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Key Concepts of Nanotechnology - Its Applications and Tools

BY: Syed Amir Manzoor | Category: Bioinformatics | Submitted: 2011-11-22 20:33:39
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Article Summary: "The article focuses on the key concepts, applications and major tools associated with the science of nanotechnology..."

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Over the period of time, biotechnology has earned a great repute as far as its research and innovation aspects are concerned. Starting from genetics and breeding, biotechnology has vastly expanded its range of applications and key areas of concerns over a very short period of times. Nanotechnology is one such field where biotechnological tools and methodologies have imparted a considerable impact. As a matter of fact, Nanotechnology has been simple described by the experts and scientists as "the science of small wonders", "the science of the very small with big potential" and so on. Here, very small means in terms of nanometers of course, between 1 and 100 nanometers to be precise. This technology deals with nano-sized particles, that is, at the level of atoms and molecules, hence the name nanotechnology.

When researcher K. Eric Drexler first mentioned nanotechnology in 1980s, he was talking about nano-sized computers and robots. However, today this phrase has expanded to aim at building things much more superior to them, things that look more like creations of magic than science. Even then the science of nanotechnology is quite new and revolves more around theories and "possibilities" than working inventions. But that does not mean that our new member in the field of technology has not made any practical contributions, it has in fact been successful in developing quite fascinating things with some very useful applications.

Nanohealing gel is an invention of nanotechnology that stops bleeding instantly. It is made up of natural amino acids and uses mechanisms similar to our natural process of blood clotting to stop the bleeding, that is, long fibers of peptide coming together to form a meshwork at the site of injury. Moreover, it dissolves on its own just like a blood clot, so it does not need to be removed. Nanohealing gel promises to make life easy for surgeons by relieving them from the fuss of cautery and gauze. Apart from its use during surgery it can also be used by paramedics for first aid at accident sites and battle field due to its larger shelf life. This is a very important invention because the amount of blood lost draws the line between life and death, and in order to save a life it is highly imperative to stop the bleeding immediately.

Buckminsterfullerene also known as bucky ball is another substance associated with nanotechnology. It is actually an allotrope of carbon, being made of 60 carbon atoms arranged in the shape of a hollow sphere. It is unusual in that it is harder than diamond, more slippery than Teflon and may have insulating or conducting properties. Another more important property of bucky ball is its ability to enclose an atom of another element within itself. The free atom may be reactive, but once inside the bucky ball it becomes inert. This makes bucky balls useful in storage of highly reactive elements.

Bucky balls further lead to the discovery of carbon nanotubes. As the name suggests these are nano-sized cylinders made up carbon atom arranged much in the same way as in bucky balls. It may be open at both ends, closed at both ends using bucky balls, or closed at one end making it a nano test tube. The smallest test tube mentioned in Guinness Book of World Records is actually a carbon nanotube having a diameter of 1.2 nm and length of 2000nm. Talking about "normal sized" processes, reactions rely on random collisions between particles and unwanted byproducts are produced. Nanotubes enable us to control reactions and allow us to control what molecules collide. This gives us control of the product and makes the process more efficient in terms of high yield of the wanted product and less waste production.

Other interesting products of nanotechnology include clothes that provide better protection from ultra-violet radiation, wrinkle free and stain resistant clothes, and clothes that can change color and shape.

Nanotechnology includes physics, chemistry, biology and related sciences, and has implication in almost every field. It possesses a huge potential and possibilities that can change the world. Thus it can be fairly concluded that nanotechnology is a promising allied field of biotechnology which seems to be flourishing more rapidly in the near future, thus bringing more productivity for us.

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