German Environmental Agency Miffed at Exploitation of Position Paper on Nanotechnology

German government agency wants everyone to know that nanotech also has benefits as well as risks

1 min read

Germany's Federal Environment Agency (UBA) last week made a background paper available on their website, which they now concede contained no new research and none that their organization had actually performed, entitled "Nanotechnology for Humans and the Environment: Increasing Chances, Minimizing Risks," that got the German and international press to generate frightening headlines like “Germany warns over dangers of nanotechnology”

This wasn’t the reaction they were expecting so the the UBA authorities wanted to make clear in a new article that they don’t think nanotechnology is all bad. Unfortunately the damage was done and any attempts to rectify the situation will only exacerbate the problem by making the conspiracy-theory-minded folks think they are only changing their tune because of the industrial importance of nanotech for Germany.

The only thing that the UBA has in their favor for covering up their naïve and ill-conceived decision to catalogue a bunch of research that is not even their own on the risk of nanoparticles is that to a large extent the public doesn’t care

Unfortunately, as I have bemoaned before, the risks and benefits of nanotechnology will largely be played out in flashy headlines intended to sell papers or get website hits. The sooner that government organizations around the world understand this and apply the degree of circumspection and reflection needed to deal with this, the more likely we will avoid these little conflagrations sprouting up with little behind them other than manufactured hysteria.

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3D-Stacked CMOS Takes Moore’s Law to New Heights

When transistors can’t get any smaller, the only direction is up

10 min read
An image of stacked squares with yellow flat bars through them.
Emily Cooper

Perhaps the most far-reaching technological achievement over the last 50 years has been the steady march toward ever smaller transistors, fitting them more tightly together, and reducing their power consumption. And yet, ever since the two of us started our careers at Intel more than 20 years ago, we’ve been hearing the alarms that the descent into the infinitesimal was about to end. Yet year after year, brilliant new innovations continue to propel the semiconductor industry further.

Along this journey, we engineers had to change the transistor’s architecture as we continued to scale down area and power consumption while boosting performance. The “planar” transistor designs that took us through the last half of the 20th century gave way to 3D fin-shaped devices by the first half of the 2010s. Now, these too have an end date in sight, with a new gate-all-around (GAA) structure rolling into production soon. But we have to look even further ahead because our ability to scale down even this new transistor architecture, which we call RibbonFET, has its limits.

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