Recommendations of the Third U.S.-Korea Forum on Nanotechnology:
Nano Devices & Systems, Nano Implication of Environmental, Health and Safety

Seoul, Korea

Adopted on April 4, 2006


This Forum was focused on two areas: (i) active devices and systems research in nanotechnology, and (ii) health, environmental, and safety implications on nanotechnology. The focus on active devices is a distinction from passive systems which were included in the previous two Forums. In contrast to passive structures, the active nanostructure changes its state during its operation, as in nanoparticles and nanotube/wire. Typical examples of active nanostructures (devices & systems) include: nanoelectromechanical systems, nanobio devices, transistors, amplifiers, targeted drugs and chemicals, actuators, molecular machines, light-driven molecular motors, plasmonics, nanoscale fluidics, laser-emitting devices, adaptive nanostructures, energy storage devices, and sensors changing their state during the measurement. The forum was attended by 70 participants from both countries. 

The followings are the recommendations of this Forum, which focus on developing and enhancing partnership between the two countries for the continued success of nano devices & systems research and the impact of nanotechnology on human health, clean energy, education for young generation, environment, and society:  

The following recommendations recognize the multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and ultimately the multi-national nature on nanoscience and technology. The developmental science, implemental technology and societal impacts of nanotechnology are inherently multi-national and cooperative arrangements are necessary to enable the technology to responsibly meet national needs of all countries.  

General Recommendations

(1)  We will continuously provide a common platform for the researchers in both countries to share experiences and expertise and enhance partnership in the field of nanotechnology. We recommend vigorous discussions and sharing of experiences between two countries in active nano devices & systems area as well as the collaboration on nanotechnology implications addressing long-term challenges to human health, clean energy, and education of younger generation, environmental impact, and society.

(2)  We recommend holding annual Forums to promote programs including student, junior faculty, and research engineer exchange, development of common nomenclature and standards, and bi-lateral exchanges. Both countries can promote this exchange by creating a new initiative, such as Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program at NSF in which the nanoscale science and engineering centers of both countries should play a vital role.

(3)  To assure Forum's success, both NSF and MOST should provide a mechanism to allocate steady funding for the forum and collaborative research between the U.S. and Korea via direct research support and the exchange of scientists. 

(4)  We recommend setting up of smaller size satellite workshops associated with larger national meetings for closer interactions between research groups to explore novel nanotechnology applications. 

(5)  We encourage industrial participations at the forum and also recommend developing a research field specific human database in the nanotechnology domain.

Specific recommendations on the two sessions 

Group 1: Nano Device & Systems Area

General recommendations

• Increase the number of exchanging graduate students, postdocs between US and Korea.

• Encourage visits and exchanges of assistant professors and research engineers between two countries and cover the living expanses.

• Support the students to be able to stay at least one or two years rather than couple of months.

• Industrial participations are encouraged at the forum including participation of internships.

• Reduce the expenses of using facilities/equipments and exchange nanofabrications/ infrastructures.

• Expose the list and expenses of facilities for an easy access.

• Develop the human database based on the fields in nanotechnology. 

Topics in nanotechnology

Set up smaller size satellite workshops associated with larger national meetings for tight collaborations between research groups for exploring nanotechnology applications.

• Bio/combinatorial chemistry.

• Nano/polymer electronics, nanofabrication.

• Drug delivery systems (computational challenge in nanotechnology).

• Development of sensors for homeland security and health (detection of virus, etc).

• Nanoelectronics.

• Computational modeling and simulations.

• Nanomanufacturing .

• Plasmonic in optoelectronics.

• Energy storage systems / fuel cells and solar cells. 

Few other recommendations

• Identify the major challenges

• Not only presentations but also intense discussions should be addressed

• Global gathering of ideas and breakthroughs  

Group 2: Nano Implication of Environment, Health, & Safety Area 

• The great potential of nanotechnology will improve many issues we face as a society.  It will impact health, energy production, environmental cleanup and security, quality of life. Nanotechnology is inherently multiple disciplinary, multitechnique and international.  International forums looking at the impacts, benefits and risks are continually necessary to make sure that all aspects of the issues are discussed. 

• Nanotechnology potentially offers new ways to do things such a manufacturing and distribution of energy. We need to focus research and development activities to optimize the benefits to the environment and to address important societal challenges.  These need to be realistically discussed with regards to time scale. 

• Education about the potential benefits (and risk) of nanotechnology to the general public is necessary. Transfer of success experiences. (We need to avoid the public information mistakes of the development of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) products). Having an environmental component of these forums keeps scientists aware of the topic.

• Encourage research to create processes and products that improve the environment. Focus funding and joint opportunities.

• We need to understand what a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for a nanomaterial needs to contain.

• Workshop meeting dealing with, standardization, risk, toxicology, MSDS information and worker safety guidelines.

• Nanotechnology involves new forms of many familiar materials, as well as new types of materials.  We need to be actively examining any risks that these pose to workers and society at large.

• Because of the many unknowns, assessments and studies of risk should be conducted in as interdisciplinary studies including toxicologists, the scientists and engineers producing the materials, and those that understand aerosol chemistry. Ways to support these activities should be found.

• Nanoparticles may alter with time in the environment (as well as in a living organism). Therefore it is important to understand the chemical and structural form as a function of time.  In many environmental studies this is often referred as fate and transport of particles.

• It is important to develop guidelines to insure worker safety, even when the true risks are not yet defined.  [MSDS based on "bulk" material risks are not necessarily adequate for the new properties of nanostructured materials.] We need to develop adequate understanding to that knowledge based guidelines can be developed. 

• Nanomaterials safety issues are a universal issue.  It is appropriate to team to make sure that all issues are appropriately addressed with minimum duplication of effort. This may involve assigning activities or topics to specific groups.

• Risk analysis should include examination of accidentally produced nanoparticles (e.g. soot), those natural in nature and biological particles.   

• Develop resources and support for industry to have access to new environmentally friendly technology and information about "green" and cost effective processes.