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Nanotech search engines under works

The National Science Foundation is developing search engines that will allow researchers to find information regarding the latest developments in the field, according to M.C. Roco, the senior advisor for nanotechnology at the NSF, speaking at the International Nanotechnology Conference in San Francisco.

The NSF, for instance, has built one search engine already that allows researchers on to cross-check NSF-funded projects against patent databases, he said. This will soon be made available to the public. Other search engines will also be developed.

Figuring out whatÂ’s going on remains one of the challenges in the field. Nanotechnology refers to building components that measure 100 nanometers or less. In many situations, that means a fairly limited number of atoms. Nano inventions will likely become relevant in electronics, medicine, materials and other fields, and often experts in these fields donÂ’t communicate much.

Ezio Andreta, director of nanotechnology for the European Commission, meanwhile explained why there is so much buzz about nano these days: itÂ’s because developing nations are taking over a lot of traditional fields.

“In order for advanced countries to survive, they realize they need to increase the value of their products,” he said.