National Academies Press: OpenBook

Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (2016)

Chapter: 6 summary and conclusion, 6 summary and conclusion.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) comprises the collective activities and investments of the participating agencies, coordinated through the efforts of the interagency Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee and with the support of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO). Since its inception in 2001, the number of participating agencies has grown to include 27 agencies with missions spanning from support for basic research to regulation of commercial products and activities. Today, the NNI participating agencies altogether invest ~$1.5 billion per year. The bulk of spending is in support of fundamental and applied research, including a number of shared use facilities.

As noted by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in 2014, 1 the NNI not only needs to invest in research and discovery, it needs to focus on translating research results into commercial products. This study assesses NNI mechanisms to advance focused areas of nanotechnology toward advanced development and commercialization, with particular attention to advancing nanomanufacturing ( Chapters 2 and 3 ) and the adequacy of the physical and human infrastructure ( Chapters 4 and 5 ) to support not only research but also private sector innovation.

Nanotechnology, which encompasses nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, is multidisciplinary and has potential to improve existing products


1 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2014, Report to the President and Congress on the Fifth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative , Executive Office of the President, October, .

or enable new ones in many sectors, including information and communication technology, energy, and medicine. The innovation process by which the results of NNI research transition into practical application is complex, involving numerous actors from the public and private spheres.

Finding 2.1: The federal government plays a significant role in discovery, applied research, and early-stage development; the private sector plays a dominant role in product development and commercialization. A challenge for nanotechnology, like other emerging technologies, is to bridge from research to practical application. There are federal programs that provide support for advancing ideas to a level that is more likely to attract private investment.

Recommendation 2.1: The Nanotechnology Innovation and Commercialization Ecosystem Working Group should identify federal programs that assist with transitioning early-stage concepts to more advanced technology readiness. The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee, with support from the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, should inform the basic research community about these programs and also communicate to federal program managers about how investment in advancement of nano-enabled technologies can provide opportunities for achieving their program and agency missions.

The NNI established Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives (NSIs) starting in fiscal year (FY) 2013 with the goal of focusing on technology areas of national importance that may be more rapidly advanced through enhanced interagency coordination and collaboration. There are currently five NSIs, including one announced in 2016—Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology. The NSI statements of need and opportunity make clear the potential benefits from advances in nanotechnology in each area. The roles and responsibilities of the NNI participating agencies in achieving the stated NSI objectives are not as clear.

Finding 2.2: Without a plan that has clear targets, goals, and metrics to measure progress, as well as indication of responsible agencies, funding for NSI topics will be more difficult to secure within the NNI agencies and advances will be more serendipitous and less assured.

Recommendation 2.2: Agencies participating in each Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (NSI) should develop a joint strategic plan with roadmaps and interim and end-result goals. The plans should include goals related to facilitating commercialization of research related to the topic of the NSI.

Nanotechnology-inspired grand challenges are a newer mechanism being employed by the NNI to focus on areas of high impact and technical opportunity. As noted in the announcement of the Grand Challenge for Future Computing, 2 achieving the grand challenge will depend on advancements in areas other than nanotechnology and in other government initiatives. Conversely, progress toward the grand challenge also supports advances toward the objectives of those other initiatives. This interdependency applies to the NNI as a whole.

Finding 2.3: The NNI is investing in technology areas that are critical to the goals of other federal initiatives and vice versa. The various initiative leaders and managers both inside and outside of the NNI may not have the entire expertise or programmatic influence or control to efficiently achieve their respective initiative goals.

Recommendation 2.3: The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee should strengthen engagement with the leadership of other high-priority initiatives in order to determine critical nano-enabled technological dependencies. The subcommittee then should focus NNI efforts to address those dependencies.

There are additional mechanisms for focusing efforts that are available to the NNI. Innovation incentive prizes are an approach that can draw attention to a technical challenge and tap into a community of innovators who may not currently be participating in addressing problems of interest to the federal government.

Finding 2.4: XPrize, InnoCentive, and other organizations have well-developed, proven strategies for managing innovation incentive prize competitions using cash awards and well-defined procedures to engage a diverse array of people and organizations, stimulate additional spending, and produce results.

Recommendation 2.4: NNI agencies should use innovation incentive prizes to engage a broader community to solve technical problems, particularly those underlying grand challenges and other national initiatives. NNI agencies can offer prizes directly, or work through existing organizations.

