Nanotechnology is simply a manipulation of atoms and molecules at supramolecular levels. The early description of nanotechnology is related to the particular technological goal of manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication purpose of macroscale products. Note that It was also called as molecular nanotechnology.
You need to understand that the generalized description of nanotechnology was established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative. According to them, nanotechnology is a manipulation of matter with one-dimension sized ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers.
introduction to nanotechnology
Let’s have a little introduction to nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is defined by size and it is naturally very broad. This includes various fields of science such as surface science, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, molecular engineering, organic chemistry, energy storage, and much more.Currently, scientists are having a debate on the future uses of nanotechnology. It is important to note that nanotechnology may create many new materials and devices that provide a vast range of applications such as biomaterials energy production, nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, and consumer products.
Contrarily, nanotechnology is also raising many of the same issues just like every new technology raise. This includes the concerns of toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials and their potential effects on global economics. These concerns will definitely lead to a debate among advocacy groups and governments.
History of Nanotechnology
The concepts that act as a base of nanotechnology were discussed in 1959 by renowned physicist Richard Feynman. You must know that there is plenty of room at the bottom and in this, he described the possibility of synthesis through direct manipulation of atoms.For your information, in 1960, Egyptian engineer Mohamed Atalla along with the Korean engineer Dawon Kahng at the Bell Labs fabricated the first MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor).
It was having a gate oxide thickness of 100 nm with a gate length of 20 µm. Moreover, in 1962, Atalla and Kahng fabricated a nanolayer-base metal-semiconductor junction (M–S junction) transistor that was using (Au) thin films having a thickness of 10 nm.
For your information, the “nano-technology” was first used by Norio Taniguchi in 1974 but it was not widely known at that time. Inspired by Feynman’s concepts, K. Eric Drexler uses the term “nanotechnology” in his 1986 book Engines of Creation named as The Coming Era of Nanotechnology.
This book proposed the idea of a nanoscale “assembler” that would be able to build a copy of itself along with the other items of arbitrary complexity that comes with the atomic control. In addition to this, 1986, Drexler co-founded The Foresight Institute for increasing public awareness and understanding regarding nanotechnology concepts and its implications.
Currently Nanotechnology Ongoing Researches
- The nanomaterials field is also having subfields that will develop or study materials with unique properties coming from their nanoscale dimensions.
- Note that the interface and colloid science will give rise to many materials that are useful in nanotechnologies like carbon nanotubes and other fullerenes along with various nanoparticles and nanorods. There are different types of nanotechnology. For your information, the nanomaterials having fast on transport are related to nanoionics and nanoelectronics. Furthermore, nanoscale materials can be used for bulk applications.
- Progress is being made by using these materials for medical usage such as Nanomedicine.
- Nanoscale materials called nanopillars are used in solar cells that will tackle the price of traditional silicon solar cells. It is one of the best nanotechnology examples.
- The development of semiconductor nanoparticles will be used in next generation of products like display technology, lighting, solar cells, and biological imaging.
As per the recent application of nanomaterials, there is a wide range of biomedical applications that include tissue engineering, biosensors, and drug delivery.
3 Different Types of Approaches
These will be arranging small components into complex assemblies.
- DNA nanotechnology will be using the specificity of Watson–Crick base pairing for constructing well-defined structures from DNA and other nucleic acids.
- Approaches coming from the field of “classical” chemical synthesis will also aim at designing molecules with properly designed shapes. For instance, the bis-peptides
- The molecular self-assembly will be using concepts of supramolecular chemistry and molecular recognition. This will cause single-molecule components to get automatically arranged into some useful conformation.
- Atomic force microscope tips will be utilized as a nanoscale “write head” for depositing a chemical on a surface in a desired pattern within a process called dip-pen nanolithography. This technique will further fit into the larger subfield of nanolithography.
