What would you say about a single functional electrical unit, thinner than a cell thick? So small you would need an electron microscope to view that component, yet so effective that a group of those microscopic units could come together and deliver a function a giant machine would only dream of doing. Now, that’s the effect nanotechnology would give.
Right on this platform, we are going to give a precise explanation of nanotechnology, with descriptions of its necessary applications and implications, to the best of our knowledge, to help those with a limited information bandwidth get well-informed. If you are a good reader, sat tight, and enjoy, if you are a bad one, we hope this article locks you up with vibranium chains.
What Is Nanotechnology?
According to Wiktionary, nanotechnology is the science and technology of creating nanoparticles, and of manufacturing machines which have sizes within the range of nanometers. To break this down, a nanometer is a measurement within the range of (1-100 x10^-9) meters. Nanoparticles or a nano-machine would be about ten million to one billion times smaller than a meter, and smaller than even the smallest bacteria. Talk about hitting the super micro scale.
Imagine the good machines would do if they were tiny enough to manipulate matter from an atomic scale. That would be truly revolutionary, we would be able to tweak anything from a sub-molecular level, to build matter from an atomic level up to the point where it can be seen with the naked eye. To hit the nail on the head, we would be able to perform a perfect artificial creation, with whatever element and in whatever combination matrix we desire. Man would be gods, and a perfect understanding of the utilization of nanotechnology would result in the uncanny ability to create anything.
Application of Nanotechnology Today/Future
In science today, the study and development of nanotechnology have gained some useful applications and insightful research on the futuristic value nanotechnology holds for humanity’s progress. A few are going to be discussed in a simplified manner, for all with little or no knowledge on this branch of science to grasp.
This is one of the fields in which the superiority of nanotechnology or nano-tech rears its head. Electricity is a form of energy, and energy serves as the fuel to do work. Electronics is a study that deals with devices that harness electricity by controlling the movement of electrons in themselves or other forms of matter. This is done with conductors and semi-conductors. Now nanotechnology has helped reduce the size of electronic devices by enabling nano components to be used to assemble a device that would have appeared bulky in past times. For instance, the design of the MOS FET, a type of metal oxide silicon transistor within the nano-scale level, used in designing tiny features in most electronics today.
Nano-tech has been essential in the making of nano-chips smaller than the smallest bacteria, yet able to enable a machine to function more efficiently. In an account recorded by wikipedia.org, Samsung succeeded in inventing a ten nano-meter (MLC) and flash memory in 2013. This was a huge breakthrough in the possibility of nano-tech being developed for better and more efficient electrical purposes.
Did you know that evolution accounts that we and everything else, developed from a single cell, which kept replicating and building into something more complex with time? So it is basic knowledge in biology that a cell is the building block of life. Imagine achieving the scientific know-how of being able to replicate an imitation of a cell, in its smallest nature. With a gift like this, you could build or repair any damaged organ from scratch, one cell at a time. You could repair worn out tissues, replace deteriorated cells. Make a man brand new again.
This is as of today, ongoing research as to the unequivocal benefits of nanotechnology to health. But nanotechnology has a contribution to health in our present time, with what little knowledge we have garnered so far. More advanced medical bandages have been infused with silver nano-particles to help heal wounds faster.
Also, the medical sectors are currently developing nano particles, engineered to deliver drugs, heat, or light to particular cells in the body such as cancer cells. This would reduce the damage done to healthy cells through chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and powerful drugs. These nano particles could equally be tweaked to perform early detection of diseases and cut them down before casualty arises
Durability/Performance Of Materials:
The creation of nano particles has been essential in increasing the durability of materials. Nano tech has grown to a point where fibers made from nano particles (nano-fibers) can be designed to exhibit better strength than normal materials. These nano-particles can be used to make clothes with long-lasting features, and can at the same time be programmed to protect the wearer during adverse cold weathers.
And the amazing thing is that it doesn’t need to be heavy or woolly as a regular sweater, just a thin layer of beautiful garment infused with nano particles. Some tennis balls, shoes, etc, have elements of nano-particles in them which help them bounce better and last longer respectively. This shows how nanotechnology plays an important role in our ability to get things done efficiently.
Our major problem with pollution is the inability to effectively clean them up as they occur thereby leading to a stockpile of harmful unwanted substances. This is where the nano tech comes in. Take a moment to imagine a river being pumped with hydrocarbon waste products from a refinery, it compiles to an extent the hydrocarbons choke the sea organisms and contaminate the water.
But, if we were to perfect a form of nanobot (tiny robots on the nano-scale) that is designed to self- replicate from available resources at its disposal and breakdown these hydrocarbons to less dangerous forms, the pollution is taken care of, and the nanobot disintegrates. The same goes for plants built from the nano-scale basis that replicate to feed on trapped carbon-di-oxide and prevent the greenhouse effect. But a kill-stop has to be installed in these assembled plant-like, nanotechnologies cells to prevent over replication and upset balance. This is another uncanny benefit that comes with the application of nano tech.
Implications Stemming From Nanotech Carelessness
Self-replication: like we discussed earlier using self-replicating nano tech to take care of hydrocarbon pollution. What if in a mistake of inadequate programming, the nanobots are done with the waste fuels, and keeps replicating and destroying everything with a hydrocarbon compound? These bots will keep replicating and growing geometrically as their numbers increase, as one makes another.
It would continue this replication until it consumes all hydrocarbon-based compounds, leaving just dust on Earth. The only hindrance to this replication would be the availability of raw materials to create more. Erik K. Drexler, one of the founding believers in nanotechnology, in his book Engines Of Creation, called this the gray good.
Right now, we don’t have a full understanding of how bad nano particles could pollute the environment because we haven’t gotten to an industrial scale with nanotechnology production yet. It is just a mere 3-4 nano products that are released per-week, accounts recorded by Wikipedia. But some research on the effect of nano particles on rats shows that nano fibers used to make airplane wings and tennis balls etc may cause pulmonary and brain inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and even accelerated aging.
Studies have also shown that bacteriostatic silver nano particle that kills bacteria that cause foot odor in socks are released into the water system during washing. This may go a long way to keep killing bacteria including bio-friendly ones. This nano pollutant may get large enough to upset the system and prevent bio degradation, leading to a stockpile of harmful rubbish.