Rapid Rates of Improvement :

Which Technologies and Why?
What does this tell us about the future?

Associate Prof Jeffrey...
How Objective are we?
 Can

we effectively think about the “future of
technology” without understanding rates of
improvem...
Cognitive Biases
Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman


People assess relative importance of issues,
including new technologies...
Isn’t there a more deliberate and logical way?
Understanding rates of improvement can help firms,
universities, and govern...
Technologies Experiencing Rapid Rates of Improvements
(Information Transformation)
Technology
Dimensions of measure
Time P...
Technologies Experiencing Rapid Rates of Improvements
Technology SubDimensions of
Domain
Technology measure
Information
St...
Technologies Experiencing Rapid Rates of Improvements
Technology SubDomain
Technology

Dimensions of
measure

Energy Trans...
What Drives Rapid Improvements?


Drivers of improvements
◦ 1) creating new materials (and often associated
processes) to...
What do these Technologies tell us
about the Future?


No end to Moore’s Law?
◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing
...
No End to Moore’s Law


Improvements in existing ICs will probably
continue for at least 15 years
◦ Smaller wavelength li...
Smaller features, i.e., “reductions in scale,” lead to better ICs
(more transistors per IC chip, faster speeds, greater fu...
New Technologies are also
becoming available for ICs
Photonics for faster connections between
transistors
 Carbon nanotub...
Photonics (Optical Connections) is Another Layer on a 3D Chip

http://www.slashgear.com/ibm-silicon-nanophotonics-speeds-s...
Improvements in CNTs for Transistor Channels

Electronics: The road to carbon nanotube transistors, Aaron D. Franklin, Nat...
Ultra-Thin Materials to Replace Silicon
As of April 2013, >10 materials found that are one or a
few atoms thick
 Boron ni...
Improvements in Power Consumption and Speed of
Superconducting Josephson junctions

Bit Energy = power consumed per clock ...
Improvements in Josephson
junctions also enable
increases in Qubit lifetime
and number of Qubits in a
Quantum Computer
Not...
Computing–“Big Data” Analysis


Improvements in ICs and computing enable
more extensive data analysis of output from
◦ Pa...
Sensors Enable More Types of “Big
Data” Analysis and Optimization



Higher resolution camera chips
Better MEMS (micro-e...
Smaller feature
sizes lead to better
gas chromatographs,
ink jet printers
(drops/second and
resolution), and mobile
phone ...
Improvements in ICs and Sensors
are Also Improving Energy Usage





Better ICs and sensors enable better process
contr...
Consider Lighting Systems


Costs of LEDs are falling as
better materials are created
(higher flux/package) and
size of w...
Improvements in Wireless (from improvements in ICs)
Enable Better Lighting Systems and Greater Access to Sensors

http://w...
Wireless Enables Greater
Access and Control of Sensors


Many kinds of sensors and applications

◦ Environmental (tempera...
Phones get better as HumanComputer Interfaces are Improved


Better and cheaper touch displays
◦ Create materials for “bl...
Neural Interfaces: smaller MEMS/
electrodes lead to higher resolution
What do these Technologies tell us
about the Future?


No end to Moore’s Law?
◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing
...
Bio-Electronic ICs



A special type of MEMS
Benefits from reductions in scale
◦ enable reductions in sample and reagent...
Smaller feature sizes for MEMSbased electrodes lead to better
eyesight for people who suffer
from macula

MEMS-Based
Elect...
In Combination with Skin Patches,
Other Sensors and Wireless
More physiological data can be collected and sent
wirelessly ...
Improvements in Mobility of “Flexible” Organic Materials Enable
Better Conformance of Electronics to Human bodies and Orga...
Will Mobile Phones become Main
Platform for Data Collection?
Phones have high-performance processors,
memories, and displa...
What do these Technologies tell us
about the Future?


