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National Research Council (US) Committee on Competing in the 21st Century: Best Practice in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives. Building the Arkansas Innovation Economy: Summary of a Symposium. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2012.

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Building the Arkansas Innovation Economy: Summary of a Symposium.

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Session II: Cluster Opportunities for Arkansas (continued)

, Moderator.

The National Academies



National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT), University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Dr. Mantooth, executive director of NCREPT, referred again to the “Greatest achievements of 20th century,” published by the National Academy of Engineering, saying that the technology he would discuss was a blend of achievements Number 1, electrification, and umber 5, electronics. This is the point at which grid modernization has to occur, he said, through power electronics, “which is about to take us over the next 20 years and be the new golden era of electronics.”

He mentioned that he was educated both in Arkansas, with a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Arkansas, and outside the state, with a PhD at Georgia Tech. “And I can tell you that our best here are as good as the best anywhere.” He said that one of his objectives was to recruit and retain in Arkansas the best intellects to work on this new opportunity in the electric power industry.

The National Center for Reliable Power Transmission, NCREPT, was founded in 2005 as a center for industrially relevant research and education in future energy systems, including power electronics. Main areas of focus include grid reliability, power interface applications, transportation, energy exploration, and geothermal applications. The theme that ties together many of these activities is “extreme environment electronics,” pioneered for space and military applications and now being applied for the high-voltage, high-temperature electronics of the grid.

Defining Power Electronics

He defined power electronics as “basically the interface between where we've generated the power and how we want to condition that power specifically for the load.” He said that currently about 40 percent of all U.S. energy is used as electricity, but that this figure is growing “dramatically” as we “electrify more of our lives and charge more batteries.” Already, more than 30 percent of all electricity generated is processed by power electronics, he said, with a value of some $300 billion. This percentage is projected to grow to more than 80 percent by 2030, reflecting the addition of more variable speed motor drives, computing, environmental controls, and other electrical devices. “The role of power electronics is to manage their operation more efficiently,” he said, “not only in electricity generation, but also in industrial, commercial, and residential applications. “

Dr. Mantooth said that an average power electronics system is about 80 percent efficient today, which means that about $60 billion worth of energy is wasted annually. Power electronics can help not by turning the lights down, but by turning them down “intelligently” – that is, when no one is in the room. The more general goal is to manage power flow throughout the grid in the same way we would manage the lighting in a room.

The Logic of DC Current in the House

“Already,” he said, “power electronic interfaces are everywhere. That's where we're moving to be efficient and smart. Most people don't realize that the washer and dryer in your home have a power converter between the plug and the motor. It takes the AC, converts it to DC, then it converts it back to DC to turn the motor. If we had DC distribution in our home we could avoid that loss of energy. So one thing our center is working on is new initiatives with industry partners to put not only AC distribution in a home but DC also, with separate plugs. Many of our appliances and computers want to run on DC anyway.”

One thing that makes the Arkansas power electronics center unique, he said, is that it puts its expertise to use on grid-related issues. For example, high-temperature power electronics requires materials that will last for 15 or 20 years rather than three. The electric power industry has always been accused of being slow to adopt new technologies, he said, but they are being forward-looking in demanding reliability in the materials they purchase. Laptop computers have a designed lifetime of about three years, he said. “We can't be selling switch gear to the power industry that has a lifetime of three years.”

NCREPT began operations in February 2009, with the broad purpose of accelerating advances in technology to use on the grid. What makes NCREPT unique, he said, is its value as a testing and research facility to users across the country and beyond. Currently, it is the only test facility in the world to offer programmability and reconfiguration options at 6 MW. It offers vertically integrated services from basic research through prototyping, testing, and industrial collaboration with companies and universities around the world. It is also establishing close collaborations with the other universities in the Arkansas system.

He stressed the importance of being able to educate Arkansas students in this growing field and then offer them jobs in the state. “This industry already exists,” he said. “Electric power, the grid, and companies like Nordex, Mitsubishi, LM Glass Fiber, Arkansas Power Electronics, Baldor, and Caterpillar. This is where these people will go work for $60,000-$100,000 a year to start.”

A Test Facility as a Tool for Economic Development

He said that the new test facility was primarily a tool for economic development, a way to move new technologies out of the lab and into field testing so they can be adopted. The first commercial customer was a developer from New York City, who needed to test a 1.6-MW device for a 45-story building. The building had a diesel generator on the roof, and the electronics device was meant to disconnect the building from Con Edison's grid every time the electricity price rose to 27 cents a KwHr. The diesel generator could produce power for 20 cents, and it was used every day to save money on electricity. The device was tested and already deployed.

