Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Periodic Mesoporous Organosilica

Periodic mesoporous organosilica is a thin film interspersed with pores just two-billionths of a metre across. This new material could help develop smaller digital devices and cellphones, and lead to innovative methods for the delivery of medication through skin patches.

The material is produced by mixing an organosilica precursor (silica glass, containing organic groups) with a surface tension reducing agent (i.e. a soap) which causes the organosilica to self-assemble into a nanostructure. After washing away the soap, a nanoporous material remains in the form of a thin film. The new material is an excellent insulator that could be used to separate tiny wires inside microelectronics.

Avian Flu and the Stock Market

Investment banker and stock broker Bear Sterns is the first to take into account a possible outbreak of avian flu. The firm advised its clients to drop airline and retail stocks, and replace them with blue chip utilities. Bear Stearns warned that an avian flu outbreak among humans could send the stock market 46% lower.
We believe the imminent arrival of bird flu in the United States will bring this potentially devastating disease back into the limelight. We believe investors should consider a basket of stocks to inoculate their portfolio from this source of risk.
Among its recommendations: Scottish Power PLC (SPI), General Electric (GE), Amgen Inc. (AMGN), Medimmune Inc. (MEDI) and St. Jude Medical Inc. (STJ).

Green Nanochemistry

Using principles of green chemistry, scientists are designing materials and processes that provide the maximum benefits of nanotechnology while minimizing potential hazards. At the American Chemical Society symposium, held March 26-29 in Atlanta, speakers like Barbara Karn, Paul T. Anastas, Vicki Colvin, Somenath Mitra, Paul Alivisatos and Joseph M. DeSimone highlighted advances in environmental-friendly nanotechnology, called "Green Nanochemistry".

Nanotechnology and nanochemistry could bring fuel cells, solar cells and toxicologic sensor to a new level, with enhanced efficiency and extereme miniaturization as key advantages.