing problems. Many parallels can be found in the LHC craze, but the two instances don’t quite measure up in intensity or foundedness of their arguments. With nanobots – sure, there might be a cause for worry there, but once you’ve considered the technical practalities, there’s really nothing left to make a fuss over. Not so for the LHC – really, the creation of a destructive black hole is a possibility that borders on the farcical, and that’s before you consider the worked probabilities (which are ridiculously low).

Perhaps we’ll just have to accept that all this fussing is an intrinsic consequence of new technologies and grin and bear it, while staying on the reasonable side of the argument.

week 9/Nano/Akhil Rangaraj

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Nanotechnology is a very wide term. It covers many fields, such as material science, physics, and computing.  Reflecting this companies and researchers use the nano prefix in many fields. However, this use is sometimes incorrect, as there really arent any nano-technology enabled components to the product. AS the field is only in its infancy, many things remain to be sorted out regarding this new technology.

One part of this, that doesnt necessarily concern the technolgy directly, is the regulation of these products. One common hollywood concept is that of nano somethings gone wrong. While swarms of nano robots devouring all life in its path is indeed far in the future, regulations in the governmental sphere is already in place.  Usually this regulation is merely added to the end of existing laws, and then enforced by angencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, or the Consumer Saftey Commission. However, this is not a clear and coordinated effort, and several states (including California) have called for studies to determine how best to classify nanomaterials. It was assumed that nanoparticles behaved similarly to their larger counterparts, but this is not the case. Even if the compound is inert at macroscopic scales, it can still be harmful at atomic levels. For example, scientists have found that diesel nanoparticles damage cardiovascular systems in mice.

For this reason, it is important that research is done to verify that these nanoparticles are safe. It is imperative that these studies are done *before* the particles go into wide distribution. This is not to say that progress should be limited, only progress should be carefully undertaken. The wild rush to fossil fuels caused innumerable environmental and social problems; this should not be repeated. Currently, the EPA does not monitor true nanoparticles, because the particles are too small to currently filter. One specific example that was brought up in class was that of carbon nano-tubes. These microscopic tubes are incredibly strong, if propgated to large sizes. However, preliminary research finds that inhaling these tubes could cause effects similar to inhaling asbestos (e.g cause cancer).

The days of killer nanobot swarms is far off in the future, but the health risks from these nanoparticles are very real today. Current research shows that at least some nano-compounds cause damage to our very DNA. Therefore, much research needs to be done before we end up poisoning ourselves.

Week 9/Nanotechnology/Nathan Reynolds

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Nanotechnology has generated a considerable buzz within the past few decades.  The purpose behind it is to make everything more efficient, by reducing its size.  A parallel to this would be our computers today.  Years ago a single machine could take up an entire building complex to do nothing more than simple mathematics calculations.  Things are considerably different today.  I’m using this smaller descendent of the gargantuan to type up a rather poorly thought out web blog among other things.

Nanotechnology is the same.  Nanotubes composed of carbon promise incredible strength and durability.  Nanomachines are being researched to perform advanced tasks.

Science fiction helps push these dreams along by using the tools of CGI to make them manifest in the fantasy world.  Tiny robot spiders check the identities of people in Minority Report, while the Discovery Channel envisions tiny machines that travel the body in search of impurities to remove.

There is great promise in nanotech, but at our current pace it will take considerably more time before anything monumental can be achieved.

Some may interpret this as pessimism, but it is pragmatic more than anything else.  Take for instance carbon fiber tubes.  They were being researched five years ago, and they’re still being researched today.  Nothing grand has occurred yet, the process is expensive, and the fibers are inconsistent.  A goal that scientists have is to construct a space elevator from carbon tubes, but with our current production capabilities such progress is inconsequential.

Personally though, I am horribly afraid of nanotech, especially if it is applied to robotics.  The first simple machines built by our ancestors served as tools and cudgels at the same time.  We add a killing edge to the technology we create.  Now take into consideration microscopic machines.  Such devices could easily enter into the human body and wreak all sorts of havoc.  Devices on the microscopic level may be able to evade detection altogether and could be used for ultra-modern assassination purposes.

Indeed, this sounds a little crazy compared to my other blog posts, but there is a plausible threat posed by minimizing things too much.

Week 9/Invisability Cloak/ Lam Tran

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Imagine a cloak that you can put on and it will make you invisible.

Its sort of like the thing Harry Potter had. Well.. it isn’t a thing in science fiction or a magical piece of cloth in a fantasy novel.

That’s right… at University of California, Berkeley, they have made amazing breakthroughs in creating an invisible cloak!

