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Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have honored the young innovators whose inventions and research we find most exciting; today that collection is the TR35, a list of technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35. Their work--spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, and more--is changing our world.

  • Age:
    32
    Affiliation:
    Director of engineering, ArvinMeritor

    William Taylor

    Spearheads efforts to commercialize the "plasmatron," a pollution control device that converts diesel fuel to hydrogen, cutting nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90 percent.

  • Age:
    31
    Affiliation:
    Cofounder and principal staff scientist, Quantum Dot
    Marcel BruchezMarcel Bruchez

    Marcel Bruchez

    Cofounded Quantum Dot to market the new imaging tool to biologists and drug developers.

    Six years ago, Marcel Bruchez, then a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that quantum dots – glowing particles just nanometers wide – could be used to tag proteins inside cells. Within months, Bruchez had cofounded Quantum Dot to market the new imaging tool to biologists and drug developers seeking a more detailed picture of molecular events. It is “one of the first commercial applications of nanotechnology,” says Bruchez.

  • Age:
    34
    Affiliation:
    Associate Professor, MIT

    Vladimir Bulovic

    Uses organic and nanostructured semiconductors in devices such as light-emitting diodes, lasers, photodetectors, and chemical sensors.

  • Age:
    32
    Affiliation:
    Cofounder and chief technology officer, AmberWave Systems

    Mayank Bulsara

    Developer of strained silicon.

    Cofounded Salem, NH-based AmberWave to develop strained silicon, an advanced form of silicon that makes computer chips run faster and consume less power.

  • Age:
    34
    Affiliation:
    Principal member of technical staff, Sandia National Laboratories

    Dustin Carr

    Creates nanoscale silicon devices that can detect subatomic-scale movements.

    The nanodetectors could be used, for instance, in ultraprecise accelerometers for airplane navigation.

  • Age:
    31
    Affiliation:
    Research scientist, Intel

    Selena Chan

    Designs nanotechnological tools to detect viruses, bacteria, and, for the first time, single molecules of DNA in medical samples.

  • Age:
    32
    Affiliation:
    Assistant Professor, MIT

    Martin Colpepper

    Builds the machines needed to make high-quality, low-cost nanofabrication a reality.

    His nanomanipulators are more flexible and offer higher performance than existing versions – at one-twentieth the cost.

  • Age:
    28
    Affiliation:
    Research fellow, University of California, Berkeley
    Yi CuiYi Cui

    Yi Cui

    Demonstrated the possibility of building new structures using the basic ingredients of nanotech.

    As a chemistry PhD student at Harvard University, Cui did pioneering work on nanowires, using a combination of lasers and chemical vapors to cajole silicon to form tiny wires that not only conducted electrons but could also switch a current off and on like a transistor. Cui even fabricated nanowires whose switching depended on the presence of specific proteins, so they could serve as ultrasensitive biosensors in tests for early signs of prostate cancer. At Berkeley, Cui has continued to master the art of building functional devices on the nanoscale. Most recently, he has found ways to precisely link together new types of nano building blocks called nanotetrapods – dots of material a few nanometers wide, each with four nanorods that radiate out in different directions. While other researchers have previously made nanotetrapods, Cui can link many of them together to create a web of circuitry and finely control their electrical properties. “We can get the nanotetrapods to self-assemble into whatever pattern we need,” including arrays of transistors, says Cui. Because of their small size, these circuits could in theory be several times faster than the circuits in todays computer chips. By arranging nanotetrapods into branching networks, Cui has transformed them from a raw ingredient into something that might be built into real devices, such as solar cells. And because the nanotetrapods are small enough to register the presence of individual electrons, they could even take advantage of the weird quantum properties of subatomic particles, forming the basis for new types of computers that will operate thousands of times faster than todays fastest machines. While that application is many years away, Cui has already demonstrated the possibility of building new structures using the basic ingredients of nanotech.

  • Age:
    33
    Affiliation:
    Research staff member, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    LÆtitia Delmau

    Helped solve fundamental problems in nuclear-waste treatment.

    Helped solve fundamental problems in nuclear-waste treatment that led to an economical process for cleaning up more than 100,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, which manages the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

  • Age:
    33
    Affiliation:
    Statistician, General Electric

    Martha Gardner

    Created statistical models and design software to make materials development more efficient.

  • Age:
    32
    Affiliation:
    Engineer, DaimlerChrysler

    Verena Graf

    Develops fuel cells that are practical for powering cars.

    Develops fuel cells that are practical for powering cars: theyre robust, start up quickly, and have excellent power density, regardless of the weather.

  • Age:
    27
    Affiliation:
    Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Singapore)

    Yu Han

    Synthesized nanoscale particles with tiny, precisely defined pores.

    His materials can be used for the controlled delivery of drugs or for gene therapy.

  • Age:
    30
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, Freie Universität Berlin

    Stefan Hecht

    Devised a new class of polymer nanotubes and other molecular building blocks. These novel materials have potential applications in the fabrication of nanosized electronic devices.

  • Age:
    31
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, MIT

    Darrell Irvine

    Crafts nanoparticles that would release chemicals inside the body to "program" immune cells to combat viral infections like HIV, to tolerate transplants, or even to destroy malignant tumors.

  • Age:
    31
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, University of Chicago

    Rustem Ismagilov

    Develops microfluidics technologies that use tiny droplets to characterize the function and structure of proteins and to model complex biochemical processes.

    The microfluidic models should yield insights pertinent to drug discovery and medical-device design.

  • Age:
    29
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, Purdue University

    Albena Ivanisevic

    Uses microscopic tips to deposit precise patterns of peptides directly onto tissues in the body.

