December 15, 2005

DNA wires made and formed into patterns

Ohio State University researchers have invented a process for uncoiling long strands of DNA and forming them into precise patterns. Ultimately, these DNA strands could act as wires in biologically based electronics and medical devices They used a tiny rubber comb to pull DNA strands from drops of water and stamp them onto glass chips. The longest strands are one millimeter (thousandths of a meter) long, and only one nanometer (billionths of a meter) thick. On a larger scale, positioning such a long, skinny tendril of DNA is like wielding a human hair that is ten meters (30 feet) long. Yet Lee and Guan are able to arrange their DNA strands with nanometer precision, using relatively simple equipment.

December 13, 2005

Arrowhead Research, Harris and Harris, Nanosys and other nanotech plays

Arrowhead research, symbol:ARWR is a bridge between university lab research and Venture Capital. They have a $98.5 million valuation as of Dec 13, 2005. Headed up by Bruce Stewart. They invest in early university nanotechnology. Wait for it to mature and then help to spin it off into a commercial business. By getting in early they often get over 50% of the resulting business. They invest from $200,000-5,000,000. Mostly the smaller investments. Current subsidiaries are The first is Insert Therapeutics, which is developing a drug-delivery platform that uses "molecular design" -- technology that puts every atom and molecule exactly where it needs to go in order to achieve the best result. The company is preparing to enter its lead anti-cancer drug, IT-101, into human clinical trials in early 2006. Arrowhead has invested $5 million in the company and owns 68.5% of its shares. The second subsidiary Arrowhead has created is Calando Pharmaceuticals, of which it has invested $2 million and owns 52%. Calando is another nanotech-related start-up and is developing a proprietary technology that can deliver short-interfering RNA (siRNA) to target cancer cells and can inhibit tumor growth by silencing the target gene. The company's technology has also been demonstrated as being effective in animal trials and is expected to begin human trials sometime in 2006. Aonex is Arrowhead's third subsidiary, and it is seeking to create semiconducting nanoparticles for use in everything from LED lighting to thin, flexible solar cells. The final subsidiary is called NanoPolaris. It is an intellectual property platform covering carbon nanotube technologies.

Harris and Harris is also a venture capital firm focused on nanotechnology, symbol:TINY They have a Dec 13, 2005 valuation of $300 million.

Nanosys Inc announced a $40 million round of private investment in Nov, 2005. Added to the $54 million in private investment that it has raised to date. The new investment, led by El Dorado Ventures, included the participation of new and existing investors such as Wasatch Advisors, Lux Capital, Harris & Harris, In-Q-Tel, Intel Capital and Polaris. they are working on displays, fuel cells, solar cells and other applications of nanotechnology.

Nantero is working on NRAM, nanotube enhanced RAM memory. They received $15 million more in funding in 2005. Investors are Globespan Capital Partners, Charles River Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Stata Venture Partners (NYSE: ADI) and Harris & Harris Group. They are partnered with LSI Logic.

Nanoscience technology- company to commercialize Ned Seeman's DNA nanotech

Nanoscience Technology, NANS trades over the counter as of Dec 13, 2005. Market capitalization is $5.7Million. New York University owns most of the shares. They have licensed Ned Seeman's DNA technology.

Other technology: plastic circuits, pre-nano desktop manufacturing

At Sarnoff Corporation in Princeton, NJ, and Columbia University, researchers have succeeded in operating circuits at 100 megahertz -- as much as a hundred times faster than previous ones on plastic. The Sarnoff/Columbia advance could lead to displays measuring three meters or more diagonally that can also be rolled up and easily transported. 10-100 times cheaper than current and lower power requirements and lighter. The core of the technology is a new laser-based process, developed by James Im, a materials science professor at Columbia University, that heats one narrow band of amorphous silicon at a time. This process makes well-aligned crystals that let electrons move quickly, allowing for the higher processing speeds. Researchers at Sarnoff helped adapt this process for use with a plastic substrate. For example, they introduced special barriers that spread out the heat from the laser, preventing the plastic from deforming. (pd2 ranked impact) 1-4 years to roll out of the lab.

This capability will eventually enhance the pre-nanofactory tech for desktop manufacturing as well as rapid prototyping and increasing the range of rapid parts customization etc... that could be used to speed and increase the flexibility of larger scale production.
Current printable electronics are still far from delivering the reliability and performance of traditional circuitry, the printable-electronics technology could eventually be incorporated into a 3-D printer. But the Sarnoff development will go a long way to reducing that limitation.