Distinctions and Differences in Nanotechnology

Could microscopy tools and nanoparticles help usher in molecular nanotechnology?

1 min read

Last month I suggested that perhaps it wasn’t entirely wise for the molecular nanotechnology (MNT) community to try so vigorously to detach itself from the nanoscale material science that we see embodied in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).

I made this suggestion thinking that it might actually be beneficial to the hopes and dreams of the MNT faithful to be thought of, at least in part, as a logical evolutionary step to some of the nanomaterial science we are seeing today.

This was quickly met with a response that provided a remedial course on the distinction and difference between the two flavors of nanotechnology. Then came a derisive comment from another blog that suggested based on this exchange that I was clearly so poorly informed on the subject that I didn’t know the difference between the two. Sigh.

I guess I should be used to name calling when I try to discuss MNT so I’m not too bothered, but for my New Year’s resolutions I will remind myself to give a second thought before even mentioning the term.

That said, resolutions were made to be broken, so I couldn’t help myself from pointing out this latest news story in which “photographs” of nanoparticle self-assembly could serve as a blueprint for building molecular machines. Those darn microscopy tools and nanoparticles.

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The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

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A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.

Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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