Transitioning nanotechnology research results into commercial products requires the ability to reliably manufacture with nanoscale precision and control

2 L. Whitman, R. Bryant, and T. Kalil, 2015, “A Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenge for Future Computing,” blog, Office of Science and Technology Policy, October 20, .

and at an acceptable cost. Since the NNI was established, nanomanufacturing has been recognized as essential to realizing economic benefits from the investment in nanotechnology research and development. Given its importance, the committee felt it was a focus area that warranted closer study.

Finding 3.1: Budget figures in support of nanomanufacturing as reported in the NNI supplements to the President’s budget have been inconsistent, and progress made toward recommendations of the 2007 National Science and Technology Council report Manufacturing at the Nanoscale: Report of the NNI Workshops 2002-2004 3 is not clear.

Recommendation 3.1: The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee should prepare a report that provides a self-consistent record of the NNI nanomanufacturing program, the status relative to the recommendations of the 2007 National Science and Technology Council report Manufacturing at the Nanoscale: Report of the NNI Workshops 2002-2004 , and the NNI plans to move forward.

Finding 3.2: Basic research programs focused on nanomanufacturing have been a strength of the NNI. NSF centers focused on nanomanufacturing have more adequate budgets for facilities and education than do single investigators who have smaller awards. Ending support for nanomanufacturing centers will lead to a decrease in coordinated education and facility efforts.

Recommendation 3.2: The National Science Foundation should find ways to continue some nanomanufacturing center-scale efforts. Such centers might be explicitly tasked to pursue early-stage research in support of advanced manufacturing programs, such as the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.

The federal government has launched a substantial effort aimed at stimulating and supporting advanced manufacturing. A number of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs) focused on various sectors have been established. In addition, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Advanced Manufacturing Consortia Program (AMTech) is funding planning activities to establish new, or strengthen existing, industry-driven consortia that address high-priority research challenges impeding the growth of advanced manufacturing. The MIIs are focused primarily at bridging the gap between research and commercialization. Connections

3 National Science and Technology Council, 2007, Manufacturing at the Nanoscale: Report of the NNI Workshops 2002-2004 , Arlington, Va., .

between the NNI and advanced manufacturing programs such as the MII program and AMTech can accelerate progress toward the goals of those programs.

Finding 3.3: In many cases, progress or success in the MIIs and in implementation of the roadmaps developed under the AMTech program will require advances in nanomanufacturing.

Recommendation 3.3a: NNI-participating agencies should explicitly support the early-stage (technology readiness level 1-3) nanomanufacturing research needed to enable the roadmaps and goals of current advanced manufacturing programs, in particular the existing Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.

Recommendation 3.3b: The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee should form a nanomanufacturing working group to identify nanoscale research needs of advanced manufacturing, coordinate efforts between the NNI and the federal programs focused on advanced manufacture, and foster greater investment by those programs in nano-enabled technologies.

Finding 3.4: Nanomedicine manufacturing is an essential step in realizing the benefits of the considerable investment in nanomedicine research under the NNI. Nanomedicine manufacturing poses a number of specific challenges that are not being met by other NNI manufacturing efforts. Two reports—the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Nanotechnology Plan 2015 and the PCAST Report to the President and Congress on the Fifth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (Appendix II—Manufacturing Nanomedicine)—provide a sound basis for NNI focus on this topic.

Recommendation 3.4: The National Institutes of Health should lead the development of a roadmap, in collaboration with the nanomedicine industry, to identify technical barriers to scaling up the manufacture of nanomedicines, as well as areas in which research is needed to overcome those barriers.

Together the NNI agencies have created a geographically distributed set of user facilities that provides the broad nanoscale science and engineering community access to a range of characterization and synthesis tools and facilities. In addition, computational tools for nanoscale modeling and simulation have been developed and are made publicly available (e.g., via nanoHUB). The NNI investment in this physical infrastructure has been a cornerstone of supporting nanotechnology research and development in the United States. While the facilities serve thousands of users annually, there are many who could benefit but are not aware that this infrastructure can help address their needs.

Finding 4.1: The NNI agencies fund a substantial set of facilities that support experimental, computational, and educational activities and users from academia, industry, and government. While information about each facility or center is available on the NNI website, there is little evidence of coordination among the agencies to facilitate access and use by the community at large.

Recommendation 4.1: User facilities should strive to better serve the collective nanoscience research community by (1) sharing—perhaps via a central web-based portal—training materials and simulation and computational tools developed at the individual user facilities, and (2) creating a common proposal form and process that facilitate users moving between facilities to access the more expensive or specialized instrumentation.

The NNI investment in establishing this physical infrastructure has been substantial. However, there does not appear to be planning for sustainment.

