NanotubeA view down the middle of a boron nitride nanotube. (Credit: © Vin Crespi, Penn State Physics, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nanoscience is well on its way to establishing itself as one of the critical technologies of the 21st Century. Just as semiconductors gave rise to computers, smart phones, the Internet, medical devices, and an endless stream of consumer products, nanoscience is enabling the development of new technologies in fields as diverse as electronics, medicine, photonics, energy, and quantum physics. Nanoscale constructions provide this flexibility for two reasons. First, they are small and precise enough to interact with molecules in entirely new ways. Nanomedicines, for example, often encapsulate drugs in molecular packages decorated with segments of molecules that enable them to target specific organs and diseases, and, once there, convince those cells to ingest the medication. Metal-organic frameworks, complex molecules engineered to reduce energy use in chemical reactions and capture carbon emissions from combustion, are another example. Second, and more intriguingly, nanoscale devices are closer in size to electrons and photons, and may interact with them in ways that are fundamentally different from the behavior of larger objects. For example, metamaterials, arrays of nanoscale structures, can bend light around an object to make it appear invisible. Nanoscale electronics can exploit quantum phenomena, like electron spin, energy waves, and quantum states to capture, store, and process information. As these technologies and other emerging applications reach commercialization, they are certain to change nearly every sphere of life.

Beyond Darwin: Ways to Evolve New Functions

Jun 02, 2011

At a recent Kavli Futures Symposium, nineteen experts from a diverse range of fields discussed the promise of using the lab to understand and exploit the evolution of organisms -- an advance that may one day be used to develop new vaccines or other biotechnology products.

Nano Meets Astro: A Dialogue with MacArthur Recipients Michal Lipson and Nergis Mavalvala

Jan 02, 2011

A conversation with Michal Lipson of Cornell University and Nergis Mavalvala of MIT, 2010 MacArthur Fellowship winners, on the intersections between nanoscience and astrophysics.

Feynman’s Vision

Jan 02, 2011

Co-chairs of the “Plenty of Room in the Middle” symposium reflect on the celebrated physicist’s role in the narrative of nanoscience. 

Scaling Up: The Future of Nanoscience

Dec 16, 2010

In advance of the Kavli Futures Symposium, “Plenty of Room in the Middle: Nanoscience – The Next 50 Years,” four participants and extraordinary researchers -- David Awschalom, Angela Belcher, Don Eigler and Michael Roukes -- join in a roundtable discussion.


The Future of Computing, from Extreme to Green

Aug 18, 2010

In September, 2010, leading scientists across several disciplines will gather for the next Kavli Futures Symposium to discuss what science needs from computing. In advance of this meeting, four of the participants discuss those needs, how current computing advances are impacting research, and how the future of computing is not only looking extreme and green, but is moving closer to how the brain computes.

New Tools for Nanoscience

Mar 19, 2010

In nanoscience, researchers are truly limited by the technology of their field. Directors of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, Paul McEuen and David A. Muller, discuss their mission to push the technology of observation, measurement and control to ever-smaller dimensions.

Using Nanoscale Technologies to Understand and Replicate the Human Brain

Jan 19, 2010

Recently, neuroscientist and KIBM Co-Director Nicholas Spitzer led a conversation with two nanoscience pioneers.

Exploring the Energy Frontier

Nov 15, 2009

In an effort to spur the development of new energy-related technology, the federal government has established 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers. Scientists affiliated with the Kavli Prize or Kavli Institutes play leading roles in three of these EFRCs. 

John Bowers, Efficiency Expert

Oct 29, 2009

John Bowers is the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also leads UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE). Founded in 2008, Bowers has helped the Institute get off to a fast start.

The Power of Protein Macinery

Oct 29, 2008

Nanoscience examines some of nature’s most remarkable engineering and nowhere is this engineering more exquisite than in the cell, where thousands of proteins work as tiny motors to power the processes of life. 


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