No end to Moore’s Law?
◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing
...
What Drives Cost
Reductions?
New methods of sequencing

Improved lasers and cameras
to read fluorescent dyes
More parallel...
Implications of Falling Cost of
Sequencing (and Synthesizing)


Enables better understanding for
individuals of





r...
Green Machines for Better Crops?




Better sensors
(cameras, infrared,
fluorescence, lasers)
and mechanical controls
en...
What do these Technologies tell us
about the Future?


No end to Moore’s Law?
◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing
...
Battery Performance Doubles about Once Every 15 years
But Gasoline has energy density 30 times higher!
Can we wait 75 year...
There are other options!


High density system of
charging stations
◦ Facilitated by smart grid, which is
enabled by cont...
And other options!




High density of
charging stations
facilitated by high
temperature superconducting (HTS)
transmiss...
Looking Further to the Future






Carbon nanotube (CNT) or
graphene-based flywheels
have potential energy
densities 1...
What do these Technologies tell us
about the Future?


No end to Moore’s Law?
◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing
...
Only some have rapid rates of
improvement




Like batteries, wind
turbines have very slow
rates of improvement
(2%/year...
Rapid reductions in cost of solar cells
plus rapid improvements in efficiency for some types of solar
cells (multi-junctio...
Cheaper
superconducting
transmission
lines facilitate
generation of
electricity in
North Africa
for Europe
(and in Mexico
...
Conclusions



We need to think more effectively about future of
technology
This requires change in method of analysis
◦...
Rates of Improvement are
Important


An important part of “slower, more deliberative,
more logical” method of analyzing t...
Some Technologies Experience
More Rapid Rates than do Others


Many technologies experience rapid rates of
improvement
◦ ...
Drivers of Rapid Improvements


Drivers of improvements
◦ 1) creating new materials (and often associated
processes) to b...
Creating Materials







Leads to orders of magnitude improvements
when scientists and engineers create new
forms of ...
Different Classes of Materials were found for Many Technologies
Technology SubDomain
Technology

Different Classes of Mate...
Geometric Scaling
Impacts on some technologies through both
reductions and increases in scale
 In both cases, large chang...
Reductions in Scale


Lead to particularly rapid rates of improvement
◦ Most technologies become cheaper as they are made...
Implications for R&D Policy


One goal of R&D policy should be to fund
those technologies with
◦ rapid rates of improveme...
Implications for Solving Global
Problems


Rapidly improving technologies represent a
kind of “tool chest”
◦ that can be ...


Thank You

Appendix
Technologies with Rapid Rates of Improvement: Which technologies and why? What does this tell us about the future
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Technologies with Rapid Rates of Improvement: Which technologies and why? What does this tell us about the future

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What technologies are experiencing rapid improvements and why? what do these rapid improvements tell us about the future. These slides analyze the potential impact on our world of those technologies that are experiencing rapid rates of improvement. These technologies include ICs, MEMS, organic transistors, carbon nanotubes, superconducting Josephson junctions, photonics, computers, quantum computers, magnetic storage, telecommunication bandwidth, DNA sequencers, cellulosic ethanol, LEDs, OLEDs, lasers, LCDs, quantum dot displays, photo-sensors, and solar cells. Technologies that are not experiencing rapid improvements include batteries and wind turbines.
Technologies that experience faster rates of improvement are more likely to become economically feasible in the near future than are other technologies. They are also more likely to become economically feasible for an increasing number of applications and thus diffuse faster than other technologies. By understanding these technologies, we can also develop better R&D policies and better solve global problems.
Without such data, discussions about the future deteriorate into what Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman calls “instinctive and emotional” arguments. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. Second, judgments and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation and reasoning.

