Nanotechnology - Impact in life

Topics: Nanotechnology, Nanomaterials, Nanoparticle Pages: 16 (4344 words) Published: December 20, 2013
International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 4, Issue 4, April-2013 ISSN 2229-5518

Nanotechnology- Impacting in Life science and Technology


Dr.A Mohamed Sikkander
Department of Chemistry, Velammal Engineering College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

One of the most pressing issues facing nanoscientists and technologists today is that of communicating with the non-scientific community. As a result of decades of speculation, a number of myths have grown up around the field, making it difficult for the general public, or indeed the business and financial communities, to understand what is a fundamental shift in the way we look at our interactions with the natural world. This article attempts to address some of these misconceptions, and explain why scientists, businesses and governments are spending large amounts of time and money on nanoscale research and development. Take a random selection of scientists, engineers, investors and the general public and ask them what nanotechnology is and you will receive a range of replies as broad as nanotechnology itself. For many scientists, it is nothing startlingly new; after all we have been working at the nanoscale for decades, through electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopies or simply growing and analysing thin films. For most other groups, however, nanotechnology means something far more ambitious, miniature submarines in the bloodstream, little cogs and gears made out of atoms, space elevators made of nanotubes, and the colonization of space. It is no wonder people often muddle up nanotechnology with science fiction. Introduction

Although a metre is defined by the International Standards Organization as `the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second' and a nanometre is by definition 10- 9 of a metre, this does not help scientists to communicate the nanoscale to non-scientists. It is in human nature to relate sizes by reference to everyday objects, and the commonest definition of nanotechnology is in relation to the width of a human hair.

Unfortunately, human hairs are highly variable, ranging from tens to hundreds of microns in diameter (10-6 of a metre), depending on the colour, type and the part of the body from which they are taken, so what is needed is a standard to which we can relate the nanoscale.

Science fiction
While there is a commonly held belief that nanotechnology is a futuristic science with applications 25 years in the future and beyond, nanotechnology is anything but science fiction. In the last 15 years over a dozen Nobel prizes have been awarded in nanotechnology, from the development of the scanning probe microscope (SPM), to the discovery of fullerenes. Even more significantly, there are companies applying nanotechnology to a variety of products we can already buy, such as automobile parts, clothing and ski wax. Nanotechnology is already all around us if you know where to look.

Many of the initial applications of nanotechnology are materials related, such as additives for plastics, nanocarbon particles for improved steels, coatings and improved catalysts for the petrochemical industry. All of these are technology based industries, maybe not new ones, but industries with multi-billion dollar markets. IJSER © 2013

International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 4, Issue 4, April-2013 ISSN 2229-5518

The nanotechnology industry
Many of the companies working with nanotechnology are simply applying our knowledge of the nanoscale to existing industries, whether it is improved drug delivery mechanisms for the pharmaceutical industry, or producing nanoclay particles for the plastics industry. In fact nanotechnology is an enabling technology rather than an industry in its own right. No one would ever describe Microsoft or Oracle as being part of the electricity industry, even...
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