Its not some sort of optical illusion. It doesn’t run on electricity.It uses nano technology. Well technically it uses metamaterials but nanotechnology enabled the creation of this. Before this, the closest thing science can do to enable invisibility is a combination of cameras and projectors. This cloak uses a fabric that is sort of a fish net that are nano-meters apart. The result creates something that sort of bends light around the object surrounded by the cloak. That’s just plain amazing. By making the cloth and taking it down to the nanoscopic level, science is able to achieve things that seem just impossible. There are no gears or smaller parts in this; the fabric takes on certain characteristics. This is how nanotech is. Its not that science fiction nanobot crap. There are no smaller parts within the nanotech that does all the things that it does. It is a particle that takes on a desired characteristic.

Now from the videos and pictures, you can see that the cloak and the person wearing it is still visible. However, making it seem transparent is still mind boggling. They have made shirts (not on the market) that are made of this material. I think it would make a cool clothing line. I’d buy that. Making a clothing line out of these metamaterials is sort of the application of science into the world of art/fashion.

It will still take a while before they perfect this. The scientists, not just at Berkeley, are trying different patterns and materials to try to perfect the cloak. Even the distance between the gaps in the cloak matter. Probably variations in a few picometers would make a difference. The scale of which these scientists are working are so small no optical microscope can really see. A regular light telescope is limited to 2000x. This is not enough to see something 10^-9 meters. They use electron microscopes instead and the image magnified ends up on a computer monitor.

Lam Tran

Week 9/ Art Through Scientific Means/ Kelly Tseng

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

What is nanotechnology?  First of all, one nanometer is one billionth of a meter.  Therefore, the study of nanotechnology is related to the study of matter at an atomic and molecular level.  If it is still quite difficult for you to imagine how small a nanometer is on a scale of meters, compare the size of a marble to the size of planet Earth.

I find it quite remarkable how nanotechnology is so diverse, extending over the fields of medicine, energy production, and electronics.  Application of its fundamentals leads to creations in many significant devices and materials such as nanoprocessors (microprocessors capable of creating features smaller than 100nm).

This exciting and diverse topic inspired me to search for other innovative projects or creations in this field of science.  When I came across projects based on the new art discipline at the art-science-technology intersections (known as nanoart) I was quite thrilled because this basically tied in the theme of our DESMA 9  class- Art, Science, and Technology.  Nanoart is unique in that it features creations of natural matter using chemical and physical processes.  The end result is something as beautiful as an authentic piece of art you would find at an art gallery.

These flowers were grown by scientists by putting droplets of liquid metal on a silicon chip.  The scientists then manipulated the pressures and temperature in the experiment to create three-dimensional flowers.  The shape of the flowers were produced by weaving wires made of silicon carbide.  These wires, in the next several years, will hopefully be used to develop the next generation of electronic devices.

I am extremely enthralled by this picture because it is really breathtaking.  It reminds me of a still water oil painting by Claude Monet.  The artist of this picture called “Nano Poolette” is Carol Cooper and was found on a blog site featuring nano-materials and nanotechnology “built” from everyday objects from the nanoscale up.

Overall, nanoart, I believe, is a remarkable and innovative synthesis of both the scientific and artistic realms.  I really admire the fact that such great art pieces could be produced from natural processes involving scientific methods.  Many artistic creations are visualized with scientific research tools such as the scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope.  The captured “scientific images” are then developed and processed using “artistic techniques” to convert them into amazing works of art such as the ones seen above.

Week 9\Nanotechnology\Amy Chen

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Through trying to understand the Art in Nanotechnology I looked up articles in which would better explain what it was.  Of course we’ve learned that the nano size is one billionth of a meter or the human hair is 50,000 nanometers.  One article in particular was done by National Geographic, which became even more surprising when they started mention the University of California…UCLA and then Victoria Vesna. It’s crazy to see her involvement in this movement.  Even while looking for other articles, her work has been repeatedly documented and is actually quite wide-spread.  I liked this analogy from the article best in describing the shift in reality in understanding matter. 

“The technology marked a paradigm shift in how scientists analyze miniscule matter, allowing them to record shape by tactile sensing instead of viewing it, much like a blind man reading Braille, only on the atomic scale.” 

What seems to bring everything back to beginning was the familiar feeling that I have heard or seen the examples of art in nanotechnology listed by National Geographic.  Sure enough it was Professor Vesna’s pieces that she had shown us in the first week of class.  It was funny reading the descriptions about a mandala and immediately connecting it to Professor Vesna’s work.  Although she has shown us her work and described it, it’s nice to read it’s direct link to nanotechnology.

“Images of a grain of sand are projected in evolving scale from the molecular structure of a single grain to the recognizable image of a pile of sand. In this bottom-up method of visual image building, the mandala slowly emerges.”

Since the article was written in 2003, I looked to see if any new nanotechnology art have been recently created.  

One piece I did enjoy is this piece done by Fanny Beron because as she says, it reminds us that nanoscale research can have unpredicted consequences at a high level. It shows catastrophic scenes through the use of an electron micro-graph.  The idea of an analogy from something so small to linking to a concept that can affect us on such a large scale is interesting yet scary.  

