I read an interesting article by Robert Nelsen, co-founder and a Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners, with his view on the Top 5 innovations to watch in the coming decade. I didn't have to get very far into the piece to get his take on nanotechnology when Mr. Nelsen declared nanotechnology as No. 1 on the list. He foresees major innovations in solar energy "that can produce electricity at 6 cents per kilowatt hour and which will compete with conventional power without subsidy" and "new battery innovations on flexible substrates and new form factors that are 2-5 times more efficient than current lithium ion batteries."
How will emerging nanotechnologies such as these become cost-competitive with fossil fuel-based energy sources? It is when the industry can readily take new products from the research laboratory and introduce them to market in short order with standardized fast (in-line) methods for determining failure modes and for assessing key control characteristics of nanomaterials in the end-use applications. These methods are developed within the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to IEC Technical Committee 113 (TC 113 TAG), which develops international performance measurement standards for nanotechnology for electrical and electronics products and systems.
The solar and battery industries should join the TC 113 TAG to make the U.S. a leader in these innovative fields.