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Technologies with Rapid Rates of Improvement: Which technologies and why? What does this tell us about the future

  1. 1. Rapid Rates of Improvement : Which Technologies and Why? What does this tell us about the future? Associate Prof Jeffrey Funk National University of Singapore More details on these ideas can be found in 1) What Drives Exponential Improvements? California Management Review, May 2013 2) Technology Change and the Rise of New Industries, Stanford University Press, January 2013 3) Exponential Change: What drives it? What does it tell us about the future? forthcoming 2014 4) http://www.slideshare.net/Funk98/presentations
  2. 2. How Objective are we?  Can we effectively think about the “future of technology” without understanding rates of improvement? ◦ Without improvements, how will the status quo change ◦ Some technologies experience more rapid rates of improvement than do other technologies  What happens when we don’t understand rates of improvement?
  3. 3. Cognitive Biases Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman  People assess relative importance of issues, including new technologies ◦ by ease of retrieving from memory ◦ largely determined by extent of coverage in media ◦ E.g., media talks about solar, wind, battery-powered vehicles, bio-fuels and thus many think they are have rapid rates of improvement - but only some are  Second, judgments and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking ◦ One person invested in Ford because he “liked” their products – but was Ford stock undervalued? ◦ Many people “like” some technologies and dislike others without considering rates of improvement Source: Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, 2011
  4. 4. Isn’t there a more deliberate and logical way? Understanding rates of improvement can help firms, universities, and governments better understand when new technologies might become economically feasible  Technologies must have some level of performance and price for specific applications before they begin to diffuse  ◦ Technologies that experience faster rates of improvement are more likely to become economically feasible…. ◦ They are also more likely to become economically feasible for increasing number of applications and thus diffuse… ◦ This has implications for R&D policy and solving global problems  But which technologies are experiencing rapid rates of improvement and why?
  5. 5. Technologies Experiencing Rapid Rates of Improvements (Information Transformation) Technology Dimensions of measure Time Period Rate/Year Integrated Circuits Number of transistors per chip 1971-2011 38% MEMS Number of Electrodes/Eye 2002-2013 45.6% Drops/second for printer 1985-2009 61% Organic Transistors Mobility (cm2/ Volt-seconds) 1994-2007 101% Carbon Nanotube Transistors 1/Purity (% metallic) 1999-2011 32.1% Density (per micrometer) 2006-2011 357% 1990-2010 20.3% 1990-2010 19.8% Superconducting 1/Clock period Josephson Junctions 1/Bit energy Qubit Lifetimes 1999-2012 142% Bits per Qubit lifetime 2005-2013 137% Photonics Number of Optical Channels 2005-2011 91.9% Computers Instructions per unit time 1979-2009 35.9% Instructions per time and dollar 1979-2009 52.2% Quantum Computers Number of Qubits 2002-2012 107%
  6. 6. Technologies Experiencing Rapid Rates of Improvements Technology SubDimensions of Domain Technology measure Information Storage Information Transmission Magnetic Storage Last Mile Bandwidth Wireless Time Period Areal recording density of 1991-2011 disks Areal recording density of 1993-2011 tape Bits per second 1982-2010 Rate/ Year 55.7% 32.1% 48.7% Bits per unit time 1980-2008 104.0% Materials Carbon Transformation Nanotubes 1/Minimum Theoretical Energy for Production 1999-2008 Biological Transformation Sequencing per unit cost 2001-2013 146% DNA 86.3% Synthesizing per unit cost 2002-2010 Cellulosic Ethanol 84.3% Output per cost 13.9% 2001-2012
  7. 7. Technologies Experiencing Rapid Rates of Improvements Technology SubDomain Technology Dimensions of measure Energy Trans- Light Emitting Luminosity per Watt formation Diodes (LEDs) Lumens per Dollar Time Period Rate Per Year 1965-2008 2000-2010 31% 40.5% Organic LEDs Luminosity per Watt 1987-2005 29% GaAs Lasers LCDs Power/length-bar Square meters per dollar External Efficiency 1987-2007 2001-2011 30% 11.0% 1994-2009 79.0% Peak Watt Per Dollar 2004-2013 21.0% Quantum Dot Displays Solar Cells Photo-sensors Pixels per dollar (Camera chips) Light sensitivity Energy SuperTransmission conductors Current-length per dollar 1983-2013 48.7% 1986-2008 18% 2004-2010 115%
