Monthly Archives: August 2011

To define or not to define nanomaterials

There’s been a debate of sorts over whether or not nanomaterials should be defined prior to setting a regulatory framework. It’s a topic I covered most recently in my July 8, 2011 posting,

I have mentioned Andrew’s (Dr. Andrew Maynard [Director of University of Michigan Risk Science Center]) perspective vis à vis bypassing a definition of nanomaterials and getting on with the task of setting a regulatory framework in my June 9, 2011 and my April 15, 2011 postings. I expressed some generalized doubts about this approach in the earlier posting while noting that both Andrew and Dexter Johnson (Nanoclast blog on the IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers]  Spectrumwebsite) have a point when they express concern that the definition may be based on public relations concerns rather than science.

Andrew’s  ‘comment’, Don’t define nanomaterials, had been published the day before in the journal Nature. An Aug. 30, 2011 news item on Nanowerk alerted me to the latest development. A few days ago, Hermann Stamm of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection had a rejoinder published, Risk factors: Nanomaterials should be defined.

So here’s how this part of the debate started in July, Andrew notes his concern that policymakers will give in to expediency and define nanomaterials primarily in relation to size, i. e., 1 to 100 nanometres. From Andrew’s July 7, 2011 Nature comment (Note: This is behind a paywall, you can read a draft version here),

It makes sense to assume that nanomaterials could come with unanticipated risks. A rapidly growing body of research indicates that some nanoscale materials behave differently from their bigger and smaller counterparts1. For instance, normally benign titanium dioxide — widely used as a whitener — becomes increasingly toxic as its particle size shrinks. Nanoscale titanium dioxide has been classified as a potential human carcinogen by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

But it is becoming clear that many parameters other than size modulate risk, including particle shape, porosity, surface area and chemistry. Some of these parameters become more relevant at smaller scales — but not always. The transition from ‘conventional’ to ‘unconventional’ behaviour, when it does occur, depends critically on the particular material and the context.

A ‘one size fits all’ definition of nanomaterials will fail to capture what is important for addressing risk.

He then provides a series of arguments supporting his notion that a list of attributes along with values that would precipitate action is preferable to what he described as a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Herman Stamm’s rejoinder (August 25, 2011 Nature comment [Note: this is behind a paywall]) simplifies Andrew’s arguments for a simple reiteration of his position,

Maynard’s point that such materials are heterogeneous is justified. However, they all have structures on the nanoscale, which modify their other properties. Size is therefore the most appropriate parameter on which to base a broad definition …

My concern with these things has to do with implementation and which approach is going to ensure better safety? Andrew’s approach reminds me of fuzzy logic and computers. I think they’re called ‘if then’ programming scripts: if [xxx happens] then do [yyy]; if [ssss happens] then do [ttt] and so on. Stamm’s approach is a standard one for regulation, i. e., create a hard and fast rule.

Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Andrew’s proposed method allows for great flexibility and agility but as the system becomes more complex (and they always do) then there’s a strong probability of incompatible ‘scripts’ and if there isn’t an overarching principle or rule, then disputes become very difficult if not impossible to resolve.

Stamm’s method, i. e., using size as the key determinant for a rule is likely to lead to an inflexibile attitude and a lack of agility when dealing with situations that are ambiguous or don’t fit the definition. Who hasn’t experienced or heard of a bureaucrat who abides strictly by the rules as written even if they’re not appropriate for the specific situation?

As I’ve noted before I’m slowly coming round to Andrew’s suggestion although I continue to have doubts.

Eye, arm, & leg prostheses, cyborgs, eyeborgs, Deus Ex, and ableism

Companies are finding more ways to publicize and promote themselves and their products. For example there’s Intel, which seems to have been especially active lately with its Tomorrow Project (my August 22, 2011 posting) and its sponsorship (being one of only four companies to do so) of the Discovery Channel’s Curiosity television programme (my July 15, 2011 posting). What I find interesting in these efforts is their range and the use of old and new techniques.

