UNC2008 Speakers

Dr. Ralph C. Merkle

Molecular Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine

A new manufacturing technology looms on the horizon: molecular nanotechnology. Able to inexpensively arrange atoms in most of the ways permitted by physical law, it will enable computers orders of magnitude more powerful than those that exist today; remarkably light, strong materials; pollution-free manufacturing; and new medical nanodevices that will revolutionize medicine. Artificial red blood cells will let us hold our breath for hours; artificial white blood cells will clean infections from our blood; we will live healthier and much longer lives. These and other capabilities could take decades to develop: how do we speed their development?

Biographical Information

Dr. Ralph Merkle received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1979 where he co-invented public key cryptography. He joined Xerox PARC in 1988, pursuing research in computational nanotechnology until 1999.

He has been a Principal Fellow at Zyvex since 1999, where he continues his nanotechnology research.

He chaired the Fourth and Fifth Foresight Conferences on Nanotechnology, is on the Executive Editorial Boards of the journal Nanotechnology, was co-recipient of the 1998 Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology Theory, and was co-recipient of the ACM's Kanellakis Award for Theory and Practice, and the 2000 RSA Award in Mathematics.

Dr. Merkle has eight patents and has published and lectured extensively. He is a Director of Alcor, and Advisor to the Foresight Institute and Molecular Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc.

Dr. Hadi Mahabadi

The Industry's Approach to Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field which has attracted the attention of many scientists and engineers in different disciplines. More recently industry also showed interest and initiated some efforts in nanotechnology. As a result investment in this area increased significantly. This trend may also impact job creation for HQP in different parts of the world.

Xerox and the Xerox Research Centre of Canada initiated their efforts on nanotechnology in the mid 90's and already have nanotechnology based products in the market.

The importance of nanotechnology in general, and specifically to Xerox and the Canadian economy along with some examples will be presented.

Biographical Information

Hadi Mahabadi is vice president of Xerox and director of the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC) for Xerox Corporation.

Mahabadi joined Xerox in 1981 and has held a variety of managerial positions directing different aspects of materials research at XRCC. Mahabadi has been instrumental in managing the development and successful commercialization of breakthrough technologies such as Emulsion Aggregation, the new generation of toner technology based on nanotechnology that was introduced into the market in 2001. He is also responsible for developing technology strategy and managing all aspects of Xerox ink jet R&D efforts as well as R&D activities aiming at creating new businesses for Xerox. His efforts were recognized by receiving two of Xerox Corporation's highest awards, the Xerox President Award and Xerox's Chester F. Carlson Award.

Mahabadi has been involved in various aspects of managing innovation and S&T commercialization in Canada and serves on a few national and regional committees/taskforces. He has also served on many advisory boards including Ontario Centre of Excellence and National Institute of Standards.

Mahabadi was selected as a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada and International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and served as Secretary and Chairperson of the Macromolecular Science and Engineering Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

Dr. Robert Wolkow

A new concept for a single molecule transistor

A new concept for a single molecule transistor is demonstrated [1]. A single chargeable atom adjacent to a molecule shifts molecular energy levels into alignment with electrode levels, thereby gating current through the molecule. Seemingly paradoxically, the silicon substrate to which the molecule is covalently attached provides 2, not 1, effective contacts to the molecule. This is achieved because only the juxtaposed atom has the capacity to accept an electron, while the molecule and all adjacent atoms remain neutral. Charge localization at one dangling bond is ensured by covalently capping all other surface atoms. Dopant level control and local Fermi level control can change the charge state of that atom. The same configuration is shown to be an effective transducer to an electrical signal of a single molecule detection event.

Because the charged atom induced shifting results in conductivity changes of substantial magnitude, these effects are easily observed at room temperature.

