Sylvan Katz
Managers: SPRU - Sylvan Katz,  Dstl - Sally Stewart     Advisors: SPRU - Professor Ben Martin,  Dstl - Dr. Theresa Gow     Assistants: SPRU - Alexandre Caldas
Home News  
Table of Contents
Science Foresight Project
Final Report
Complete Report
Selected Sections
Executive Summary
Observations and Recommendations
Highly co-cited papers
Short term
Long term
Foresight Resources
UK Foresight programme
Cordis RTD 2002
Foresight Institute
Dynamic Foresight
Project Review

Definitions for Specific Words, Phrases and Abbreviations

The following definitions are of words, phrases and abbreviations that were used in the expert predictions

ab initio 1. A phrase taken from Latin, meaning "from the beginning."
2. There are two strands of approach to the computation of molecular structure. In the semiempirical approach, the calculation draws on a number of experimentally determined characteristics to help in the overall calculation. In the ab initio approach, the calculation proceeds from first principles (the Schrödinger equation) and makes no use of imported information. The former approach was dominant in the 1970s, but increases in computing power have led to an ascendancy of ab initio techniques since then. The latter are intrinsically more reliable because there can be no certainty that a quantity determined in one context is appropriate to a particular molecule.
analyte The substance being identified and measured in an analysis.
anisotropic Exhibiting properties with different values when measured in different directions .
asymmetric synthesis Any chemical reaction that affects the structural symmetry in the molecules of a compound, converting the compound into unequal proportions of compounds that differ in the dissymmetry of their structures at the affected centre.
ATRP Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization is a method to prepare well-defined polymers and copolymers using controlled radical polymerization. ATRP is based on the transition metal catalysts which transfer reversibly halogen atoms between active and dormant species. The robustness and efficiency of ATRP is attractive for both industry and academia for preparation of polymeric materials with novel properties for new applications.
attosecond An attosecond is one quintillionth (10-18) of a second and is a term used in photon research.
biomimetic Imitating, copying, or learning from nature.
biotrauma Biochemical responses to mechanical ventilation, and how they affect organs distal to the lung
bootstrapping Bootstrapping is a way of testing the reliability of the dataset. It is the creation of pseudoreplicate datasets by resampling. Bootstrapping allows you to assess whether the distribution of characters has been influenced by stochastic effects.
Bose-Einstein condensate 1. A Bose-Einstein condensate is an unusual state of matter that arises because of quantum mechanical effects on a collection of entities called bosons.
2. A gas of atoms that has been so chilled that their motion is virtually halted and as a consequence they lose their separate identities and merge into a single entity.
3. The medium -- a Bose-Einstein condensate of sodium atoms -- has optical properties that slow the group velocity of the pulses until they are 20 million times slower than the speed of light in vacuum.
bosons Photons are examples of bosons.
BRDF Bi-directional Reflectance Distribution Function is the mathematical function describing the dependence of the reflectance factor on the observing and illumination directions as well as on the wavelength
C3N4 Carbon Nitride is a new superhard crystalline material with hardness approaching that of diamond — the hardest material known to man. It has extreme wear-resistance and atomic level smoothness.
capillary electrophoresis Capillary electrophoresis is a collection of a range of separation techniques which involve the application of high voltages across buffer filled capillaries to achieve separations
carotid bodies Small organs located in the neck at the bifurcation of each of the two common carotid arteries into the internal and external carotid arteries. This organ is extraordinarily well perfused and responds to changes in the partial pressure of oxygen in the arterial blood flowing through it rather than to the oxygen content of that blood (the amount of oxygen chemically
Cerenkov telescope Air Cerenkov telescopes represent an interesting and challenging type of gamma-ray detector technology. While a typical detector must be flown with a balloon or on a satellite above the Earth's atmosphere to avoid absorption of the gamma-ray photon, the Air Cerenkov telescope nullifies this problem by making the atmosphere part of the detector.
chemometrics The chemical discipline that uses mathematical and statistical methods to design or select optimal procedures and experiments, and to provide maximum chemical information by analysing chemical data.
chiral compounds Chiral compounds are compounds that have both right-handed and left-handed forms. For many purposes, such as in medicine, one form is more effective than the other.
