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Next Hot Item

We went straight to the source and asked nanotechnology experts what they think the 'next hot item' in nanotechnology will be. Here are their responses.

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"I believe the future of nanotechnology lies in combining traditional vacuum-based film growth and lithography with tools from synthetic organic chemistry and biotechnology to create new “hybrid” nanostructures. "

Lloyd J. Whitman
Naval Research Laboratory

"For me the next hot item will come via using biological principles in technical systems. But I don´t believe at selfreplicating autonomous systems."

Gerd Bachmann, Ph.D
VDI Technology Center, Germany

"...I would suggest 'molecular transistors' as a possible 'very hot' subject. These devices made of single molecule might replace our current solid-state transistor in the future, providing orders of magnitude of increased integration levels."

Massimiliano Di Ventra, Ph.D
Virginia Tech

"The next hot area (I hope) will be computational modeling of molecular machine systems, in aid of physical implementation efforts."

Eric Drexler, Ph.D
Foresight Institue

"I think there's little doubt that the next revolution is linking nanotechnology with biology. In essence, biology is the original 'nanosystem', and much of what scientists and engineers are trying to do in the nanotechnology field is to try to mimic things that biology already does extremely well. For example, biology already has 'molecular motors', all types of self-assembled nanoscale systems, and highly selective means for positioning at the nanoscale, all done very efficiently and at high speed. What we need to do is to learn how to adapt, or evolve, these systems in a way that they will perform other types of functions."

Robert Hamers, Ph.D
University of Wisconsin-Madison

"There are two areas of research which I think are most critical. First, research in mechanosynthesis -- the use of positional assembly to manufacture specific molecular structures. This can be pursued experimentally via scanning probe microscopes, or theoretically using computational chemistry. The latter approach permits investigation of manufacturing methods that are not at present experimentally accessible, giving us a window on what should be possible and worth pursuing experimentally in the next few decades. Specific examples of theoretical work that can illuminate future possibilities are,, and This is a fertile area where much could be done.

The other area of research that is presently wide open is system designs for replicating molecular manufacturing systems. Examples of this kind of work are and Another relevant system design (though not exactly molecular) is

Ralph Merkle, Ph.D
Zyvex Corporation

"I believe the hot item is molecular electronics. The long term goal is to develop new electronic devices based on single molecules."

Susan B. Sinnott, Ph.D
University of Florida

"That is a tough question. There are many exciting things happening in molecular motors and nanometer-scale components for electronic devices. However, my prediction for the next hot thing is going to be complex nanometer-scale materials that combine biological and inorganic elements."

Otto F. Sankey, Ph.D
Arizona State University

"I believe the next 'hot' area will be nanowires. This is the area that I predicted two years ago and it is really showing the up-coming potential. There are many papers being produced this year in the area and we are one of the leaders in the field."

Zhong Lin (ZL) Wang, Ph.D
Georgia Institute of Technology


Copyright ©2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science