October 23, 2002
James S. Murday, director of the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office, will discuss the impact nanotechnology research could have for homeland defense. Murday, who heads the chemistry division at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., said his lab is developing new analytical tools for sensors that could be used in the fight against terrorism, including detection of hazardous materials. Other research is underway to improve the absorption process in todays standard issue gas masks. The vision of nanotechnology arranging quality nanostructures to assemble themselves into smart systems is still a distant goal, according to Murday.
Nanotechnology, which takes its name from the nanometer (one billionth of a meter), describes the ability to manipulate individual atoms to create new materials. Nanoparticles help make automobile sideboards harder and stronger, and nanocrystals allow sunscreen to be transparent but still block sun. Murdays lecture is sponsored by the newly formed Center for Interdisciplinary Nanotechnology Research at Carnegie Mellon.