Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OK's State Chamber, OCAST Prepare Nanotechnology Contract

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OK's State Chamber, OCAST Prepare Nanotechnology Contract

Article excerpt

An initiative designed to bring world-changing technology to the state, including big business and numerous jobs, is well under way via the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Initiative.

The State Chamber is working with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology to finalize a contract to promote and develop a focus for nanotechnology in the state. This initiative promises to put the state in the running with other states vying for nanotechnology businesses.

This is an emerging field, said Jim Mason, vice president of technology initiatives at The State Chamber and director of Oklahoma Nanotechnology Initiative.

The initiative began in 2002 with a concurrent resolution by the Legislature. The resolution called for a strategic plan for Oklahoma.

The state needed to establish an initiative to move forward on that, Mason said.

The science involves working with elements at the molecular level and below. Several companies in the state already are working in various areas of nanotechnology.

The promise really is it has potential for increasing the quality of our lives in many ways, Mason said, especially in the health care industry.

A nano is one-billionth of a meter. It's 10,000 times smaller than a human hair.

Nanotechnology allows for many things, Mason said, We're just now beginning to see all the possibilities.

For example, new technology being developed and nearing licensure at the University of Oklahoma restructures the fibers in cotton at the molecular level, which allows for the material to be water- repellent, but breathable - everything passes through except water.

Southwest NanoTechnologies in Norman has developed a means of producing nanocarbon fibers that are stronger than steel.

Five years ago, we weren't even talking about this, Mason said. This is the next major area of science that we're moving into.

A number of states have developed similar initiatives, Mason said. Because of this, he said the group realized they must find those niches wherein Oklahoma can maintain centers of excellence. …

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