Technological has allowed us to manipulate our surroundings according to our wishes.
Technological has allowed us to manipulate our surroundings according to our wishes. They have taken us to the moon and enabled us to explore the depths of the ocean. In the present, it may allow us to re-create matter by making changes at the atomic scale. This is where the term ‘Nanotechnology’ comes in. Nanotechnology is the science that studies and manipulates matter at a Nano-scale. To give an idea, ‘Nano’ means one billionth of a meter (10 -9 m). Nanotechnology uses advanced techniques and machines to arrange atoms and molecules within a structure to form new substances. These substances are cost- efficient, lighter, stronger, and low-maintenance.
The idea was first presented by American physicist Richard Feynman in 1959 during the annual ‘American Physical Society’ meeting. He discussed the possibilities of creating matter by direct controlling of atoms and molecules. The idea did not gain much attention at that time. The term ‘nanotechnology’ was first used in 1974. In the 1980’s, Feynman’s idea gained the support of the advocates of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology owes its progress to the development of extraordinary instruments like a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and scanning tunneling microscope (STM). These precision instruments allow us to view structures and study the properties of different substances at an atomic-level. These properties are very different from their properties at a macro level. Thus, unique characteristics can be developed in these substances at Nano-level by changing the molecular arrangement.
At present, the applications of Nanotechnology are more fiction than reality. However, some existing processes are using Nanotechnology on a large scale. For example
- Carbon nano-tubes (rolled up sheets of carbon) are used in products like rackets, golf clubs, etc.
- Some mineral water plants use ‘Carbon nano-tube filtration devices to remove toxins from water.
- Bandages containing nano-particles of silver prevent infection of wounds.
- Sunscreens containing nano-particles of zinc or titanium dioxide absorb cancer-causing radiations
- Water resistant clothing and lightweight bullet-proof Wests also contain nano-particles
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If we talk about movies, then Tony Stark's new suit in ‘Avengers: Infinity War' is one example of he future of nanotechnology. The CW's Supergirl shows ‘nanobots’ that can heal injuries. Spiderman’s iron suite made by Tony Stark also contains nano-particles.
Nanotechnology will find its applications in almost every field. For example, drug-delivery systems and nano-particles targeting specific disease cells will increase the efficiency of medical processes. Nano-
factories, in the future, may reduce the cost of product manufacturing. These factories will manufacture faster, powerful, and cost-effective computers than the existing ones. Nanotechnology will be used in developing processes and techniques for the cleaning of the environment and reducing pollution.