The Computer Revolution/Computers and Environment/Nanotechnology

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Current projects being investigated included :

Established by Energy Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) with the aid of the Office of Science and Technology of the French Consulate-Houston, I-CENTR includes brings together Rice researchers with over thirty researchers from the global environmental and nanochemistry research communities who are actively engaged in research on developing new nanomaterials-based technologies for protecting human health and the environment, and in understanding how nanomaterials and nanomaterial production may affect our environment. Current projects include studies on:

  • Mobility of nanomaterials in aqueous environments
  • Surface chemistry of mineral oxide and carbon nanoparticles
  • Development of nanostructured membranes
  • Mechanisms of nanoparticle bio-degradation
  • Development of nanostructured ceramic bodies for environmental separations and catalysis nanomaterial-based adsorbents for water treatment
  • Possible mutagenic properties of nanoparticles
  • Nanoparticle bioaccumulation

Retrieved from http://cohesion.rice.edu/centersandinst/eesi/nanotech.cfm?doc_id=4149 on March 20, 2007

Examples of nanomaterials :

  • buckyball
  • single-walled carbon nanotubes
  • zinc selenide quantum dots
  • alumoxane nanoparticles
  • titanium dioxide nanoparticles


New Discoveries in Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is now a wannabe superhero’s best asset. Previously, an optical cloak could hide an object on a wall by changing the angle that light bounced off the object and thus distorting what a person saw. An optical cloak could only hide an object not on a surface by bending light completely around the object. This was done with synthetic metamaterials which are smaller than the actual wavelength of light they are reflecting. Previously, this had only been accomplished at specific wavelengths but new discoveries have allowed this to be possible with all wavelengths. Utilizing holes between 60 and 65 nanometers etched into thin layers of silicon nitride deposited on porous glass, it is possible to bend light completely around an object (potentially a superhero or more realistically an armored tank entering into battle) and make that object appear invisible.

    Retrieved from http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20797-optical-cloaks-hide-objects-in-broad-daylight.html on February 03, 2012
RNA vs. DNA


DARPA, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, is proposing to stop spending money on researching new antibiotics and to instead focus that money on developing new and innovative ways to utilize nanoparticles to fight infections. DARPA is currently seeking new proposals for how to utilize the small interfering RNA (similar to DNA) and collectively known as siRNA. siRNA is a macromolecule that can be programed with a specific genetic code and then that molecule will seek out the same genetic code within cells in the human body and ultimately destroy those cells. A siRNA could be programmed with the same genetic code as a particular strain of bacteria and theoretically the siRNA would scour the human body searching for that bacteria and destroy it with relatively no side effects. Unlike antibiotics, the bacteria cannot grow resistant and the siRNA can be programmed rather rapidly to destroy an extensive list of different harmful cells.

    Retrieved from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228413.600-forget-antibiotics-try-nanoparticles-instead.html on February 06, 2012


Further reading[edit]