  8. 8. What Drives Rapid Improvements?  Drivers of improvements ◦ 1) creating new materials (and often associated processes) to better exploit physical phenomena ◦ 2) geometric scaling: increases and reductions in scale ◦ Some technologies directly experience improvements while higher-level “systems” indirectly experience  Rapid improvements are driven by them when ◦ “Creating new materials” lead to rapid improvements when new classes of materials are being created ◦ Technologies that benefit from reductions in scale (e.g., integrated circuits) have more rapid rates than those benefitting from increases (e.g., engines) A summary of these ideas can also be found in 1) What Drives Exponential Improvements? California Management Review, May 2013 2) Technology Change and the Rise of New Industries, Stanford University Press, January 2013 3) Exponential Change: what drives it? what does it tell us about the future? forthcoming 2014 4) http://www.slideshare.net/Funk98/presentations
  9. 9. What do these Technologies tell us about the Future?  No end to Moore’s Law? ◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing ◦ “Big Data” Analysis enables better management of systems including “energy systems”  The Cyborg Era? ◦ Better bio-electronics and health care ◦ DNA sequencing Cleaner transportation  Clean energy production 
  10. 10. No End to Moore’s Law  Improvements in existing ICs will probably continue for at least 15 years ◦ Smaller wavelength light sources (13 nm or 1/10 as small as previous) will take us from 22 to 5 nm (nanometer) feature sizes ◦ 3D ICs enable multiple layers of transistors  New technologies will be available before then  Photonics, carbon nanotubes, ultra-thin materials including graphene, Josephson (Quantum computers)
  11. 11. Smaller features, i.e., “reductions in scale,” lead to better ICs (more transistors per IC chip, faster speeds, greater functionality, lower power consumption per transistor)
  12. 12. New Technologies are also becoming available for ICs Photonics for faster connections between transistors  Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for channel layer  Ultra-thin materials to replace silicon  Superconducting Josephson junctions (for Quantum computers)  Most of these involve creation of new materials and processes for them  ◦ And some reductions in scale (photonics)
  13. 13. Photonics (Optical Connections) is Another Layer on a 3D Chip http://www.slashgear.com/ibm-silicon-nanophotonics-speeds-servers-with-25gbps-light-10260108/ IBM silicon nanophotonics speeds servers with 25Gbps light, Chris Davies, Dec 10th 2012
  14. 14. Improvements in CNTs for Transistor Channels Electronics: The road to carbon nanotube transistors, Aaron D. Franklin, Nature 498, 443–444 (27 June 2013)
  15. 15. Ultra-Thin Materials to Replace Silicon As of April 2013, >10 materials found that are one or a few atoms thick  Boron nitride (insulator) has been fabricated in oneatom sheet as has Molybdenum Sulfide  ◦ Molybdenum Sulfide is semiconductor, Boron Nitride is insulator, Graphene is for interconnect ◦ Together one atom thick flash memory devices have been constructed (http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/flashmemory-to-be-based-on-2d-materials-a-single-atom-thick/) ◦ More complex devices can be constructed by doping one of the layers http://thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/flash-memory-to-be-based-on-2d-materials-a-single-atom-thick/ April 29, 2013. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/29/tech/graphene-miracle-material/index.html?hpt=hp_c3
  16. 16. Improvements in Power Consumption and Speed of Superconducting Josephson junctions Bit Energy = power consumed per clock period x number of active devices RSFQ: rapid single flux quantum, relies on quantum effects in superconducting devices Source: superconductivity web21, January 16, 2012. www.istec.or.jp/web21/pdf/12_Winter/E15.pdf
  17. 17. Improvements in Josephson junctions also enable increases in Qubit lifetime and number of Qubits in a Quantum Computer Note: Performance increases faster than does number of Qubits, Google bought a quantum computer from D-Wave in 2013. Science, Vol 339, 8 March 2013, pp. 1169-1174 http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/05/dwave-512-qubitquantum-computer-faster.html
