Skip to Content

Raising the Nanotech Flag

Putting together materials and devices atom by atom in order to exploit novel properties is one of the most promising areas of investigation in everything from microelectronics to medicine. But much of the research in this field, called nanotechnology, is scattered throughout more mature disciplines, such as physics and chemistry. Likewise, federal funding is disjointed, with money flowing out of various agencies.

A national nanotech initiative could change all that. The proposal, outlined by a panel of officials from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other governmental agencies, would double federal spending on nanotech to roughly $500 million annually and would establish a series of multimillion-dollar nanotech research centers. It would also attempt to coordinate spending. President Clinton is expected to decide in September whether to include the initiative in the fiscal 2001 budget.

The increased support is critical to build the infrastructure needed to develop nanotech in the United States, says Mike Roco, a program director at NSF and chair of the Interagency Working Group on Nanoscience, Engineering and Technology that drafted the proposal.The initiative also could boost the image of nanotechnology (see “Nanotechnology: The Hope and the Hype,” TR March/April 1999). “This erects a flag that there’s a field called nanotech,” suggests Richard Smalley, director of Rice University’s Nanoscale Science and Technology Center.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.