He showed a picture of a 3-by-5-inch power electronic module designed to drive the motor of a hybrid electric vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius. Current modules require active cooling from the radiator; this more modern version, he said, is able to operate at 250 degrees C, requires no water cooling, and is lighter and more resilient; three of them can drive the car's electric propulsion system. It had won an “R&D 100” award for innovation in 2009. With funding from Rohm Semiconductor, based in Japan, and Sandia National Laboratory, it was manufactured in Fayetteville by NCREPT and Arkansas Power Electronics.

The facility had been selected as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center in 2009, which currently had 15 industrial members. This center, called the GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES), is a partnership with the University of South Carolina, and begins with a research budget of about $1 million a year. “That's not a tremendous amount,” he said, “but we will grow it. It's the seed.” The GRAPES plan to partner with component manufacturers, equipment providers, and electric utilities/industrial controls companies. Such companies want to be members of the center both for face-to-face contact with customers and to gain early access to students, “our main product.” They also have opportunities for shared IP agreements on the research being done at the lab.

He concluded by emphasizing the importance of training. There is a huge manpower gap, he said, because an estimated 50 to 70 percent of the engineering workforce in the power industry will retire in the next 5-10 years, and little hiring was done in the 1980s and 1990s. “We have to get young people into our schools,” he said, “and they have to get a BS degree. This power industry needs people at al levels – it's not just about PhDs. This type of consortium may be able to help.”

He closed by saying that the Arkansas center is now among the very best schools and programs in the field, including its partners Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “Power electronics today is very fragmented,” he said, “and Arkansas has an opportunity to take a leadership role and create the center of gravity that we need.”



National Economic Council, The White House

Ms. Lew began by saying that while Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) are likely to be familiar in Arkansas, they are less well known at the federal level. The RICs, she said, have the goal of promoting collaboration between the federal government and regions, states, counties, and cities in order to better align resources. In the President's 2011 budget, more than $300 million had been identified to support Regional Innovation Cluster activities at the Economic Development Administration, Small Business Administration, Department of Labor and the Department of Agriculture.

She showed a diagram to illustrate how RICs encourage communities to identify the economic drivers of their regions. “By encouraging collaboration between business leaders, academic leaders, and community leaders,” she said, “we want to know how we can link what you're doing to what the federal government is doing.”

Pursuing Energy Efficiency Through a Technology Cluster

She described a meeting the previous year with representatives of eight counties and 15 cities in the Pacific Northwest. The group wanted to pursue energy efficiency by forming a technology cluster, and they were trying to apply for federal dollars to support cluster activities. However, they found the application process to be complex and time-consuming. They showed her a diagram of more than 23 different federal program offices managed by six federal agencies, each requiring “an enormous amount of paperwork,” some of which was redundant. They were in the second year of pursuing this federal funding, and wanted to know how the federal government could make this process less cumbersome. “That was a strong motivation for the Obama Administration to start looking seriously at these clusters,” said Ms. Lew.

“There are those who believe that the national economy is really a collection of more than 100 regional economies,” she said, “and by taking steps to promote them, the federal government would be promoting a more vigorous national economy.” She noted that universities, including Harvard, and think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress, had recommended that economic development strategies include regional innovation clusters, and urged the Obama Administration to adopt more proactive policies. She added that France, Germany, Brazil, Scandinavian countries, and others already focused on their regional economies in building national strength.

Energy Regional Innovation Centers (E-RIC)

In response, she said, the Administration had begun “this experiment,” beginning with a competitive FOA announced by seven collaborating agencies. The purpose of the Energy RIC (E-RIC) was to spur economic development and job creation, as well as research, while accelerating commercial adoption of innovative technologies that increase building efficiency and conservation.

DoE had already begun to develop its Energy Efficiency Hub, funded at $22 million in the first year and up to $25 million per year for four additional years. It will develop systems-based approaches to designing commercial and residential buildings that integrate windows and lighting, natural ventilation and HVAC, thermal inertia, on-site energy generation, and other efficiency technologies. The Department of Commerce and Small Business Administration would provide and coordinate grant funds to encourage the Hub and Regional Clusters. The Education Department, Department of Labor, and NSF would support collaboration between the consortium and recipients of funding under complementary, existing programs.

