The Future is Nano

Nano Technology – The Sixth Revolutionary Technology

According to an article in ASME.org,

‘nanotechnology will leave virtually no aspect of life untouched and is expected to be in widespread use by 2020.’ 

In addition, a policy paper by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) describes nanotechnology as modern history’s “sixth revolutionary technology,” following the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s, nuclear energy revolution in the 1940s, green revolution in the 1960s, information technology revolution in the 1980s, and biotechnology revolution in the 1990s.

The past 70 years have seen the way we live and work transformed by two tiny inventions. The electronic transistor and the microchip are what make all modern electronics possible, and since their development in the 1940s they’ve been getting smaller. Today, one chip can contain as many as 5 billion transistors.

A nanometre (nm) is one billionth of a metre and so this kind of engineering involves manipulating individual atoms. It is in fact the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules. At this scale normal material matter has unique physical, chemical, and biological properties that enable new applications. Some nanostructured materials are stronger or have different magnetic properties; some are better at conducting heat or electricity, or may become more chemically reactive, reflect light better, or change color as their size or structure is altered.

Nanotechnology also involves biology, several disciplines of engineering, material science, and medicine. Anywhere molecules and atoms are concerned, nanotechnology can potentially play a role. The primary cause of many diseases is still unknown. This is where the tools of nanotechnology enter into the picture. Researchers are using the tools of nanoscience; atomic force microscope (AFM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscoe (TEM) and so on to understand how biological systems work at the molecular level.Nanotechnology is expected to have a significant impact on improving the quality of health care through early and reliable diagnostics of diseases, better drugs, targeted drug delivery, improved implants, and other applications.

Nanotechnology will help automotive manufacturers make the paint last longer, decrease the rust factor, make windows easier to clean, make stronger tires, and make bodies lighter weight and thus, more fuel efficient. One of the major contributions that nanotechnology can make in the transportation sector is lighter weight and high strength composite materials for the construction of airplanes and automobiles.In the automotive sector, the biggest thrust is to develop alternatives to gasoline and diesel powered engines. Researchers are looking into efficient storage of hydrogen into nanoporous materials that would enable hydrogen powered cars.

Nanotechnology has enabled many advances in computer memory, increasing storage size, reducing power consumption, and increasing speed.

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