Dr. Sunandan Baruah
The phrase ‘poor man’s nanotechnology’ is an oxymoron. Nanotechnology is for the well-equipped, well-funded, well-Ph.D’d and well-connected. It is for the risk taker, the imaginative and the entrepreneur. Regardless, we present a point of view from the ‘poor man’s’ end of this spectrum – the end where nanotechnology is accomplished by the seat of one’s pants. nanotechnology produced by ‘whatever means are available’ – whether building from scratch analytical instruments and experimental apparatus from scratch, or synthesizing from the ‘bottom-up’ with inexpensive chemicals.
Poor man’s nanotechnology is nanotechnology conducted with minimal resources. This interpretation applies to research, development and education programs which lack a steady stream of funding, or which, at best, is sparse or unreliable. The phrase can also be applied to start-up commercial enterprises that do not have the luxury of significant capital investment, government grants (such as Small Business Innovative Research grants (SBIR) in the US) or other well-known mechanisms for support. Therefore, from our perspective as a laboratory, nanotechnology in this way is accomplished solely by the ‘seat of one’s pants’ to achieve experimental, pedagogical or commercial objectives. At Globinno Engineering Solutions (GES), partnering with ‘those that have’ allows us access to equipment otherwise impossible for us to buy and maintain. For example, we pay an hourly fee for scanning electron (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging services – this is PMNT with big friends. Without these tools and local access, GES would be blind to the nanoworld.