What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the term given to those disciplines of science and engineering that encompass phenomena taking place on nanometer-scale dimensions in order to design, characterise, produce, and apply new materials, structures, devices, and systems. There are several natural structural examples with nanoscale dimensions, such as vital chemicals in the human body and dietary components. Although many technologies have accidentally included nanoscale structures for many years, it has only been possible to actively and purposefully manipulate molecules and structures within this size range in the last quarter of a century. This is due to recent advancements in the field of nanotechnology. The capacity of nanotechnology to exercise control at this scale makes it peculiar and is the reason for its vast distinctiveness compared to other technology subfields.

Two very minor innovations have profoundly impacted the way we work and live during the past seventy years. Since their invention in the 1940s, the electronic transistor and the microchip have undergone a process of continuous miniaturisation, which makes it feasible for modern electronics to exist. These days, a single chip may pack as many as 5 billion transistors into its circuitry. If automobiles had followed the same route of development as aeroplanes, we would be able to drive them at a speed of 300,000 miles per hour now, and they would only cost three pounds each. However, to maintain this level of advancement, we will need the ability to manufacture circuits on the nanometer scale, which is exceedingly tiny. As one nanometer (nm) is equivalent to one billionth of a metre, this type of engineering requires the manipulation of individual atoms. Nanoparticles can be achieved in many ways, such as directing a beam of electrons at the material or vaporising the material and then depositing the gaseous atoms that arise from the process, layer by layer, onto a base. The problem is to use such approaches reliably to produce functional nanoscale devices. The nanoscale brings about quite distinct changes in the physical characteristics of matter, including its melting point, conductivity, and chemical reactivity. The efficiency of a device might be impacted negatively by its reduction in size. However, should we be successful in mastering this technology, we will gain the ability to enhance not just electronics but also a wide variety of other aspects of modern life.

The Significance of Nanotechnology —

There is little doubt that the variety of applications in nanotechnology has the potential to have a very substantial effect on society. It is normal to suppose that using nanotechnology will greatly benefit both individuals and organisations in the long run. The large surface accompanies new phenomena to volume ratio ratios experienced at these dimensions, accompanied by quantum effects unseen at larger dimensions. These applications involve new materials that provide radically different properties through functioning at the nanoscale. These include materials drawn into very thin films and used in catalysis and electronics; materials formed into two-dimensional nanotubes and nanowires and used in optical and magnetic systems and cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and coatings.

The information and communications industry, which encompasses disciplines such as electronics and optoelectronics, the food technology sector, the energy technology sector, and the medical goods sector, are the industrial sectors that most readily adopt nanotechnology. Other industries, including: nanomedicine and bio-nanotechnology, are reasonably widespread terminologies in these sectors, encompassing various elements of biopharmaceutical and narcotic delivery systems, diagnostics, and medical breakthroughs. These sectors contain many distinct aspects of nanomedicine and bio-nanotechnology.

However, these novel substances could potentially introduce new dangers to human health. The human race has devised defence systems to defend itself from a wide range of environmental agents ranging in severity. However, up until quite recently, they never had any experience with synthetic nanoparticles or the particular properties that they possess. Therefore, it is likely that the conventional human defence mechanisms, such as the immune and inflammatory systems, may not be able to respond efficiently to these nanoparticles. In addition, nanoparticles may disperse and remain in the environment, affecting the natural world.

Application of Nanotechnology –

1. Implantable Medical Devices-

Because of advancements in wearable fitness technology, we now can track our progress toward our fitness goals by attaching various devices to ourselves. Even prototype electronic tattoos that can monitor our vital signs are currently in development. However, if we were to make this technology smaller, we would be able to go much farther by implanting or injecting tiny sensors into our bodies. Since of this, medical professionals would be able to provide more individualised care for patients because they would have access to far more comprehensive information.
The possibilities are almost unlimited and range from monitoring inflammation and the recovery process after surgery to more outlandish applications in which electronic gadgets actively interfere with the signals that our body uses to govern the operation of our organs. Even though it might sound like these technologies won't be around for quite some time, multi-billion dollar healthcare companies like GlaxoSmithKline are already researching methods to build so-called "electroceuticals."

2. Sensors-

To transition into smaller, more sophisticated, and more energy-efficient systems, these sensors utilise recently developed nanomaterials and manufacturing processes.

For instance, sensors with microscopic features can now be printed in huge quantities on flexible plastic rolls at a relatively modest cost. This paves the way for the potential of installing sensors at a variety of sites throughout the vital infrastructure to carry out continuous checks to ensure that everything is functioning appropriately. This might be beneficial for bridges, aircraft, and possibly nuclear power facilities.

3. Self-Healing Materials-

By altering the structure of materials on the nanoscale, it is possible to provide them with extraordinary features. For instance, one may endow the materials with a hydrophobic surface.

In the near future, coatings or additives made using nanotechnology could potentially have the ability to "repair" materials when they have been damaged or worn down. When nanoparticles are dispersed throughout a material, for instance, it enables those particles to migrate and fill in any cracks in the substance. This might result in self-healing materials that could be used in various applications, from airplane cockpits to microelectronics. These materials would prevent minor fractures from expanding into more prominent, more troublesome flaws.

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