CMR Colossal MagnetoResistance is a known phenomena in which materials exposed to a magnetic field undergo a huge, and potentially permanent, increase in their electrical conductivity.
coercive force The amount of applied magnetic field that is required to overcome the magnetic induction of a ferromagnetic material and bring its residual magnetism back to zero; i.e., the force required to demagnetize a material.
colloid A substance consisting of very tiny particles that are usually between 1 nanometer and 1000 nanometers in diameter and that are suspended in a continuous medium, such as a liquid, a solid, or a gaseous substance.
COLTRIMS Cold Target Recoil Ion Momentum Spectroscopy
complex plasma Multicomponent plasmas containing ions, electrons, charged microparticles and neutral gas.
defect chemistry The ionic point defects are the decisive ionic carriers in solids comparable to H+ and OH- in water or electrons and holes in semiconductors. Their concentration and mobilities determine transport properties as well as the kinetics of solid state reactions.
defect motion The migration of a point defect from lattice point to lattice point within a crystal.
dimer A compound formed by the union of two radicals or two molecules of a simpler compound; specifically : a polymer formed from two molecules of a monomer
DRAM Dynamic Random Access Memory is RAM that needs to constantly be "refreshed".
electrochromic Undergoing a change in colour upon the passage of an electric current
electroweak theory Describes the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces
epitaxial layer A layer of semiconductor material having the same crystalline orientation as that of the substrate upon which it is grown.
epoxidation The addition of an oxygen bridge across an alkene bond to yield an epoxy compound.
epoxide 1. an organic compound with a reactive group consisting of an oxygen bonded to two carbons that are bonded organic compound with a reactive group consisting of an oxygen bonded to two carbons that are bonded together.
2. a cyclic ether of three members. Also, OXIRANE.a cyclic ether of three members.
exciton The combination of an electron and a positive hole (an empty electron state in a valence band), which is free to move through a nonmetallic crystal as a unit.
fermions Elementary particles such as electrons, quarks, neutrinos, protons and neutrons are fermions
FED Field Emission Display is a type of flat-panel display in which electron emitters, arranged in a grid, are individually controlled by "cold" cathodes to generate colored light.
FRAM Ferro-electric Random Access Memory is a type of non-volatile read/write random accesses semiconductor memory. FRAM combines the advantages of SRAM - writing is roughly as fast as reading, and EPROM non-volatility and in-circuit programmability.
FRC Fibre-Reinforced Composites is a combination of (1) a polymer (plastic) matrix (either a thermoplastic or thermoset resin, such as polyester, isopolyester, vinyl ester, epoxy, phenolic) and (b) a reinforcing agent such as glass, carbon, aramid or other reinforcing material.
functional genomics Making sense of the sequence in terms of gene function.
functional neuroimaging Functional neuroimaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are essential for understanding the relation between mind and brain, and between structure and function -- from the simplest functions to the most complex.
gauge theory The strong nuclear force.
GLAST Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope
GMR Giant MagnetoResistance is a phenomenon where the resistance of certain materials drops dramatically as a magnetic field is applied.
hadron Any of the subatomic particles that are built from quarks and thus react through the agency of the strong nuclear force.
ion-selective electrodes Electrodes which can be used to measure the concentration of particular ions in cells, tissues, or solutions.
kinase An enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of phosphate groups from a high-energy phosphate-containing molecule (as ATP) to a substrate.
ligand Any atom or molecule attached to a central atom, usually a metallic element, in a coordination or complex compound. The atoms and molecules used as ligands are almost always those that are capable of functioning as the electron-pair donor in the electron-pair bond (a coordinate covalent bond) formed with the metal atom.
living polymer Polymers that retain their chain-end activity are termed living polymers.
