ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

On Anniversary of Moore's Law, Nanotechnology is Key to Scaling the Wall

New York, Apr 19, 2005

In 1965, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corp., observed that the number of components on a computer chip was doubling approximately every twelve months with a commensurate reduction in costs. On the 40th anniversary of "Moore’s Law," microchip technology has followed this course, spawning entirely new industries, products and systems during its rapid evolution. In 2003, Intel researchers predicted that Moore’s Law would meet its limit in about two decades. That wall however, may be postponed in the era of nanotechnology, as manufacturing and design moves to molecular and atomic levels in the next wave of information technology and telecommunications.

Today, more than 1,700 companies in 34 nations are "pursuing the commercial promise of nanotechnology," according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). As the links between nanotechnology, emerging standards, business, and national economic positioning continue to converge, U.S. stakeholders are looking for a longer-term view of the future to drive and accelerate commercialization.

“The silicon age was followed by the biotech age. Nanotechnology is next,” says Sean Murdock, executive director of the NanoBusiness Alliance and a steering committee member of the Nanotechnology Standards Panel of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI-NSP). The panel serves as a cross-sector coordinating body for nanotechnology standards and provides a forum where stakeholders can work cooperatively to promote, accelerate, and coordinate voluntary consensus standards for nanotechnology. In September 2004, the ANSI-NSP issued a set of recommendations on those areas of nanotechnology that have the most urgent need for standardization, citing general terminology and nomenclature as highest priority.

Murdock agrees that a basic, agreed-upon vocabulary is essential. “Without a basic language with which to communicate, you can’t effectively share knowledge and move to the next level. Standards mitigate risk for all players and enable business by creating platforms we can all agree upon.”

“Industry-wide standardization is essential at many levels,” says Krishna Doraiswamy, research collaborations manager at Dupont and member of the ANSI-NSP steering committee. “Nanoscale science and engineering is emerging as a distinct knowledge area that still needs a consistent vocabulary, standard definitions, and a generally accepted taxonomy of material forms and applications.

Support for nanotechnology standards has a global reach. A recent proposal in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for a new field of technical activity in nanotechnology, submitted by the British Standards Institute, includes classification, terminology and nomenclature, basic metrology, characterization, including calibration and certification, risk and environmental issues. The proposal cites the prediction that nanotechnology will become the key driver for economic growth this century.

“Standards are necessary to ensure the development of reliable manufacturing processes and platforms, rigorous and broadly comparable data on safety, health and environmental issues, and a healthy and thriving base of sustainable products,” states Doraiswamy. “To maximize the value of nanotechnology to society, this effort requires close cooperation among all the key stakeholders.”

NanoBusiness 2005
Scientists, engineers, business leaders and investors will attempt to formulate a vision of the future at NanoBusiness2005, the official annual conference of the NanoBusiness Alliance ( Presented May 23-25, 2005, in partnership with the Business Communications Company, the conference intends to emphasize emerging technologies, materials and markets in nanotechnology. The event will be held at the New York Marriott Financial Center hotel in New York City. [For registration or to see the full conference program, visit the conference website.]