Finding 4.2: There is a clear lack of identified funds for the development of new leading-edge instrumentation or recapitalization of commercial tools at NNI-sponsored user facilities, with the exception of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. As a result, there is a real risk of obsolescence of the physical and computation infrastructure available to the nanoscience and technology research enterprise, and a corresponding decrease in the user value.

Recommendation 4.2: The National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, in concert with other NNI agencies with instrumentation programs, should identify funding mechanisms for acquiring and maintaining state-of-the-art equipment and computational resources to sustain leading-edge capabilities at their nanoscale science and engineering user facilities.

Nanotechnology for medicine and other applications that involve contact with the body or the environment are increasing. The refreshed NSF network of user facilities, the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, has expanded capabilities in support of nanobiology research. However, there is a growing need for tools and tests to characterize the safety of nanomaterials. The NCI Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) is a successful model for the early assessment of nanomaterials.

Finding 4.3: The NCL serves as a trusted source of information on the safety of nanomaterials being developed for cancer and has facilitated Food and Drug Administration assessment. However, there is a lack of centralized facilities for addressing other areas of nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology.

Recommendation 4.3a: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) should assess what emerging medical applications, in addition to cancer diagnostics and treatment, rely on engineered nanomaterials. NIH should expand the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory to address nanomaterials being developed for those other medical applications.

Recommendation 4.3b: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Environmental Protection Agency should join with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to support development of centralized nanobiotechnological characterization facilities, at the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory or elsewhere, to serve as a trusted source of information on potential environmental, health, and safety implications of nanomaterials.

Increasing the pipeline of undergraduates with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that includes nanoscale science/engineering is also important to the health of the nation’s high technology economy and is particularly vital to supporting the defense and government sectors.

Finding 5.1: There are existing programs at many of the NNI-participating agencies that support STEM undergraduate students. The NNI could take better advantage of these programs toward achieving the NNI Goal 3, thereby augmenting nanoscale science and engineering education without the need for additional resources.

Recommendation 5.1: The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee, working with the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, should gather from the NNI participating agencies information about their programs that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics undergraduate students, identify opportunities for increasing the fraction of such program funds going to students engaged in nanotechnology-related activities, and publicize those programs on the NNI website.

As nanotechnology matures and at the same time is incorporated into traditional disciplines, the teaching of nano-related concepts will be incorporated into education at lower levels, including K-12. Development of education materials suited to younger students is the subject of a number of programs within and outside the NNI. In particular, the Commonwealth of Virginia has added nanotechnology to its standard K-12 curriculum.

Finding 5.2: A variety of approaches to incorporate nanoscale science and engineering in the K-12 education pipeline are being developed and implemented by entities both inside and outside the NNI. Educators and government education policy makers can learn from these programs and scale-up the more successful ones.

Recommendation 5.2a: The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, working with the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, should engage with states that have incorporated nanotechnology into the K-12 curriculum to develop a document outlining the approaches taken and make it widely available, including to individuals or groups seeking to improve K-12 science education in other states.

Recommendation 5.2b: The National Science Foundation and the Department of Education should work with states that have incorporated nanotechnology into the K-12 curriculum to identify metrics and track the outcomes of the approach taken by those states to include nanotechnology in the K-12 curriculum.

Finding 5.3: The NNI has funded the development of a diversity of formal and informal educational materials suitable for various levels and ages. Nanotechnology-focused educational programs at universities around the country, some of which have received substantial state funding, also are developing materials for K-12 students and teachers.

Recommendation 5.3: NNI-funded researchers and others who have developed educational materials should be required to deposit the information content on the nanoHUB website, and to explore affordable commercial availability for laboratory and classroom demonstration materials.

In summary, the NNI, including the interagency bodies and the NNCO, continues to add value to the portfolio of activities across participating agencies. Looking ahead, the NNI can significantly increase that value by focusing on research that will enable progress and success in other advanced technology areas of priority, especially advanced manufacturing. At the same time, the NNI agencies are called on to sustain investment in and facilitate access to physical infrastructure and to take steps to realize the full value of educational materials and programs. In the course of identifying targeted areas in which to focus, NNI agencies have the opportunity to consider the goals of the initiative and the criteria for continuing to invest resources in its coordination and management.

Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, often referred to simply as "nanotechnology," is the understanding, characterization, and control of matter at the scale of nanometers, the dimension of atoms and molecules. Advances in nanotechnology promise new materials and structures that are the basis of solutions, for example, for improving human health, optimizing available energy and water resources, supporting a vibrant economy, raising the standard of living, and increasing national security.