The goals of these agencies are to promote consortia formation across the region to compete for this combined investment of $130 million. She said that it was “challenging” to get seven agencies to think about doing things differently, and to coordinate agency program requirements, many of which were set by statute. “But at the end we believe it was worth it, and we were able to realize this experiment because of the commitment of senior leaders across these seven key agencies.”

Goals of the Pilot Program

She said that the pilot program had several goals:

  • Improve energy-efficient building systems design
  • Create and retain good jobs
  • Shorten the time to award the grants
  • Increase regional gross domestic products
  • More closely align community college/technical training with regional business needs for a skilled work force.

“We also hope that small businesses and entrepreneurs will get more tailored counseling specific to the types of technologies and businesses that spin out of the cluster. And we hope that innovations from the cluster can be more quickly integrated into businesses with the help of the Manufacturing Extension Program. We believe that the EDA money can promote a vibrant regional economy by supporting the necessary strategic planning, governance, and infrastructure of the cluster.” She said that examples of participating entities include the following:

  • Under DOE, the national energy labs, universities, and private industry labs;
  • Under EDA, state and local governments, universities, regional government coalitions, non-profits, and native American tribes;
  • Other stakeholders in the region who might not necessarily be consulted when forming a technology hub, such as neighborhood associations, community-based organizations, labor organizations, venture capitalists, and business councils

Including these stakeholders is essential, she said, “because we see this as an opportunity to increase the well-being of the entire community and region.”

“At the end of the day,” she said, “our goal is to integrate the effort of the energy hub with sister federal programs so there is a broader benefit – not only for the DoE, but for all the federal, state, county, and local agencies so that we can achieve a multiplier effect.”

Regional Innovation Clusters is still a pilot project. “Our goal is to roll out several other pilot projects this fiscal year. They may not be in the energy field. But we believe that we'll take the lessons learned and integrate them into a broader economic agenda and establish the community of practice that can be used not only by federal agencies, but by regional planners as well.”

She closed by noting that innovation was not limited to high-tech activities. Two weeks earlier she had met with a group forming its own RICs that spanned the borders of California and Oregon. The region's primary resources were timber and forestry products, industries that have experienced significant contraction and loss of jobs in recent years. While the region has an official unemployment rate of 27.5 percent, she was told that some residents believe it is actually closer to 40 percent.

“These people believe that through smart regional innovation cluster planning, they can work with their core industry of timber, and bring new technologies to reinvigorate their economies. They've explored options such as clean-energy technologies and talked with pellet fuel manufacturers, to help them establish a more diversified industry base. So innovation is also about rural and urban opportunities. And I believe such opportunities are available here in Arkansas.”



Arkansas Biosciences Institute, Arkansas State University

Dr. Cramer began with the statement that “agriculture is key to Arkansas' economy,” and backed her statement with several persuasive facts. The economic impact of agriculture, including processing and distribution, amounts to some $15 billion, providing 268,000 jobs, or more than one in every six jobs held by Arkansans. Overall, the contribution of the agricultural sector as a percentage of GDP was greater than any of the six contiguous states and higher than the national average.

The state is the top rice grower in the United States; it is also ranked second in broilers, third in cotton, cottonseed, and catfish; fourth in turkeys, fifth in grain sorghum, eighth in chicken eggs, and ninth in soybeans.24

Manufacturing in Arkansas, R&D Elsewhere

One effect of this agricultural leadership is that some 200 food processers are located in the state, including some of the world's largest: Tyson Foods, Frito-Lay, Butterball, Wal-Mart, Riceland, Post, Nestle, and others. Wal-Mart alone, she said, “brings a cluster of people who want to sell to them.” These firms, however, while they do their manufacturing and processing in the state, do most of their R&D elsewhere. Maintaining agricultural leadership, however, requires research and technological innovation to address today's new challenges, which include:

  • Agricultural sustainability
  • Climate change and its possible impact on crops, pests, disease, and water
  • Food safety, including the controversial issue of genetically modified foods
  • Nutrition-related health challenges (obesity, diabetes)
  • Integrating bio-energy and food production needs
  • The ‘grow local, eat local’ trend

Where the Innovations will Come From

Traditional approaches of crop improvement, she said, would not be sufficient to transform economic development in the state. This would have to come from new techniques of biotechnology, but no one yet knows when such benefits will be available. She predicted that innovations, when they come, would be in value-added and specialty crops and products, including health and nutritional benefits, green materials derived from agriculture, new emphases on livestock and veterinary products, and improved aquaculture for species including and beyond the traditional catfish.