[1] Paul G. Piva, Gino A. DiLabio, Jason L. Pitters, Janik Zikovsky, Moh'd Rezeq, Stanislav Dogel, Werner A. Hofer & Robert A. Wolkow, Field regulation of single-molecule conductivity by a charged surface atom, NATURE 435, 658-661 (2005)

Biographical Information

Dr Robert A Wolkow received his BSc Honours in applied chemistry from the University of Waterloo in 1982 and PhD in chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1987. After graduation he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at IBM where, beginning with an empty room, he built-up a lab and showed, for the first time, that scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) was a uniquely powerful tool for the study of chemical processes. This study initiated the new field of atom-scale surface chemistry. He then moved on to become a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he developed the first variable temperature cryogenic STM. He joined the Steacie Institute in 1994 as a senior research officer, and produced four key research results in the first two years, all relating to first-time ever views of the dynamics of molecules on surfaces. More recently, he achieved a breakthrough in the understanding of the early stages of molecule-surface interactions, which was published in the journal Science. Another significant development was reported recently in the journal Nature, which has helped make the tools of the surface physicist relevant and accessible to chemists.

Dr Wolkow became principle research officer at the Steacie Institute in 2000 and leader of the molecular interfaces program the following year. During his time at the Institute, he was also adjunct professor of chemistry at the University of Ottawa and adjunct professor of physics at McGill University. He became a member of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research nanoelectronics program in 2002.

Brian L. Wang

Only Accept an Extraordinary Future: Meta-engineering a superior civilization

Everyone should develop some of the basic skills of a good futurist so that they can better adapt to a world of powerful technologies. We should use the powerful tools and capabilities that we are developing to their fullest extent and strive to solve the great problems and challenges before us. I strive to give examples of what is becoming available and possible and to think of ways to succeed in spite of roadblocks. I will glance at the scope of the world and its problems. I will discuss what I think are examples of better plans for big problems. A futurist view of Healthcare and energy and other topics will be discussed.

Biographical Information

Brian L. Wang, M.B.A. is a long time futurist, who has been involved with nanotechnology associations since 1994. He is now a member of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) Task Force, and is moderating the technology sub-task force. He is also on the Nanoethics Group Advisory Board.

Brian has a degree in computer science and an MBA (from Canadian universities) and has worked in the information technology industry for 20 years. He created and ran his own professional services computer consulting company with offices in Canada and the United states and clients in the USA and Europe. He has also been involved in e-commerce, internet startups and real estate investing. He is familiar with angel and venture funding academically and from the entrepreneur's perspective.

Workshop Speakers

Dr. Darren J. Anderson

Nanotechnology is Hard

As a Ph. D. student, Dr. Darren Anderson helped co-found Northern Nanotechnologies (NNT), an innovative spinoff company from the University of Toronto. He is currently NNT's Chief Technology Officer and is responsible for the overall technical direction and management of the company. In this workshop, Darren will discuss the main reasons why commercial applications of nanotechnology are extremely rare. He will also tell the NNT story, with advice for other students considering an entrepreneurial nanotechnology career.

Prof. Uwe Erb

Nanomaterials: A Leading Subfield of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is an exciting and rapidly evolving field that is concerned with the design of extremely small structures having critical length dimensions on the order of only a few nanometers. One of the leading subfields of nanotechnology deals with nanostructured materials in which these critical dimensions are the crystal size, particle size, fibre or wire diameter, and/or film thickness, depending on their nanodimensionality. This presentation will address several aspects of nanomaterials. First, a brief overview will be given on the historical development of nanomaterials as a subfield in the general context of worldwide nanotechnology initiatives. Second, the various approaches to nanomaterials synthesis will be discussed with particular emphasis on electrochemical methods. Third, several examples of recently developed industrial applications of fully dense electrodeposited 3-D nanomaterials for structural and functional applications will be presented. Examples include corrosion/wear resistant and antifriction coatings, foil materials for soft magnetic and printed circuit board applications, metallic components for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and template technology for self-cleaning surfaces.

