Nanotechnology is a term used in areas of science and technology where the dimension in the nanometer scale is used as a comparative analysis for design to produce, and apply. This study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering.
The concept of using nanometer-scale technology started with a talk by physicist Richard Feynman at the American Physics Society in 1959, where he described a process in which the sciences would be able to manipulate and control atomic particles. The term nanotechnology was however coined about a decade later by Professor Norio Taniguchi after he explored ultra-precision machining. The rapid development of modern nanotechnology started much later, in the 1980s, after the development of tunneling microscope that could see individual atoms.
This technology, as an extension of existing sciences into nanoscale, has found a wide variety of ways to make materials at the nanoscale and take the advantage of the enhanced property. Newer products with high strength, lighter weight, increased control and greater chemical reactivity are made with the use of nanotechnology.
What are the Types of Nanotechnology?
Over the years, nanotechnology has seen some interesting developments in various fields. This technology is now used in a range of uses from it to deliver medicine to the desired area to strengthening clothing material.
This technology however can be classified into four different material bases or types :
1. Carbon Based
Carbon-based nanoparticles are produced using a process called carbon assisted vapor deposition, where the particles grow in a base material.
This is used to produce fullerenes and buckyballs.
Metal-based nanomaterials usually include gold particles and quantum dots which are synthesized using different methods.
Dendrimers are complex nanoparticles built from units: core, an inner shell, and an outer shell. It has branches which can be designed to perform specific chemical functions, which means that one chain of the dendrimer can deliver one specific medication while the other can deliver completely different drug
Nanocomposites are nanoparticles that have different types of nonmaterial in them. The example of this nanoparticle is nano-sized clays in autocrats and packaging to enhance mechanical, thermal, and flame properties.
Nanoparticles, such as nano-sized clays, are already being added to products ranging from auto parts to packaging materials, to enhance mechanical, thermal, barrier, and flame-retardant properties.
For the production of any type of nanoparticle, the most important tools are Atomic Microscope and Scanning microscope to see nanoparticles. Few of the other tools are electro sprays, nanoprobes, nuclear magnetic resonance, focused ion beams, pulse layer deposition, etc. These will be an increase in the tools used for nanotechnology in the near future.
What are the Uses of Nanotechnology?
The 2000s have been an important time for the development of nanotechnology causing the range of its applications widening. Nanotechnology is now used not only for scientific purposes but also in commercial products like the inclusion of titanium dioxide in cosmetics and foods, in household products, fabrics, etc. Some of the major uses of nanotechnology are:
Nanotechnology researches have been focused around its application towards medical uses as these extremely small particles can be customized to deliver drugs directly into the body. It will significantly reduce the damage and side effects of the medication on the body. The other major branch of medicine that has many ongoing types of research is surgery. Nanotechnology can make the surgery less invasive.
Nanotechnology can be used to enhance currently available food. It can reduce/increase fat, encapsulate essential nutrients and vitamins, enhance the flavor, improve texture, and thus improve the quality of food. It can be also used to make the food antibacterial and improve its shelf life. Nanotechnology in the food industry is also used to track and locate the materials.
3. Green technology
Nanoparticles can be used in decreasing the current environmental impact. It can be used to purify water, desalinate water, treat wastewater, and other remediation of water with minimum impact on the environment. It can also be used for everyday household uses like stain removing, sealing, cleaning, etc. Using nanotechnology can significantly decrease the adverse impact our actions might have put on the environment.
The development of semiconductors has made harvesting solar energy easier and more efficient. Other development in the field of nanotechnology has caused lowering in the price of fuels and also save energy.
Electronics is one of the most influenced areas by nanotechnology. The demand for increasing efficiency of devices in a compact surface area is a major attraction and need in the current world. Nanotechnology developments like chips have been able to provide this to the people. There have also been developments like decreasing weight, improving screen quality, and increasing efficiency.
Nanoparticles are have shown an increased catalytic property to boost chemical reactions. This can produce high power explosives for warfare.
Nanotechnology has made the development of fabrics that do not stain or wrinkle, are strong, light possible.
Some of the major Products used in today’s world that incorporate Nanotechnology are as follows:
1. Carbon Nanotube Body Armor
2. Surface protecting material
3. Solar panel
4. Fortified foods
5. Titanium cosmetics
6. Packaging materials
8. Transdermal patches
11. Antimicrobial bandages
13. Inflammable furniture
What jobs Uses nanotechnology?
The scale of use of nanotechnology has been increasing with its development. It has a major impact on our everyday life and this impact has been increasing with a wide range of opportunities in the field. Molecules make op the world and thus the use of nanotechnology is everywhere.
Some of the major jobs that require the use of nanotechnology are listed below but please note that not every job there requires you to be a scientist or an engineer. The demand for a skill depends on the job.
Following are the Jobs that uses Nanotechnology:
1. Electronic developer
2. Semi-Conductor developer
3. Material Scientist
4. Automobile engineer
5. Sports goods manufacturer
6. Computing engineer
7. Medical field
9. Environment product developer
12. Genetic Engineer
14. Biomedical engineer
What is the disease nanotechnology can cure?
Nanotechnology has been exploited in the field of medicine and various treatments have been developed focusing on nano products. These nano products inbuilt or enhance the effect of the immune system or medication on the body and lead to positive change. Proper knowledge is required before using this novel technology as it might have toxicological effects on the body too.
Some of the wells tested nanotechnology to help diseases are as follows:
1. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system of the body attacks the body tissues and endanger their functioning. Nanomaterials are engineered to modulate the antigen cells and decrease the innate immune signaling to help heal these diseases. One example of this is in the treatment of autoimmune encephalomyelitis in which glucocorticoid loaded with liposome was found beneficial.
2. Nanotechnology can also cure neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and brain injuries. Nano constructs could deliver drugs that protect the neurons from degeneration or help in its recovery from damage. Nano scaffolds could soon result in rewiring the brain pattern and thus cure such diseases.
3. Nanotechnology development would be able to cure cancer in the near future by locating the tumors and destroying it directly without harming the healthy cells like in chemotherapy or radiation. This less invasive method would be better than surgery as this technology makes removing every molecule of the cancel cell possible.
4. Nanotechnology also aims to cure diseases and disabilities like cardiovascular disease, flu, HIV, regenerate libs, etc
What are the ethical issues of nanotechnology?
Every new scientific technology has an unforeseen future. The horizon of development is so wide that anything could happen. This uncertainty raises a lot of questions and ethical issues. Nanotechnology also has this pronounced divide, because of the ethical issues it raises, between people who support its development and ones who fear what it might bring to the world.
As nanotechnology has the potential to alter our lives, this technology can one day have control over the world and make the earth a gray goo. The cost of development might also be a failure to protect the people from its harms initially which is another main ethical issue in the field of nanotechnology.
Essential regulations have to be formulated to enhance the positive effects of nanotechnology but a hindrance in research should be avoided.
What is the future of nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology today is just at its beginning phase. This emerging science has an extremely strong future for advancement. We are currently at the first level of nanotechnology which is the enhancement of existing materials but when we reach the third or fourth stage (second last or last stage) the complexities further.
There will be nanorobot that will perform tasks with high precision. There might be a molecular system to grow organs and will create technologies that we can not imagine in our wildest dreams.
We might be able to call for tools, which might again disappear after its use. These nanoparticles might also make gas stations and charging ports obsolete.
The future of this technology is as wide as the universe.