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There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

EDITOR'S PAGE

There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom
That’s what physicist Richard Feynman called his speech on nanotechnology way back in 1959. A fitting title, since nanodevices are built from the bottom up.

Back then the science was so new there wasn’t even a term for it. But over the years, nanotechnology has gained a name, as well as legitimacy.

In the medical field, it has been used to create surface treatments for stents and other implantable devices. A recent example is AcryMed’s SilvaGard antibacterial coating. It prevents the buildup of bacterial biofilms on device surfaces.

One reason for the growth of such products is the huge support that nanotechnology has received, mainly from the U.S. government.

In fact, nanotechnology may be one of the few topics both President George W. Bush and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton agree on.

In 2003, Clinton cosponsored the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. The act, which was passed and signed into law, authorized programs for nanoscience, nanoengineering, and nanotechnology research.

And the President’s 2007 budget provides more than $1.2 billion for the multiagency National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).

This brings total investment in the NNI to more than $6.5 billion, nearly triple the budget it received when it was established in 2001.

With all the media coverage, no doubt most people have at least heard of nanotechnology. Still many people can’t quite wrap their heads around the concept.

Chris Phoenix, director of research for the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, tells a story about an e-mail message he received on the center’s Web site. First, the writer complimented the site as being very informative. Then he asked whether any dangers associated with nanotechnology might apply to his new Apple Nano iPod.

He’s not the only person out there who is confused about nanotechnology—which is why we’ve put together a special section about its uses in the medical device industry.

Starting on page 30, you’ll find an article that gives a broad overview of some of the issues facing nanotechnology. Several stories follow that describe how nanotechnology is being put to work in healthcare and related fields. We’ve also included a roundtable interview with nanotechnology experts Phoenix, Mansoor Amiji, and Christine Peterson.

There is still plenty of room at the bottom. The use of nanotechnology is surely going to expand in our industry. We’ll be there to cover it, and we welcome your input and suggestions for future issues.

Susan Shepard, Editor

Copyright ©2006 Medical Product Manufacturing News
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