When Bridging the Credibility Gap in Nanotech, You Should Have a Credible Argument

Extrapolating preliminary and inconclusive research on carbon nanotubes' similarity to asbestos into accusations of corporate fraud of investors is the real challenge to credibility

2 min read

In an attempt to put a new twist on the environmental, health and safety (EHS) debate swirling around nanotech, a new report from the Investor Environmental Health Network "Bridging the Credibility Gap" argues that companies using nanomaterials may be defrauding investors by not disclosing the risks associated with nanomaterials.

I certainly understand the instinct for kicking someone when their down, and there is no doubt the prospects for just about every nanotech company is in a slump, but does have to be done with such a fallacious argument.

In a nutshell, the report seems to think companies are dissimulating their use of "asbestos-like" nanomaterials and that current SEC regulations contain eight (only eight?) loopholes that allows this kind of fraud from omission to take place.

The press release for the report doesn't even try to make a distinction between carbon nanotubes and other nanomaterials, instead it only discusses "nanomaterials" as though they all seem to simulate the effects of asbestos. Then after essentially making the connection between nanomaterials and asbestos seem almost airtight and beyond doubt, it lists off a a number of products containing nanomaterials "sunscren, cosmetics, food, clothing, sporting goods and packaging" that do not--with the exception of sporting goods--contain carbon nanotubes.

Lawyers do love to make it seem their services are indispensable even if they have to hype the threat a teensy bit. I managed to get through only the first minute of this 13-minute interview before I was compelled to blog on it. So, if by the end the author of the report acknowledges that  "the main evidence that finds a similarity in the behavior between asbestos and some nanoparticles (namely, multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs)) rests upon research of Ken Donaldson at Edinburg University, which did not really address the issues of dose and exposure," then let me know.



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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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