Dec. 1, 2016 19:00
In 1959, Richard Feynman gave a landmark lecture entitled ‘There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom’. In this lecture, he speculated what would be possible from a science as well as technology point of view if we could image, measure and control matter at the nanometer length scale. Nearly 60 years later we have indeed moved into the nanotechnology age. In this talk I will discuss what is different at the nanometer length scale, why this is exciting science and where it is starting to have impact in material science, medicine and information technology. The nanoscience age arguably started with the invention of the scanning tunneling microscopy (for which Binnig and Rohrer were awarded the 1986 Physics Nobel Prize). Scanning probe microscopes (SPM) allow the imaging, manipulation and spectroscopic characterization of atomic scale structures. I will discuss several exciting results, including some from our own research. to demonstrate the potential of SPM techniques in science, engineering and medicine. I will close with some thoughts on the ethical, environmental and societal impacts of nanotechnology as well as the challenge of developing a regulatory framework.