Just as things are measured in inches, feet, yards, and miles, some things are measured in meters, which in US terms is slightly greater than three feet. To understand just how small a nanometer is, consider it measures one-billionth of one meter!
To begin, we want to address nanomaterials, a specific field that approaches nanotechnology from a materials and science approach. With this, materials are studied using morphological features on a nanoscale, which in most cases is a reference to structures relating to nanotechnology. While there are some variances, the length of a nanoscale is usually cited as 1-100 nanometers.
Typically, the materials being studied have unique properties that come from nanoscale dimensions, meaning things measuring less than one-tenth of a micrometer for a minimum of one dimension. However, nanomaterials can also be associated with studied materials smaller than a single micrometer.
In most cases, nanomaterials are broken down into two categories to include inorganic nanoparticles and fullerenes. First, nanoparticles, which are sometimes referred to as “nanocrystals” consist of oxides, metals, or semiconductors because of their optical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, and magnetic properties, among others. Because of their characteristics, nanoparticles are vital in bridging the gap between atomic or molecular structures and bulk materials. Second, the fullerenes class consists of allotropes of carbons, which usually include carbon nanotubes that are grapheme sheets rolled into sphere or tubes. Because of their incredible strength in electrical and mechanical arenas, fullerenes are extremely beneficial.
The list of current research specific to nanotechnology is vast. Although it would require multiple articles to address all the different forms of research conducted in recent years, along with the results of the research, we wanted to focus on a few specific examples to show people just how significant nanotechnology is to today’s world but for future generations as well.
Current nanotechnology research covers an array of industries and sectors although much of the focus has been on environment, health, and safety. Of course, actual development would depend on strategies, as well as coordination and integration. However, the great news is that solutions being discovered and developed can help people throughout the world, not just a specific region.
· Molecular Manufacturing – With this, programmable chemistry would be used as a means of building manufacturing systems capable of expanding, as well as various high-performance products.
· Faster and More Powerful Products – Whether in the form of computers, electricity, manufacturing, or something else, new nanotechnology research is making it possible to produce products faster and with more power.
· Advanced Nanotech – By using nanotechnology in all aspects of manufacturing, the entire world benefits. For instance, computers would be more affordable, water pipelines cleaner and safer, light but also strong structures would cut down on costs, and even environmental degradation would be greatly reduced.
· Medical Diagnoses – Without doubt, nanotechnology has a huge impact on medicine and healthcare. A perfect example has to do with Alzheimer’s, which is not only difficult to diagnose but also treat with today’s approaches but research in nanotechnology shows that new techniques on the horizon will change this, making early diagnosis and better treatment possible.
· Renewable Energy – Another area in which research is being conducted for nanotechnology is renewable energy. It has become apparent that unless change is made, the environment is going to suffer long-term. To protect the planet and provide future generations with clean air, water, and land, renewable energy has to be developed to even greater levels. With nanotechnology, it is possible to take traditional ideologies and produce innovative solutions.
· Drug Delivery – Another area of healthcare in which nanotechnology research has made a difference and continues to make a difference is with drug delivery. For millions of people, medication is administered through implanted devices, which can be painful, irritating, and even embarrassing, not to mention risk of improper dosage has been a serious concern. However, thanks to new developments in nanotechnology, insulin for people with diabetes and pain medication for cancer patients, among others can be delivered in a far more efficient and safe manner.