What is Nano technology?
Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers (nm), where unique phenomena enable novel applications not feasible when working with bulk materials or even with single atoms or molecules. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Researchers seeking to understand the fundamentals of properties at the nanoscale call their work nanoscience; those focused on effective use of the properties call their work nanoengineering.
Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. The nanoscale is the dimensional range of approximately 1 to 100 nanometers.
Why develop Nanotechnology?
The goal of nanotechnology is to improve our control over how we build things, so that our products can be of the highest quality and while causing the lowest environmental impact. Nanotech is even expected to help us heal the damage our past cruder and dirtier technologies have caused to the biosphere.
Nanotechnology has been identified as essential in solving many of the problems facing humanity. Specifically, it is the key to addressing the Foresight Nanotech Challenges:
1.Providing Renewable Clean Energy
2. Supplying Clean Water Globally
3. Improving Health and Longevity
4. Healing and Preserving the Environment
5. Making Information Technology Available To All
6. Enabling Space Development
How can nanotechnology promise to build products with both extreme precision in structure, and environmental cleanliness in the production process?
Traditional manufacturing builds in a “top down” fashion, taking a chunk of material and removing chunks of it – for example, by grinding, or by dissolving with acids – until the final product part is achieved. The goal of nanotechnology is to instead build in a “bottom-up” fashion, starting with individual molecules and bringing them together to form product parts in which every atom is in a precise, designed location. In comparison with the top-down approach, this method could potentially have much less material left over, greatly reducing pollution.
In practice, both top-down and bottom-up methods are useful and being actively pursued at the nanoscale. However, the ultimate goal of building products with atomic precision will require a bottom-up approach.
How is Nanotech different from biotech?
Based on the definition of nanotech given above, biotech can be thought of as a subset of nanotech – “nature’s nanotechnology.” Biotech uses the molecular structures, devices, and systems found in plants and animals to create new molecular products. Nanotech is more general, not being limited to existing natural structures, devices, and systems, and instead designing and building new, non-biological ones. These can be quite different: harder, stronger, tougher, and able to survive a dry or hot environment, unlike biology. For example, nanotech products can be used to build an automobile or spacecraft.
Which country leads in Nanotechnology?
World leadership in nanotechnology varies according to which sub-category of technology is being examined. In general, nanotechnology is unlike a number of recent major technological innovations in that the U.S. does not hold a very strong lead at the start. High quality work is taking place around the world, including countries with a higher fraction of engineering graduates, much lower R&D costs, and (unfortunately) less-stringent environmental standards.
Where is Nano technology being developed?
Research and development of nanotechnology is taking place worldwide. As this is written, government spending is at approximately one billion U.S. dollars in each of four global areas: (1) the United States, (2) Europe, (3) Japan, and (4) the rest of the world, including China, Israel, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and India. Similar amounts are said to be being spent in the private sector, with these figures being quite difficult to determine accurately due to the breadth of the nanotech definition, which includes a large number of older technologies.
Are there any safety or environmental issues with the nanotechnology in use today?
Concerns have been raised regarding potential health and environmental effects of the passive nanostructures termed “nanoparticles.” Regulatory agencies and standards bodies are beginning to look at these issues, though significantly more funding for these efforts is required. Foresight is working with the International Council on Nanotechnology to address these concerns.
What is foresight’s role in nanotechnology?
As the leading public interest organization in nanotechnology since its founding in 1986, Foresight seeks to promote beneficial nanotechnology.
Foresight concerns itself with policy development and education on societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology, including both advancing positive applications and attempting to minimize potential downsides to the technology.
What are applications of Nanotechnology?
- Medicine- The biological and medical research communities have exploited the unique properties of nanomaterials for various applications (e.g., contrast agents for cell imaging and therapeutics for treating cancer). Terms such as biomedical nanotechnology, Nano biotechnology, and Nano medicine are used to describe this hybrid field.
- Diagnostics- Nanotechnology-on-a-chip is one more dimension of lab-on-a-chip technology. Magnetic nanoparticles, bound to a suitable antibody, are used to label specific molecules, structures or microorganisms. Gold nanoparticles tagged with short segments of DNA can be used for detection of genetic sequence in a sample.
- Drug delivery- Nanotechnology has been a boon for the medical field by delivering drugs to specific cells using nanoparticles. The overall drug consumption and side-effects can be lowered significantly by depositing the active agent in the morbid region only and in no higher dose than needed.
- Tissue engineering- Nanotechnology can help reproduce or repair damaged tissue. For example, bones can be regrown on carbon nanotube scaffolds. Tissue engineering might replace today’s conventional treatments like organ transplants or artificial implants.