Also, while randomly esearching through more nanotechnology articles I came across this which is fairly recent, done in 2008.  It states that they have found long nanotubes, “one of the wonder materials of the new age of nanotechnology,” to carry a health risk similar to that of asbestos, a wonder material of an earlier age that turned into a scourge after decades of use when its fibers were found to cause lung disease.”  It is certain types of carbon nanotubes that are used in small but growing number of Space Age applications that if inhaled - could even pose a cancer risk.  Although we are understanding matter through a different lenses through newfound technology of nanotechnology, we have to realize the certain risks that come about.  It’s scary to read this and reminds me of the picture posted above, “nanoscale research can have unpredicted consequences at a high level”

Week 9: Nanotechnology/Jasmine Huynh

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Nanotechnology is defined as the study of the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale. It can be applied to a wide range of topics, ranging from handheld devices to medicine. On Thursday, we had a guest speaker who showed various and interesting aspects of nanotechnology. He provided a great talk on nanotechnolgy that discussed many different topics, ranging from atoms to the bigger human scale. It’s hard not to think of a topic like nanotechnology as strictly scientific, but I was able to find a very interesting nanotechnology-art fusion project called “Nanoart 21.”

The website can be found here: The website defines NanoArt be:

“a new art discipline at the art-science-technology intersections. It features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by scientists and artists by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These structures are visualized with powerful research tools like scanning electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes and their scientific images are captured and further processed by using different artistic techniques to convert them into artworks showcased for large audiences.”

Basically, NanoArt which encompasses the core topics that we discuss in our Desma9 class: art, science and technology. I thought this was a very interesting proect because it was truly a fusion of art and science. Both aspects were prominent in the projects. For example, a scanning electron microscope, a truly scientific tool, is used to make sculptures and atomic landscapes, which are clearly artistic projects. One of my favorite pieces of work on the website was:

This piece was done by Lisa Black and submitted for the 2008-2009 NanoArt Exhibition. I like how the background of this piece looks like its a type of cell under magnification in a scanning electron microscope, but the foreground looks like an abstract piece of art. I think this is the perfect summary for our class: art and science blended into one project.

More of these great projects can be found on this website: which showcases all the entries into the 2008 NanoArt Exhibition. It was fascinating to read how the artists all came from different backgrounds–some were artists by training, and some were cellular biologists. Seemingly from different fields, they were both able to create unique masterpieces which ultimately wound up at the same exhibition. Nanotechnology is one of the fields that makes it easy for this fusion to occur.

Week9/ Nanotechnology/ James Martin

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

This week’s topic was nanotechnology.  Nanotechnology has the potential of changing our society in so many ways it is unfathomable.  There are so many different possibilities and directions that nanotechnology can push mankind for the better.  This week we received a special lecture from James Gimzewski of the chemistry department.  There was one project that he briefly spoke of that really caught my attention.  He spoke of the space elevator.

The concept of the space elevator refers to an elevator-like tool that would allow for the transportation of objects into space without shuttles.  It is a fixed structure that would go from the earth passed geostationary orbit.  Current technology is not capable to create such a device that is light and strong enough to reach space.  However the most recent conceptualization for the space elevator is to use carbon nanotube as mentioned by James Gimzewski.  The cable that leads up to space would be made entirely out of single walled carbon nanotube.  The problem over the space elevator is the fact that the material must be extremely light and extremely strong.  This is where the nanotechnology come into play.  Without nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes would never have been created.  Projects like the space elevator are becoming reality due in large part to nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology can also be used in art and to help it last as long as possible.  Italian scientists are developing a way to use nanotechnology in order to restore many art piece a lot better and for a lot less money.  The technology is being created at the University of Florence in which water nanocontainers are being used.  Basically what is happening is that tiny droplets of cleaning agents are suspended in water to form micro-emulsions and are restoring paintings much better.  There are two main advantages of what is happening.  It is a better way of cleaning the old paintings and it is also a lot cheaper.  As techno logy advances, the scientists will further their understanding of the nanocontainers and create a plentiful version in order to clean.  Also, there it is a much more environmentally friendly way of cleaning the paintings, which is better for everyone.  Nanotechnology created a way far better way to clean the surface of old paintings.

Another field in which nanotechnology is being used is in computers.  The first computer that was ever made was so large that it could probably have taken up most of our lecture room in Broad.  As nanotechnology has progressed the computer has progressively gotten much smaller to wear it can fit in our hand now.  In James Gimzewski’s lecture, he mentioned how something’s, such as computers, will soon no longer be able to go any smaller and will lose many functions if they do go really small.  I also feel that there is a point in which things can become to small and there is no longer a purpose to having it.  As far as I can tell, nanotechnology seems to have a really positive future.

James Martin