Today I found (August 30, 2011 article by Nancy Owano) a documentary made by Robert Spence, Canadian filmmaker and eyeborg, for the recently released Deus Ex: Human Revolution game (both the game and Spence are mentioned in my August 18, 2011 posting) from the company, Eidos Montréal. If you’re squeamish (medical operation is featured), you might want to miss the first few minutes,

I found it quite informative but curiously US-centric. How could they discuss prostheses for the legs and not mention Oscar Pistorius, the history-making South African double amputee runner who successfully petitioned the Court for Arbitration for Sport for the right to compete with able-bodied athletes? (In July this year, Pistorius qualified for the 2012 Olympics.) By the way, they do mention the Icelandic company, Össur, which created Pistorius’ “cheetah” legs. (There’s more about Pistorius and human enhancement in my Feb. 2, 2010 posting. [scroll down about 1/3 of the way])

There’s some very interesting material about augmented reality masks for firefighters in this documentary. Once functional and commercially available, the masks would give firefighters information about toxic gases, temperature, etc. as they move through a burning building. There’s a lot of interest in making augmented reality commercially available via smartphones as Kit Eaton notes in an August 29, 2011 article for Fast Company,

Junaio’s 3.0 release is a big transformation for the software–it included limited object recognition powers for about a year, but the new system is far more sophisticated. As well as relying on the usual AR sensor suite of GPS (to tell the software where the smartphone is on the planet), compass, and gyros to work out what angle the phone’s camera is looking, it also uses feature tracking to give it a better idea of the objects in its field of view. As long as one of Junaio’s channels or databases or the platforms of its developer partners has information on the object, it’ll pop up on screen.

When it recognizes a barcode, for example, the software “combines and displays data sources from various partner platforms to provide useful consumer information on a given product,” which can be a “website, a shopping micro-site or other related information” such as finding recipes based on the ingredients. It’s sophisticated enough so you can scan numerous barcoded items from your fridge and add in extras like “onions” and then get it to find a recipe that uses them.

Eaton notes that people might have an objection to holding up their smartphones for long periods of time. That’s a problem that could be solved of course if we added a prosthetic to the eye or replaced an organic eye with a bionic eye as they do in the game and as they suggest in the documentary.

Not everyone is quite so sanguine about this bright new future. I featured a documentary, Fixed, about some of the discussion regarding disability, ability, and human enhancement in my August 3, 2010 posting. One of the featured academics is Gregor Wolbring, assistant professor, Dept of Community Health Sciences, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary; and president of the Canadian Disability Studies Association.  From Gregor’s June 17, 2011 posting on the FedCan blog,

The term ableism evolved from the disabled people rights movements in the United States and Britain during the 1960s and 1970s.  It questions and highlights the prejudice and discrimination experienced by persons whose body structure and ability functioning were labelled as ‘impaired’ as sub species-typical. Ableism of this flavor is a set of beliefs, processes and practices, which favors species-typical normative body structure based abilities. It labels ‘sub-normative’ species-typical biological structures as ‘deficient’, as not able to perform as expected.

The disabled people rights discourse and disability studies scholars question the assumption of deficiency intrinsic to ‘below the norm’ labeled body abilities and the favoritism for normative species-typical body abilities. The discourse around deafness and Deaf Culture would be one example where many hearing people expect the ability to hear. This expectation leads them to see deafness as a deficiency to be treated through medical means. In contrast, many Deaf people see hearing as an irrelevant ability and do not perceive themselves as ill and in need of gaining the ability to hear. Within the disabled people rights framework ableism was set up as a term to be used like sexism and racism to highlight unjust and inequitable treatment.

Ableism is, however, much more pervasive.

Ableism based on biological structure is not limited to the species-typical/ sub species-typical dichotomy. With recent science and technology advances, and envisioned advances to come, we will see the dichotomy of people exhibiting species-typical and the so-called sub species-typical abilities labeled as impaired, and in ill health. On the other side we will see people exhibiting beyond species-typical abilities as the new expectation norm. An ableism that favours beyond species-typical abilities over species-typical and sub species-typical abilities will enable a change in meaning and scope of concepts such as health, illness, rehabilitation, disability adjusted life years, medicine, health care, and health insurance. For example, one will only be labeled as healthy if one has received the newest upgrade to one’s body – meaning one would by default be ill until one receives the upgrade.