Established in 2001, the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a coordinated, multiagency effort with the mission to expedite the discovery, development, and deployment of nanoscale science and technology to serve the public good. This report is the latest triennial review of the NNI called for by the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003. It examines and comments on the mechanisms in use by the NNI to advance focused areas of nanotechnology towards advanced development and commercialization and on the physical and human infrastructure needs for successful realization in the United States of the benefits of nanotechnology development.


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  • v.8(1); 2018 Jan

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Nanotechnology: current uses and future applications in the food industry

Muthu thiruvengadam.

Department of Applied Bioscience, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Konkuk University, Seoul, 143-701 Republic of Korea

Govindasamy Rajakumar

Ill-min chung.

Recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology intend new and innovative applications in the food industry. Nanotechnology exposed to be an efficient method in many fields, particularly the food industry and the area of functional foods. Though as is the circumstance with the growth of any novel food processing technology, food packaging material, or food ingredient, additional studies are needed to demonstrate the potential benefits of nanotechnologies and engineered nanomaterials designed for use in foods without adverse health effects. Nanoemulsions display numerous advantages over conventional emulsions due to the small droplets size they contain: high optical clarity, excellent physical constancy against gravitational partition and droplet accumulation, and improved bioavailability of encapsulated materials, which make them suitable for food applications. Nano-encapsulation is the most significant favorable technologies having the possibility to ensnare bioactive chemicals. This review highlights the applications of current nanotechnology research in food technology and agriculture, including nanoemulsion, nanocomposites, nanosensors, nano-encapsulation, food packaging, and propose future developments in the developing field of agrifood nanotechnology. Also, an overview of nanostructured materials, and their current applications and future perspectives in food science are also presented.


Nanoscience and nanotechnology are innovative scientific advancements that have been introduced only in this century. Their utilizations in food and agriculture productions are almost modern compared with that of medicine delivery and pharmaceuticals. Nanotechnology has developed as the scientific advancement to grow and transform the entire agrifood area, with the potential to elevate global food production, furthermore to the nutritional value, quality, and safety of food (Sekhon 2014 ; Chung et al. 2017 ). Nanotechnology uses in food science are going to influence the most important aspects of food manufacturing from food protection to the molecular synthesis of new food products and ingredients (Pathakoti et al. 2017 ). Nanotechnology is expected to facilitate the following development stage of genetically altered crops, input to the production of animal and fisheries, chemical insecticides and precision farming methods. Precision farming is one of the most important techniques utilized for increasing crop productivity by monitoring environmental variables and applying the targeted action (Chen and Yada 2011 ). Food endures a variability of post-harvest- and processing-persuaded changes that affect its biological and biochemical maquillage. Thus, nanotechnology development in the areas of biochemistry and biology could also affect the food manufacturing (Sozer and Kokini 2009 ; Jain et al. 2016 ). There is a need to develop simpler, faster, more sensitive and low-cost approaches for the observation and quantification of impurities in foods. Within the past decade, with remarkable advances in nanoscience, nanotechnology-enabled sensors and systems have been increasingly used to develop rapid and noninvasive methods of detection of food contaminants.

Nanotechnological applications in food industry

Nanotechnology has been reported as the new industrial revolution, both developed, and developing countries are investing in this technology to secure a market share. At present, the USA leads with a 4-year, 3.7-billion USD investment through its National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The USA is followed by Japan and the European Union, which have both committed substantial funds (750 million and 1.2 billion, including individual country contributions, respectively, per year). Others such as India, South Korea, Iran, and Thailand are also catching up with a focus on applications specific to the economic growth and needs of their countries (Kour et al. 2015 ). Food processing approaches that involve nanomaterials include integration of nutraceuticals, gelation and viscosifying agents, nutrient propagation, mineral and vitamin fortification, and nano-encapsulation of flavors (Huang et al. 2010 ). Thus, systems with physical structures in the nanometer distance range could affect features from food safety to molecular synthesis. Nanotechnology may also have the potential to enhance food quality and safety. Many studies are assessing the ability of nanosensors to improve pathogen detection in food systems. Nanofoods are products that were grown processed or packaged with the aid of nanotechnology or materials produced with nanotechnology (Fig.  1 ). In this review, we discuss some current nanotechnology research in food technology and agriculture, including processing, packaging, nano-additives, cleaning, and sensors for the detection of contaminants, and propose future developments in the developing field of agrifood nanotechnology (Fig.  2 ).

