News in a Nanosecond

The day’s nanotech news in nanosized bites:

Electric-Car Batteries a No-Go, But Don’t Blame the Nano: A123 Systems, which makes lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, is laying off 125 people at two Detroit-area plants. The company received some pretty decent tax incentives to get the plants online. But, it turns out, electric-car manufacturer Fisker Automotive ran into some production troubles and left a whole bunch of A123 Systems batteries with nowhere to go. What does this have to do with nanotech? As I wrote in a previous Crain’s Detroit Business article, it’s the “nano inside” that gives A123’s li-ion batteries their charge.

Hi-Ho Nanosilver! The EPA has given a conditional four-year go-ahead for nanosilver-based products. Nanotech critics are frightened because they fear it might build up in water and soil despite a lack of evidence that any such buildup is harmful. It’s just kinda a feeling that environmental activists have that it may cause problems. But silver has been used for centuries to fight germs. The only difference now is that nano prefix. More in the New Haven Independent

Capturing Quantum Craziness: An Aussie lab searches for the dividing line between the larger world we know and the Bizzaro world down below. “It’s all about trying to understand where quantum mechanics collapses into classical physics.” More in Cosmos magazine

Happy Birthday, Nature Nanotechnology: The publication turned 5 this year, which means it’s ready for kindergarten. In celebration, they’re giving away treats — five nanotech articles to share with the class for free. Enjoy

NanoPower: Is there anything carbon nanotubes cannot do? Light those little things on fire and the “combustion wave” can become a power source for things like “smart dust,” tiny defibrillators or cancer fighters. More on IEEE Spectrum

Making Nanotubes Biocompatible: Questions over biocompatibility have prevented carbon nanotubes from reaching their potential as drug delivery vehicles or scaffolds for tissue engineering. Now, researchers at Stanford University have figured out a way to make carbon nanotubes safer to use inside the body. Details on

NanoSchooling: New York state prepares its educators to teach the nanotech revolution. Your News Now reports

Eric Drexler is Back: The controversial father of advanced nanotechnology is working on a new project: “exploratory engineering.” It’s a hybrid between physics, engineering and the unpredictable nature of human behavior. Sounds like Drexler is out of the wilderness and leading a new charge. Story and video courtesy of IEEE Spectrum’s Dexter Johnson