Nanotechnology is the branch of science and engineering where it deals with the materials at its molecular level called nanoparticle i.e. at the scale of 1-100 nm (nanometers). Richard Feynman is known as the father of nanotechnology. It involves imaging, measuring, manipulating and modeling matter at this scale, 1 nm is somewhat 1 billionth of a meter.
The matters like solids, liquids, and gases tend to change their physical and chemical properties at this scale for ex. most of the materials and substances are not visible through the naked eye and differ in their magnetic properties and they may even be good conductors of heat and electricity and they become more reactive or reflect light or may change their color. The main aim behind nanotechnology is to make the products handy, portable, independent, reliable and less than the size of our hand and making the products thinner and slimmer. They are unusual physical and chemical characteristics can occur because there is an increase in surface area compared to volume as particles get smaller and also because they are subject to quantum effects. This means they can behave in different ways and may not follow the same laws of physics that larger objects do. It can be seen through Atomic Force Microscope.
Importance of nanotechnology
The main feature of this technology is that they are very small so, they can reach that places where it is not possible for humans like in the medicine, the nanodevices can be used to perform operations and diagnosis more precisely, due to their small nature they can make things more handy and portable. Their implications are wide-ranging including medicine, astronomy, military, computing etc. They are used in certain materials like sunscreens, self-cleaning glasses, and lipsticks and can be used to deliver drugs at the right place of the infected area in the body but some scientists fear of its risks to mankind and environment and it can be dangerous and harmful to experiment with it because it is unknown.
Features of Nanotechnology
- It can be used for shaping memory materials
- Nano-materials can be used for water purification
- It can be used for self-assembling
- It can be used in miniaturizing mechanical surgery
- It can be used for fabrication of electronic biosensors
- Nanoscale additives to or surface treatments of fabrics can provide lightweight ballistic energy deflection in personal body armor
- Clear nanoscale films on eyeglasses, computer, camera displays, windows and other surfaces can make them water and residue repellent and also it can be used for anti-reflective, self-cleaning and it is also resistant to ultraviolet or infrared light, anti-fog, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant, or electrically conductive.
- The light-weighting of cars, trucks, airplanes, boats, and spacecraft could lead to significant fuel savings.
Manufacturing at the nanoscale is called nanomanufacturing that includes scaled-up, reliable, and cost-effective manufacturing of nanoscale materials, structures, devices, and systems and it also includes research, development, and integration of top-down processes and increasingly complex bottom-up or self-assembly processes. The processes that enable nanomanufacturing are
- Chemical Vapour Deposition
- Dip Pen Lithography
- Nanoimprint Lithography
- Atomic Layer Epitaxy and etc.
The Structures and properties of the materials can be improved through nanomanufacturing processes. Today’s nanotechnology-enabled products range from baseball bats to catalysts for refining crude oil and also ultrasensitive detection and identification of biochemical toxins.
The use of nanotechnology in medicine is called nanomedicine. Nanomedicine can improve the treatment of patients, operations and proper drug delivery to particular infected cells. It also involves manufacturing of nanorobots to make repairs at the cellular level and nanodevices may help in the successful treatment of cancer by burning or destroying only the affected cells, not the healthy cells. It can be used in therapy techniques, diagnostic techniques, anti-microbial techniques, cell repair etc.
- Nanotechnology in telecommunication and computer industry
It will also have a huge effect in this industry, especially the processor size will decrease but will be more powerful than processors used today. The whole scenario of this industry will be changed if implemented properly and a huge amount of data can be transmitted and transferred easily. The nanotechnology will bring devices and gadgets in our hands.
With more research and developments in nanotechnology more applications and its needs will be discovered and if mishandled it can be harmful to mankind and environment.