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The Four Evolutionary Stages of Nanotechnology

.: Very interesting column from the August 2006 issue of Scientific American, called "Nanotechnology's Future: Over the next two decades, this new field for controlling the properties of matter will rise to prominence through four evolutionary stages", By Mihail C. Roco, "...senior adviser for nanotechnology to the National Science Foundation and a key architect of the National Nanotechnology Initiative." Dr Roco expands on the following "four overlapping stages of industrial prototyping and early commercialization", concluding that by 2020, nanotechnology will benefit all industrial sectors and health care fields.

  1. The first one, which began after 2000, involves the development of passive nanostructures: materials with steady structures and functions, often used as parts of a product.
  2. The second stage, which began in 2005, focuses on active nanostructures that change their size, shape, conductivity or other properties during use.
  3. Starting around 2010, workers will cultivate expertise with systems of nanostructures, directing large numbers of intricate components to specified ends
  4. After 2015-2020, the field will expand to include molecular nanosystems--heterogeneous networks in which molecules and supramolecular structures serve as distinct devices
Worth the quick read.

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