Posted: December 15, 2009

Uncovering military nanotechnology applications

(Nanowerk News) The military have been quicker than most to appreciate the potential of nanotechnology. More money is being spent on nanotechnology research for military applications than for any other area. The latest issue of NANO Magazine (Issue 15) sheds light on this ‘dark corner’ of nanotechnology.
The idea that nanotechnology could lead to lighter weight, smarter devices for soldiers in the field, uniforms that offer ballistic and other protection, and more deadly weaponry, has proved irresistible.
Nanotechnology is being applied increasingly to enhancing soldier survivability. Solutions to the great problems of the battlefield: heavy kit, sleep deprivation, injury and advanced weaponry may be improved through the use of nanotechnology. In his article, Daniel Moore looks at the history of the advancement of soldier technologies, and the current inroads being made towards using nanotechnology to create the ‘perfect’ soldier.
Gulf War Syndrome, which affected thousands of the soldiers involved in the conflict, has left a legacy of dehabilitating symptoms. Antonietta Gatti and Stefano Montanari’s work in nanopathology examines the possible links between the nanoparticles created by the technologies of modern warfare and illnesses.
Also in this issue, Jürgen Altmann discusses whether nanotechnology is raising further issues that need new frameworks for ethical assessment from the angles of ‘just’ or ‘fair’ wars, and in the suitability of new weapon technologies in preventative arms control.
In his article, reprinted courtesy of DARPA, Dr. Dennis Polla ranges through some of the potential of nanoelectromechanical systems for detection, including miniaturized optoelectronic structures to systems small enough to analyse the state of a single cell; the fast and accurate detection of environmental pathogens and chemical and biological agents, and the potential for nanoassembly of systems and components in situ.
The USA is one of the biggest spenders on nanotechnology research and development. What have been the outcomes of this spend? How have research priorities changed over nearly a decade of influence by the groundbreaking National Nanotechnology Initiative? NANO Magazine #15 looks at the past, present and future goals for nanotechnology in the USA.
Other regular features.
Ottilia Saxl interviews Victor Castaño, a leading Mexican researcher and entrepreneur whose seems to have a limitless ability in spotting where nanotechnologies can make a difference.
Mexico is the country under the spotlight in this issue. Guillermo Folladori and Edgar Zayago investigate the structure of the nanotechnology community in Mexico.
Medicine: Catherine Berry, at the Centre for Cell Engineering, University of Glasgow, describes her work on magnetic nanoparticles, which offer great promise for the treatment and diagnosis of many diseases, including cancers.
Source: NANO Magazine