living radical polymerization Living free radical polymerization is a recently developed technique for the controlled polymerization of vinyl monomers. . The significant advantages of this technique permits the preparation of a wide range of different materials which are either difficult to prepare, or not available via other polymerization processes. For example, the architecture or topology of the polymer (i.e. comb, star, dendritic, etc.), composition of the backbone (i.e. random, gradient, or block copolymer), inclusion of functionality (i.e. chain end, site specific, etc.) can all be readily manipulated using 'living' free radical methodologies while still retaining a high degree of control over the molecular weight and polydispersity.
localization of light An effect that arises from coherent multiple scattering and interference.
metastability The academic definition of metastability is the zone in a solubility curve where there is supersaturation but no spontaneous nucleation or crystallization. A more practical form of metastability is the zone where growth exceeds nucleation; beyond this, most systems will not produce the large single crystals desired in industry.
microgravity A condition of near-weightlessness that can be achieved in spaceflight, as well as in parabolic aircraft flights and drop towers.
microwave dielectric heating A material to be heated is placed in this high-frequency field often between two parallel plates or electrodes where it becomes the dielectric of a capacitor; hence the names Dielectric, High-Frequency, Radio-Frequency or Capacitive Heating. Since the heat is developed directly in the material, excellent uniformity and remarkable speed or heating are possible. In drying applications energy is absorbed in relation to the amount of moisture present and becomes self-limiting. Practical efficiencies of 50% to 60% (line power to heat in the work) are readily attained.
MRAM Magnetic Random Access Memory uses the spin of an electron, rather than the charge, to indicate the presence of a "1" or a "0".
nanobiotechnology Nanobiotechnology is the application of the various processes, which have been developed for micro and nano-fabrication of silicon-based devices, to create a novel class of tools to explore biological systems.
nanofabrication Nanofabrication is the design and manufacture of devices with dimensions measured in nanometers. One nanometer is 10-9 meter, or a millionth of a millimeter.
nanomagnet Tiny bar magnets as small as 25 nanometers (nm) long.
nanomedicine Nanomedicine may be broadly defined as the comprehensive monitoring, control, construction, repair, defense, and improvement of all human biological systems, working from the molecular level, using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures.
nanoparticulate The object of the controlled assembly of nanoparticulates is to make materials with new properties and assemble them with practical applications.
nanophase material A material with at least one physical dimension less than 10 nanometers (nm) in length, an attribute which imparts exceptional properties to them because the particle dimensions are close to atomic dimensions and there are a very high fraction of atoms residing at nanocrystalline grain boundaries.
nanoscience Research concerned with physical objects for which the nanometer length-scale is crucial.
nanotechnology Nanotechnology is molecular manufacturing or, more simply, building things one atom or molecule at a time with programmed nanoscopic robot arms. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter (3 - 4 atoms wide). Utilizing the well understood chemical properties of atoms and molecules (how they "stick" together), nanotechnology proposes the construction of novel molecular devices possessing extraordinary properties. The trick is to manipulate atoms individually and place them exactly where needed to produce the desired structure.
nanotube A nanotube (sometimes called a buckytube) is a long, cylindrical carbon structure consisting of hexagonal graphite molecules attached at the edges.
NIR Near-InfraRed is used in quantitative optical spectroscopy for detection of cancers
nucleation The initial process that occurs in the formation of a crystal fom a solution, a liquid, or a vapour, in which a small number of ions, atoms, or molecules become arranged in a pattern characteristic of a crystalline solid, forming a site upon which additional particles are deposited as the crystal grows.
numerical analysis The general study of methods for solving complicated problems using the basic operations of arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
OCT Optical Coherence Tomography is a method of taking microscope images beneath the surface of living tissues such as skin. OCT uses light split into two paths in a configuration known as a Michelson interferometer. Light in one of the paths is used as a reference to effectively gate light that emerges from a very precise location in the sample.