Here’s an excerpt from my Feb. 2, 2010 posting which reinforces what Gregor is saying,

This influx of R&D cash, combined with breakthroughs in materials science and processor speed, has had a striking visual and social result: an emblem of hurt and loss has become a paradigm of the sleek, modern, and powerful. Which is why Michael Bailey, a 24-year-old student in Duluth, Georgia, is looking forward to the day when he can amputate the last two fingers on his left hand.

“I don’t think I would have said this if it had never happened,” says Bailey, referring to the accident that tore off his pinkie, ring, and middle fingers. “But I told Touch Bionics I’d cut the rest of my hand off if I could make all five of my fingers robotic.” [originally excerpted from Paul Hochman’s Feb. 1, 2010 article, Bionic Legs, i-Limbs, and Other Super Human Prostheses You’ll Envy for Fast Company]

I don’t really know how to take the fact that the documentary is in fact product placement for the game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. On the up side, it opens up a philosophical discussion in a very engaging way. On the down side, it closes down the discussion because drawbacks are not seriously mentioned.

Supraparticles, self-assembly, and uniformity and Futurity

I’m not sure what I find more interesting the research  or the website. First the research, from the August 25, 2011 news item on Futurity,

In another instance of forces behaving in unexpected ways at the nanoscale, scientists [at the University of Michigan] discovered that if you start with small nanoscale building blocks that are varied enough in size, the electrostatic repulsion force and van der Waals attraction force will balance each other and limit the growth of the clusters, enabling formations that are uniform in size. The findings are published in the Nature Nanotechnology.

Researchers created the inorganic superclusters—technically called “supraparticles”—out of red, powdery cadmium selenide In many ways the structures are similar to viruses. They share many attributes with the simplest forms of life, including size, shape, core-shell structure, and the abilities to both assemble and dissemble, says co-author Nicholas Kotov.

Here’s a graphic that accompanies the news item,

Under the right circumstances, basic atomic forces can be exploited to enable nanoparticles to assemble into superclusters that are uniform in size and share attributes with viruses. (Credit: T.D.Nguyen)

I’m particularly interested in that comment about the resemblance to viruses. Now on to Futurity, a science news aggregator (from the About Futurity page)

Futurity features the latest discoveries in all fields from scientists at the top universities in the US, UK, and Canada. The site, which is hosted at the University of Rochester, launched in 2009 as a way to share research news with the public.

Who is Futurity?
A consortium of participating universities manages and funds the project. The university partners are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and of the Russell Group. Futurity aggregates the very best research news from these top universities.

There are two universities from Canada involved, University of Toronto and McGill University.

Universe Awareness wins prize

The latest winner of a SPORE (Science Prize for Online Resources in Education from the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]) award is Universe Awareness (UNAWE). From the August 25, 2011 news item on Science Daily,

UNAWE is an international programme that uses the beauty and grandeur of the Universe to inspire children aged 4-10 years, particularly those from an underprivileged background. Through astronomy, it aims to cultivate a sense of perspective, foster global citizenship and stimulate interest in science at a crucial age in a child’s development. “In all of its activities, UNAWE pays close attention to local cultures to help engage with young children and to meet the specific educational needs of the country,” says Carolina Ödman- Govender, International Project Manager for UNAWE between 2005 and 2010.

Here’s a little more about UNAWE and its beginnings (from the UNAWE Background page),

In 2004, Leiden University professor George Miley first began exploring the idea of setting up an astronomy programme to educate and inspire young children, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. He had been awarded an Academy Professorship by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and decided to use part of the associated funding to explore the feasibility of setting up such a programme. With considerable support and encouragement from Claus Madsen at ESO [European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere] , a successful workshop was held in Germany and it was agreed that the programme was worth pursuing. Universe Awareness (UNAWE) was born.

Shortly afterwards, Carolina Ödman was appointed as the first UNAWE International Project Manager. In 2006, thanks to a grant provided by the Netherlands Minister of Education Culture and Science, Ms. van der Hoeven, the UNAWE International Office was founded at Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands. With the help of Sarah Levin as Media Coordinator, Ödman built UNAWE into a thriving global project, with a network of about 400 experts from 40 countries.

