What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulation and control of matter on atomic and molecular levels having at least one characteristic dimension belonging to the nanoscale, ranging from 1 to 100 nm. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter (10−9 m).
The Origin of Nanotechnology
The concept of nanotechnology was first introduced by the American physicist and Nobel laureate R. Feynman in 1959. During the annual meeting of the American Physical Society held at the California Institute of Technology, Feynman delivered a lecture titled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, speculating on the possibilities of controlling matter on a molecular scale.
How does Nanotechnology work?
Nanotechnologies involve controlling and manipulating nanomaterials in a way that the novel structures, devices, and systems produced possess at least one superior characteristic or property.
Nanotechnology aims to improve the existing industrial processes, materials, and applications by scaling them down to the nanoscale in order to fully exploit the unique surface and quantum phenomena that matter exhibits at the nanoscale. This trend complements the businesses’ ongoing quest to improve existing products by producing smaller components and high-performance materials, all at a reduced cost.
Where is Nanotechnology used?
Nanotechnology advances are impacting a variety of sectors, including consumer electronics, medical, aerospace, automotive, infrastructure, and agriculture. It is being used to enhance the functionality of products and impact production and processes.
- In biological fields, the incorporation of nanomaterials has led to the development of analytical tools, diagnostic devices, contrast agents, and drug-delivery vehicles.
- In electronics, the applications of nanotechnology include the use of carbon nanotubes in semiconductor chips, the use of ‘quantum dots’ in lasers, nanomaterials in lighting technologies, etc.
- In food and agriculture, companies are using nanomaterials to make a difference not only in the taste of food, but also for food safety, and the health benefits that food delivers.
- In energy, nanoparticles can be used to store energy more efficiently. Moreover, nanotechnologies hold the potential to develop both conventional energy sources (nuclear fuels and fossils) and renewable energy sources like sun, wind, water, etc.