  18. 18. Computing–“Big Data” Analysis  Improvements in ICs and computing enable more extensive data analysis of output from ◦ Particle accelerators, telescopes ◦ DNA sequencing equipment, ◦ other types of scientific and medical equipment  They also make it cheaper to create large mathematical models to make predictions, rather than pursue more efficient algorithms ◦ better translations ◦ better predictions of flu trends, inflation, health problems, loan defaults, rising food prices, and even social problems such as riots or terrorism Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier
  19. 19. Sensors Enable More Types of “Big Data” Analysis and Optimization   Higher resolution camera chips Better MEMS (micro-electronic mechanical systems) ◦ Smaller feature size lead to higher performance ◦ Current feature sizes of 0.5 to 1.0 microns for MEMS and thus industry is like ICs were in 1980 ◦ MEMS will probably have similar impact as ICs  In combination with conventional ICs, lasers, and Internet, better MEMS enables ◦ 3D scanners, printers, holographic displays ◦ eye-tracking devices, autonomous vehicles ◦ better health care and management of buildings, dams, bridges, power plants……..
  20. 20. Smaller feature sizes lead to better gas chromatographs, ink jet printers (drops/second and resolution), and mobile phone discrete components (smaller) Stasiak J, Richards S, and Angelos S 2009. Hewlett Packard's Inkjet MEMS Technology, Proc. of Society of SPIE:7318, Clark Ngyuen, Univ of CA, Berkeley
  21. 21. Improvements in ICs and Sensors are Also Improving Energy Usage    Better ICs and sensors enable better process control and better collection of data, extending the Internet to more devices This data can improve simulation tools that are also coming from improvements in ICs Traffic management being improved ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Traffic sensors, smart cards, better fare management Predictive analytics with better computers Navigation systems with better ICs and MEMS Goal should be to dramatically reduce public and private vehicle breakdowns and accidents
  22. 22. Consider Lighting Systems  Costs of LEDs are falling as better materials are created (higher flux/package) and size of wafers are increased (lower cost/lumen) ◦ their small size enables more aesthetic designs ◦ by using sensors, we can create lighting systems that only illuminate those areas that are needed and when they are needed ◦ Motion, heat and other sensors track movements of humans, animals, and vehicles http://www.globalsmtseasia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id =4228:printed-electronics-for-flexible-solid-state-lighting&catid=109&Itemid=115
  23. 23. Improvements in Wireless (from improvements in ICs) Enable Better Lighting Systems and Greater Access to Sensors http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/integriertesysteme/emuco/files/hipeac_trends_future.pdf
  24. 24. Wireless Enables Greater Access and Control of Sensors  Many kinds of sensors and applications ◦ Environmental (temperature, pressure, gas content) ◦ Physiological (heart rate, brain wave, blood pressure) ◦ For vehicular and human traffic and many types of infrastructure (factories, buildings, dams, bridges, power plants) Data can be sent wirelessly to Internet for analysis and interpretation  The phone may become a major collection, analysis, and control point for data  ◦ control and program the thermostat, lighting, and other appliances ◦ Rent bicycles, vehicles and other things to increase capacity utilization and reduce energy usage
  25. 25. Phones get better as HumanComputer Interfaces are Improved  Better and cheaper touch displays ◦ Create materials for “blind” typing or texture feedback ◦ Lower costs from larger substrates, new materials (e.g., OLEDs) and new processes (roll-to roll printing)  Better gesture displays ◦ Better cameras enable gestures to be interpreted  Augmented Reality ◦ Google glasses will get better as cameras, eye-tracking, and ICs get better  Neural interfaces ◦ Smaller features lead to better interfaces
  26. 26. Neural Interfaces: smaller MEMS/ electrodes lead to higher resolution
