What is nanotechnology?

What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology or nanotech is a field of innovation and research with producing devices and materials on the scale of molecules and atoms, which are from 1 to 100 nanometers in size. To give you an overall idea of how small it is, it might take 80,000 nanometers of articles that are placed side by side to have the same width of our hair. This technology can be applied across many science fields, such as engineering, materials science, physics, biology, and chemistry.

How did it start?
The concepts and ideas behind nanotechnology and nanoscience began in 1959 by a physicist at California Institute of Technology named Richard Feynman. During the meeting, he talked about a process in which the scientists might be able to control and manipulate individual molecules and atoms. Nearly one decade later, Pro Norio Taniguchi explored ultraprecision machining and used the term “nanotechnology” for this advancement. But it was not until 1981 that modern nanotechnology started with the introduction of the scanning tunneling microscope, which would see every individual atom.

Basic concepts in nanotechnology
As said earlier, nanotechnology involves seeing and controlling individual molecules and atoms with the help of specialized tools, including the atomic force microscope (or AFM) and scanning tunneling microscope (or STM). It is difficult for many people to imagine how small this technology is. Here are a couple of illustrative examples: – A sheet of paper is approximately 100,000 nanometers in thickness – There are about 25,300,000 nanometers per inch – On a comparative perspective, if a marble is 1 nanometer, then 1 meter might be the size of this planet

What is the application of nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology has opened up a lot of possibilities in many scientific endeavors and industries.
– Fabrics Many fabrics manufacturers are trying to add nano-sized elements to traditional materials to enhance the performance. For instance, some clothing producers are creating stain and water repellent clothing by applying nano-sized whiskers in the fabric, which causes water and stain to bead up while on the surface.
– Mechanical systems Nanotechnology can be also used to create electronic circuitry, sensor elements, mirrors, and gears that allow the production of miniature sensors like those integrated into cars to activate the airbag.
– Drug delivery The application of nanoparticles in chemotherapy, for example, can also help cancer patients to reduce harmful side effects by pinpointing the intended target cells precisely.

The future of nanotechnology
Nanotechnology and nanoscience are quickly growing and becoming one of the hottest fields all over the world. The number of research and scientific publications in this area has been increased from 200 in 1996 to more than 11,700 in 2003. However, there are quite a few products and services applying nanoparticles are available on the market these days. In overall, the solutions that are currently on sale don’t solve the problems in the environment, food security, and health as mentioned above. Instead, they focus on meeting consumer’s demands such as scratch-proof lenses, crack-resistant pains, or enhanced sunscreens. Just like internal combustions engines and electricity, nanoscience is a disruptive technology. Therefore, it will definitely precipitate a variety of innovations in the future.

 

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