We are transforming ourselves from micro to nanotechnology in this 21st century. Nanotechnology refers to manipulating matter at the atom or molecular level. The critical definition of nanotechnology refers to changing matter in the 1-100nm range in at least one dimension. Nanotechnology is not confined to any one industry and its applications are found in several industries including surface chemistry, medical fields, organic chemistry, semiconductor fabrication and micro fabrication etc. Nanotechnology helped researchers to create new materials with several applications in several industries and also several devices in ultra small size. It is an undeniable fact that the future will be of nanotechnology.
One nanometer (nm) is billionth part of a meter (10^-9). It is interesting to know that Hydrogen atom will have a size of 0.25nm and our DNA has a width of 2nm and the manipulations are done at that level in nanotechnology. There are two types of manufacturing techniques involved in nanotechnology. One is “bottom-up” approach and the other is “top-down” approach. In the first approach, by using chemical characteristics of different components we manipulate the substances at molecular level with molecular recognition technology. In the second “top-down” approach nano objects/devices are constructed from large substances with advanced technology available at industries/laboratories etc.
At universities new study and research groups based on nanoionics, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics and nanomechanics etc. evolved and several universities are organizing researcher meets and educational fairs to educate their students about nanotechnology. Chemical properties of several substances change at nano level; gold which is inert at macro level will act as critical catalyst at nano level; aluminum which is stable at macro level is easily prone to fire at nano level; copper becomes transparent at nano level etc. are some of them. Thus different substances exhibit different properties at nano level than the characteristics they exhibit at macro level and this is exciting new researchers to focus their research on nanotechnology in particular.
To support nanotechnology developed countries are giving heavy incentives to this industry and supporting well. USA have given incentives and support worth 3.2 billion dollars, European union worth 1.2 billion dollars and Japan worth 750 million dollars to this industry which shows how much these developed nations are keen on nanotechnology. Even developing countries like India, Brazil are also supporting nanotechnology industries and the general public all over the world is also very interested in knowing the new developments and trends related to nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology applications include food processing and packing units, cosmetics, sunscreen and sun protective lotions, in industries like tennis ball, clothes, socks etc. to last their products longer, household applications, paintings etc. Nanotechnology will also help in reducing the size of computers, gaming consoles, mobiles, printers, hard disks etc. with the help of MOSFET’s. The applications of nano-tubes, nano-surfaces, nano-wires, nano-fibers etc. will make our life more sophisticated. Starting from industrialists to governments; all are concentrating on nanotechnology and its real potential is yet to be unfloded. Finally, the present trends of research in nanotechnology are still in the early stage only and there is much more to come in the near future.
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