“I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.”
The brave new world of…2013
You may not have a robot dog, techno-comforts or kids listening to “futura-rock.” But some of the predictions in this recently-rediscovered issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine largely hold true.
Predictions about the increased prevalence of telecommunication, smarter cars (though ours don’t look as funky as the ones seen above) and globalization all seem to be rather spot-on, considering they were made in 1988!
That said, there’s no way your morning starts out like this:
With a barely perceptible click, the Morrow house turns itself on, as it has every morning since the family had it retrofitted with the Smart House system of wiring five years ago…in the study, the family’s personalized home newspaper, featuring articles on the subjects that interest them…is being printed by laser-jet printer off the home computer – all while the family sleeps.
Photos: Los Angeles Times
Beautiful illustrations & typography… Collector
A moderately terrifying thought occurred to me the other day and it’s been rattling around in my head ever since. I don’t have a plan. I have no idea what I will be working on one year from now. I have absolutely no clue what my tiny company’s product portfolio will look like in five years. In ten…
There’s an interesting report from BIPM that one of my friends directed me to, here’s the link.
Briefly, this was a workshop to define the status and needs of metrology for nanoscale. I’ll note first that the metrology community is not using the term “Nanotechnology” in its titles anymore. A shame when you think that it took us 5 years (not kidding) to agree on a definition of Nanotechnology, which was consensual and as a result a gibberish statement. A number of interesting issues are presented, for instance where are microscopy, nanoparticles, mechanical measurement, electrical, nanobiotechnology measurements going… The result is quite disappointing.
I don’t want to rant on NMIs (National Measurement Institutes), but this kind of document is a typical token to the fact that the people seeking funding should not be allowed to establish the roadmaps and policies that will define this funding. You always, invariably, end up with a pile of nonsense arranged in a nice report, which will be used as reference later to motive funding. But that’s life in NMIs, and the reason why many scientists - and ex-colleagues - spend most of their time in “political” meetings rather than in their lab.
So, what’s wrong? Essentially, the conclusions of the report, although only provisional at the moment, are not aligned in any way with the needs of the end-users. Those are not even envisaged by the participants, there is no time-frame, nor quantifiable effort to reach goals that would remain to be defined. Here are my two-cents on that, eg critical issues that are completely missing:
- operational statistics: when you produce nanostructures or nanoparticles or really anything nano, you invariably end-up having to quantify very large numbers of everything. The statistical testing we are currently using was never designed to validate 1ppb fabrication, and process tolerances and how they’re determined need to be completely redefined
- transport of reference materials and/or artefacts, devices: contamination is a big issue, no-one seems really concerned. The last round-robin testing I directed ended up being a complete failure due to this issue, and this was a simple test…
- manufacturing of reference materials using self-assembly: this seems to be one elegant solution to a whole range of problems, and should provide time and location independence for standard references
- in-line testing: well, news flash for NMIs, the industry needs in-line monitoring, not half-day measurements running in metrology labs. One further example of how disconnected NMIs are from their user base: there’s a claim somewhere that AFM measurement is not adapted to measurement in an industrial environment?! 90% of the AFMs I know are used in an industrial environment. Do yourselves a favor, and get yourselves into an IC fab, guys, it’s quite a delight to see half a dozen (at least) AFMs running in parallel for process control
- and the list goes on… Do not even get me started on nano-indentation or fluorescence that is mentioned in parentheses only twice in the report (when you think that it meets 90% of the requirements of biologists and is truly their standard equipment).
So, at least there’s an effort, but it seems to me that the right people were not in the room, and that our politicians should (for once) try to draw some conclusions and think very hard about their policies and where they think the future is going. For instance, why not organize fewer, better workshops where USERS are driving the talks and expressing their immediate, medium and long-term needs instead? Another idea would be to see the birth of Industrial Implementation Groups partnering with NMIs but wholly independent from them in terms of funding and governance, in order to ensure that the needs are covered. Yup, a neutral third party, strategically, seems to be the missing link to get NMIs working on real problems (translate: force them to do so).
And one last thing: I counted 41 occurrences of the word “Traceability” in this twenty-something report. This is, one more time, meaningless to end-users, actually they could not care less. NMIs, stop selling this as the reason of your existence, it is now becoming ridiculous. If you still think it’s not, read this post again…
For those of you who follow that blog for nanoimprint lithography, I’ve found that viscoelasticity is widely ignored in the community. There’s a OK chapter in the “Springer Handbook of Experimental Solid Mechanics” by Wolfgang Knauss et al, which is available as a author-prepared preprint at the link submitted. Interesting point: this has plenty of data on the macroscopic behavior of PMMA.
Long time without posting, does not mean we’re dead. Quite the opposite, in fact, as we’ve been working day and night on two projects: a Markdown editor for the iPad, and a proper handler for 3D stamp geometry in nanoimprint simulations. Sure you’ve got more interest in the latter, but I would encourage you to check the former as well, Edito, which opens another stream of activities for Cognoscens. Anyway, a bunch of good papers have appeared this summer, and some recent ones can still be downloaded. I just picked this morning two OK reviews:
Andy Chung, Jamal Deen, Jeong-Soo Lee and M Meyyappan, “Nanoscale memory devices”, Nanotechnology 21 (2010) 412001 (22pp): interesting as it enumerates and shows the various geometries and principles of working nanoscale memories. Yet, I’m left expecting more as I would have enjoyed a map/table comparing the technologies, their limitations and drawbacks, as well as a roadmap… Can’t get it all, so it’s left to the reader to make his own opinion — (again! All these reviews are neutral these days, I miss the 80s-90s when authors were less political).
Jan Willem Borst and Antonie J W G Visser, “Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy in life sciences”, Meas. Sci. Technol. 21 (2010) 102002 (21pp). This one features a quite complete review of FLIM and its use in life sciences. There’s one point missing though, and it’s the integration into lab practices… What I like: the description of the techniques and the scientific basis they rely upon. What I do not like: one more paper talking about quantitative analysis without mentioning the tough nugget in these techniques: data treatment, and evaluation of an experimental error. Try it, it’s a killer on those problems, as data collection and storage is a very involved process.
See you soon, and check our other blog, in construction, at ScientificMac.
This tends to prove that we have been (very) limited in our thinking by the 2D and extrusion approach in standard lithography. What Dalton Ghetti achieves with simple tools and his bare eyes is simply enlightening.
CAn’t help but get excited after seeing this demo. I can already think of an auxiliary device to the NIL Simulation Suite, where we can just see the 3D nanoimprint proceeding in 3D! GEt the image out to an iPad acting as a remote screen projector? Piece of cake. Guys, just get this product on the market before long, I’m aching to get started.
Like the old man said back then - when I was taking my Materials Science engineering degree: “When applying a pressure, try to use a bladder”. So, here we are again, which a paper (just came out, free to grab for a month!):
This is a pretty cool work, with a nice and simple setup. OK, they don’t get into nanometer scale replication, but the method is nevertheless interesting, fast, and should be leading to considerable development. Both experimental and theoretical. And I must add there, this type of load efficiency will of course depend on the stamp deformation, and one may face the same type of issues as we witnessed in Giles’ paper… All exciting perspectives!