Professor Mike Kelly at Cambridge University’s Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics has stunned a budding nanotechnology industry by saying that structures with a diameter of three nanometres or less cannot be mass-produced. “This statement raises a major question concerning the billions of dollars that are poured into nanotechnology each year in the hope that the latest technology developed in the lab can make the transition to a manufactured product on the market,” according to Phys Org.
What’s the Big Idea?
Nanotechnology is built on the ability to control and manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level and has already had far reaching applications including helping drugs to be delivered into patients’ bodies, improving food packaging and increasing the efficiency of solar panels. It is a budding industry that, given recent success in the laboratory—the 2010 Nobel Prize was given to two scientists for their experiments with graphene, an extremely tough one-atom-think nanostructure—holds large commercial potential.