Friday, August 14, 2009

No data - no market? Challenges of nanotechnology information


(Nanowerk News) Moving nanotechnology to market also involves addressing challenges regarding information and communication management. This year’s 5th NanoRegulation Conference will bring together executive representatives from industry companies and associations, authorities, NGOs and politics to discuss how to add transparency to the black box of nanotechnologies. The attending speakers represent all relevant stakeholders and participants will get the opportunity to contribute to concrete solutions during expert moderated workshop sessions.
The internationally renowned NanoRegulation Conference will again take place in the context of the NanoEurope Symposium, but this year in Rapperswil at the lake of Zurich from 25th to 26th of November 2009.
To guarantee a sustainable development of nanotechnologies, consumers need to know what they buy, retailers need to know what they sell, and processors and recyclers need to know what they handle. However, the relevant nanospecific information often does not reach these recipients because there is no obligation for transfer of nanospecific information. Nanomaterials are likely to become “black boxes” in terms of information; as a consequence, consumer confidence decreases and politicians, NGO and consumer advocates are calling for transparency, declaration and labelling. This leads to a big challenge for nano-regulators and the industry. The conference will bring together all relevant stakeholders to tackle the respective challenges.
The European Parliament unmistakably stated in its 2009 report on regulatory aspects of nanomaterials: “No data, no market”. The members of the European Parliament wanted manufactured nanomaterials to be treated as new substances, requiring extensive safety testing and mandatory labelling.
The first day of the 5th NanoRegulation Conference will provide a comprehensive overview on the political and regulatory background of nanotechnology governance on the national, European and global level. In the light of the European Parliament calling for adaptations of the regulatory framework regarding manufactured nanomaterials, what will be the strategy of the European Commission? Which nano-specific information is indispensable for authorities and consumers? Which instruments for communication and transfer of nano-specific information along the value chain are available??
Disclosure of nanospecific information along the value chain: Must have or nice to have? REACH and other European Chemicals Acts clearly shift the responsibility to ensure safe products to manufacturers and those who put them on the market. However, it remains unclear what kind of nanospecific information is needed at the different stages in the product life cycle, and how it should be delivered.
The second day of the 5th NanoRegulation Conference will bring together the different members of the nanotechnology value chain to discuss who needs what kind of information. Three workshops will offer the participants the opportunity to point out their opinions, discuss them and suggest strategic guidelines for a feasible and effective information policy along the value chain and towards external stakeholders.
Who should attend
The NanoRegulation conference is addressed to executive representatives from international regulatory bodies, industry and insurance companies, scientists, NGO, associations, politicians, the media and the interested public.
You can register online here.
Source: Innovation Society

Nanotechnology weekly summary


Researchers at MIT have for the first time shown that carbon nanotubes can grow without a metal catalyst. The researchers demonstrate that zirconium oxide, the same compound found in cubic zirconia "fake diamonds," can also grow nanotubes, but without the unwanted side effects of metal. Another advance on fabricating carbon nanomaterials has been reported by a Northwestern University professor and his students, who have found a new way of turning graphite oxide – a low-cost insulator made by oxidizing graphite powder – into graphene, a hotly studied material that conducts electricity. In this flash reduction process, researchers simply hold a consumer camera flash over the graphite oxide and, a flash later, the material is now a piece of fluffy graphene.

If man-made devices could be combined with biological machines, laptops and other electronic devices could get a boost in operating efficiency. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have devised a versatile hybrid platform that uses lipid-coated nanowires to build prototype bionanoelectronic devices.

nanobioelectronic device

An artist's representation of a nanobioelectronic device incorporating alamethycin biological pore. In the core of the device is a silicon nanowire (grey), covered with a lipid bilayer (blue). The bilayer incorporates bundles of alamethicin molecules (purple) that form pore channels in the membrane. Transport of protons though these pore channels changes the current through the nanowire. (Image: Scott Dougherty, LLNL)

When bees sting, they pump poison into their victims. Now the toxin in bee venom has been harnessed to kill tumor cells by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers attached the major component of bee venom to nano-sized spheres that they call nanobees.

In other news in cancer-fighting nanomedicine, researchers at Wake Forest University have increased the tumor-killing power of carbon nanotubes by encasing them in DNA. The DNA-encasement of the tubes actually increased the amount of heat produced upon irradiation of the nanotubes with near-infrared light and appears to be a promising new tool for hyperthermia applications.

Growing – and precisely aligning – spear-shaped zinc oxide crystals with a diameter of 100-200 nm on a surface of single-crystal silicon, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology may have developed a method to make more efficient solar cells. By growing zinc oxide on top of the silicon, you're putting two semiconductors on top of each other, thereby widening the spectrum from which a solar cell could draw light.


Nano Tch Video