- Moving on, the Molecular Beam Epitaxy will enable bottom-up assemblies of materials, most importantly the semiconductor materials that are used in chip and computing applications, nanowire lasers, stacks, and gating.
This focus on creating smaller devices using larger ones to direct the assembly.
- Solid-state techniques will be used for creating devices called as nanoelectromechanical systems or NEMS. This is related to microelectromechanical systems or MEMS.
- Focused on beams will directly remove the material or even deposit material when suitable precursor gasses are applied. For instance, this technique will be routinely used for creating sub-100 nm sections of material to do the analysis in Transmission electron microscopy.
- Atomic force microscope tips will be used as a nanoscale for depositing a resist which later is followed by the etching process for remove material in a top-down method.
This speaks about the developed components of the desired functionality without the fact that how they might be assembled.
- Magnetic assembly for the synthesis of anisotropic superparamagnetic materials recently presented magnetic nano chains.
- Molecular scale electronics will develop molecules that come with electronic properties. This could be used as single-molecule components in a nanoelectronic device like rotaxane.
Bionics or biomimicry will be applying the biological methods and systems found to study the design of engineering systems. Biomineralization is one example of the study done.
- Bionanotechnology will be using biomolecules for applications in nanotechnology that include the use of viruses and lipid assemblies. You must know that the nanocellulose is a potential bulk-scale application.
Five Ways Nanotechnology Will Be Securing Our Future
Nanotechnology is definitely a groundbreaking technology. Wondering, what is nanotechnology used for? If we can harness its power, then we can unlock the door of great achievements and this can improve our lives in the future.
1-Sensors, Sensors Everywhere
These sensors will be relying on newly invented nanomaterials and manufacturing techniques for making it smaller, complex, and energy-efficient. For instance, the sensors with very fine features can be printed in large quantities on flexible rolls of plastic at a lower cost. This will be opening the possibility of placing sensors at many points over critical infrastructure for constantly checking it for ensuring that everything is running properly. Note that the bridges, aircraft, and even nuclear power plants can get benefit from it.2-Improved Medical Facilities
Wearable fitness technology will be responsible for monitoring our health by strapping gadgets. There will be more like a prototype electronic tattoos that will be able to sense our vital signs. You must note that by scaling down this technology, you can go further by implanting or injecting tiny sensors inside the bodies. This will be capturing more comprehensive information with less hassle for the patient and this will enable doctors to personalize their treatment.3-Turning Big Data into Reality
All these sensors will be producing more information than we are going to deal with, so we will need the technology to do further processing and spotting the patterns that will tell us about the problems. The same will happen for the “big data” from traffic sensors to assist in managing congestion and preventing accidents along with crime prevention prevent by easily using statistics to properly allocate police resources.
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4- Tackling Climate Change
The fight against climate change means that we need some interesting ways to generate and use electricity. In this nanotechnology can play an important role. It will help us in creating batteries that can store more energy for electric cars and will enable solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity.
The common trick regarding the applications is to use nanotexturing or nanomaterials that will turn a flat surface into a three-dimensional one due to a greater surface area. This means that there is no more space for the reactions that will enable energy storage or generation for taking place so a device should operate more efficiently.
Cracks appear and, in this situation, the nanotechnology can play an important role. By changing the structure of materials at the nanoscale will give you some amazing properties. For instance, giving them a texture that will repel water. In the future, nanotechnology coatings or additives will be having the potential for allowing materials to heal when they get damaged.
For instance, the dispersing of nanoparticles through material means that they can be migrated for filling cracks. Note that this will be producing self-healing materials that will be the useful nanotechnology products starting from aircraft cockpits to microelectronics that will be preventing small fractures from turning into large cracks.
In the future, nanotechnology will enable the objects to harvest energy directly from the environment. New nano-materials and concepts are under development that are showing potential for producing energy from movement, changes in temperature, light, glucose that comes with high conversion efficiency.
I hope now you are aware of the importance of nanotechnology and the way it can help us in making our future better.