Bringing New Voices to Nanotechnology Standards Development

Tyler L. Jaynes, Chair of the IEEE Nanotechnology Council Standards Committee


When the renowned physicist Richard Feynman gave a talk titled There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom at a meeting of the American Physical Society in 1959, little did anyone know that his presentation would come to be seen as the world’s seminal talk on nanotechnology. In fact, the word “nanotechnology” wasn’t first used until more than a decade later.

Today, however, nanotechnology has become a fast-growing part of everyday life: Our smartphones contain semiconductors made using numerous nanoscale technologies. Our eyeglass lenses are coated with nanofilms that prevent fogging and scratching. Our rain-repellent clothing is often made from fabric coated with hydrophobic nanoparticles.

What is Nanotechnology and How is it Used?

Nanotechnology refers to the ability to understand and control matter in the size range of about 1 to 100 nanometers. It encompasses a diverse array of scientific and engineering techniques that are used to image, measure, model, and manipulate matter at the nanoscale.

Nanotechnology has the potential to bring major benefits to many areas of our lives, as industries as diverse as electronics, energy, medicine, defense, and others increasingly use nanotechnology to solve problems in new ways, to create new applications, to scale down the existing state-of-the-art, and for many other purposes.

While much progress has been made, nanoscale-specific projects see few industrial applications because of technical challenges in developing systems on nanoscopic scales. Also, for-profit businesses and organizations may see standardization as a barrier to keeping the proprietary techniques that would help them succeed in the field.

For nanotechnology to reach its true potential to benefit the world, researchers from academics and industry need to come to a unified vision shared across the nanotechnology community. More thought needs to be given to how research and development might be conducted more efficiently; how nanotechnologies might be employed more safely and in more environmentally friendly ways; how to broaden access to the benefits of nanotechnology; and how to incorporate ethical considerations into its use.

These are urgent needs given the growth and pervasiveness of nanotechnology, and it is the mission of the IEEE Nanotechnology Council (NTC) to address them.

Driving Nanotechnology Development at IEEE

The IEEE NTC is a multi-disciplinary group dedicated to advancing and coordinating the nanotechnology work carried out throughout the IEEE across scientific, literary, and educational disciplines. It supports the theory, design, development, and application of nanotechnology through the development of relevant standards and recommended practices.

In addition, the IEEE NTC organizes a number of important conferences, hosts Technical Committees to advance various aspects of nanotechnology, supports local chapters, and provides a distinguished lecturer program. In publishing, the IEEE NTC produces a well-recognized magazine along with specialized journals and a newsletter. The IEEE NTC also evaluates candidates for IEEE Fellow, supports summer schools, and awards outstanding contributions to the field.

A key part of the organization is the IEEE NTC’s Standards Committee. A noteworthy example of its work is IEEE 62659™ Standard for Nanomanufacturing, developed in cooperation with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). This standard describes a framework for introducing nanoelectronics into large-scale, high-volume production in semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

With the tremendous growth of diverse nanotechnologies, the Standards Committee and the IEEE NTC as a whole are at an inflection point. With an energetic and accomplished incoming Executive Committee, and with many volunteer openings available for IEEE members, we have an unparalleled opportunity to work together to chart a course and ramp up activities to set new and better standards for nanotechnology development.

Our goal is to have the IEEE NTC Standards Committee provide a platform for our members to push for innovation in nanotechnology globally, access industry-driven guidance to governance bodies, and eventually shape a more unified culture of nanoscale production for years to come.

Join the IEEE NTC Standards Committee and Make Your Mark

Whether you are new to the nanotechnology field, or are a professional considering a change and want to find out more about nanotechnology, we invite you to join the IEEE NTC Standards Committee in making a meaningful impact on your industry and organization.

  • Join IEEE-NANO, the annual IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology, to be held virtually from 28-31 July 2021. The conference will cover key topics in nanoscience and nanotechnology, including:
      • Developing new nanomaterials or controlling matter at the nanometer-length scale
      • Studying the fundamental physical, chemical, or biological properties of nanomaterials and nanostructures
      • Manipulating and optimizing nanomaterials and nanostructures to create new nanosensors, nanoactuators, and nanoelectronic/nanophotonic devices
  • Become a member: As a member, you will have the unique opportunity to help develop standards, collaborate with various IEEE entities on nanotechnology activities, and network and grow your career.
      • If you are interested in participating in the committee, please contact me as the Nanotechnology Council Standards Committee Chair at [email protected], or the IEEE SA Program Manager, Vanessa Lalitte, at [email protected].

This is an exciting time to be involved in the development of nanotechnology standards, and the IEEE NTC Standards Committee welcomes you to join and grow with our community of innovators.

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