HILLSBORO, Ore., March 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FEI Company (Nasdaq: FEIC) is sponsoring the 2006 Safer Nano conference that will be held next week in Oregon. The conference will focus on three specific areas: Safer Nano-Environmental, Health and Safety Best Practices; Cool Science, Good Jobs and a Healthy Environment; and ONAMI's (Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute) Safer Materials and Nanomanufacturing Kickoff. "Having the ability to work at the nanoscale and understand the basic building blocks of our world is going to result in tremendous breakthroughs and deliver benefits for a wide variety of products and services in both the short and long term," said Skip Rung, director of ONAMI. "Programs such as the Safer Nano conference are extremely important. As nanoscale development progresses, and we identify and utilize nanomaterials, it needs to be a clean, environment-friendly endeavor." Nanotechnology represents a broad range of industries and applications and is perhaps best explained as the scale (below 100 nm) at which most advanced research and product development is taking place. However, as the diverse nanotechnology field at large receives increasing public exposure, education about it and its benefits is lagging, leaving room for science fiction scenarios -- such as Michael Crichton's self-replicating nanobots and "grey goo" -- to grow in stature. In reality, nanoscale technologies will have a major impact on pharmaceutical development, disease management, advanced electronics, and new, longer-lasting and safer materials and coatings that will be used in a range of products from automobiles and airplanes, to building materials and consumer goods. In fact, consumers are already benefiting from nano-based technologies in paint finishes, cosmetics and sunscreens, stain-preventing fabric coatings and more. While many of these products make use of nanoparticles, it is important to realize that such particles have long existed without the ability to detect, see, characterize and -- perhaps most importantly -- control them. "Advancements in enabling tools are supporting the drive into nanoscale research and development reaching down into the atomic scale," said Matt Harris, vice president of worldwide marketing for FEI Company. "Scientists have never before had the ability to understand and control nanomaterials as they can today. This ability, coupled with shared industry focus on safety and management of these materials will encourage the pursuit of nanotechnology to proceed safely and with rational discussion." Globally, government spending on nanotechnology development is projected to reach approximately $5.0 billion (U.S.) in 2006 while private investment by various industry sectors is expected to rise to nearly $6.0 billion in the same period. U.S. regulators and experts who specialize in nanotechnology have launched an effort they say will help minimize environmental and health risks that could be associated with such processes and products. The initiative is led by Barbara Karn, manager of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) nanotechnology research program, who is a keynote speaker at next week's Safer Nano conference. "Key nanotechnology companies and researchers are taking responsibility to ensure that nanotech products are produced in environmentally safe ways," said Karn during the EPA's first GreenNano meeting on February 16. The Safer Nano Conference takes place March 6-7, 2006 at the Oregon Graduate Institute in Beaverton. Full program and registration information can be found at http://www.cpd.ogi.edu/coursespecific.asp?pam=2003 . Also sponsoring the event are the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), Oregon Health Science University/OGI School of Science and Engineering, and Kennedy/Jenks Consultants Engineers and Scientists. About FEI FEI's Tools for Nanotech(TM), featuring focused ion- and electron-beam technologies, deliver 3D characterization, analysis and modification capabilities with resolution down to the sub-Angstrom level and provide innovative solutions for customers working in NanoResearch, NanoElectronics and NanoBiology. With R&D centers in North America and Europe, and sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world, FEI is bringing the nanoscale within the grasp of leading researchers and manufacturers and helping to turn some of the biggest ideas of this century into reality. More information can be found on the FEI website at: http://www.feicompany.com .
SOURCE FEI Company