High-tech incubator being planned
By John TorgrimsonMonday, October 29, 2001
That was Robin William’s non-sensical response to most situations as the quirky alien Mork to Pam Dawber’s Mindy on the ‘70s sitcom Mork and Mindy.
Hearing Williams in his manic, comical way say nano, nano, few of us knew at the time that he was referring to a scientific number, ten to-the-power-of-nine (109 ), as in billions. For instance, a nanosecond is a billionth of a second.
Kevin Klungvedt doesn’t look anything like Robin Williams, or Mork for that matter, but as a Manufacturing Engineer at TRW in Rushford, Klungvedt understands what technology can do to solve practical problems in the real world.
He knows first hand what the transistor and micro-chip have done to transform industry and our quality of life. The VCR, the personal computer and the miniaturization of medical science practices are just a few examples of how microtechnology (micro means millionth) has impacted on our lives.
But Klungvedt didn’t come to talk about microtechnology at a public meeting in Rushford, on Thursday, October 18. He had come to explain instead what nanotechnology is and how the Rushford Institute for Nanotechnology was being created to tap into this level of science.
Nanoscale science, engineering and technology are focused on a scale ranging from the size of individual atoms to that of large molecules. Research at the nanoscale level is expected to significantly advance the information, medical, manufacturing and environmental technologies.
“Nanotechnology is not about putting more into smaller spaces,” Klungvedt said. “The rules change when we get this small. Matter and materials behave differently.”
Klungvedt likened the difference between micro and nano technologies to someone who has been cooking outside on an open fire suddenly being introduced to a kitchen, with all of its conveniences. “New rules mean new products and devices,” Klungvedt said.
The nanotechnology revolution, as Klungvedt calls it, will have a huge impact.
“We know that the applications will be useful, but we are unsure of what all the outcomes will be at this time,” Klungvedt explained. “It is rocket science, believe, you me!”Bucky Ball
One example of research in nanotechnology that is leading to new discoveries is the bucky ball.
In 1996, the 4th form of carbon .....[Read the Rest]