Nanotechnology, the tiny problem solver
Posted on Feb. 17, 2020, 5:43 p.m.
What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale.
What's so special about the Nanoscale?
The fact that a majority of biological processes occur at the nanoscale gives scientists models and templates to imagine and construct new processes that can enhance their work in medicine, imaging, computing, printing, chemical catalysis, materials synthesis, and many other fields.
Benefits and Applications
Many fields already have taken advantage of Nanotechnology. In everyday materials, knowledge of nanotechnology is used for lightweighting of cars, airplanes, for ceramic, for enzymes, etc.
In electrics and IT fields, transistors and IC chips are processing electric signals in tiny space. This is one of examples of benefits.
Future of Nanotechnology
Tiny doctors in our body
Wearable fitness technology means we can monitor our health by strapping gadgets to ourselves. There are even prototype electronic tattoos that can sense our vital signs. But by scaling down this technology, we could go further by implanting or injecting tiny sensors inside our bodies. This would capture much more detailed information with less hassle to the patient, enabling doctors to personalise their treatment.
Self healing structure
If cracks do appear then nanotechnology could play a further role. Changing the structure of materials at the nanoscale can give them some amazing properties – by giving them a texture that repels water, for example. In the future, nanotechnology coatings or additives will even have the potential to allow materials to "heal" when damaged or worn. For example, dispersing nanoparticles throughout a material means that they can migrate to fill in any cracks that appear. This could produce self-healing materials for everything from aircraft cockpits to microelectronics, preventing small fractures from turning into large, more problematic cracks.
Tackling climate change
The fight against climate change means we need new ways to generate and use electricity, and nanotechnology is already playing a role. It has helped create batteries that can store more energy for electric cars and has enabled solar panels to convert more sunlight into electricity.