Nanotechnology – Definition, History, Applications, Examples, and More
Table of Contents
Nanotechnology is the operation and manufacture of materials and artefacts at an atomic or molecular scale, nanometric. This is a vast field of research and applications still in consolidation.
Nanotechnology involves subatomic matter and the specific knowledge of scientific disciplines such as organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductors, microfabrication, and surface science.
Put very simply; nanotechnology is based on the idea of building microscopic machines. In which, in turn, produce novel materials with a unique and particular molecular configuration.
However, many of these “machines” are not similar to those we use daily but may well consist of genetically “reprogrammed” worms and other biotechnological means. So, this technology is an infinite source of possibilities and dangers.
In addition, nanomaterials have been built over nanotechnology, which are elements that do not exist in nature and have unique properties. They were created by adapting the molecules of the already current materials.
Thus, a gigantic field of study unlocks with virtually unlimited requests, which are still under definition and testing—nanotechnology capacities to bring a new industrial and scientific-technological revolt.
History of Nanotechnology
In 1959, the option of nanotechnology and nanoscience was first discussed. The chief to refer to them was a Nobel Prize in Physics (1965), the American Richard Feynman (1918-1988), during his speech at Caltech (California, USA), in which theorizes about synthesis by a direct operation of atoms.
However, the term “nanotechnology” was invented in 1974 by the Japanese Norio Taniguchi (1912-1999). Since then, many have been persons who fantasize or hypothesise about the possibility of this type of advanced machine and materials.
For the sample, the American engineer Kim Eric Drexler (1955) participate in the popularization of the term and this type of research, primarily responsible for the formal beginning of the field of study of nanotechnology in the 1980s. This, in addition, responds to the fees of the time in microscopy and the discovery of fullerenes in 1985.
Starting in the year 2000, nanomaterials began to use industrially. In response, world governments invested considerable sums in nanotechnology research and development.
Its applications to biochemistry, medicine, and genetic engineering seemed soon after. Today it is one of the technical fields of most excellent validity and demand even in countries of the so-called Third World.
What is Nanotechnology For?
Nanotechnology is a material engineering-type at the atomic or molecular scale in basic terms. This means that it allows matter to manipulate on an infinitesimally small scale, between 1 and 100 nanometers. On more or less between the size of a DNA molecule (2 nm) and a bacterium of the Mycoplasma genus (200 nm).
Therefore, the uses of nanotechnology are virtually infinite: from intervening in the chemical composition of living beings, thus allowing the DNA of microscopic living beings to modify and “programmed” to carry out specific biochemical tasks, to the manufacture of novel materials. and unique properties, called nanomaterials.
Applications of Nanotechnology
Some of the current applications of nanotechnology take to do with:
- Textile industry: The formation of smart fabrics, capable of pre-programmed behaviour in chips or other electronic instruments, thus being able to be self-cleaning, stain-repellent, or able to change colour and temperature.
- Agricultural design: Development of controlled biochemical pesticides, pesticides, and fertilizers that improve soils, as well as nanosensors for the detection of groundwater, nutrient concentration, etc.
- Livestock support: Manufacture through nanoparticles of vaccines and drugs to take care of the health of livestock or nanosensors capable of alerting about the presence of diseases, parasites, etc.
- Food industry: In this area, food sensors are being developed, that is, elements that can check the viability of food, to nanocontainers for it, specially design to slow down the natural process of food decomposition.
- Nanopharmaceuticals: It is the first generation of pharmacological products designed with nanosystems, capable of efficiently and specifically distributing. If the active compounds of medicines, obtain better and faster results and minimise collateral damage.
- On the other hand, the industry sees the following as future fields of research:
- Nanoinformatics: The design of computer systems of colossal power and speed through nanosystems.
- Nanothermology: Application of nanomachines to regulate local temperature efficiently and quickly.
- Nanoenergies: They could well be efficient, safe, and with a low environmental impact as a solution to the energy crisis with which the 21st century begins.
- Environmental solutions: As nanotechnological systems for hazardous waste or garbage disposal.
Examples of Nanotechnology
A couple of examples of the current nanotechnology application to human problems are the next:
- Bactericidal black silicon: Australian and Spanish experts publicized the creation of a physical known as black silicon. If whose molecular configuration stops, without the need for added products. Its the proliferation of numerous species of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, in addition to reducing the effectiveness of certain types of endospores.
- Nanosurgery using a robot: The Swiss laboratory ETH Zürich is preparing to test its first magnetically guided microrobot, known as OctoMag, In with which it hopes to be able to carry out microsurgery without. It is opening the patient, simply by injecting it into the body through a small needle. Similar models of micropumps have also been verified in the US, which release drugs into the eye when necessary.
Nanotechnology in Medicine
The promises of nanotechnology for advancing medicine are staggering. Above we gave a pair of examples of it, but there is still much to discover, such as:
- Nano treatment for incurable diseases: Nanotechnological solutions to cancer, HIV/AIDS, or Alzheimer’s disease could come from biochemical robots. It is injected into the human body.
- Nanotechnological slowing of ageing: One day, we could, through nanoparticles, combat ageing at a molecular level and further extend our life expectancy, delaying senility.
- Nanovaccines: Protection systems against diseases based on the introduction of nanosystems to the body. In which would be in charge of assisting the immune system in the fight against all kinds of new infections.
- Genetic reprogramming: Through nanorobots, it would be possible to adapt our DNA and gradually eliminate the genes that carry congenital. In diseases, deficiencies, and other ills. This would recover the quality of life of the species in general. This, of course, also needs to rethink the moral laws of science up to a confident level.
Nanotechnology and Biotechnology
Biotechnology is the application of technological solutions to biological problems. It takes on a whole new level thanks to the introduction of nanosciences.
The possibility of software design or reprogramming living beings over the nanotechnological. The interference of DNA could permit us to guide life towards more convenient paths. However, biotechnology and nanotechnology will involve significant ethical and biological risks. For example, the production of extra dairy cows and more meat crops resistant to pests, etc. If should always go hand in hand with the reflection on our place in the world’s natural order. Humanity knows only too well what happens when he tries to play God.
Nanotechnology works with materials and structures whose magnitudes are slow in nanometers, equivalent to one morsel of a meter. A nanomaterial has morphological properties smaller than a tenth of a micrometre in at least one dimension. Considering that the supplies must have height, width, and length, one of these three dimensions is less than a tenth of a meter divided by 1 million.
This applied science develops at the level of bits and molecules. Chemistry, biology, and physics are some of the fields of application of nanotechnology. Which appears as hope for solving various problems.