George M. Whitesides is a towering figure in the emerging field of nanotechnology. This Harvard University chemistry professor has articulated the promise of a new discipline for building things with dimensions as small as a few atoms. Whitesides has not been content, however, to keep his work confined to an academic laboratory that today boasts about 40 graduate and postdoctoral students.
He has established a company that fabricates microsize and nano-size components in soft materials to help the pharmaceutical industry perform tests on biological samples. The technology invented by Whitesides and his collaborators, known as soft lithography, is one of a number of radically new manufacturing techniques that can make large numbers of small structures [see "Breaking the Mold," Innovations, July].
This article was originally published with the title Soft Manufacturing.