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General Electric Team Shines Light On Nanotechnology’s Huge Potential
Investor’s Business Daily, July 12, 2006
By: J. Bonasia

One of the biggest of the big, General Electric, (GE) is making a big bet on the science of the remarkably small – nanotechnology.

Margaret Blohm manages 50 people in GE’s advanced technology program for nanotech. The corporate research center serves all of GE’s business units, with a special focus on high-risk, long-term research.

GE has a long history of being on the leading edge of technology, says Blohm, who joined the company in 1987.

“Pretty much our whole business is differentiated by materials, either to make better scanners, appliances or aircraft engines,” she said. “There’s no way to lead the way without the best technology.”

One nanometer equals one billionth of a meter. Matter and energy display unusual properties at that super tiny scale. Scientists are exploiting nanotech to create new materials that are much lighter yet stronger than standard metals or ceramics.

Nanotech already is used in such consumer products as tennis rackets, sunscreens and auto body parts. Manufacturers, chemical makers, agribusinesses and the military are pursuing a slew of other nanotech applications.

Health care firms say nanotech research could unlock new drug therapies and cancer treatments. At the same time, inventors – and investors – hope to create clean nanotech fuel cells to curtail the use of fossil fuel.

Blohm holds more than 10 U.S. patents, with a specialty in the chemistry of polymers. She recently spoke with IBD about GE’s ambitions in nanotech.

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