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Framework for integrating nanoresearch areas and the food supply chain

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Different steps of food management that involve several steps (processing, packaging, and preservation) and these aided by nanotechnology with the assistance of several nanomaterials

Nano-delivery of food ingredient


The emulsion is two or more combination of liquids (oil/water system) that do not simply combine. The diameters of nanoemulsion to discrete droplets measure 500 nm or less. It can contain functional constituents within their droplets, which can ease a decrease in chemical degradation (Ravichandran 2010 ). The promising vicinity of nanotechnology within the food industry is the usage of nanoemulsions as carriers for lipophilic bioactive constituents, flavoring agents, antioxidants, preservatives, and drugs (Silva et al. 2012 ). An interest has been developing in the use of nanoemulsions within the food, beverage, and medicinal industries since they have some potential benefits over conventional emulsions for certain applications (Komaiko and McClements 2016 ). Nanoemulsions are kinetically uniform liquid-in-liquid dispersions with droplet sizes about 100 nm (Komaiko and McClements 2016 ). Nanoemulsion-based delivery system can also improve the bioavailability of the encapsulated components due to the small particle size and high surface-to-volume ratio (Sun et al. 2015 ). As a trendy advice, when used in the food manufacturing nanotechnology needs to be reasonable, easy to utilize, and with willingly perceived benefits in order to be a real another to the normal techniques. There are diverse challenges like limited food-grade stabilizers or other ingredients obtainable. The food industry would like to prepare nanoemulsions from legally acceptable, label-friendly, and economically viable ingredients. The most important is the toxicological concerns because the nanosize of the droplets that could alter the normal function of the gastrointestinal tract (Sugumar and Singh 2016 ). A fascinating food application of essential oils nanoemulsion has been observed in plums. Recently, lemongrass oil nanoemulsion was used to evaluate antimicrobial properties, physical, and chemical changes in plums (Kim et al. 2013 ). The nanoemulsion was able to inhibit E. coli and Salmonella population without altering essence, breakability, and smoothness of the product. It was also able to decrease ethylene production and retard alterations in lightness and concentration of phenolic compounds (Amaral and Bhargava 2015 ).

Nanoemulsions have some potential benefits over traditional emulsions for specific uses within food and beverage products. Nanoemulsions typically have a better consistency about particle accumulation and gravitational separation (Komaiko and McClements 2016 ). Nanoemulsions can be assembled through a variety of approaches, which can be classified as low-energy or high-energy methods depending on the inactive principle (Gupta et al. 2016 ). Various types of nanoemulsions with more complex properties, e.g., nanostructured multilayer emulsions or uncountable emulsions, produce various encapsulating skills from a single delivery system; this can promote the activity of the active components and facilitate their release in response to an activator. For example, Nestle and Unilever have developed a nanoemulsion-based ice cream with less content of fat (Singh 2015 ). Nano-encapsulation of food ingredients and additives had been carried out to provide protecting hurdles, taste and flavor masking, controlled release, and better dispensability for water-insoluble food ingredients and additives. There is a developing public concern regarding the toxicity and adverse effect of nanoparticles on human health and environment (Cushen et al. 2012 ).

Lipid-based nanoemulsions are better for the delivery of constituents within biological systems than traditional nanoemulsions. However, the high lipid content of these nanoemulsions results in adverse effects on the body, such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases (Pradhan et al. 2015 ). Some approaches for forming nanoemulsions using low-energy methods require the presence of cosolvents (e.g., polyols, such as propylene glycol, glycerol, and sorbitol) or cosurfactants (e.g., short and medium-chain alcohols) (McClements and Rao 2011 ). Nanoemulsions present numerous benefits such as cleansing of equipment and high clearness without compromising product presence and flavor (Fig.  3 ). Nano-sized functional molecules that are encapsulated by the self-assembled nanoemulsions are used for targeted delivery of lutein; β-carotene; lycopene; vitamins A, D, and E3; co-enzyme Q10; and omega-3-fatty acids (Choi et al. 2011 ). The use of nanoemulsions to food systems still poses challenges that need to be addressed both concerning the production process, particularly their price and of the characterization of both the resultant nanoemulsions and the food systems to which they will be applied to product safety and acceptance. Nanoemulsions exhibit numerous benefits over traditional emulsions because of their small droplet dimensions: high optical clearness, excellent physical constancy against gravitational partition and droplet accumulation, and improved bioavailability of encapsulated materials, which make them suitable for food applications (Oca-Avalos et al. 2017 ).

