Nanotechnology promises have gone unfulfilled, says Stanford prof

(October 25, 2010) — Thomas Kenny, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, told attendees of the MEMS Technology Summit (10/19-10/20/10, Stanford University) that nanotechnology promises have gone unfulfilled. “If we define a technology as the ability to make something exactly the way we want it, over and over, we do not have this capability at the nanoscale for many structures,” said Kenny. He also argues that the MEMS industry is undergoing an identity shift, if not an identity crisis.

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In a podcast interview with Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, ElectroIQ, Kenny discusses DARPA’s Tip-Based Nanofabrication (TBN) Program, which is a response to the need for localized control over environments and position and all other characteristics of a nanostructure. The TBN program (Kenny is the program manager) opens up the possibility for site-specific growth of nanotubes and nanowires. He says we need complete control of repeatability in nanoscale manufacturing, at best. Our goal is to make things that are different, on purpose, he says.

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