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Tiny Technologies Taking Aim at Big Markets

Greyscale nanolithography, a technique used for creating 3D features using light-transfer patterning .

October 10, 2011 – The study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale doesn’t bring to mind Broadway productions or pop ballads, but a little showbiz has been added to this year’s nanoUtah 2011, the statewide conference focused on research, development and commercialization of nanotechnology.

Among keynote talks and poster presentations to be held October 13 – 14 will be an “Innovation Idol” contest.  Instead of breaking into song and dance, a select group of researchers, students, entrepreneurs and companies will square off with their innovative business ideas in front of a panel of judges who will provide expert feedback. While winners will not get a recording contract, organizers are encouraging the kind of collaborations and best practices that could translate into high growth for an emerging industry in the state.

“Collaborations begun at nanoUtah conferences in the past have opened many new doors for research and commercialization,” said Florian Solzbacher, nanoUtah conference chair. “We expect to continue to facilitate future academic and technological excellence, positive impact on society and economic growth in our region.”

Breakthroughs in this field are affecting everything from healthcare to computing. In keeping with nanotechnology’s breadth, new research from around the state will be presented in four key areas: medicine, medical devices, energy and materials. Highlights include presentations on:

— Novel particles for targeted delivery of boron atoms to cancer cells, essentially enabling radiation therapy from inside the cancer cells.

— A new model to investigate the blood-brain barrier—which is often a stumbling block in delivering medicine to the brain—that enables enhanced prediction and understanding of various brain diseases.

–A breakthrough advance in optical lithography, a technique used to reduce the size of semiconductor devices and circuits.

            Those in attendance can also take advantage of tours of the new Nanofabrication Facility in the James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building – A USTAR Innovation Center, on the campus of the University of Utah.

nanoUtah 2011 will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City. The complete schedule of events and registration information is available online at