  27. 27. What do these Technologies tell us about the Future?  No end to Moore’s Law? ◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing ◦ “Big Data” Analysis enables better management of systems  The Cyborg Era? ◦ Better bio-electronics and health care ◦ Better DNA sequencers Cleaner transportation  More clean energy 
  28. 28. Bio-Electronic ICs   A special type of MEMS Benefits from reductions in scale ◦ enable reductions in sample and reagent volume, faster reactions and response time, higher throughput, and analysis of smaller biological materials ◦ reductions in size of electrodes have enabled increases in eyesight; further reductions can enable 20-20 vision  Result is better ◦ point-of care diagnostic equipment ◦ implants (e.g., bionic eyes)  Bio-electronic ICs will probably have similar impact in future as conventional ICs in past
  29. 29. Smaller feature sizes for MEMSbased electrodes lead to better eyesight for people who suffer from macula MEMS-Based Electrode Electrode Implanted Into Retina Source: Biomaterials 29(24–25): 3393–3399
  30. 30. In Combination with Skin Patches, Other Sensors and Wireless More physiological data can be collected and sent wirelessly to phones or other devices  Faster detection of health problems  Enabled by flexible materials (e.g., higher mobility of organic materials) or island-bridge design with silicon 
  31. 31. Improvements in Mobility of “Flexible” Organic Materials Enable Better Conformance of Electronics to Human bodies and Organs (performance of polycrystalline silicon is 100 and single crystal silicon is 1000) Huanli Dong , Chengliang Wang and Wenping Hu, High Performance Organic Semiconductors for Field-Effect Transistor, Chemical Commununications, 2010,46, 5211-5222
  32. 32. Will Mobile Phones become Main Platform for Data Collection? Phones have high-performance processors, memories, and displays  Easy to develop and download apps  Can create accessories/attachments  ◦ test strips to analyze blood, skin, saliva; check for flu, insulin and other sicknesses ◦ microscope to analyze cells ◦ electrodes for electrocardigam ◦ others for ultrasound, MRI, etc.  Improvements in human-computer interface make mobile phones easier to use http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21567208-medical-technologyhand-held-diagnostic-devices-seen-star-trek-are-inspiring
  33. 33. What do these Technologies tell us about the Future?  No end to Moore’s Law? ◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing ◦ “Big Data” Analysis enables better management of systems  The Cyborg Era? ◦ better bio-electronics and health care ◦ Better DNA sequencers Human-computer Interface  Cleaner transportation  More clean energy 
  34. 34. What Drives Cost Reductions? New methods of sequencing Improved lasers and cameras to read fluorescent dyes More parallel processing Smaller feature sizes. Just like ICs and MEMS, smaller feature sizes lead to lower costs and faster speeds http://www.genome.gov/sequencingcosts/
  35. 35. Implications of Falling Cost of Sequencing (and Synthesizing)  Enables better understanding for individuals of    risks for specific diseases potential side effects from drugs Faster and cheaper drug development ◦ drugs can be developed for smaller numbers of people ◦ personalized medicine  Develop better crops and materials from living organisms ◦ E.g., bio-mimicry
  36. 36. Green Machines for Better Crops?   Better sensors (cameras, infrared, fluorescence, lasers) and mechanical controls enable complete control and measurement over crop growth DNA sequencing enables characterization and replication of high performing crops
  37. 37. What do these Technologies tell us about the Future?  No end to Moore’s Law? ◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing ◦ “Big Data” Analysis enables better management of systems  The Cyborg Era? ◦ better bio-electronics and health care ◦ Better DNA sequencers  Cleaner transportation ◦ But not how you think  More clean energy
  38. 38. Battery Performance Doubles about Once Every 15 years But Gasoline has energy density 30 times higher! Can we wait 75 years for adequate batteries?
  39. 39. There are other options!  High density system of charging stations ◦ Facilitated by smart grid, which is enabled by continued improvements in Internet ◦ Users can quickly find charging stations with GPS, other sensors ◦ Reduces necessary energy density of batteries  Lower cost of power electronics enable move from mechanical to electronic controls ◦ Lower weight of vehicle reduces required energy density of batteries