In particular, she said, a 2009 Battelle study had highlighted several market opportunities in food processing and safety, including:

  • New food processing and preservation technologies. These include (1) advances in infrared surface heating, high-pressure microfluidization, pulsed electric field processing, and cold plasma, and (2) in-line imaging technologies, such as MRI.
  • Advanced food packaging, such as (1) a reduced carbon footprint from “green” packaging and more efficient storage and transport methods, and (2) advanced films that have anti-microbial and other qualities.
  • Food safety biosensors and rapid food-borne pathogen detection, including (1) hand-held/on-site and portable technologies, (2) molecular diagnostics for high-value protection, and (3) smart films integrated into packaging, including the use of conjugated nanomaterials.

She noted that Wal-Mart, in making “green” techniques a priority throughout its organization and supply chain, had “affected everyone” in the state and set a tone for agriculture as well as industry.

One of the strategies adopted by the state to promote innovation in agriculture, along with other sectors, was to support multi-institutional cross-disciplinary clusters. One of these was supported by the Arkansas Division of Agriculture through its experiment stations and researchers. This cluster had developed a world-class reputation in rice and poultry science. A current emphasis was on bioengineering, including lean manufacturing techniques and nanomaterials.

Another cluster was led by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, featuring interfaces with both agriculture and medicine, and the NSF EPSCoR P3 Center, or Plant-Powered Production. This P3 program is a collaborative research network of institutions, including 40 faculty members. P3 has several overlapping emphases, including research programs for health, plant biomass and yield, plant protection, medicine, and feed production.

A ‘Serial Entrepreneur’

Dr. Kramer described herself as “a serial entrepreneur,” offering the example of plant-made pharmaceuticals. She had begun studying a tobacco enzyme that seemed to have promise as a therapy for Gaucher disease, and in 1993 she co-founded CropTech Corp with SBIR funding and ATP grants. The company grew to 42 employees, and in 1999 won a patent for any lysosomal protein expressed in plants. The shock of 9/11 brought the work to a halt, but in 2003 the technology was licensed to Protalix Biotherapeutics. “The valley of death is real,” she said, “but a good idea can survive.” In December 2009, Protalix completed a deal with Pfizer, which demonstrated faith in the idea that plant cells can be used to make protein-based drugs. Some think these are safer than animal cells now used by biotech companies.

She concluded that Arkansas has many potential opportunities if it learns to combine its traditional strengths in agriculture and food processing with new techniques of biotechnology. The state now has eight start-up companies receiving SBIR support. It has cross-disciplinary strengths in several promising fields, including new packaging, detection, and sensing technologies; vaccines, probiotics, and advanced feeds for poultry and aquaculture; and “green” products, chemicals, biomaterials, and drugs. To make all this happen, she said, required continued public investment in R&D and start-ups, and developing the “great potential for industry consortia.”




Mr. Johnson, CEO and president, offered a brief description of ClearPointe, some of the barriers it had to overcome, the help the company received to overcome those barriers, and current information technology (IT) opportunities for entrepreneurs in the state of Arkansas.

ClearPointe, he said, is a managed service provider (MSP), which means it is responsible for maintaining a high level of service for customers that depend on an IT infrastructure. The company delivers this service to its target market, which includes companies of 250 to 2000 employees nationwide. It employs 76 IT professionals in its offices in Dallas, San Diego, Northwest Arkansas, and Little Rock, where it's Network Operations Center is located. Since 2005, ClearPointe has grown by at least 30 percent per year, and expects to more than double in 2010, creating 20 to 25 new jobs as it does so.

Mr. Johnson reviewed the challenges to ClearPointe's early growth. These began with access to funding, which he called “the first barrier for any small startup business.” Very few new firms have adequate cash to get a new business through the first year, he said, “and we were no exception.” At first the company's only source of financing was its receivables. Soon it decided to sound out the venture capital sector, and in early 2002 it was chosen as a presenter at the annual Arkansas Venture Capital Forum. “This gave us access to knowledgeable people who helped us refine our business plan, and monetize our needs so as to meet our financial plans, even though our timing could not have been worse!” The “dot-com” bubble had just burst, and virtually no VC funding was available for IT startups.

The process did lead to a good business plan, however, and the company was able to “boot-strap,” or pay as you go, until it was able to attract some angel backing, which in turn led to the interest of local banks. “Bank loans are not the best way to start a company,” said Mr. Johnson, “but we had no other options.”

The advantage of starting up in this way, he said, was that it allowed – or forced – the firm to prove its model. They were profitable in the first year, which gave credibility to its scaling model.

