We all know that technology has come a very long way over the years, with more and more of us now relying on advanced technology on a day to day basis. However, it is important to remember that technology is not all about high tech smartphones, big screen TVs, and internet enabled devices. Technology is something that spans a variety of different fields, and one area of technology that you may not be familiar with is nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology refers to the study and manipulation of matter on an atomic or molecular scale. Put in simple terms, it refers to the science and technology of ‘small things’ – generally those that are smaller than 100 nanometers. During studies, experts have come to realize that the structure and properties of materials at small dimensions and made up of small particles are very different to the same materials but on a larger scale. The aim of those that study nanotechnology, therefore, is to better understand these differences with a view to technological improvement in the future.
Important principles in the world of nanotechnology
Of course, on a wider scale nanotechnology is an area that is complex and in-depth, just like other areas of technology. However, most agree that there are three key principles that are important when it comes to nanotechnology. This includes:
- Sizing, which is measured in nanometers
- Unique properties results from small size
- Ability to control the properties through control of structure and composition on the nm scale
It is important to remember that there are many different nanostructures as well as nanoscale materials. These were not created by man but they have been extensively studies by man. Nanostructure refers to objects that have nanoscale features. Nanoscale materials are also those with nanoscale features, which gives them unique properties. The idea behind nanotechnology is to gain a better understanding of these structures and properties in order to create new devices and materials that are functional and innovative.
The future of nanotechnology
Scientists and researchers have dedicates a lot of time over recent years when it comes to the study of nanotechnology. This technology has already been used in a range of applications, and further studies will result in even greater benefits for the world as a whole. When it comes to the future of nanotechnology, we could be looking at all sorts of valuable applications ranging from nano-medicine and energy production through to nano-electrics and consumer products.
Of course, it is important to look at the downside as well as the upside when it comes to nanotechnology – or any other type of technology for that matter. Of course, scientists and researchers have very high hopes in terms of the huge global benefits that nanotechnology will eventually be able to provide. A lot of ongoing research and study is required but there is little doubt that this technology could make a huge positive impact on the world as we know it.
On the downside, however, the potential negative impact of nanotechnology use cannot be ignored. There are concerns about toxicity issues or negative effects on the environment. There are also concerns in relation to the effects of nanotechnology on global economics. As a result of these concerns, many debates have taken place with regards to the possible special regulation of nanotechnology as a means of enhanced security and protection.
How has nanotechnology changed the world so far?
There is no doubt that ongoing research in the nanotechnology field will lead to huge advancements in years to come. However, this technology has already resulted in a range of valuable additions and has helped to shape our future in a variety of ways. There are many applications in which nanotechnology has already been used. Some of these include:
- Conductive ink: This has been researched and made from silver nanoparticles. The ink is designed to conduct electricity, which means that in the future we could be using hand-drawn circuit boards.
- Fighting cancer: There are various ways in which nanotechnology is being used in the fight against cancer. This includes use in a variety of devices used in the detection of cancer and other diseases. Nanotechnology has also been trialed and used in radioactive treatment to fight cancer at the source.
- Nano-absorption: The technology has already been used to create flexible, ultra absorbent materials that are used in various industries. This is something that was actually discovered by accident during testing for other qualities.
- Delivery of gene therapy and drugs: There seems to be regular advancements in the delivery of gene therapy and drugs, and this is partly down to research in the world of nanotechnology. This technology has made big waves in the medical world and will most likely continue to do so.
- Skin protection: We may not realize it, but many of us already use nanoparticles for protection. These are found in the sunscreens that we use during the warmer months to protect our skin from UV rays. These products contain nano particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide due to their reflective properties.
These are just some of the ways in which nanotechnology has already impact on our lives or is likely to do so in the near future. There is, of course, a lot left to learn in this field, so the possibilities could be endless.
As you can see, the world of nanotechnology is one that we have only just tapped into in the grand scheme of things. There is so much to explore and learn when it comes to this technology, and the rewards could be huge in the future. Already, scientists have realized the immense positive impact this technology could have upon the world.
Of course, there are always concerns when it comes to any form of advanced technology. It is important for experts to look at the potential dangers of this technology as well as its benefits. However, there is little doubt that as we find out more about nanotechnology, we will be in a better position to make use of it in the most effective ways possible.