November 18, 2006

By imitating nature, scientists are designing completely new molecular patterns that can serve as a blueprint of new materials and sophisticated molecular machines. In the emerging field of nanotechnology, basic natural building blocks such as amino acids are used to create structures such as peptides and proteins for applications in medicine and energy. Nanobiotechnologists have begun to exploit molecular self-assembly as a fabrication tool for building new nanobiostructures such as nanotubes for metal casting, nanovesicles for drug encapsulations, and nanofiber scaffolds for growing new tissues. They also have constructed an extremely high-density nanoscale photosystem and ultra-lightweight solar-energy-harvesting molecular machines. With better understanding of this seemingly intractable phenomena, one day mankind may be able to use nano devices to repair body parts or to rejuvenate the skin, enhance human capabilities, harness the unlimited solar energy, and achieve other feats that seem impossible today…

For example, aging and damaged tissues can be replaced with the scaffolds that stimulate cells to repair body parts or to rejuvenate the skin. We also might be able to swim and dive like dolphins or to climb mountains with a nanoscaffold lung device that can carry an extra supply of oxygen. It is not impossible to anticipate painting cars and houses with photosynthesis molecular machines that can harness the unlimited solar energy for all populations on every corner of the planet, not just for the wealthy few…

Nature has inspired us and opened the door to its secrets. It is up to our imagination to expand upon its materials and molecular machines.

– Prof. Shuguang Zhang, associate director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering at MIT

:) And there you have it from a real, honest to god scientist at MIT. This nanotech stuff is going to be HAWT.

I can hardly wait. Three and a half years until grad school?

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