Prof. Amr Helmy

Characterizing Low Dimensional structures using Raman Spectroscopy

In this talk we discuss probing the properties of vibration modes in low dimensional heterostructures such as short superlattices and nano-particles using Raman spectroscopy. The advantages of this technique over popular alternatives such as photoluminescence will be examined. In addition, benefits of this technique in controlling the properties of nano-particles will be presented.

Christopher Moraes

Nature's Laboratory: Building a Biological System

In systems theory, 'emergence' refers to the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a large number of relatively simple interactions. The properties of an emergent system are radically different from the sum of their component parts - this synergy can have some astonishing results. The bottom-up approach to nanotechnology - molecular self-assembly - is an emergent process in which molecules interact under specific conditions to spontaneously form highly organized structures. Although we have only recently come to recognize and guide self-assembly, the process has existed long before the term nanotechnology was coined.

In this interactive workshop, we'll discuss, demonstrate and get to play with self-assembly of a molecular system: soap bubbles are large scale, self-assembled, emergent nanostructures - and children have been playing with them for over 400 years! Using various soap film and bubble demonstrations, we'll develop a systematic approach to self-assembly, and explore how molecular interactions drive emergence in biological and natural systems.

Dr. Eric Prouzet

Integrative Chemistry, the Swiss army knife for the design of nanostructured materials

Since chemists were more and more interested by the surface properties of materials, they tried to develop new syntheses, especially those of "Chimie Douce" (Soft Chemistry), that are particularly well dedicated to this purpose. This led to new classes of materials, such as highly porous materials (zeolites, molecular sieves, "mesoporous" materials, ...) as well as hierarchically structured materials. This field of research helped to develop "bio-inspired" or "bio-mimic" syntheses based on soft matter concepts, where, even if the process by itself is by far much more simple that actual biomineralization, interactions at the molecular level govern the total structure and the whole complexity of the material organization at almost any scale from nanoscopic to microscopic. Compared with the "old-fashioned" solid state chemistry where bulk properties were achieved through the thermodynamic stabilization of phases by high temperature processes that led to ionocovalent bondings, soft chemistry may work with kinetically governed processes and intermolecular weak interactions.

Soft matter, including surfactants, liquid crystals (...) exhibits this kind of interaction and may lead to well-organized systems. Among the different ways available for the synthesis of compounds with designed structure, micellar objects were first used by a Mobil Co. group for the synthesis of mesoporous silica (known as MCM-41) with a well-defined honeycomb architecture, a high surface area and a narrow pore size distribution. Since, reactions based on close interactions between surfactants and inorganic species opened a new field of research where the dynamics of soft matter is exploited through an assembly process in order to structure inorganic materials.

We expanded this approach based on the organization of inorganic matter through dynamics of soft matter, which allowed us to explore different ways that are relevant of concepts of "integrative" chemistry, and that will be illustrated by numerous materials prepared thanks to these methods.

Prof. Michael K.C. Tam

Design of Polymeric Nanostructures for chemical and biomedical applications

Amphiphilic polymers are a class of polymers that self-assemble into different types of microstructure, depending on the solvent environment and external stimuli. Self assembled structures can exist in many different forms, such as spherical micelles, rod-like micelles, bi-layers, vesicles, bi-continuous structure etc. Most biological systems are basically comprised of many of these organized structures arranged in an intelligent manner, thereby imparting functions and life to the system. We have adopted the atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and emulsion polymerization (EP) techniques for preparing various types of block copolymers and functional nanogels, where their morphologies can be tuned by manipulating the external stimuli, such as pH or temperature. Exotic systems comprising of responsive water-soluble fullerenes have also been synthesized, and these systems can induce the formation of nano-fractals. The polymeric nanostructures can be used to encapsulate and deliver DNA, drug molecules, and proteins for gene therapy, and the treatment of various diseases, such as cancer. Functional nanogels prepared from EP can be used as colloidal scaffold for preparing magnetic nanoparticles. These systems can be used to recover proteins or enzymes from bioreactors, and in the removal of toxic molecules in waste water systems.

UNC2007 Speakers

Last year's conference was a great success, and included many illustrious speakers.