Nano means in the range of 10^-9, too small to see and analyse but has a great impact on the technological field. We generally refer to 1 nm- 100 nm range in the nanotechnology field and it has revolutionised the field of research.
Nanotechnology is referred to as the field of handling and manipulating materials at the nanoscale or atomic levels. Things are existing in the universe at nanoscale from millions of years but the concept of using this nanoscale in the field of technology was given by famous Physics professor Richard Feynman in 1959 in his famous lecture “There is plenty of Room at the Bottom: – An Invention to Enter a new Field of Physics” at the annual American Physical Society meeting at Caltech. The term nanotechnology was coined by Norio Taniguchi in 1974. Further, the invention of Scanning Electron Microscope in 1981 and discovery of fullerene (C60) in 1985 has revolutionized this field.
When you move to the nanoscale, classical physics will no longer help you to understand the phenomenon at this scale and here comes the quantum physics into play to make you understand what is exactly happening at the atomic level. At Nano range the surface to volume ratio of the material increases which means there are more atoms at the surface and this is a crucial transition which is responsible for drastic changes in the properties of the material, for example, gold is yellow in bulk form but gold nanoparticles show a colour transition from yellow to red. Also, materials at the nanoscale show drastic changes in their electronic, optical, mechanical, magnetic and chemical properties. All these properties of nanomaterial are exciting scientists to explore more in this area and this field is the booming field of technology which has the capabilities to change our perspective of thinking in a different way.
Nanotechnology has found its place in the medical field like in treatment of cancer and targeted drug delivery, in the electronics industry, in the cosmetic industry, in the textile industry with self-cleaning, fire and water resist fabric and many more fields to be explored. Silver-nano-particles as an antibacterial agent, nano-particles based transparent sunscreens (ZnO nano-particles are best for UV protection) and carbon nano-tubes for strain-resistant textiles. Resonance Tunnelling Diode (RTD), Single Electron Transistor (SET) etc. are some nano-scale devices which are ready to replace the existing electronic devices. (Refer to the link to know more about nanotechnology Click Here )
The handling and synthesis of nanoscale devices and nanoparticles is a tough task that restricts there use at industrial scale. There are some approaches by which we can make these devices and nanomaterial. The two basic approaches are Top-Down approach and Bottom-Up approach and widely used for the synthesis of nanomaterial.
In the Top-Down approach, the bulk material is processed using different techniques (Lithography, Patterning, and Etching etc.) to make nanoscale materials. This approach is similar to trim a giant rock to make the desired structure. This approach is used to fabricate NEMS (Nano-Electro-Mechanical Systems).
In the Bottom-Up approach, atomic forces are used for the synthesis of nanomaterial, atoms stack over each other to form layers and these layers further lead to the formation of nanoscale structures. Self-Assemblies are the best example of this approach in which molecules assemble themselves to make a stable structure. Atomic Force Microscope (for details refer to Click Here ).
is used to individually manipulate atoms over a surface. For more details about these approaches refer to Click Here )
We are equipped with small and smarter devices and quantum computing is becoming a reality. The time is not far away when you can carry your TV set in your pocket, your glass window will be cleaned by itself, your car will not get any scratch marks after an accident, you will have transparent roofs with clear sky vision with best UV protection and much more exciting is yet to come. So, nanotechnology has many possibilities in future and has a vast scope of research.
Nanotechnology is an idea that most people simply didn’t believe. By- Ralph Merkle By- Ralph Merkle
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