NanoPundit -Where Society, Science and the Law get really, really small.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Biodegradable NanoParticles?

The Washington Times has a story on developments at the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI). The story is mostly the standard “fuel cells” and human hair metaphors but there was one section that caught my eye about health effects and interesting way to reduce the fear about grey goo, biodegradable nano-particles.

Nanoscale particles generally have increased toxicity because they are highly reactive. To eliminate hazards, Oregon institutions are working on benign versions of nanoparticles that contain cellulose and biodegrade in six months. ONAMI is developing a portable factory where nanoparticles are made in microreactors exactly where they are needed. "It completely eliminates the dangers of making them in a factory in one place and shipping to the point of use," Mr. Drost said.

Very interesting. A lot of nanotech work relies on the interesting structures that can be formed of carbon so biodegradability is not a complete solution.


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