OFET Organic Field-Effect Transistors
optical correlation Correlation is a computational technique in which an incoming signal is compared to a previously calculated reference, which is known as a filter. A large output from the correlation operation indicates a high degree of similarity between the signal and the reference. The reference that provides the maximum signal-to-noise is known as the matched filter.
photonic bandgap Researchers around the world are investigating the properties of photonic crystals, the low-loss periodic dielectric lattices that influence the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Semiconductor materials with electronic bandgaps -- electron energies that are forbidden within the crystal -- were the cornerstone of the electronics revolution. Now, materials with electromagnetic bandgaps -- photon energies that cannot propagate through the crystal -- promise to lead a photonics revolution.
photonic crystal The optical analog of semiconductor crystals.
physico-chemical 1. Being physical and chemical;
2. Of or relating to chemistry that deals with the physicochemical properties of substances
plasma A gas consisting of ions, electrons, and neutral particles; the behavior of the gas is dominated by the electromagnetic interaction between the charged particles.
plasma, complex A ”complex plasma” (or dusty plasma) is a ”normal” electron-ion plasma with an additional charged component of small micron-sized particles. This extra component, which increases the complexity of the system even further, is responsible for the name ”complex plasma”.
point defect A defect occurring in a crystal at a specific lattice site as opposed to affecting a larger (planar) area.
proteome Proteome analysis is the investigation of all the proteins present in a cell, tissue or organism at any one time.
QGP Quark-Gluon Plasma
QTL Quantitative Trait Locus (or loci) is a locus that affects a quantitative trait i.e. a measurable trait that shows continuous variation.
quantum chromodynamics A theory of fundamental particles based on the assumption that quarks are distinguished by differences in color and are held together (as in hadrons) by an exchange of gluons
quantum dot An isolated groups of atoms, numbering approximately 1,000 to 1,000,000, in the crystalline lattice of a semiconductor, with the dimensions of a single dot measured in nanometres (billionths of a metre). The atoms are coupled quantum mechanically so that electrons in the dot can exist only in a limited number of energy states, much as they do in association with single atoms. The dot can be thought of as a giant artificial atom having light-absorption and emission properties that can be tailored to various uses. Consequently, quantum dots were being investigated in applications ranging from the conversion of sunlight into electricity to new kinds of lasers.
quantum measurement problem The quantum measurement problem is one of the outstanding unsolved problems in quantum physics. What happens when a measurement is made and what implications does that have for the nature of the the universe and reality?
quark Any of a group of subatomic particles believed to be among the fundamental constituents of matter. In much the same way that protons and neutrons make up atomic nuclei, these particles themselves are thought to consist of quarks.
radiative transfer The transmission of heat by electromagnetic radiation.
radiative transfer model A radiative transfer model simulates radiation transfer processes in certain media, such as vegetation and atmosphere. For vegetation, it computes the interaction between solar radiation and plants.
Raman amplifier Intense pump light from a pair of lasers is used to excite vibrational modes in the silica molecules that form the optical fiber. The energy in the vibrational excitations amplifies the signal in a process called "stimulated Raman scattering." As they excite the molecules, the pump beams lose energy.
Raman scattering Raman scattering is perhaps most easily understandable if the incident light is considered as consisting of particles, or photons (with energy proportional to frequency), that strike the molecules of the sample. Most of the encounters are elastic, and the photons are scattered with unchanged energy and frequency. On some occasions, however, the molecule takes up energy from or gives up energy to the photons, which are thereby scattered with diminished or increased energy, hence with lower or higher frequency. The frequency shifts are thus measures of the amounts of energy involved in the transition between initial and final states of the scattering molecule.
rheology A science dealing with the deformation and flow of matter; also : the ability to flow or be deformed.
self-assembly Self-assembly is coordinated action of independent entities under distributed (i.e., non-central) control to produce a larger structure or to achieve a desired group effect.