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Nanofunctional food delivery systems


Nanotechnology can also facilitate encapsulation of drugs or other components for protection against environmental factors and can be used in the plan of food ingredients, e.g., flavors and antioxidants (Ravichandran 2010 ). Micro-encapsulation is used to increase bioavailability, control release kinetics, minimize drug side effects, and cover the bitter taste of medicinal substances in the pharmaceutical industry. In the food industry, nanoemulsions are used in the organized release of additives and the manufacturing of foods containing functional constituents, such as probiotics and bioactive ingredients (Kuang et al. 2010 ). Currently, numerous techniques of nano-encapsulation are progressively rising with their own merits and demerits. Techniques including emulsification, coacervation, inclusion complexation, nanoprecipitation, solvent evaporation, and supercritical fluid technique are enduring techniques for nano-encapsulation of food substances. Moreover, solvent evaporation and nanoprecipitation remain to be particular techniques for encapsulation of lipophilic bioactive compounds. However, all the encapsulation technologies, in the long run, depend on proper drying strategies to provide nanoencapsulates in powder form. Lee et al. ( 2017 ) conducted a study to improve the water solubility and antimicrobial activity of milk thistle silymarin by nano-encapsulation and to assess the functions of silymarin nanoparticle-containing film as an antimicrobial food-packaging agent. Further, the author stated that the incorporation of silymarin in WCS/-PGA nanoparticles could be an effective approach for improving the solubility and the antimicrobial activity of silymarin. Biodegradable films containing silymarin nanoparticles could efficiently control the growth of food microorganisms. Nano-encapsulation of valuable microorganisms, e.g., probiotics, is advantageous because targeted and site-specific delivery to the desired region of the gastrointestinal tract can be achieved. These nano-encapsulated designer bacterial preparations can be used in vaccine preparation and to enhance the immune response (Vidhyalakshmi et al. 2009 ). Additionally, nanoemulsions have been shown to improve the health benefits of curcumin (Wang et al. 2008 ). Most nanoencapsulates have shown excellent bioavailability, and few encapsulates have reported good inhibitory effect against certain targeted diseases. However, presently, the possible risks of nanomaterials to human fitness are unknown and need to be explored and studied (Ezhilarasi et al. 2013 ). Moreover, the regulatory issues on nanofoods are still being developed, and it is expected that national bodies will increase initiatives to control, administrate, and promote the proper development of nano-sized food-related products.

Packaging of food items


Nanocomposites are mostly exploited in the area of food packaging, as they are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Nanocomposites exhibit extremely multipurpose chemical functionality and are therefore used for the growth of high obstacle properties (Pandey et al. 2013 ). A nanocomposite-based commercialized fertilizer, Guard IN Fresh, helps fruits and vegetables to ripen by scavenging ethylene gas (Gupta and Moulik 2008 ). Nanoclays are made of aluminum silicates, commonly mentioned to as phyllosilicates, and are low-cost, constant, and eco-friendly (Davis et al. 2013 ). The nanocomposite is a multiphase material resulted from the combination of two or more constituents, containing a continuous phase (matrix) and a discontinuous nano-dimensional phase with at least one nano-sized dimension (with less than 100 nm). The development of bio-nanocomposite materials for food packaging is significant not only to reduce the environmental problem, but also to improve the functions of the food packaging materials (Othman 2014 ). Moreover, nanoparticles could impart as their active or intelligent properties to food packaging so that they can preserve the food against external factors and increase the food’s stability through antimicrobial properties and/or responding to environmental changes. In spite of several advantages of nanomaterials, their use in food packaging may cause safety problems to human health since they exhibit different physicochemical properties from their macro-scale chemical counterparts (Hanarvar 2016 ). The usage of nanocomposites for food packaging defends not only food, but also develops the shelf-life of food products and overcomes environmental problems associated with the use of plastics. Most packaging materials are not degradable, and popular biodegradable films have a poor barrier and mechanical properties; therefore, these properties must be significantly improved before these films can replace conventional plastics and help to manage universal waste problems (Sorrentino et al. 2007 ).

