University of California, Los Angeles,
Keywords: nanotechnology, innovation
Summary:Two seemingly conflicting trends in nanoscience and nanotechnology are our increasing ability to reach the limits of atomically precise structures and our growing understanding of the importance of heterogeneity in the structure and function of molecules and nanoscale assemblies. By having developed the ""eyes"" to see, to record spectra, and to measure function at the nanoscale, we have been able to fabricate structures with precision as well as to understand the important and intrinsic heterogeneity of function found in these assemblies. I will discuss the challenges, opportunities, and consequences of pursuing strategies to address both precision on the one hand and heterogeneity on the other. In our laboratories, we are taking the first steps to exploit precise assembly to optimize properties such as perfect electronic contacts in materials. We are also developing the means to make tens to hundreds of thousands of independent multimodal nanoscale measurements in order to understand the variations in structure and function that have previously been inaccessible in both synthetic and biological systems. Another outcome of the development of our field has been our ability to communicate across fields. This skill that we develop in our students and colleagues has enhanced and accelerated the impact of nanoscience and nanotechnology on other fields, such as neuroscience and the microbiome. I will discuss the opportunities presented by these entanglements and give recent examples of advances enabled by nanoscience and nanotechnology.