The September 2012 major leage baseball pennant races are in high gear. I checked to see if baseball is by chance appearing in the nanotechnology patent literature. Apparently, the leading example is for better composite baseball bats. Some years ago, Easton had developed a Stealth CNT baseball bat (CNT, carbon nanotube). Zyvex contributed nanotechnology to the effort. This embedded link has some updated commentary on wooden, aluminum, and composite bats. Interesting how these can become “regulated” markets – need to protect the pitchers from rocket line drives off the bats. Also, perception exists that better bats would be some sort of undesirable performance enhancer. Some MLB teams, however, clearly need a lot more that advanced technology bats to make the playoffs and justify spending on the ticket prices.
Carbon nanotubes continue to demonstrate amazing versatility. For example, IBM recently announced 9 nm transistors that outperform silicon. Nanocomp makes larger carbon nanotube structures and show, on their web page, 32 foot sheets. The web page, www.nano.gov, is doing a better job in 2012 compared to 2011 in conveying updates in the nanotech world, including the IBM development of the 9 nm CNT transistor.
The carbon nanotubes are a central theme in the nanotech patent literature. For example, among the 11,256 US 977 class nanotech patent publications, 37.1% of them mention carbon nanotube or nanotubes.
It would be good, many would argue, if the United States could develop a coherent, dependable policy to to commit to develop carbon nanotube technology, and similar nanotech wonders. The benefits will range from 9 nm to 32 foot technologies. Defense will be a leading driver to push the envelope on new materials leading to new products. Private sector venture capital priorities will rise and fall, which is fine, but US policy can promote a more stable, dependable effort to drive the future.
I noted several things recently which seem to connect: (i) a patent of great interest to me finally issued from the US PTO related to an important (to me) carbon nanotube (CNT) application, (ii) many of the PTO’s class 977 nanotech patents seem to relate to carbon nanotubes, and (iii) Nanowerk is listing an updated study on the carbon nanotube industry and how it has grown. So I investigated these connections an ounce.
The US PTO now has granted 7,304 class 977 nanotech patents and, of these, 1,293 (18%)mention carbon nanotube or carbon nanotubes in the abstract or claims. That is remarkable.
Carbon nanotubes are a promising material for making display control circuits because they’re more efficient than silicon and can be arrayed on flexible surfaces. Until recently, though, making nanotubes into transistors has been a painstaking process. As The Technology Review recently pointed out, researchers at the University of Southern California have now demonstrated large, functional arrays of transistors made using simple methods from batches of carbon nanotubes that are relatively impure.
Carbon nanotubes are commonly known for their potential applications in electronic devices. But as fertilizers?
It appears that thanks to a team led by Dr. Khodakovskaya and Dr. Biris, these tiny cylinders of carbon atoms might have found their way into being valuable in agriculture as well. For detail, see an article from a recent issue of The Economist.