Shankar and Rhim ( 2016 ) produced nanocomposite films including PBAT (polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate) and silver nanoparticles. The maximum plasmonic absorption of silver nanoparticles was detected at 435 nm. Moreover, the dramatic increase in tensile strength and water vapor permeability of the film was attributed to the presence of silver nanoparticles. Altogether, the formulated nanocomposite presented important features to be applied in packaging materials due to their UV-screening and biocidal activities. In addition to the abovementioned benefits, nanomaterials have also been developed continuously to enhance the physical and mechanical properties of packaging in terms of tensile strength, rigidity, gas permeability, water resistance and flame resistance. Aimed at providing those properties above, polymer nanocomposites are the latest materials with an enormous potential for use in the active food packaging industry (Youssef 2013 ). Better use of polymer–nanocomposite in the industry in Europe is going very slowly. The main reasons are the cost price of materials and processing, restrictions due to legislation, acceptance by customers in the market, lack of knowledge about the effectiveness and influence of nanoparticles on the ecological and on human health. The potential risk due to the migration of nanoparticles in food, and balance between the use of biomass for the production of foods (Bratovčić et al. 2015 ). Polymer nanocomposite-based food packaging material with antimicrobial properties is particularly useful due to the high surface-to-volume ratio of nanofillers. In addition, this property increases the surface reactivity of the nano-sized antimicrobial agents compared to the bulk counterpart, making them able to kill microorganisms. The performance properties, for example, mechanical, barrier, thermal, optical, biodegradation, and antimicrobial properties are found in polymer nanocomposites for the packaging applications (Fig.  3 ).


Nanosensors in conjunction with polymers are used to screen food pathogens and chemicals during storage and transit processes in smart packaging. Additionally, smart packaging confirms the integrity of the food package and authenticity of the food product (Pathakoti et al. 2017 ). Nano-gas sensors, nano-smart dust can be used to detect environmental pollution (Biswal et al. 2012 ). These sensors are composed of compact wireless sensors and transponders. Nanobarcodes are also an efficient mechanism for detection of the quality of agricultural fields (Sonkaria et al. 2012 ). An electrochemical glucose biosensor was nanofabricated by layer-by-layer self-assembly of polyelectrolyte for detection and quantification of glucose (Rivas et al. 2006 ). Nanosensors can detect environmental changes, for example, temperature, humidity, and gas composition, as well as metabolites from microbial growth and byproducts from food degradation (Fig.  4 ). The types of nanosensors used for this purpose include array biosensors, carbon nanotube-based sensors, electronic tongue or nose, microfluidic devices, and nanoelectromechanical systems technology (Sozer and Kokini 2009 ). Polymer nanocomposites from carbon black and polyaniline to detect and identify foodborne pathogens ( Bacillus cereus , Vibrio parahaemolyticus , and Salmonella spp.) based on the specific response patterns for each microorganism, as triggered by different vapors produced during their metabolism (Arshak et al. 2007 ). A liposome-containing nanosensor based on microfluidics showed that the main benefit of microfluidic sensors is their simple arrangement and their capability to identify constituents of interest fast in only microliters (µL) of sample volume (Sozer and Kokini 2009 ). The combination of nanosensors into food packaging has shown in various benefits than traditional sensors for example speed of analysis, enhanced sensitivity, specificity and multiplex systems (sample throughput), reduced cost and assay complexity (Singh et al. 2017 ). The sensors based on nanomaterials (nanosensor), both chemical sensors (chemical nanosensors) and biosensors (nanobiosensors), can be used online and combined into existing industrial process and distribution line or off-line as speedy, simple, and transportable, as well as disposable, sensors for food contaminants (Kuswandi 2017 ).

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Different types of nanosensors and examples of their use in the food sector

Nanosensors can also be used to determine the qualities of various foods, including wine, coffee, juice, and milk. The sensors are designed using layer-by-layer macromolecule ultra-thin films that show increases in surface area and 10,000-fold higher sensitivity than the human tongue. Nanosensors can further be fixed to packaging to identify microorganisms contaminating food. The packaged food product does not need to be directed to the laboratory for sampling; instead, the sensors indicate the food quality and can be directly interpreted by consumers based on color changes. Sensors that are typically used sensors in food packaging are gas detectors and time–temperature indicators, including array biosensors, nanoparticles in solution, nanoparticle-based sensors, nano-test strips, electronic noses, and nanocantilevers (Tang et al. 2009 ). The use of nanoparticles to develop nanosensors for detection of food contaminant and pathogens in the food method is another possible use of nanotechnology. Indeed, tailor-made nanosensors for food analysis, flavors or colors, drinking water and clinical diagnostics have been developed (Li and Sheng 2014 ). Nanosensors have also been applied for detection of organophosphates in plants, fruits, and water. Owing to the high water solubility, toxicity, and extensive use of pesticides in agriculture, there is an urgent requirement for highly sensitive and selective analytical systems for residue analysis of these pollutants (Valdés et al. 2009 ). Advances in nanosensor technology were discussed in a recent review highlighting magnetic immune sensors based on biomolecules connected with gold nanoparticles with a broad range of uses in food (Vidotti et al. 2011 ). An SPR-based biosensor was applied for fast identification of Campylobacter jejuni in samples of broiler chickens, and the specificity and sensitivity of distribution antibodies against C. jejuni were tested with Campylobacter and non- Campylobacter bacterial strains. Nanosensors and nano-based smart delivery methods are the uses of nanotechnology that are presently working in the agricultural production to help with fighting viruses and other crop pathogens, as well as to boost the effectiveness of agrochemicals at lower amount proportions (Mousavi and Rezaei 2011 ). Jebel and Almasi ( 2016 ) analyzed the antibacterial effect of ZnO nanoparticles embedded in cellulose films (impacts on E. coli and S. aureus ). They also applied ultrasound treatment to the bacteria and observed remarkable antibacterial performance.

