Tuesday September 27, 2005, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Moderator: Austin Weber, senior editor, ASSEMBLY magazine

Speakers: John Carlisle, staff scientist, Argonne National Laboratory; Manish Mehta, director of collaborative programs, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences; Sean Murdock, executive director, NanoBusiness Alliance; Chris Phoenix, director of research, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is becoming part of daily life in the manufacturing world. It's revolutionizing numerous industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, electronics and medical devices. Most experts predict there will be an explosion of nanotech applications over the next decade. The ability to manipulate atoms and molecules will dramatically change the way many products are designed and assembled. Understanding how to take advantage of and implement nanotech can mean more than just an improvement to the bottom line; it can make the difference between surviving . . . or falling by the wayside in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This session will address the following topics:

  • Overview of Nanotechnology - By 2015, the worldwide nanotechnology market is expected to reach $3 trillion. However, despite all the potential, a lot of hype and misperception currently surrounds nanotechnology. This "nanotech 101" discussion will explain what nanotechnology is and what it is not. It will also examine basic nanotech tools and techniques, and examine how and why nanotechnology can be applied to manufacturing today.
  • Moving from Nano to Macro - The recently enacted Nanotechnology Research and Development Act authorizes the U.S. government to spend $3.7 billion in R&D funding over the next four years. It's the highest federally funded science and technology effort since NASA's Apollo program in the 1960s. This discussion will explain why getting beyond the laboratory to the plant floor is a critical challenge for nanotechnology.
  • Nanomanufacturing Trends and Challenges - Manufacturers in various industries are harnessing and leveraging the big power of tiny molecules to enhance existing products and create entirely new materials, properties, systems and markets. This discussion will reveal the results of a cross-industry study on current nanomanufacturing activities and future commercialization plans for products incorporating nanotechnology.
  • Self-Assembly - One of the most intriguing aspects of nanomanufacturing involves self-assembly. Some day in the not-too-distant future, nanofactories could apply the principles of molecular manufacturing to assemble products from the bottom up, molecule by molecule. This discussion will explore the promises, potential and possible pitfalls of self-assembly and molecular manufacturing.