“All in all,” he said, “we put together a lean company focused on profitability, which help sell you to banks and investors. So far, all of our growth has been able to be funded with traditional bank financing, using the strength of the founders as backing. It has also allowed us to keep 100 percent ownership of the company, which will give us more flexibility with fund raising in the future.”

The firm was well aware that traditional bank financing can work for only so long. The next big barrier will be to find “cash flow” financing vs. the “asset”-based lending it currently uses. ClearPointe's goal is to reach $35 million in revenue by 2012, which will depend on maintaining current 30-percent year-over-year growth as well as making some strategic acquisitions. It was able to make two acquisitions in 2009 and one in 2010, using traditional financing, but without cash flow lending it will be difficult to fund the mergers and acquisitions schedule the company has set.

Another issue is finding sufficient IT talent, especially in a rural state. At first it tried “growing their own” – hiring new college graduates and putting them through six months of training before placing them in company roles. This proved to work well, but at a high cost for a small company, with a significant number of employees tied up in training for extended periods. Hiring talent from out of state also was difficult, so that the creation of the Engineering and Information Technology College at UALR came as a “godsend.”

“We started working with the college more than three years ago, serving on the advisory council.” In the past year, Mr. Johnson and others helped the college design a curriculum that would assure ClearPointe of a steady flow of qualified applicants. For example, one of the classes in the IT program has been “Remote Service Oriented Management, A Practical Delivery.” ClearPointe itself co-teaches the class, providing its top engineer as both an instructor and author of the course textbook. The company has also been able to hire experienced technicians and managers made available by the changes at Alltel and Acxiom.

The overall environment for IT companies, and especially start-ups, is changing, he said, along with the broader IT environment. IT is no longer delivered only by internal resources and on-site staff. Instead, necessary data may as likely come from the Internet or a hosted solution from an application vendor as from internal IT.

This has caused a shift in the IT landscape, he said. The day of the traditional IT provider of software, hardware, and break-fix services is coming to an end. Today's IT companies are more focused on services and how those services are delivered. The time of the IT “generalists” is over, as they are replaced by subject matter experts who increasingly deliver their knowledge over the Internet. “We will be more concerned about how data arrives at the desktop or virtual PC than we ever have in the past,” said Mr. Johnson. “This shift from on-site IT services to remote delivery has created a host of opportunities for startup companies.”

Virtually all business-class applications will be delivered over the Web in the future, he continued, which brings great opportunities in helping companies ready their product for hosted delivery. Microsoft is already working to deliver key services such as email over the web much more efficiently than can be done internally. New opportunities include:

  1. Hosted applications: Virtually all business-class applications will be delivered over the Web in the future. This creates great opportunities in helping companies ready their product for hosted delivery. Microsoft is already working to deliver key services such as email over the web much more efficiently then can be done internally.25
  2. Business intelligence: Businesses also need help to better utilize their existing data. Mining current data more effectively supports better business practices. ClearPointe uses mining to isolate issues and trends across all of its clients' networks to help predict outages before they happen.
  3. Data center opportunities: Another opportunity is to provide secure, reliable data center space. This has not been available locally, he said, and is one of the largest hurdles ClearPointe has had to overcome.
  4. Security services: These services have expanded from watching for intruders to minimize exposure into developing broad strategies for total prevention of loss of data.
  5. Remote management: By watching over how all these delivery methods work together, a firm such as ClearPointe can help lower the total cost of IT management, and in some cases help re-allocate resources or raise productivity. Remote management of IT infrastructure is one of the fastest growing segments of IT today.

Arkansas had already begun to experience some successes from IT-based startups, he said, including Windstream and Allied Wireless. HP was also bringing a new support center to Conway. “All of these help to build the underlying foundation on which a knowledge-based economy is built,” he said.

He concluded that the opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups in Arkansas “are really pretty good.” He noted that the lack of high-level competition for IT resources, common to states like California or Washington, may be an advantage. “We also have the luxury of being able to research new technology and start-ups in other states to discover which ones are succeeding, and which ones may fit our situation.”

Access to funding remains the highest hurdle to overcome, he said, but financial conditions may be helped by some proposed changes in SBA lending. However, that second or third stage of financing and financing for acquisition continue to be difficult for small firms.

In summary, he said that the state's potential to build a successful IT industry had improved considerably. “With programs like the EIT College at UALR,” he said, “hiring the right people to fuel our growth has become less of a problem. And the changes in how IT will be delivered in the future mean that the opportunities for new startups in Arkansas are tremendous.”


