Wole Soboyejo, Director of the U.S./Africa Materials Institute, and the Director of the Undergraduate Research Program at The Princeton Institute of Science and Technology Materials discussed new frontiers in nanotechnology. Sobyejo’s work is motivated by the desire to create an integrated framework of global researchers, meaning that he’s working to involve a geographically-diverse set of researchers. Soboyejo started with Feynman’s “lots of room at the bottom” talk and entered into an introduction to his own team’s work

One fascinating project is the desire to create a magic nanobullet targeting cancer cells. Specifically certain breast cancers haver four times the normal amount of the product of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone gene (LHRH), and that overproduction has a correlated magnetic signal that can be met with charged nanoparticles. There needs to be a way of imaging the presence of LHRH-SPION complexes in vivo and in situ. This solution is fascinating because the current well-diffused MRI infrastructure can be used for such visualization. Specifically nanoparticle ingress can be visualized so that sub-millimeter imaging of tumors can be done. A patient desiring evaluation may go into a clinical setting, receive a nanoparticle injection, and undergo simple MRI evaluation to see whether cancer cells are presen

This biophysical approach to cancer-specific targeting seems to hold a great deal of promise.

Another fascinating project of Soboyejo’s is to modify hypertheria-induced drug release techniques by using MEMS technology. Yet another is to use nnano-based gene therapy, specifically HIV.

Soboyejo described an inexpensive nano-based water filtration system as well as the nanostructure of bamboo. One of his students, an olympic cyclist named Nick Frey, built a competition cycling frame that he has used to win races. Bamboo cars, bamboo airplanes, here we come.

Enough ideas under development? wait, there’s one more. How about making organic solar cells on flexible devices utilizing plastic waste? Superfine OLED screens?

Amazing. Simply amazing.