Monday, 20 April 2015

Nanotechnology: What is it?


So what exactly is Nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is the manipulation and understanding of matter at an atomic or molecular level. It has dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers (nm), which is often compared to a human hair, which is about 80,000 nm wide. This kind of technology involves imaging, measuring, modelling and controlling matter at this length scale (the nanoscale). At this scale, the physical, chemical and biological properties of materials differ in significant and valuable ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules or other matter. 

Atoms make up all the matter in our universe, they are essentially the building blocks needed for our universe. Everything is made up of atoms, you, me, every single object in your sight. Nature has perfected the science of manufacturing matter in a molecular scale. For example, human bodies are created in a specific way from millions and millions of living cells. Cells are basically nature's nano machines. Elements are at their most basic level on the atomic scale. On the nanoscale, however, we can potentially put these atoms together to make almost anything that you can imagine. It will also help us to improve future products and lead us into future generations, capable of creating unbelievable, ethereal things.
Nanotechnology will be capable of doing many things in many sectors, below are some examples:

Medicine:
Researchers are developing modified nanoparticles, which are the size of molecules capable of delivering drugs directly to the diseased cells within your body. When it is perfected, this should reduce the damage that treatments such as chemotherapy do to the healthier cells within a patient's body. Nanotechnology medical developments over the coming years will have a wide variety of uses and could potentially save a great number of lives in future generations. This development will also possibly allow us to discover many new things that we never knew were possible.

Electronics:
Future development on nanotechnology could mean that we will be capable of enhancing electronics that come with less weight and also with a reduction in power consumption. Having these electronics to be more enhanced will enable them to also become more flexible and portable. Meaning that they may become more attractive due to the accessibility and enhanced performance of these electronics. Researchers are also developing a type of memory chip with a projected density of 1 terabyte of memory per square inch, or even greater than that.

Food:
Nanotech is having a pretty significant impact on several aspects of food, from the way in which it is grown to the way it is packaged. Newer scientific based companies are introducing a variety of nano materials that will make a difference not only in the taste of food, but also in food safety and the health benefits that the foods deliver to their consumers. Having nanotech in foods can also create barriers which keep oxygen-sensitive foods fresher for a much longer time. Edible food films can also be made with cinnamon or oregano oil, nano particles of zinc, calcium, or other materials that are capable of killing bacteria.

Fuels:
Nanotechnology can have a huge impact on the shortage of fossil fuels, such as diesel and gasoline as it can be capable of making the production of fuels from low grade raw materials economical, by being able to increase the mileage of engines and make the production of fuels from normal raw materials work more efficiently.

                                                      Fabrics:
Making composite fabric particles that are nano-sized or different variations of fibres allows us to develop the properties of fabric without a significant amount of increase in it's weight, thickness etc. 
The image on the left also shows how nanotechnology in fabrics is capable of repelling any liquids that may be spilled on the fabric. This is a very interesting and amazing of manipulating nano-particles.


So what does this all mean? Well right now, it means that modern scientists are trying to experiment  with a plethora of substances at the nanoscale, in order to learn about their properties and how we could possibly be able to exploit it and take advantage of them in various applications. Engineers are also trying to use nano particles in wires to create smaller, more powerful microprocessors. Whilst Doctors are researching ways to use nanoparticles within the medical sector. Still, we've got a long way to go before nanotech dominates the technology and the medical markets. All we can do now is just wait and hope that scientists are capable of getting us there quicker.