…  Later that year [2009], the European Union awarded a grant of 1.9 million euros to fund a 3-year project called European Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE), which builds on the work of Universe Awareness (UNAWE). With this grant, EU-UNAWE is now being further developed in six selected countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

EU-UNAWE is endorsed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and it is now an integral part of the IAU Strategic Plan 2010–2020, which is called Astronomy for the Developing World. This is an ambitious blueprint that aims to use astronomy to foster education and provide skills and competencies in science and technology throughout the world, particularly in developing countries.

The UNAWE site offers a number of resources including a template for creating ‘star’ dice, instructions on making a reflective telescope, drawing posters from NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration), a Deadly Moons activity and  more.

The current UNAWE International Project Manager is Pedro Russo.

The last SPORE award I highlighted was the Ask a Biologist programme in my November 29, 2010 posting.

Australians, nanotechnology, and public perception

The Australian government has released a study showing not only that Australians feel positively towards nanotechnology but those feelings have increased over time. From the August 26, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

Australians are increasingly positive about nanotechnology, in particular its potential to improve our lives, according to a study (“Australian Community Attitudes Held about Nanotechnology – Trends 2005-2011″) by independent company Market Attitude Research Services.

Releasing the findings of a study of public attitudes towards nanotechnologies, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the Gillard Labor Government was working with researchers and industry to ensure the benefits of nanotechnology were realised, while ensuring any risks were identified and managed.

“This study is the fifth conducted since 2005 and in that time we have found the understanding of nanotechnology is increasing,” Senator Carr said.

“Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed said they were aware of nanotechnology, compared to 51 per cent in 2005.

I’m particularly interested in the exceptionally high level of nanotechnology awareness there is in Australia. The latest (2008) figures I have for the US indicate that public awareness hovers at 30% as it has since 2005 (Sept. 28, 2009 news item on Nanowerk). From most of the material I’ve read, public awareness about nanotechnology is considered quite low in North America (Canada and the US [I’ve not seen any information about Mexico]) and Europe.

I have looked at the Australian report (the version I found is a short report on a series of slides) and there is no speculation about how such a high level of awareness was achieved. There are no references to any other studies about nanotechnology awareness in other countries or regions (in fact, no references at all).

The version of the report I’ve read is a fairly quick read (19 slides) which notes methodological changes year to year. I would have liked to have seen all of the questions in the order in which they were asked in the survey of 1100 Australians so that I might better understand the results.

Australians were strongly in favour of nanotechnology for medical purposes in common with the British who also expressed favourable views for medical uses of nanotechnology in their own earlier study. Australians were also quite positive about nanotechnology for use in  environmental clean up efforts.

From the August 26, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

Improved medical treatments and preventions attracted the highest levels of support (90 per cent) followed by improved technologies for the environment (87 per cent).

Interestingly there was a study from North Carolina State University which suggests that the public tends to view nanotechnology (when they have any awareness of it) in a more positive than negative light. From my April 14, 2011 posting,

A new study (“Comparing nanoparticle risk perceptions to other known EHS risks” [published online in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, DOI: 10.1007/s11051-011-0325, behind a paywall]) finds that the general public thinks getting a suntan poses a greater public health risk than nanotechnology or other nanoparticle applications. The study, from North Carolina State University, compared survey respondents’ perceived risk of nanoparticles with 23 other public-health risks.

I haven’t seen anything yet that offers an in depth analysis of why the public would adopt this positive attitude toward nanotechnology.

American Chemical Society podcast on food and nanoparticles

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has released a brief podcast mostly concerned with possible nanotoxicology as it relates to agriculture. From the August 24, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

With the curtain about to rise on a much-anticipated new era of “nanoagriculture” — using nanotechnology to boost the productivity of plants for food, fuel, and other uses — scientists are describing huge gaps in knowledge about the effects of nanoparticles on corn, tomatoes, rice and other food crops. That’s the topic of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions” podcast series.

