"We can create any 3D shape by varying the beam and rotating the target," he adds. Using this technique, the researchers have already made nano-scalpels 10 nm by 20 nm across and just a few nanometres thick. These scalpels can be used for cutting into living cells.
U.S. developing nanotech military armor
The U.S. Army awarded a $15 million contract for the development of a new type of lightweight composite armor based on nanotechnology.
Rice said the planned armor "will be even stronger than existing armor, but also lighter, to reduce the top weight of the 'up-armored' vehicle."
He also assured that engineers would be looking into reducing the flammability and flexibility issues inherent in many composite materials as an improvement in body armor.
The Year in Nanotech
Dazzling displays, handheld sensors, cancer killers, and nanotube computers.
Conventional cancer treatment can wreak havoc on the body. So researchers are developing technology smaller than the cancer cells that can seek them out, slip inside, and deliver a dose of deadly cancer medicine, leaving healthy cells untouched.
As researchers race to develop new cancer-fighting nano tools, an important weapon will be computer modeling, which will help researchers identify materials and structures that can be used safely in the body. (See "Speeding Up Nanomedicine.") But perhaps the biggest impact of nanotechnology on health could be new ways of using nanostructures to purify water, since dirty water is a leading cause of disease worldwide.