A MATTER OF SIZE
TRIENNIAL REVIEW OF THE NATIONAL NANOTECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CTS-0436444. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10223-5
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10223-0
Cover: Clockwise from top right:
“Flower Bouquet,” a three-dimensional nanostructure grown by controlled nucleation of silicon carbide nanowires on gallium catalyst particles. © Ghim Wei Ho and Mark Welland, University of Cambridge. Reprinted with permission.
Scanning electron microscopy image of chemical vapor deposition synthesis of carbon nanotubes. Courtesy of NASA.
Array of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes grown using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, which is then intercalated with copper to create a composite exhibiting good thermal properties applicable for chip cooling. Courtesy of NASA.
Scanning electron microscopy image of hexagonal zinc oxide nanocrystallites. Courtesy of the National Science Foundation and Yicheng Lu, Sriram Muthukumar, and Nuri Emanetoglu, Rutgers University.
Scanning electron microscopy image of zinc oxide nanowires grown on silicon in which the average width of the rods is 40 to 50 nanometers. Courtesy of the National Science Foundation and Yicheng Lu, Sriram Muthukumar, and Nuri Emanetoglu, Rutgers University.
“Nano Rings” grown by varying the conditions of chemical vapor deposition synthesis of silicon composite nanostructures. © Ghim Wei Ho and Mark Welland, University of Cambridge. Reprinted with permission.
“Transport XI,” part of a series on electron transport in semiconductors, shows electrons that are launched over a very small range of initial angles, represented by the narrow “stems.” Small initial differences in angle grow quickly, as evidenced by the fanning out and branching of electron paths. © Eric J. Heller, Harvard University. Reprinted with permission.
Scanning electron microscopy image of an array of carbon nanotubes grown by chemical vapor deposition. Courtesy of NASA.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE NATIONAL NANOTECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE
JAMES C. WILLIAMS,
Ohio State University,
CHERRY A. MURRAY,
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
A. MICHAEL ANDREWS II,
L3 Communications Corporation
MARK J. CARDILLO,
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
ReVision Optics, Inc.
PETER H. DIAMANDIS,
X PRIZE Foundation
PAUL A. FLEURY,
PAUL B. GERMERAAD,
Intellectual Assets, Inc.
ALAN H. GOLDSTEIN,
MARY L. GOOD,
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
THOMAS S. HARTWICK,
TRW, Inc. (retired)
MAYNARD A. HOLLIDAY,
Evolution Robotics, Inc.
RICHARD L. IRVING,
Lakewood Village Community Church, Long Beach, California
DONALD H. LEVY,
James Franck Institute, University of Chicago
BETTIE SUE MASTERS,
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
SONIA E. MILLER,
Converging Technologies Bar Association
EDWARD K. MORAN,
Deloitte & Touche USA LLP
DAVID C. MOWERY,
Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
KATHLEEN M. REST,
Union of Concerned Scientists
THOMAS A. SAPONAS,
Agilent Technologies (retired)
R. PAUL SCHAUDIES,
Science Applications International Corporation
NanoTechnology Research Center, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan
THOMAS N. THEIS,
IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB),
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences,
Acting NMAB Director
Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design,
MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Senior Program Officer
NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD
KATHARINE G. FRASE,
LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, Consultant,
Chevy Chase, Maryland,
Ford Motor Company
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
CHERYL R. BLANCHARD,
EVERETT E. BLOOM,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired)
BARBARA D. BOYAN,
Georgia Institute of Technology
L. CATHERINE BRINSON,
The Boeing Company
PAUL CITRON, Consultant,
University of California, Berkeley
SOSSINA M. HAILE,
California Institute of Technology
CAROL A. HANDWERKER,
Sandia National Laboratories
ANDREW T. HUNT,
DAVID W. JOHNSON, JR.,
Stevens Institute of Technology
FRANK E. KARASZ,
University of Massachusetts
CONILEE G. KIRKPATRICK,
Los Alamos National Laboratory
KENNETH H. SANDHAGE,
Georgia Institute of Technology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
ROBERT E. SCHAFRIK,
GE Aircraft Engines
JAMES C. SEFERIS,
University of Washington
SHARON L. SMITH,
Lockheed Martin Corporation
GARY FISCHMAN, Director
MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Senior Program Officer
HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate
TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator
The National Research Council (NRC) was asked by the U.S. Congress to conduct the first triennial evaluation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI);1 assess the need for standards, guidelines, or strategies for ensuring the responsible development of nanotechnology; and consider the technical feasibility of molecular self-assembly for the manufacture of materials and devices at the molecular scale. The full statement of task is given in Appendix A.
