What Is Nanotechnology

in Science by

Copyright (c) 2013 Morgan D

Nanotechnology is fundamentally the science of inventing things through manipulating the systems at the molecular and atomic level. This technology involves simple functions to be done in complex ways due to the extreme small scale level. Moreover this technology can be referred to as forecasting abilities of manufacturing products through bottom up approach by using variety of tools which ensure high performance of the products. In order to perceive the extent of depth of this technology, various examples can be looked into before understanding the details. For example, the length of carbon-carbon bond is approximately 0.12-0.15 nanometer, while a DNA has approximately diameter of 2 nanometer.

During the same years, another scientist K. Eric Drexler formulated and presented the ideas of nanotechnology and became the founder of the field of nanotechnology at molecular level. He is known to be the first scientist to manipulate the matter at such small scale through his experiments. He started his work in 1979 which is two years ahead of other scientists. He wrote a book named Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, in 1986 which gained popularity worldwide. In this book he proposed the unique idea of assembly at the nanometer levels. He was also the very first person to talk about the terminology of “grey goo” which is used to describe the hypothetical analysis and consequences of uncontrolled self-replicating nanotechnology. The term Molecular Nano Technology (MNT) and Molecular Manufacturing are basically the Dexter’s versions of nanotechnology. Dexter also proposed the term Zettatech for nanotechnology but it gained no significant popularity.

The field of nanotechnology and Nano-science gained popularity in 1980s due to the two great advancements in this field which are the scanning tunneling microscope and the beginning of cluster science. These advancements were the prime knowledge in the discovery of fullerenes in the year 1985 and subsequently the structural assignment of carbon nanotubes took place after few years. During early 2000s, nanotechnology got great boost and popularity. This popularity resulted in heavy investments and speculation in the field of nanotechnology. A large number of debates, papers and publications helped greatly in growing its popularity among common people. These debates, papers and other publications were aimed at discussing both its potential applications and the implications associated with it. During these years, government financed heavily in this field and initiated many nanotechnology based research programs. Many nanotechnology based commercial products became available at consumer end in this same era of early 2000s. These products were usually limited to mass applications of nano-materials which included Silver Nano platform for utilizing it as antibacterial agent by using silver nanoparticles, nanoparticle based sunscreens and sunglasses, and carbon nanotubes for garments which are stain resistant.

The project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has estimated that about 1,000 nanotechnology products are manufactured and commercially available to general public. The rate at which new products in this field are coming in the market is estimated to be 3-4 per week. This rate of 3-4 per week is expected to rise in upcoming years due to various researches currently going on in this field. The project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has listed all the available products in an online database which is accessible by general public. Numerous products are in the domain of using the first generation Nano- materials which were titanium dioxide in various applications like sunscreen, surface coating, some food products and cosmetics. Many other first generation Nano-materials include Carbon allotropes which were used in manufacturing of gecko tape.

Moreover, silver oxide used in manufacturing of cosmetics, food packaging, disinfectants, household appliances and surface coating also comes under the first generation Nano-materials. The same silver oxide is also used in manufacturing outdoor furniture varnishes and paints and is used as fuel catalyst. Nanotechnology has been incorporated in almost every manufacturing field. Through the use of Nano-materials manufacturers of tennis balls have made such tennis balls which will last longer. Similarly the gold ball manufacturers have successfully made such golf balls which will fly relatively straighter, and bowling balls have been produced with more durability and even harder surfaces. The manufacturers of garments have also taken the benefit from the use of nanotechnology and through infusing nanotechnology they have successfully manufactured such trousers and socks that will last longer and will stay cool in summer.

Nanotechnology has variety of applications in almost every field of life. This includes the field of medicals in which the bandages are manufactured through infusing silver nanoparticles which help in healing the wounds faster than normal bandages. This technology is also implemented in manufacturing of cars by infusing nanomaterial in order to achieve the goal of fewer metals to reduce the fuel requirements. Furthermore, this technology is also used in manufacturing of personal computers, laptops and gaming consoles which has reduced the manufacturing costs of these and has enhanced the speed and memory of these devices. Nanotechnology has the potential to make all these applications even cheaper and better in the future through discovery of better nanomaterial and better techniques (Mihail, Chad and Mark, pp 551-570). By looking at the nanotechnology based applications it becomes evident that this technology has applications in almost all the fields of science.

These fields include Medicine from diagnostics to tissue engineering, Environment through Nano-filtration, Energy through reduction of energy consumption and increasing the efficiency, Information and Communication from memory storage to display screens, and Heavy Industry from Aerospace to Construction. The applications of this technology are also present in the foods, cosmetics, agriculture, agriculture, optics, household, and sports. With such wide range of applications, nanotechnology is the technology which can’t be neglected. This technology has changed the role of science in our lives and it is expected to enhance its effects through reducing costs and brining efficient products in the market in the future as well. There is a huge potential of nanotechnology and has variety of areas still awaiting to be researched on. The future of nanotechnology can be perceived as global application of Nano- products such as Nano-tubes. There are little chances that a “nano bubble” will burst in future like the IT bubble burst but this is not forecasted to be in near future since this technology has much wider range of applications associated with it. By analyzing thoroughly, this technology can be stated as the “Technology of the Future”, which will be affecting our lives greatly through enhancing the conventional products, tools, and almost every device being used today.

Nanotechnology has revolutionized the way of living and has potential to make best of every field of science through infusing Nano-material in almost every conventional product. This technology has so far affected our lives greatly, despite the fact that only three decades have passed since the discovery of this technology. This technology is still under the development stages due to which many companies are hesitant to invest in it with huge funds, however government of various countries have shown their interest in it and have financed various research programs. There has been very small number of products in the market due to the fact that this is a developing technology, but those few products in the order of 1000s have clearly shown the potential of this technology through enhancing the features of the conventional products while reducing the cost of manufacturing. This technology is considered as the product of both physics and chemistry so it has been fascinating for experts and scientists of both the fields.

The variety of applications of nanotechnology in daily life has made life easy and better in almost all the domains. It has numerous applications ranging from medical sciences to automobile manufacturing, from textiles to cosmetics and from surface science to gaming. This technology can be considered as the “Technology of the Future” due to its enhanced features and reduced costs. High level of financing for research in this technology from various governments including US, European Union and Japan etc. will bring more innovative and enhanced products to consumers and will contribute greatly in betterment of life globally.

Through the analysis presented in this paper it can be concluded that Nanotechnology has evolved into a dominating technology within only three decades. It has not only provided more efficient products with better features but also has reduced the cost of manufacturing. Pursuant to the context of this technology, it can be stated that in future we will see whole new way of living the life on this plant. It is now just the matter of few years that nanotechnology will be infused in almost all the commercially available products by replacing the normal material with Nano- material.

Alex Branch, BHSc, MSc, EMT-P. A dedicated advanced care paramedic with over 20 years of experience in NY Pre-Hospital Emergency Care. Over the years, Alex experienced in various facets such as ground ambulance public, private and abroad, served as a military medic, and air ambulance. Currently interested in writing anything in para-medicine and science related issues.

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