About Nanotechnology

Topics: Nanotechnology, Association of Commonwealth Universities, Molecular machine Pages: 30 (7896 words) Published: March 12, 2013
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Imagine being able to observe the motion of a red blood cell as it moves through your vein, or being able to watch as a type of white blood cell (called a "T-cell") destroys an invading microbe by engulfing it. What would it be like to observe the vibration of molecules as the temperature rises in a pan of water? To observe sodium and chlorine atoms as they get close enough to actually transfer electrons and form a salt crystal? New scientific tools, developed and improved over the last few decades, make such observations increasingly feasible. These are examples of the effort to view, measure and even manipulate materials at the molecular or atomic scale - the major focus of nanotechnology. The prefix "nano" comes from a Greek word, νᾶνος, that means "dwarf". This prefix is used in the International System of Units (SI) to denote a factor of 10−9. If we have the "nano" prefix attached to a meter (m) then 1 nm (nanometer) = 10−9 meter (one billinoth of a meter, according to the "short scale" definition of a billion used in English-speaking countries). If the prefix is attached to a second (sec) then 1 ns =10−9 second (1 biilionth of a second). |

Three dimensional view of an AFM image of a Aluminum gate single-wall Carbon nanotube (SWCNT) Field Effect Transistor (FET). Image source: MSU Nanomanufacturing Lab |
Most quantities involving "nano" are considered "very small." Individual atoms are smaller than 1 nm (1 nanometer) in diameter. It takes about 10 hydrogen atoms arranged in a row to create a line 1 nm in length. Other atoms are larger than hydrogen, but still have diameters less than 1 nm. A typical virus is about 100 nm in diameter and a bacterium is about 1000 nm head to tail. The tools that have allowed us to observe the previously invisible world of the nanoscale objects include special sophisticated microscopes such as the Atomic Force Microscope and the Scanning Tunneling Microscope. Nanotechnology

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Nanotechnology, shortened to "nanotech", is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures sized between 1 to 100 nanometer in at least one dimension, and involves developing materials or devices within that size. Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale. There has been much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has the potential to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as with any introduction of new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials,[1] and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of...
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