A powerful technology not without risks
Richard Feynman, a physicist, first described nanotechnology to the public in 1959. He defined it as synthesis through the reconstitution of atoms and molecules. At this scale, referred to as the nanoscale, nanotechnology includes science, medicine, engineering, computer, and robotics.
Nanotechnology has seen major advancements and excellent new uses every year. Energy, robotics, agriculture, health, computation, military intelligence, and manufacturing have all experienced amazing progress. These are just a few examples of the fields where nanotechnology has made significant strides.
Nanotechnology can rescale and manipulate particles to produce chemical bonds that can be hundreds of times more powerful than steel. These bonds expand a material’s surface area so that more atoms can interact with it, which increases the material’s strength, conductivity, and malleability relative to its naturally-sized equivalents. A nanotech product’s density, lightness, size, transparency, ability to reflect waves, or absorption of waves depend on how the particles are handled: nanomaterials are the products of particle manipulation.
According to this article, nanomaterials are classified into two main categories: naturally occurring (such as blood hemoglobin) and artificially developed (such as quantum dots). There are four main categories of artificially produced nanomaterials: dendrimers, metal-based, carbon-based, and nanocomposites. Dendrimers either expand outward from a strong core or inward from a solid outer shell, whereas carbon-based and metal-based nanomaterials are formed through the chemical manipulation of elements to derive micro-matter constructs, and nanocomposites combine different nanomaterials and larger-scale high-volume materials. A nanometer, or one billionth of a meter, must be used in engineering for a substance to be categorized as a nanomaterial.
Our daily lives already include a significant amount of nanotechnology. For instance, in recent years, lightweight road, sea, air, and space vehicles have been developed using nanotechnology which has improved imaging equipment, diagnostic methods, and even aspects of medicine itself, such as the delivery of antigens to damaged cells while avoiding healthy ones.
Nanobots are tiny machines that have been designed to carry out a specific activity. They have been significant in many of the important modern developments: in virology, clean energy, water filtration, and 3D printing. They have been functional on both bioorganic materials and inorganic matter. Nanobots have a variety of uses, including delivering medications, moving collectively to increase the gathering of wind and solar energy, cleaning contaminated water, and connecting collectively to reproduce a 3D object and carry out its intended function.
Self-repair of structural surfaces is currently being tested. The ability of nanotechnology to attach to deteriorated roads, bridges, and trains to repair structural problems and material deficiencies could be significant for transportation infrastructure.
Enzyme synthesis is also underway, along with the development of synthetic ethanol. Ethanol is a limited resource that is naturally generated from fossils and is used for a variety of purposes, such as fuel, a binder for personal care products, and household cleaners.
Another area of investigation for which nanotech is currently looking for real-world testing is robust rechargeable industrial battery systems. Imagine being able to produce an endless supply of electricity. This may become feasible in the near future thanks to nanobots used as self-adaptive sensors that collaborate with nanomaterials created into self-servicing generators capable of supplying cities with eco-friendly energy.
Nanochips, which can fit the memory of your computers and phone on minuscule storage devices, are another discovery. Since nanotransistors have been used in commercial applications since 2014, this advancement might not be too far off.
Nanotechnology is also being used in gene-sequencing, genetic engineering, the research of tissue and organ regeneration, and the eradication of diseases. Even though it is one of the applications of nanotechnology that is the furthest from being implemented practically, it holds great potential. In the future, we may be able to construct gene sequencing to help eradicate inherited diseases and swap out the sequences for beneficial features.
Although it could be argued that nanotechnology is already having an impact, we are only at the beginning of its development. For instance, the combination of A.I. and nanotechnology has long been postulated for its possible advantages in predicting and managing space exploration, resolving, and managing environmental catastrophes through the analysis of universal patterns and behaviors. Applications to eradicate climate issues or create new climatic systems on otherwise habitable worlds are conceivable, despite being a long way off.
Pros and cons
Nanotechnology will surely brings several advantages with it. It will revolutionize many areas of manufacturing with the construction of new materials with specific properties (such as resistance or the ability to react to external events being able to self-repair). In addition, it will also be a useful technology to producing and handling energy but also for saving costs. For instance, quantum dots are small light-producing cells that could be employed for display screens or illumination. Not to mention the advances in medicine where to remove obstructions, nanobots could be injected into the arteries of a patient and surgery could become considerably more efficient and precise, injuries could be corrected.
However, we can’t fail to mention the possible negative effects of this technology. In fact, the most dystopian theories suggest that a scenario known as “gray goo“, in which self-replicating nanobots consume everything around them to create copies of themselves, will eventually come to pass. Others thinks that the manufacturing changes will impact jobs but the most scariest predictions include using nanotechnology as invisible weapon to spy people or even kill them. While genetic manipulation could lead to ethical issues. And finally, think about the power of A.I. along with the power of nanotechnology what could do.