Nanotechnology is a field of study concerned with manipulating matter at the nano scale. When dealing with nano tech, the work is usually being done at the scale between 1 and 100 nanometers. For perspective, the width of a human hair is generally 80,000 nanometers. Currently, it has applications in various fields such as engineering, material science and manufacturing.
With advancements in scientific tools, scientists observed that the properties of materials could be altered at the nanoscale. That finding is the building block of nano technology. Scientists and engineers use this phenomenon to enhance various material properties such as higher strength, lighter weight and greater chemical reactivity; which would not be possible otherwise.
Nanowires and nanotubes are being researched upon at the current scenario. Wires with the diameter as small as 1 nanometer are nanowires. They can be used to build tiny transistors for computer chips and other electrical devices.
A nanotube of greater use-case is carbon nanotube. It is synthetically manufactured by rolling a sheet of carbon atoms into a tube. Their properties depend upon how we roll the sheet of carbon atoms.
We can readily find products which are direct applications of nanotech. Sunscreens are enhanced by using zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Without it, they used to leave a whitish tinge on the skin after application. It was due to the larger size of particles previously used.
Similarly, waterproof clothes are made by coating the fabrics with a thin layer of zinc oxide, which helps to repel the water drops and UV radiation.
The unknown in this field has also brought up some ethical questions. There are certain claims that nanoparticles could be toxic. These issues are not new as every technology becomes more refined as we reach further iterations of their development. The complexity of research has made it a challenging field to move forwards.
Developments are being made in a slow pace due to this very reason. A point to note is that nano technology is still being researched upon. The future of nano technology is yet to unfold as newer discoveries come into the limelight.
Nanosoccer is an event where computer-driven “nanobots” the size of dust mites challenge one another on fields no bigger than a grain of rice. Often sponsored by government laboratories, nanosoccer teams from all over the world compete in events such as the “RoboCup.”
Everyday Uses of Nanaotechnology:
Infographic Source: cen.acs.org