While nanotechnology once seemed like something out of a science fiction movie, it is being put into use all around us more and more every day. Although we have just scratched the surface with these developments, what we already have is quite remarkable, and the possibilities seem endless.
The following is an overview on the topic, but there is more detailed information at a scientific research level on websites such as Bentham science publishers, which offer a number of journals featuring articles from leading scientists about this and many other innovative topics.
What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology refers to technology dealing with less than microscopic substances, meaning they are so tiny, they can’t be seen with a normal microscope. A general rule is that it refers to substances that are between 1 and 100 nanometers.
For an idea of how small that is, which seems almost impossible to get the brain around, one nanometer measures at one-billionth of a meter. In addition to studying substances that exist at that scale, scientists are also working on creating miniature parts on that same scale, such as microchips, nanowires, and carbon nanotubes.
How is Nanotechnology Being Used?
Everyday Consumer Electronics
This is an area of nanotechnology that most people are familiar with, even if they aren’t aware of it. Nanotech is a big part of what makes smartphones smart and still be able to fit in your pocket. In addition to phones, such items as security systems and voice command assistants fall under this category as well.
Many of the most exciting potential uses for this technology are in the medical arena. Not only can nanotechnology potentially help with much more accurate medical diagnostics, but they can also be used for people who have chronic diseases, monitoring their vital statistics in an unobtrusive but potentially life-saving way.
As the tech advances, these sensors are becoming less costly so that they can be put into use by more people. Some scientists theorize that nanorobots could one day be used to actually cure people by being sent into the body to effectively eliminate such substances as cancer cells and viruses.
Although the technology is yet to be developed, it’s also believed that it will be possible in the future to program nanorobots to clean up the air and water. They may be able to be programmed to rebuild the ozone layer, remove contaminants from the ocean and other sources of water, and even clean up oil spills.
What does the future hold?
While nanotechnology hasn’t reached as far as the latest in science fiction books and programs have taken us, some scientists do believe that such devices that have become household concepts such as replicators and teleportation could happen at some point in the not so near future.
However, as with much technology, there is some concern over the potential ethical issues that may present themselves, such as using it to create more dangerous weapons or essentially creating a race of superhumans for those who could afford it.
In order to ensure that there are future scientists working on all these possibilities, students are being encouraged to expand their curiosity, especially if they have the requisite science and math skills. There are several TED Talks to learn more about the subject and you can test your understanding with some quizzes too.
Given that this is one of the fastest growing fields of scientific research, there are new developments happening all the time.
If it’s an area of interest to you, or you are interested in scientific research in general, perusing websites and social media pages (such as the Bentham science predatory page) where you can receive notifications of new and fascinating studies.