Nanoscience and nanotechnology

Nanoscience and nanotechnology is a very promising field. Its the study of extremely small things in different domains of science. Staining of glasses with gold or silver particles are kind of ancient nanotechnology. Richard Feynman has the credit to illuminate the idea to account with mainstream research. In the year 1959 he described the process in which scientist would be able to manipulate and control individual atoms in talk a called "There´s Plenty of Room at the Bottom".

Nano is basically a scale of measurement like kilo, mili or micro those which we use regularly. So, how small nano is? Its really hard to imagine, one billionth of a meter that is 10^-9 of a metes is one nanometer. For the amusement you can say there are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch, or a newspaper is 100,000 nanometers thick.

So, this technology is very much sophisticated and to play with this technology scientists requires the right tools. In 1980 scientists of IBM invented STM(Scanning Tunneling Microscope), with this they were able to observer structure of molecule. The next year in 1981 Professor Norio Taniguchi coined the term "Nanotechnology".

Now lets get enlighten by understanding whats so special about nanoscale. In nanoscale, materials act differently. Quantum effect take overs the natural properties. Melting point, fluorescence, electrical conductivity, magnetic permeability, and chemical reactivity change as a function of the size of the particle. Thus, it is possible to fine tune this properties of material in this scale.

Most of the biology occurs at nanoscale. Like, the oxyen carrying molecule hemoglobin is only 5.5 nanometers id diameter. DNA, the building block of life is only 2 nanometers is diameter. Understanding the life at nanoscale, researchers are working on designing tools, treatments, therapies that are more precise and personalized with lesser side effects than the traditional ones.

Nanoscale materials have far larger surface areas than similar masses of larger-scale materials. As surface area per mass of a material increases, a greater amount of the material can come into contact with surrounding materials, thus affecting reactivity.

Nanotechnology has given rise to various new form of materials stated as nanomaterials. For illistration we can say about nanoparticles, quantum dots, nanowires, nanofibres, ultrathin-films etc. Nanotechnology show that the good old carbon can possess exciting new forms aside from diamond or graphite. Fullerenes are special because their antioxidant properties can be of potential medical use. Its heat resistance and conductivity is a matter of study for mechanical engineering. The idea of Fillerene structure lead the discovery of Carbon Nanotube. Carbon Nanotubes are important in reinforced composites, sensors, nanoelectronics and nanomechanical devices.

Production of nanomaterials is called nanomanufacturing. Large scale nanomanufacturing is only applied in semiconductor industry. There is two notions of manipulating materials in nanoscale. One is called top-down another is called bottom-up. Top-down method is to produce a sophisticated form by continuously cutting and removing pieces from a large entity. It is analogus to creating statue out of a big stone. This method uses much energy, toxic chemicals and generates wastes. On the other hand, bottom-up approach is like playing with lego. Pick and connect shapes on by one until getting desired piece. This bottom-up approach is achieved by self-assembly or molecular assembly techniques.

Nanotechnology can bring huge impact in the energy sector. High duty motor blades, rotor, probes can enhance the efficiency of renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal, water etc. In the solar cells, it can improve performance by providing anti reflection layers for higher light yield. Alternative cell types such as thin layer solar cells, dye solar cells or polymer solar cells will profit from nanotechnology. Conversion of energy from primary source to usable form like heat, electricity, kinetic energy requires utmost efficiency. In these conversion process nano-scale heat and corrosion protection can increase efficiency through increased operating temperature and lightweight construction. Nano-optimized membranes can induce climate protection in sophisticated systems. Along with production and conversion, various nanomaterials such as carbon nanotube can improve power distribution and nano batteries, super-capacitors etc can improve power storage.

Without responsible use, every technology can be dangerous. Nanotechnology also possess some health and environmental issues. Free nanoparticles in environment can be inhaled, swallowed, injected or absorbed through skin. These are highly mobile inside body can even travel beyond the barrier of brain membrane. They can overload phagocytes and other defensive mechanism. Though there is not sufficeint data about environmental impact, it is assumed that nanoparticles can accumulate in the soil, water or plant life and cause hazard. Regardless of the potential hazards associated with nanatotechnology, it can certainly aid mankind with most desired gifts, may be the best gift of the century, can be the DRUG of CANCER.

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