  40. 40. And other options!   High density of charging stations facilitated by high temperature superconducting (HTS) transmission lines Autonomous vehicles enable faster moving and more densely packed vehicles ◦ Better fuel efficiency through less congestion ◦ Their cost is falling as the cost of sensors fall Copper is 15-25$/kA-m
  41. 41. Looking Further to the Future    Carbon nanotube (CNT) or graphene-based flywheels have potential energy densities 100 times higher than do lithium-ion batteries CNT or graphene-based automobiles would be much lighter than conventional ones and thus require much less energy storage densities in their batteries But not 75 years in future! Falling Energy Cost for CNTs Sources: Presentation by my students on April 11, 2013. Slides can be found on http://www.slideshare.net/Funk98/presentations. RIght figure: Minimum Exergy Requirements for the Manufacturing of Carbon Nanotubes, Timothy G. Gutowski, John Y. H. Liow, Dusan P. Sekulic, IEEE, International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technologies, Washington D.C., May 16-19, 2010
  42. 42. What do these Technologies tell us about the Future?  No end to Moore’s Law? ◦ Better Integrated Circuits and Computing ◦ “Big Data” Analysis enables better management of systems  The Cyborg Era? ◦ better bio-electronics and health care ◦ Better DNA sequencers  Cleaner transportation ◦ But not how you think  Clean energy production
  43. 43. Only some have rapid rates of improvement   Like batteries, wind turbines have very slow rates of improvement (2%/year) Cellulosic ethanol was experiencing rapid reductions in cost through increases in scale ◦ But they have recently slowed and further reductions are needed..
  44. 44. Rapid reductions in cost of solar cells plus rapid improvements in efficiency for some types of solar cells (multi-junction III-V, multi-junction organic, organic single junction, and quantum dot) organic solar cells are much cheaper on a per area basis than are other solar cells. Thus they are potentially much cheaper on a peak-watt basis if their efficiencies are improved Cost per peak watt of $0.25 are probably needed so we are probably a factor of three from achieving grid parity
  45. 45. Cheaper superconducting transmission lines facilitate generation of electricity in North Africa for Europe (and in Mexico for U.S.) Source: Wikipedia Desertec
  46. 46. Conclusions   We need to think more effectively about future of technology This requires change in method of analysis ◦ from “instinctive and emotional” ◦ to “slower, more deliberative, more logical”  The future is too important to assess relative importance of technologies ◦ by ease of retrieving them from memory ◦ by letting judgments and decisions be guided by feelings of “liking” and “disliking”  It is easy to believe that certain technologies are important because ◦ the media regularly discusses them or ◦ we like them
  47. 47. Rates of Improvement are Important  An important part of “slower, more deliberative, more logical” method of analyzing technologies is ◦ better data on rates of improvement and a better understanding of their drivers  Technologies must have some level of performance and price for specific applications before they begin to diffuse ◦ Technologies that experience faster rates of improvement are more likely to become economically feasible…. ◦ They are also more likely to become economically feasible for increasing number of applications and thus diffuse…  This has implications for R&D policy and solving global problems
  48. 48. Some Technologies Experience More Rapid Rates than do Others  Many technologies experience rapid rates of improvement ◦ And these improvements tell us something about the future  But there are probably other technologies that are also experiencing rapid rates of improvements ◦ We need more data on these technologies  These slides also help us understand the drivers of the improvements and thus the reasons for them ◦ This can help us identify those technologies with the potential for rapid improvements