The podcast (audio and transcript available here) is less than 3 minutes and includes an interview with Jorge Gardea-Torresdey, Ph.D. at the University of Texas at El Paso and a co-investigator for the National Science Foundation/Environmental Protection Agency University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (from the podcast transcript),

“Nanoparticles, which are 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, are used in products ranging from medicines to cosmetics. The particles also could end up in the environment, settling in the soil, especially as fertilizers, growth enhancers and other nanoagricultural products hit the market. Some plants can take-up and accumulate nanoparticles. But it is unclear whether this poses a problem for plants or for the animals (like humans) that eat them.”

Gardea-Torresdey and colleagues came to this conclusion after analyzing nearly 100 scientific articles on the effects nanoparticles have on edible plants. There’s more detail in the Nanowerk news item and at the ACS website. You might also find my October 22, 2009 posting (scroll down 1/2 way) about work with carbon nanotubes and tomatoes being done in Arkansas of interest.

Open Lab 2011

Each year the folks at Open Lab create an anthology of the best science writing on blogs. Here’s a little background about the project from the ‘What is Open Laboratory’ page,

The Open Laboratory is the annual anthology of the best writing on science blogs. Yes, this is an actual, physical book, printed on paper.The aim of the book is twofold: first, to showcase the quality of science blogging to the audience that does not read blogs and perhaps has a negative opinion of blogs due to the anti-blog propaganda in the mainstream media, and second, to build and strengthen the science blogging community.

The idea for the compilation came from a discussion between Anton Zuiker and a representative of the online book publisher Lulu.com. They were trying to find a fun and useful way for the company to sponsor the first ScienceOnline conference (then called Triangle Science Blogging Conference). As it was late December 2006 there were only about four weeks left until the conference, so they thought there was not sufficient time to collect and publish such a book and have it ready in time for the meeting.

The sixth edition, for which the entries are being compiled now, will be published by a real publisher –  Scientific American Books, an imprint of Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. [emphasis mine] Thus, some of the dates and deadline will have to change, but the result will be a professionally produced book which will also get proper marketing and will thus hopefully sell more copies than it is possible to sell via Lulu.com. This year’s editor is Jennifer Ouellette.

One brief comment, I appreciate that there’s a difference between Lulu.com and Scientific American Books as publishers in terms of their business models but I would suggest that both are ‘real’ publishers. I suspect this slip of the tongue was borne of habit and long experience with what we now call ‘traditional’ media.

A call for submissions is now open,

The submission form for the 2011 edition of Open Lab is open. Any blog post written since December 1, 2010 is eligible for submission.

We accept essays, stories, poetry, cartoons/comics, and original art.

Here’s the submission form page.

Situating nanotechnology in 2011

Michael Berger has written an interesting article (August 23, 2011) about research which situates nanotechnology within the current scientific enterprise. From Berger’s article, Nanotechnology’s rapidly growing footprint on the scientific landscape,

It is quite difficult – not least because there is no consensus about a proper definition – to assess the scope of nanotechnology research and its impact on the overall scientific body as well as its commercialization prospects. In a new attempt to put some numbers behind the general perception of a rapidly expanding nanotechnology field, two researchers at UC Davis [University of California at Davis] have trawled scientific databases and come up with some surprising findings.

The UC Davis researchers, Minghua Zhang and Michael L Grieneisen, modeled their study on work that was done at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. They modified the “Georgia Tech” query with new search terms, deleted some search terms such as nanosatellite where the prefix is not meaningful, and added more journals retrieving records from 1991 – 2010. Using the new parameters, the researchers found that nearly 90,000 nanotechnology articles per year are currently being added to Web of Science, an online academic citation index.

Unsurprisingly, Asian countries proved to have a high percentage of nano-related published articles. From Berger’s article,

The two authors write that “the percentage of all 2010 WoS records for individual countries which were retrieved by the query was stunning for several Asian countries: Singapore (16.26%), China (15.21%), South Korea (13.33%), India (11.44%), and Taiwan (11.31%), in addition to Iran (11.74%). This indicates a very high priority of nanoscale studies in the minds of the scientific decision makers in those countries.”