    Her technique, which shes testing in pigs eyes, could help treat or even cure blindness.

  • Age:
    32
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Ravi Kane

    Created a highly potent anthrax treatment in which each drug molecule blocks multiple toxin molecules rather than just one.

  • Age:
    32
    Affiliation:
    Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University Medical School

    Kinneret Keren

    Exploits biology-based self-assembly to build molecular electronics. She created a self-assembled molecular-electronic device -- a carbon nanotube transistor -- using a DNA template.

  • Age:
    26
    Affiliation:
    Doctoral student, University of California, San Diego

    Jamie Link

    Etched optical bar codes into micrometer-size pieces of silicon. She hopes to use the technology to detect pollutants in water or cancerous cells within the body.

  • Age:
    30
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin

    Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo

    Invented nano transfer printing.

    Invented nano transfer printing, an environmentally benign technique for patterning nanoscale features on organic electronics and plastic circuits. This nano patterning scheme could be used to make large-area flexible displays and cheap solar cells, and it could enable new medical therapies and diagnostics.

  • Age:
    33
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, Cornell University

    Tyler McQuade

    Creates catalysts to reduce the number of steps needed to synthesize drugs, diminishing environmentally hazardous by-products.

    Creates catalysts to reduce the number of steps needed to synthesize drugs, diminishing environmentally hazardous by-products. He hopes one system will take the manufac-ture of Prozac, a top-selling anti-depressant drug, from four steps to just one.

  • Age:
    30
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, Northwestern University

    Teri Odom

    Patterned silicon to create minuscule "beakers" that hold only zeptoliters.

    Patterned silicon to create minuscule “beakers” that hold only zeptoliters (the silicon nanowells are only 50 nanometers across), ideal for growing individual nanoparticles of specific and uniform size. Such ultraprecision enables the tailoring of particles to specialized uses – as, for instance, ultrasensitive chemical sensors.

  • Age:
    30
    Affiliation:
    Founder and chief technology officer , Neah Power Systems
    Leroy OhlsenLeroy Ohlsen

    Leroy Ohlsen

    Replaced fuel cells plastic membranes with porous silicon.

    Fuel cells that run on methanol can power cell phones and laptops, but theyre expensive and not very powerful. Leroy Ohlsen, founder of Neah Power Systems of Bothell, WA, replaced the cells plastic membranes, which strip electrons out of the methanol to produce electricity, with porous silicon. Not only does the silicon “give us more power,” says Ohlsen, but it could also cut manufacturing costs. Expect the companys first fuel cells in 2006.

  • Age:
    28
    Affiliation:
    Research and development scientist, Nanosys

    Erik Scher

    Works on inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials.

    Works on inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials that are helping Palo Alto, CA-based Nanosys develop cheap, flexible solar cells. Nanosyss partner, Matsushita, plans to incorporate the nano solar cells into building materials.

  • Age:
    30
    Affiliation:
    Lecturer, Imperial College London
    Molly StevensMolly Stevens

    Molly Stevens

    Shown that she can control the behavior of gold nanoparticles.

    Materials scientist Molly Stevens believes that when it comes to sensing changes in the environment, nothing beats biological systems. Thats why shes turning to biological molecules to create “smart” nanomaterials that could lead to new, implantable sensing and drug delivery devices. Such devices would quickly detect physiological changes in the body, such as a rise in cholesterol, and respond by releasing the appropriate dose of a stored drug. Thats the vision, at least. But realizing it will require new kinds of materials that behave differently under different chemical conditions. Stevens has recently shown that she can control the behavior of gold nanoparticles by changing the pH of the solution in which they are suspended. She attached the particles to specially designed peptide molecules that, under the right pH conditions, interact with each other to pull the particles together into an organized structure. A change in pH alters the shape of the peptides so that they repel each other, and the particles disperse. “Were taking the best of natures creativity and using it for ourselves,” says Stevens. The experiment shows that its possible to create materials that automatically reshape themselves in response to chemical changes in the body. Such a material could yield implantable drug delivery devices that act as their own biological sensors. Stevens is tapping into the versatility of peptides for the next stage of her work. Shes now engineering the peptides so that they change shape in subtler and more varied ways. A drug delivery device made using such peptides would be more sensitive to physiological changes and could offer more control over a multitude of different drug dosages. If her new project succeeds, Stevens will have played an instrumental role in making not only nanomaterials but drug delivery far smarter.

  • Age:
    28
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    Michael Strano

    Arrived at a new understanding of carbon nanotube surface chemistry.

    Arrived at a new understanding of carbon nanotube surface chemistry that allows carbon nanotubes to be sorted according to their semiconducting, metallic, or insulating properties. This breaks the major roadblock that has prevented nanotubes use in devices.

  • Age:
    31
    Affiliation:
    Researcher, NEC

    Tsuyoshi Yamamoto

    Demonstrated the first-ever two-qubit logic gate in a solid-state device, an advance crucial to building an ultrafast quantum computer.

  • Age:
    33
    Affiliation:
    Assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania

    Shu Yang

    Designs "smart" photonic devices for lightning-fast computers and communications networks.

    Designs “smart” photonic devices for lightning-fast computers and communications networks. While at Bell Labs, she codeveloped a liquid microlens that can be electronically focused in milliseconds to direct light signals inside optical fibers.

  • Age:
    34
    Affiliation:
    Research scientist, Data Storage Institute (Singapore)

    Yuankai Zheng

    Simplified the production of magnetic RAM.

    Simplified the production of magnetic RAM, making this fast, nonvolatile form of computer memory cheaper and more practical. A thumbnail-sized magnetic-RAM chip could store 32 gigabytes of data.