Sunday, August 29, 2010

Industrial Nanotechnology Equipment

Beyond the challenges faced in designing useful nano systems there is in parallel the challenge of fabricating nano engineered devices and materials at economically feasible levels. Inside of the lab it is a far different world then inside the industrial process room. Indeed we find that it is the concept of rate which brings to play those extra factors in the industrial process that cannot be controlled outside of the lab environment.
By rate we mean the rate of production for a given structure. These rates are dependent upon many things, such as the ability to channel various energetic events into the correct sequence and form so as to produce a known and desired structure. In essence that is the art of industry, to produce those energetic events required.

However...

There is also something to say as to the nature of fuzziness. Consider the similarities and differences between lab and industry and hold them both in your mind simultaneously. You will see that there are places where the two are indistinguishable, whereby a lab setting can become an industrial setting with the right industrial technology. Considering "clean rooms" and lithography / micro-fabrication facilities we can find some close parallels. The tolerances for these settings are of an extreme nature, and it is this nature which requires that control to be of a equal degree. Real control then, to take dominion over physical systems, is found through having the knowledge and technology required to fabricate in known measure and feature the structures of the end product.

This is all very general and vague but i do believe it helps set up the mental starting points to think about what a "nanotechnology" industry is. This is a very important question, and needless to say the hype surrounding the technology will come to pass as the integration of nano-science-technology into society keeps marching on. We could say that the public wont have a dialog because it is too consumed with enough dialogs already. Thus we will find a very "private" nanotech revolution..

Consider a simple reality scenrio. Vista Therapeutics.

I found out about this company in march and have been very excited to read about the work they are involved in. One of their primary goals is going to be the development of robust bio sensors that can continuously monitor blood-stream contents and deliver on the spot display of information. They are dealing with an extremely sensitive technology where they appear to be capitalizing on the signal transduction properties of bio-marker-affinity functonalized nano wires as the "meat" of their technology.

Consider what they are going to need. They will need both micro fabricated structures as well as nanostructures and they will need to assemble all of these together into one functioning unit. Where will they get the nano-wires and how will they check for quality assurance? They want a multi-species real time "display and sense" of blood stream constituents, and from what i recall they wanted to test for hundreds of markers in parallel. That is a very complex device.

Consider just one part of the production of these devices: functionalizing the nano-wires.... Mass surface modification of nano structures. How much will they need? Where will it be produced? These are interesting financial analysis metrics.