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Monday, August 18, 2008

Will Israel Lead The Way In Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is perhaps one of the few "hard sciences" that has the potential to bridge the gap between science fiction and science fact. By creating material at the molecular (and even atomic) levels, scientists can enhance products ranging from drugs to simple clothing.

Even though research into this field is still in its infancy, Israel intends to establish itself as a dominent player within the realm of nanotechnology with a little help from its current President.

(Israel 21st Century) A number of Israeli scientists are on the forefront of research in nanotechnology, and the country's universities, backed by President Shimon Peres, are making the field a priority. Among the latest research to go commercial is that dreamt up by two Israeli scientists, Prof. Avigdor Schertz, from the Department of Plant Sciences at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and Roie Yerushalmi, currently a post-doctoral researcher at Berkeley in California. [...]

With an ability to convert energy from external sources such as light, heat or pH into kinetic energy, the company predicts its invention will answer a need in multiple industries such as the pharmaceutical, diagnostic medicine, sensing technologies and chemical industries.  [...]

One application that the company is investigating is in soldiers; uniforms: "If a soldier is wounded, there would be heat," Arad tells ISRAEL21c, explaining that the clothing's physical properties could be augmented at that particular site to facilitate healing, or make the wound accessible. The fabric could expand, open or retract, in a pre-determined way, to external stimuli.

While nanotechnolgy has the potential to revolutionize virtually every industry on our planet, Israel is also using it to help foster cooperation with their Palestinian neighbors.

Despite the fact that this technology may be years away from "everyday use," it will be interesting to see whether or not Israel leads this field two decades from now.

(Image Credit: NASA / Ames)

Update: Fixed block quote.

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