Earlier this week I had the pleasure to attend the Spring 2009 national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City. Notably, the coordinating theme of this meeting was “Nanoscience: Challenges for the Future”. The theme’s organizer was Prof. Paul Weiss of Penn State University and Editor-in-Chief of the journal ACS NANO.
As a first for an ACS national meeting there was an opening Keynote Address delivered by Angela Belcher (MIT) titled “From nature and back again: Giving new life to materials for energy”. Belcher provided a broad overview of nanotechnology and the various approaches to the global issues of energy, healthcare, and the environment. In particular, she discussed her own work in leveraging the properties of living systems to design future technologies. She described the creation of new batteries using a “tool kit” of natural biomaterials and combinatorial methods to generate new synthetic materials.
The Kavli Foundation sponsored a Plenary Session Symposium on Challenges in Nanoscience. This program offered perspectives on the future of nanoscience and nanotechnology by luminaries George Whitesides (Harvard University), Vicki Colvin (Rice University), Jim Hutchison (University of Oregon), and Grant Willson (University of Texas, Austin). All of these were fantastic presentations, but I was most impressed with Willson who delivered a technical analysis of high resolution patterning for modern electronics fabrication in the style of an old-time fundamentalist tent preacher. If you are willing to follow the advice of someone largely responsible for the chemically-amplified photoresists in use today (which means he might know a thing or two about fabrication), don’t invest in extreme UV (EUV) photolithography, and place your bets on step and flash nanoimprint lithography for the next advances in nanoscale pattern transfer.
Finally, the meeting contained more than 50 other symposium related to nanotechnology on topics as diverse as Green Nanoscience, Food-related Nanotechnology, Chemical Methods of Nanofabrication, and Small Chemical Businesses and Nanoscience among many others. I could only attend a fraction of these (in the absence of human cloning), but I was uniformly impressed by the quality of the research I did get to hear about.
I have been told, in another ACS first, that the Keynote Address and the Plenary Session were captured on video and will be available on the ACS website soon. When I find out the address, I will post it here.
Here it is: http://www.softconference.com/acschem/slist.asp?C=2763