National Chemistry Week: New Products
Oct 19, 2010
October 17-23: National Chemistry Week. A week to celebrate the contributions of chemistry to modern life and to help the public understand that chemistry affects every aspect of our lives.
Chemistry provides the raw materials for more than 70,000 products that help keep you safe, warm, cool, on time, in motion, and connected. From heart monitors to satellites to cell phones to microwave ovens to synthetic fibers, chemistry makes the things that make modern life possible. If you can't spot the innovations of chemistry, you're just not looking. Chemistry is one of the largest non-governmental investors in research and development in the United States, earning us one in every nine patents. From microprocessors to life-saving medicines, chemistry is leading innovation in nearly every industry. Chemistry is new products, new materials, and a new hope for the future.
Thousands of nanotechnology experts—researchers, engineers and product specialists—are quietly cracking long-unseen codes about how the universe works at the tiniest scale.
Over the past few years, the government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and other programs have poured $2 billion-plus into nanotech exploration. Now, we have thousands of new nano discoveries—building blocks for nano’s future, some as small as one or two molecules.
R&D spending is intensifying, and this should attract more commercial R&D money. At decade’s end, it’s predicted most Global 500 firms will make, buy, or have investments and/or partnerships in nanotechnology.
Sizing Up Nano
Nanotechnologists work at the molecular scale. To give you some perspective, a sugar granule is about 1-millimeter wide. Zoom down 1-million times smaller and you get a single sugar molecule, which measures 1.0 nanometer.
Nanotechnology encompasses materials, chemicals, devices, structures and processes at scales between 0.1 nanometers to about 100 nanometers. Experts say if we can understand and manipulate our world at this tiny scale, we’ll unlock a vault brimming with discoveries and promise.
Nanotech Holds Medical Promise
A DNA molecule is 2.5 nanometers wide. The National Cancer Institutes of Health, for example, are investing in nano-research to find better ways to diagnose and treat cancer. NCI/NIH are working on cell-sized nano-containers to deliver gene therapy, quantum dots to find tumors only a few cells wide, and even custom-designed drug therapies based on a patient’s DNA.
Nanotech Fueling “CleanTech” Revolution
The Nano Science and Technology Institute (NSTI) is at the center of the nanotech-cleantech convergence. There is a burst in nanotechnologies aiming to cut pollution, waste and energy use for industrial firms. ExamplesiInclude NanoH2O (Santa Monica, CA) has nano-membranes to improve water reclamation and desalination. The University of Wisconsin is working on nano fuel cells for cellphones, PDAs and TV. Smart batteries” from nanotech designs will store power for years and release current on-demand. Nano-thin roll-printing will make solar cells cheaper.
Nanotech and the Consumer Economy
While nanotech may help cure cancer or curb global warming, maybe you just want your laptop battery to last longer. Nanotech is there, too.
The biggest names in electronics and semiconductors—Intel, AMD, HP, Agilent, and Motorola—all have nano R&D programs, covering chips, and components for PCs, laptops, cell phones, and PDAs.
Other nano initiatives could bring brighter and cheaper flat-panel TVs, stronger tires, cheaper and more efficient gasoline, and self-repairing engines. Boeing and Caterpillar are even exploring nanotech to improve airplanes and earth movers.
**Information courtesy of the American Chemistry Council.
Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, NanoBiotechnology, Pharmaceutical Design and Nanofabrication are just some of the undergraduate academic programs of study at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Founded in 2001 to address Central Pennsylvania’s need for increased opportunities for study leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, Harrisburg University is an innovative and ambitious private institution that produces graduates who provide increased competence and capacity in science and technology disciplines to Pennsylvania and the nation. Harrisburg University ensures institutional access for underrepresented students and links learning and research to practical outcomes. As a private University serving the public good, Harrisburg University remains the only STEM-focused comprehensive university located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
For more information on the University's demand-driven undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in applied science and technology fields, call 717.901.5146 or email Connect@HarrisburgU.edu.