  49. 49. Drivers of Rapid Improvements  Drivers of improvements ◦ 1) creating new materials (and often associated processes) to better exploit physical phenomena ◦ 2) geometric scaling ◦ Some technologies directly experience improvements while higher-level “systems” indirectly experience them  Rapid improvements are driven by them when ◦ Creating new materials lead to rapid improvements when new classes of materials are being created ◦ Technologies that benefit from reductions in scale (e.g., integrated circuits) have more rapid rates than those benefitting from increases (e.g., engines) A summary of these ideas can also be found in 1) What Drives Exponential Improvements? California Management Review, May 2013 2) Technology Change and the Rise of New Industries, Stanford University Press, January 2013 3) Exponential Change: what drives it? what does it tell us about the future? forthcoming 2014 4) http://www.slideshare.net/Funk98/presentations
  50. 50. Creating Materials     Leads to orders of magnitude improvements when scientists and engineers create new forms of materials and do this with new processes Sometimes these improvements involve new classes of materials (See next slide) Without these new classes, the range of improvements might well be reduced below those achieved and documented earlier Improvements done mostly in laboratories, not in factories
  51. 51. Different Classes of Materials were found for Many Technologies Technology SubDomain Technology Different Classes of Materials Energy Transformation LEDs Organic LEDs Group III-V, IV-IV, and II-VI semiconductors Small molecules, polymers, phosphorescent materials Solar Cells Silicon, Gallium Arsenide, Cadmium Telluride, Cadmium Indium Gallium Selenide, Dye-Sensitized, Organic Information Organic TransTransistors formation Basic Materials Polythiophenes, thiophene oligomers, polymers, hthalocyanines, heteroacenes, tetrathiafulvalenes, perylene diimides naphthalene diimides, acenes, C60 Superconductors Simple elements (tin and aluminium), metallic alloys, heavily-doped semiconductors, ceramic compounds containing planes of copper and oxygen atoms (cuprates), iron- and organic-based ones Carbon Properties impacted by number of walls, diameter of walls, Nanotubes axes of walls
  52. 52. Geometric Scaling Impacts on some technologies through both reductions and increases in scale  In both cases, large changes in both product and process design were implemented with each increment requiring non-trivial redesigns  Reductions in scale provide a mechanism for rapid rates of improvements in ICs, magnetic storage, MEMS, and DNA sequencing equipment  ◦ involved better processes with completely new forms of equipment and materials ◦ new equipment usually developed and implemented in labs ◦ Led to rapid improvements in many higher-level “systems”
  53. 53. Reductions in Scale  Lead to particularly rapid rates of improvement ◦ Most technologies become cheaper as they are made smaller ◦ But performance only rises for a few technologies Performance rises for ICs, magnetic storage, MEMS, and DNA sequencing equipment as feature sizes are reduced  Finding these types of technologies is a major challenge  One technology that benefits from both reductions in scale and in creating new materials is nanotechnology  ◦ Benefiting from nanotechnology is mostly about creating materials that benefit from single nanometer feature sizes ◦ Such materials include carbon nanotubes, graphene, nanoparticles, nanofibers and many others that can be made at single or nearly single-atom thicknesses
  54. 54. Implications for R&D Policy  One goal of R&D policy should be to fund those technologies with ◦ rapid rates of improvement or ◦ with potential for rapid rates of improvement ◦ since these technologies will have larger impact on world than will other technologies  These slides help us understand drivers of improvements and thus reasons for them ◦ This can help us identify those technologies with the potential for rapid improvements
  55. 55. Implications for Solving Global Problems  Rapidly improving technologies represent a kind of “tool chest” ◦ that can be used to solve global problems  It’s not just current performance and cost of them that provide us with useful tools ◦ their rapid rates of improvement mean that better tools continue to emerge  Let’s think about how these better tools can help solve global problems ◦ For example, many of these technologies will have bigger impact on solving “energy” problems than will the predominant view (batteries or wind turbines)
  56. 56.  Thank You Appendix
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