The field of nanotechnology deals with particles of matter such as atoms and molecules on a very small scale. This scale is called the nanoscale and goes beyond what many other technologies are capable of doing. For this reason, nanotechnology can do so much and has many applications, some of which are looked at here.
What Is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is used in diversely different applications from medical science to technology. This is because the broad definition relates to the size of the particles being manipulated. If they are on the scale of 1-100 nanometers, then this falls under nanotechnology.
A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter, and this makes it very, very small. To get a field for what this scale is, this is the range for the diameter of a strand of DNA or the length of the molecular bond between two atoms of carbon. Small living organisms such as bacteria fall just outside of the nanoscale because they are longer than 100 nanometers.
The earliest scientific work that can be linked to this area of technology is the work of Richard Feynman. As a well-known physicist, he held a talk in 1959 entitled ‘There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,’ where he discussed working with particles at a small atomic level. It was not until 1974 when the term nanotechnology was first used, and this by Norio Taniguchi.
In the decades that followed, many scientists delved into nanotechnology research and made tremendous progress and discoveries. Being able to manipulate the smallest particles of matter could open radical new doors to what could be made and accomplished.
Naturally, new ways of handling and engineering particles on the nanoscale have been established as the field has grown. New tools and devices were needed to engineer the tiny particles. Some examples of these include the atomic force microscope, scanning probe microscopes, optical lithography, and many more.
Applications of Nanotechnology
Many of the applications of nanotechnology are vital for the modern age of technology that we live in. There are over 800 different products that make use of nanotechnology on the market. A simple example is the nanomaterial titanium dioxide. This compound is created using nanotechnology manipulation and is widely used in products such as surface coatings, cosmetics, and sunscreen. Another nanomaterial, zinc oxide, is similarly used in these same applications. Some carbon nanomaterials known as carbon allotropes are used in gecko tape.
Nanotechnology manipulation can produce a range of new valuable properties and capabilities in different products. One particular example of this is the incorporation of nanomaterials into balls for various sports to improve performance. These materials and coatings can do anything from lengthening the lifespan of a tennis ball to increasing the aerodynamics and control of a golf ball.
Nanomaterials are also used in the clothing and textile industry. The result is longer-lasting clothing and improved aeration, particularly during the hot summer season. Bandages are often also infused with nanoparticles of silver to improve the wound healing process. Nanotechnology is also being used in many other medical applications, including implant technology and diagnostics.
One field where nanotechnology and nanomaterials find a wide range of applications is in the area of electronics and technology parts and devices. Nanomaterials are important in memory chips and help to increase the capacity and speed of these important parts. This affects the computer, video game, and phone industries.
Nanotechnology research is a wide field. Many university and industrial research centers around the world are heavily invested in it. There are so many new nanotech applications in the works that have the potential to radicalize various industries and improve different processes. Be in health, motor vehicle engines, and the clean energy revolution, nanotechnology is set to produce great improvements.