Advances in Nanotechnology

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Nanotechnology ("nanotech") is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.

The ideas and concepts behind Nanoscience and Nanotechnology started with a talk entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” by physicist Richard Feynman on December 29, 1959.  Professor Norio Taniguchi coined the term nanotechnology. In 1981, the scanning tunneling microscope that could "see" individual atoms was developed. This is an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. 

Today nanotechnology is gaining momentum and has literally affected all industries in some way or the other. A few uses of nanotechnology:

 Medicine and Healthcare

Nanomedicine is a new field that combines nanotechnology with medicine to boost human health care such as nanotech detector for heart attack, nanochips to check plaque in arteries, nanocarriers in chemotherapy, eye surgery.

Diabetic pads used in diabetes management helps in regulating blood sugar levels. People with diabetes prick their fingers multiple times in a day to check their blood glucose levels. This pricking and injecting is quite painful. To overcome this, nanotechnology has come out with a patch to be placed on the skin. Sensors within the patch pick up the sweat's pH and temperature changes that signal a high glucose level. Heaters in the patch start to dissolve a layer of coating, exposing micro needles that release a drug called metformin that can regulate and reduce high blood sugar levels.

Nanoparticles for drug delivery to the brain are a method for transporting drug molecules across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) using nanoparticles. These drugs cross the BBB and deliver pharmaceuticals to the brain for therapeutic treatment of neurological disorders.

Nanosponges absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream. The nanosponges are polymer nanoparticles coated with a red blood cell membrane. The red blood cell membrane allows the nanosponges to travel freely in the bloodstream and attract toxins.

NanoFlares are nanoparticles that are designed to specifically bind and generate a light to target cancer cells, thereby allowing for accurate and precise detection of cancer cells in the body. It is especially useful for detection of cancer cells in blood stream.

Nano-size pores are found in purpose built filters, sensors, or diffraction gratings to make them function better. Scientists believe these nanopores, tiny holes that allow DNA to pass through one strand at a time, will make DNA sequencing more efficient.

Electronics

Nano-RAM is a type of nonvolatile random access memory based on the position of carbon nanotubes deposited on a chip-like substrate. In theory, the small size of the nanotubes allows for very high density memories.

Nano optomechanical SRAM is integrated with light modulation system on a single silicon chip. The memory states are assigned with two stable deformation positions, which can be switched by modulating the control light's power with the integrated optical modulator. The optical SRAM has write/read time around 120 ns, which is much faster when compared with traditional MEMS memory. Meanwhile, the write and read processes can happen concurrently without interference, which further reduces the time as compared with conventional electrical enabled SRAM.

Energy

Solar Paints also known as photovoltaic paint is a paint that you can apply to any surface that will capture energy from the sun and transform it into electricity. In future, each car roof will be painted with solar paints instead solar panel. The voltage generated by photovoltaic paint will have the power to run displays and audio systems of the car. 

Wind Power generations

Nanogenerators are thin flexible sheets. Bending of these sheets will result in generation of potential power.  

Nanobatteries

The North Carolina State University researchers have created a new flexible nano-scaffold for rechargeable lithium ion batteries that could help make cell phone and electric car batteries last longer.

Invisible dress

Quantum Stealth is a material that renders the target completely invisible by bending light waves around the target. The material removes not only your visual, infrared (night vision) and thermal signatures but also the target’s shadow.

Agriculture and Food

Nanofertilizers are used to regulate the release of nutrients depending on the requirements of the crops.  Hybrid polymers such as smart packaging are used to reduce spoilage and sensors for detection of food-borne pathogens.  Nanoemulsions can help reduce bacteria on produce. Titanium dioxide based nanoparticles are known to be effective antimicrobial agents.

Author: Kushagra Nageshwar, XII Standard, Gaurav High School and Junior College –Navi Mumbai

Picture source: https://www.iinano.org/filebin/images/sidebar/GaN_Nanowiressidebar.jpg

Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator
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