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August 06, 2011

My 2011 Singularity University Presentation on the Latest Developments in Nanotechnology

Embedded after the jump is my 2011 Singularity University presentation. Latest Developments and Current Capabilities in Nanotechnology.

I went over the following areas

- 2D and 3D Nanoscale patterning and manufacturing
- Quantum dots
- Self Assembly
- Memristors
- Sensors and electronics in living cells
- Carbon nanotubes and graphene
- Advice on nanotechnology


My Advice

* Do more or better with less material (stronger, electrical properties, functionalize sand)
A main problem with nanotechnology is that there not enough nanotechnology material produced and what is produced is very expensive. 1300 tons of carbon nanotubes per year and far less with high purity of a particular type or if you wanted longer strands. 15 tons of graphene.

* Do something completely new
Just using a nanotechnology to make a brick twice as strong is probably not a good strategy. Ideally you want to use a little bit of nanotechnology material so that you enable something that is impossible to do with regular material and where substituting with the best non-nanotech does not let you get something good enough.


Half the cost can still mean slow penetration
Economics, amount, and benefit tradeoffs

Zyvex's $2 million carbon nanotube boat case study

It uses $80,000 of Carbon nanotubes. It is 50% stronger and lighter, has better fuel economy, can operate in shallower water and is faster

Some of that cannot be done with regular material.


Electric Cars case study

Better batteries are need but how many battery units can be produced ?
Superlight cars would need less. Could have 50 electric bikes.

Instead of waiting for better batteries - reduce the energy demands. Make the vehicle far lighter and aerodynamic. Harvest energy from solar or from shock absorbers and other systems.

Aftermarket aerodynamic enhancement
Small retrofits that make existing vehicles significantly better

Improve homes (heating/cooling, windows, …) are a good market. Buildings use up 40% of the energy.

Energy Harvesting instead of waiting decades for better batteries

Energy harvesting as far more potential for many things that waiting for better batteries.



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