1 and 2.

1 University of Arkansa, Fayetteville
2 University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dr. Salamo was the primary speaker for Drs. Salamo and Biris, who collaborate in nanotechnology research. He opened by defining nanoscience as “the effort to understand and design structures at the nano size26 and seek their application.” The Arkansas effort in nanoscience is a collaboration among partner institutions throughout the state university system.

He began by addressing the question, Why are nanomaterials the driver of innovation? “The potential for nano,” he said, “lies in the scale of the materials. This is a new way of looking at them. As you make something small, its optical, electrical, mechanical, and other properties change. They may change so much that it's like having a new material. That's why it's so exciting; that's why we love what we do.” As one example, he illustrated how a material that flows easily at large sizes will flow with great reluctance as it approaches the nanostate. 27

He said that new materials have inspired innovation throughout history, and that “we make the best nanoscale material in the country.” He said that state-of-the-art nanoscale imaging tools “allow us to see single atoms, and that this changes the ball game.” His group is a collaboration of both experimentalists and theorists.

The Potential of Nanomaterials

He cited a series of examples where nanomaterials have the potential to create new technologies in health care, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. In health care, he said, nanotechnology may contribute to cancer diagnosis through the ability to detect single cancer cells flowing in the bloodstream. “We can put something inside that cell and then hit it with laser light that causes it to explode,” said Dr. Salamo. He mentioned several other examples, including Dr. Biris' work on the use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to label cancer cells in the lymph, blood, and tissues of live animals and even to follow the movement of a single tagged cancer cell in the ear of a rat.28 He also described a technique of coating cancer cells with graphitic coated magnetic nanoparticles and heating them with radio frequency waves, which results in the death of 98 percent of the cancerous cells after 20 minutes or less of treatment.

He and his colleagues have also reported several techniques of using nanoparticles to increase energy efficiency. For example, he described a nano-bio material that showed ability to reduce friction in mechanical systems, thus saving energy. He also reported on nanoscale oxide materials that can convert waste heat to electricity. This may be applied in automobiles, he suggested, which are only about 30 percent efficient in converting energy to the work of driving; new materials could be used to absorb and use that waste heat. A third area under research is the use of ferroelectric quantum dots as memory elements that are 10,000 times smaller than current memory materials. Finally, he described a new solar cell nanomaterial that can gather solar energy more efficiently than current materials by absorbing a larger portion of the solar spectrum.

Such work at the University of Arkansas, he said, had attracted NSF support for a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and resulted in six spin-off companies with more than 40 employees working in a state-of-the-art fabrication facility. In 2009, MRSEC authors were credited with about 150 publications that received more than 3000 citations.

More Speculative Ideas

Beyond this already-published material, he said, his group was engaged in a series of more speculative but exciting ideas. One is to place nanoparticles in a certain order so as to carry electricity with high efficiency. Another electronics project is the exploration of a strong chemical bond between copper and manganese that may lead to a new superconductor. This work is based on the observation that atoms arranged in single layers behave as a new material. Another phenomenon he is studying is the use of particulate grafting materials that have stimulated bone regeneration in 43 human pre-clinical cases and 36 goats. Finally, he reported the use of nanostructural titanium dioxide nanotubes to coat tissue implants in the body so as to enhance tissue regeneration.

He closed by noting a consequence of all this activity: The Arkansas university system, he said, now leads the nation in supplying nanomaterials to research organizations across the country.



According to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, “a broiler is a young chicken raised for meat and meat products. Broilers weigh four to five pounds. Broilers are considered mature at 42 to 49 days old.” Access at http://www​.uspoultry​.org/faq/docs/industryFAQ.pdf


Many hosted applications have evolved into a type of cloud computing. See, for example, Bussey, J. (2012) The sun shines on ‘the cloud’. The Wall Street Journal, July 13: B1.


He defined “nano size” for his audience in terms of atoms (100 atoms in a line would equal about 10 nanometers) and a human hair (the diameter of a hair divided by 100,000 would approximate one nm).


There are many such examples. At nanoscale, opaque substances may become transparent (copper); stable materials combustible (aluminum); and insoluble materials soluble (gold).


Alexandru S. Biris et al, “In vivo Raman flow cytometry for real-time detection of carbon nanotube kinetics in lymph, blood, and tissues,” J. Biomed Opt, Vol. 14, Issue 2, 2009.

Copyright © 2012, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK116435


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