APPROACH TO AND SCOPE OF THIS STUDY
To conduct this study, the NRC appointed the Committee to Review the National Nanotechnology Initiative, whose members’ expertise ranged from nanoscale science and engineering to industrial research and development (R&D) and encompassed interdisciplinary research, business management, biomedicine and human health, public and environmental safety, national defense, international benchmarking, transfer of technology for commercialization, intellectual property issues, and the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology; see Appendix B.
To gather information on and gain insight into the multiagency collaborations and extensive R&D programs associated with the NNI, the committee held a series of public workshops participated in by members of the broader NNI-related com-
munity, including representatives of the federal agencies participating in the NNI. The meeting and workshop agendas along with lists of participants are provided in Appendix C. Summaries of the presentations made at the workshop on responsible development are presented in Appendix D. Appendix E defines the acronyms used in the report. In addition to its four workshops the committee held a series of closed private sessions and telephone conferences to discuss its findings and to develop its conclusions and recommendations.
Given the length and breadth of its charge (see Appendix A), the committee sought an approach that would give an accurate picture of the NNI and its accomplishments today and also allow identification of opportunities for improvement in the future (Chapter 1), as well as enable assessment of the relative position of U.S. nanotechnology R&D compared to that of other nations (Chapter 2) and a discussion of the impact of nanotechnology on the U.S. economy (Chapter 3). The complexity and detail of the set of programmatic tasks and the quite different requirements posed by the two additional tasks, on the responsible development of nanotechnology (Chapter 4) and molecular self-assembly (Chapter 5), added considerable complexity to the task. To provide a useful analysis, the committee focused only on topics accessible to examination and for which at least some reliable data were available. It notes that—considered in light of the major benefits anticipated—the NNI represents a comparatively young undertaking whose results will take time to develop, and also to measure quantitatively. Although the committee’s treatment of the many topics in its charge is uneven, it dealt with each to the extent possible, except as noted below.
In its discussion of both the relative position of the United States worldwide in nanoscale R&D and the economic impact of nanotechnology, the committee chose to consider not only NNI-related R&D, but also research supported by private and public funds, as well as research supported by federal funds not associated with the NNI, given that nanotechnology R&D is being conducted at industrial R&D laboratories and that sources of support for nanotechnology R&D also include private foundations and venture capital funds—and that isolating the contributions of each was beyond the committee’s ability to accomplish for this study.
With respect to responsible development of nanotechnology, the committee focused on tangible concerns related to environmental, health, and safety issues and also touched on the importance of broadly targeted efforts in communication on and education about societal concerns. As a result of its reflections on and discussion of what is regarded as the more futuristic aspects of nanotechnology—such as the use of nanotechnology in developing artificial intelligence, and similar topics popularized in science fiction—the committee decided that an assessment of such topics in the context of a need for standards and guidelines would be premature and speculative at best. Therefore, the committee chose to address potential real
risks rather than perceived risks pertaining to nanotechnology. The committee points out that several interesting observations on societal implications are presented in the individually authored signed summaries of presentations made at its Workshop on Responsible Development of Nanotechnology (see Appendix D). The committee is convinced that delineating and addressing the kinds of issues raised by such observations is critical to realizing the full potential of nanotechnology.