SAM Self-Assembled Monolayers are molecular assemblies that are formed spontaneously by the immersion of an appropriate substrate into a solution of an active surfactant in an organic solvent.
signal tranduction Signal transduction at the cellular level refers to the movement of signals from outside the cell to inside.
single electronics Single electronic circuits control single electrons by localizing them on nanoscale circuit elements linked by tunnel junctions.
soft condensed matter Materials (colloids, polymers and surfactants) which are easily deformable by external stresses, electric or magnetic fields, or even by thermal fluctuations. These materials typically possess structures which are much larger than atomic or molecular scales; the structure and dynamics at the mesoscopic scales determine macroscopic physical properties.
speckle imaging An inherent characteristic of coherent imaging, including ultrasound imaging, is the presence of speckle noise. Speckle is a random, deterministic, interference pattern in an image formed with coherent radiation of a medium containing many sub-resolution scatterers. The texture of the observed speckle pattern does not correspond to underlying structure. The local brightness of the speckle pattern, however, does reflect the local echogenicity of the underlying scatterers.
spintronics Electronic devices that exploit the spin on electrons as well as the charge.
SQUID Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices are capable of detecting the magnetic fields associated with the brain, heart or liver or induced magnetic fields in tiny fragments of metal which may be contaminating food.
standard model Electroweak theory, quantum chromodynamics and gauge theory form what particle physicists call the “standard model.”
stereoselective Asymmetric syntheses often are called stereoselective.
stereoselective synthesis A chemical reaction (or reaction sequence) in which one or more new elements of chirality are formed in a substrate molecule and which produces the stereo-isomeric (enantiomeric or diastereoisomeric) products in unequal amounts. Traditionally called asymmetric synthesis.
stochastic process Any process in which there is a random element. Stochastic processes are important in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and disordered solids. In a time-dependent stochastic process, a variable that changes with time does so in such a way that there is no correlation between different time intervals.
stoichiometric 1. Of or relating to stoichiometry.of or relating to stoichiometry.
2. Describing the quantitative relationship between chemical substances, in which proportions of reactants and products are characteristic for each reaction and are determined from such information as molecular weight, chemical formulas, and equations.describing the quantitative relationship between chemical substances, in which proportions of reactants and products are characteristic for each reaction and are determined from such information as molecular weight, chemical formulas, and equations.
supercritical fluid Supercritical fluids are highly compressed gases which combine properties of gases and liquids.
supramolecular More complex than a molecule; also : composed of many molecules
symbolic programming Symbolic programming languages support high level programming by emphasizing on logic and abstraction: control is embedded in the language implementation model, and is transparent to the programmer.
teraflop A measure of a computer's speed and can be expressed as (a) a trillion floating point operations per second, (b) 10 to the 12th power floating-point operations per second or (c) 2 to the 40th power flops.
TMR Tunneling MagnetoResistance is a large change in the electrical resistance upon the application of a magnetic field of two magnetic layers separated by an insulating layer.
tokamak An acronym derived from the Russian words for toroidal magnetic confinement.
transcriptome The sum of all transcripts, much in the way that the genome is the sum of all genes (and I guess, also, the non-gene stuff in our DNA...). The first step in describing a transcriptome is to discover all the transcripts. For organisms other than bacteria or yeast, this step often results from EST (expressed sequence tag) projects.
two-photon microscopy This device depends on the 2-photon effect, by which a chromophore is excited not by a single photon of visible light, but by two lower-energy (infrared) photons that are absorbed contemporaneously (within 1 femtosecond).
VCSEL Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser
x-ray laser X-ray lasers produce "soft" x rays, which is to say their wavelengths are a bit longer than those used in medical x rays.
zeolites Any of various hydrous silicates that are analogous in composition to the feldspars, occur as secondary minerals in cavities of lavas, and can act as ion-exchangers; also : any of various natural or synthesized silicates of similar structure used especially in water softening and as adsorbents and catalysts.
Ziegler-Natta catalysts These catalysts are transition metal compounds (typically Titanium or Vanadium halides) used in conjunction with a suitable cocatalyst like AlEt3 or AlEt2Cl.
Last updated: October 8, 2004 contact webmaster © Dr. J. Sylvan Katz