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.

What Kind of Artificial Life is in our Future?

Schematic of a synthetic cell and its elements
Apr 05, 2019

Scientists are radically reengineering simple organisms and attempting to build new cells from scratch. What they are learning could revolutionize our relationship with the natural world. In this spotlight, The Kavli Foundation spoke to three pacesetters in this rapidly emerging field of artificial life: Jef Boeke, Marileen Dogterom and Pamela Silver.

2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience: A Conversation with Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna and Virginijus Šikšnys

CRISPR-alters the pattern on butterfly wings
Sep 10, 2018

The 2018 Kavli Prize laureates discuss the rapid rise of the CRISPR gene-editing technology and the impact of rewriting the genome on medicine, agriculture and our fundamental understanding of life.

Meet KIND's New Director: Chirlmin Joo

Chirlmin Joo
Aug 30, 2018

After eight extraordinary productive years, Cees Dekker will transfer the Directorship of the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft (KIND) to his younger colleague Chirlmin Joo. Who is Dr. Joo?

Can Nanoscience Quench a Thirsty World?

Water press
Oct 06, 2017

By harnessing the power of nanomaterials, three innovators—Meny Elimelech, Naomi Halas and Omar Yaghi—have developed ways to harvest water from air and make seawater fit to drink.

Q&A: Lieven Vandersypen, Quantum Nanoscientist

Artist impression of two electron spins that talk to each other via a 'quantum mediator'.
Apr 07, 2017

Physicist Lieven Vandersypen talks about his new role as co-director and the future of the Kavli Institute for Nanoscience at Delft University of Science and Technology.

Frontiers of Technology: Are Computers Finally Going Quantum?

The chip with the electrical contacts used to create the quantum dots. (Source: Tim Baart)
Apr 06, 2017

The race to build the world’s first quantum computer is heating up. A string of new investments from tech industry heavyweights like Microsoft, Intel and Google could finally create a winner. We asked three physicists—Lieven Vandersypen, Shohini Ghose and John Martinis—to estimate the odds.

The Chemistry of Nature, Reimagined

MOFs and COFs
Jan 05, 2017

Nature uses complex molecules to perform miraculous feats, such as turning sunlight into sugars. A new class of crystals is making that kind of complexity accessible to humans. Three nanoscientists—Omar Yaghi, Joseph Hupp and Thomas Bein—discuss their truly transformational way of doing chemistry.

Uniting Diverse Sciences to Tackle the Microbiome

Dental plaque microbiome
Sep 20, 2016

The Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge will provide $1 million in grants for innovative tools to investigate how microbes live in complex communities. Three scientists - Tim Donohue, Julie Biteen and Terry Hwa - discuss why it matters.

2016 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience: A Discussion with Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber

Nanographene molecule
Aug 20, 2016

Two of the 2016 Kavli Prize laureates – Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber – discuss how the ability to see and manipulate single molecules and atoms has changed our view of the nanoscale world.


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