According to the table reproduced in Berger’s article, Canada ranked at the bottom with 3.48%.You’ll notice Iran, mentioned by Tim Harper in my interview with him about his latest white paper on nanotechnology funding and economic impacts (July 15, 2011 posting), ranked quite high at 11.74%.

Berger does not mention how the numbers are derived given that researchers cooperate across national boundaries. Do all the countries get a credit or does the lead researcher’s country get the credit? Unfortunately, I can’t get past the journal’s (Small) paywall  (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Evolving Definitions and Growing Footprint on the Scientific Landscape) to find out.

As for the often asked and never answered question, how do we define nanotechnology,

Zhang’s and Grieneisen’s conclusion is that, while the 1-100 nm criterion is convenient, it is too simplistic to reflect either the scientific reality of size-dependent characteristics among all materials or the general usage of these terms.

That’s right there’s still no answer.

 

Europe’s Future and Emerging Technologies House website

The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) House website is intended for young people as per the August 19, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) scheme of the European Commission has launched FET-House, a new website presenting some of the most advanced information and communication technology (ICT) projects in Europe and the people involved.

The FET-House wants to help young people to understand what their options are as regards the career in science and technology, and bring across some of the excitement of people who have a passion for science.

More details about the house are available on this FET page on the European Commission’s website on ICT (information and communication technology)Research,

FET House is a website and application that showcases topics typically covered by some of the most advanced research projects in Europe, such as zero-power computation and communication, robotics, quantum technology, understanding the brain, and data privacy. These themes will be linked to demos, videos and catchy write-ups of a selection of related projects, as well as to people working in the field who are able to excite others about their work.

Through their experience and career stories, these people will act as mentors to young visitors to the FET House’s, inviting them to ask questions, post contributions in the forum, and ultimately to take up the challenge of a career in future technologies themselves. Using the site’s tools and channels, it may even be possible to arrange for real-life visits, to give young people first-hand experience of a lab working on cutting-edge technology.

I went to the FET House website and checked out a couple of areas, We can rebuild you (nanomedicine) and From zero-to superpower (energy). I found the material to be engaging. In fact, I found some information about visual prosthetics that I had been looking for in the context of a story (my August 18, 2011 posting) about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a role-playing shooter game that tackles issues around human enhancement/augmentation.

Once you get past the FET House home page, you find this graphic,

FET House

When you get to the FET House website, you can navigate to We can rebuild you by clicking on the second room from the top, on the right side. The From zero- to superpower room is directly above it. Happy clicking.

 

New ways to sense landmines

Scottish researchers have recently published a study about an ultra-portable explosives sensor giving hope for a more reliable way to sense landmines. From the August 16, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

Decades after the bullets have stopped flying, wars can leave behind a lingering danger: landmines that maim civilians and render land unusable for agriculture. Minefields are a humanitarian disaster throughout the world, and now researchers in Scotland have designed a new device that could more reliably sense explosives, helping workers to identify and deactivate unexploded mines.

Other devices have used the change in a fluorescent polymer’s light-emitting power to detect explosive vapors, but the Scottish team’s prototype, described in the AIP’s new journal AIP Advances (“Ultra-portable explosives sensor based on a CMOS florescence lifetime analysis micro-system”), is the first to use a compact silicon-based micro-system to measure the change in the length of time an electron stays in the ‘excited’ higher energy state.

This measurement is less affected by environmental factors, such as stray light, which should make the device more reliable.

The sensor itself is 20 × 13 × 7 cm3,

A photo of the customized sensing box. Consisting of two ports for gas flow, two wires for connection to an external DC power supply and a USB connection, with the CMOS system sitting inside (Downloaded from http://aipadvances.aip.org/resource/1/aaidbi/v1/i3/p032115_s1?view=fulltext&bypassSSO=1).

(There is open access to the article which is being distributed under a Creative Commons licence in the American Institute of Physics’ AIP Advances journal.)

According to the news item on Nanowerk, the prototype is not yet ready for commercialization but the researchers (Yue Wang, Bruce R. Rae, Robert K. Henderson, Zheng Gong, Jonathan Mckendry, Erdan Gu, Martin D. Dawson, Graham A. Turnbull, and Ifor D. W. Samuel) are hopeful that it will be possible soon.