This study does not include a comprehensive technical assessment of the NNI to date, beyond the benchmarking and examination of economic impact reported in Chapters 2 and 3. The committee was hampered in its efforts by a number of things: the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology R&D, which includes a mix of the physical sciences, engineering, technology, and biomedical sciences; the impossibility of isolating and measuring the contributions of individual nanoscale R&D programs; the long timescales needed to translate to practical benefits the results of nanoscale R&D that is still in its infancy; and the enormous technical breadth of the approximately $1.1 billion in R&D carried out annually. However, the committee did receive anecdotal evidence of significant achievements across many fields, including information presented at its workshop on scientific achievements, and makes reference to some of those at points in the report. The committee is convinced that the R&D infrastructure now being developed under the NNI will help make possible technical achievements whose impact will become apparent and amenable to study, over time.
In addition, the committee did not attempt to assess the funding levels at each NNI-participating agency in terms of their adequacy for meeting stated program goals. Such an evaluation would have required a program by program analysis of each agency—an effort beyond the committee’s resources and one also precluded by the lack of consistent reporting and tracking of funds requested, authorized, and expended within and across agencies. The committee reiterates, moreover, that it is too early to fully assess, at this early stage in nanoscale R&D, technical accomplishments and goals achieved as a result of investments made under the NNI.
To better calibrate the data presented in the workshops, individual committee members contacted corporate leaders in various nanotechnology sectors and operations, from start-up companies to multinational corporations, to seek an industry perspective on commercial nanotechnologies, nanotechnology R&D, and NNI programs. In this regard the committee is grateful to the following participants in that process: Larry Bock, Nanosys; Uma Chowdhry and Krishna Doraiswamy, DuPont; Daniel Gamota, Motorola; Paolo Gargini, Intel Corporation;
Michael Helmus and Magnus Gittins, Advance Nanotech; Michael Idelchik, GE Global Research; Amit Kumar, CombiMatrix Corp.; David Macdonald, Nanomix; Hash Pakbaz, Cambrios Technologies Corp.; and Sharon Smith, Lockheed Martin Corporation.
In addition, the committee acknowledges with thanks the active participation of NNI agency representatives, nanoscience researchers, industrial technologists, and health professionals in its information-gathering efforts. The committee thanks in particular NSET Subcommittee representatives Celia Merzbacher, James Murday, Mihail Roco, and Clayton Teague and their staffs for their willingness to provide every possible assistance in the course of this study. The input from and willingness of the broad nanotechnology community to contribute to enhancing the committee’s understanding of the diverse issues are greatly appreciated. The committee also thanks those who submitted written material and provided comments at the committee’s workshops and open meetings. Thanks are also due to Mark Welland for his input and counsel provided in his role as consultant to the committee.
The committee thanks NRC staff members Dennis Chamot, Gary Fischman, Toni Marechaux, Tamae Maeda Wong, Michael Moloney, Eugene J. Choi, Colleen Brennan, Teri Thorowgood, Laura Toth, and Heather Lozowski for their advice and efforts during this study. It also notes the contributions from the following young scientists who were assigned to assist the committee through the National Academies’ Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program: Rachel Fezzie, Benjamin Gross, Nagesh Rao, and Shara Williams. The committee was also fortunate to have the help of Scott Martindale, a science and journalism student at the University of Southern California. Finally, the committee thanks Terry Lowe, who acted as a liaison from the National Materials Advisory Board, of which he is a member, for his critical guidance to the committee in the execution of its charge.
Jim Williams, Chair
Cherry Murray, Vice Chair
Committee to Review the National Nanotechnology Initiative
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Ashish Arora, Carnegie Mellon University,
William F. Brinkman, Princeton University,
Douglas Daugherty, ENVIRON,
Judith Ann Graham, American Chemistry Council,
Philippe Guyot-Sionnest, University of Chicago,
Evelyn L. Hu, University of California, Santa Barbara,
William J. Madia, Battelle Memorial Institute,
Stephen B. Maebius, Foley & Lardner LLP,
Thomas J. Meyer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,
David Scheinberg, Sloan-Kettering Institute,
Paul S. Weiss, Pennsylvania State University, and
George Whitesides, Harvard University.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Pierre C. Hohenberg, New York University, and Julia R. Weertman, Northwestern University. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.