Zhao et al. ( 2011 ) created a rapid, sensitive DNA strip sensor based on gold nanoparticle-labeled oligonucleotide probes to detect Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli . Both qualitative and semiquantitative findings of the target DNA were obtained; the qualitative limit of detection of the strip sensor was 4 nM. Oxonica Inc. (USA) developed nanobarcodes for use with dessert items or pellets to be delivered using an altered microscope for anti-counterfeiting determinations. The additional trend in the use of nano-packaging is nano-biodegradable packaging. The usage of nanomaterials to develop bioplastics may allow bioplastics to be used as a replacement for fossil fuel-based plastics for food packaging and carry bags. These devices have been receiving growing attention because the need for detecting and measuring at the molecular, physical and chemical properties of toxins, pollutants, and analytes in general (Table  1 ) (Guo et al. 2015 ; Martínez-Bueno et al. 2017 ). Li and Sheng ( 2014 ) reported the applications of gold nanoparticles and CNTs in food contamination detection. Potential research focus has also been suggested. Nanosensors developed based on the molecularly imprinted polymer technology include those used for the detection of trypsin, glucose, catechol, and ascorbic acid (Pathakoti et al. 2017 ). For human health, nanotechnology has tremendous interest in food detection and will be receiving more and more attention shortly. The food industry is eager to benefit from its revolutionary discovery as much as possible. The purpose of research and development of nanotechnology is to realize the efficient control of the microscopic world. Taking advantage of nanotechnology, researchers are beginning to realize the promising future in the field of biological sensors in food detection.

Table 1

Application of microfluidics lab-on-a-chip devices in the detection of mycotoxins

Food packaging

The biodegradability of a packaging material can be augmented by integrating inorganic elements, for example, mud, into the biopolymeric medium and can be measured with surfactants that are utilized for the alteration of the layered silicate. The use of inorganic elements also makes it possible for food packaging to have multiple functionalities, which could aid in the development of methods to deliver fragile micronutrients within edible capsules (Sorrentino et al. 2007 ). Food packaging is thought to be the main application of nanotechnology in the food industry. The adding of nanoparticles to shaped substances and films has been demonstrated to increase the properties of these materials, mainly durability, temperature resistance, flame resistance, barrier properties, optical properties, and recycling properties. Nano-packaging can also be designed to release enzymes, flavors, antimicrobials, antioxidants, and nutraceuticals to extend shelf-life (Cha and Chinnan 2004 ). Giannakas et al. ( 2016 ) have reported that addition of nanoclays is inducing the antimicrobial properties of PVOH/chitosan films and increases antimicrobial activity up to 44% for NaMMT and up to 53% for OrgMMT. Antimicrobial nanomaterials present an amount of current packaging concept planned to bring the vigorous nanoparticles that can be combined into a food package (Mihindukulasuriya and Lim 2014 ). Nanotechnology uses in the food manufacturing can be exploited to produce stronger tastes and color quality or detect bacteria in packaging, and safety by growing the obstacle properties and holds great potential to offer benefits not just within food products, but also around food products. In fact, nanotechnology introduces new chances for innovation in the food industry fast, but uncertainty and health concerns are also emergent (Sekhon 2014 ).

Benefits of nanomaterials in food packaging uses

Bioactive-packaging materials can aid the oxidation of foodstuffs and avoid the development of off-flavors and unwanted textures. Nonsustainable production, lack of recyclability, and insufficient mechanical and barrier properties are some of the ongoing challenges faced by the food and packaging industries. Although metal and glass are excellent barrier materials that can be used to inhibit undesirable mass transport in food packaging, plastics are still popular due to their lightweight, formability, cost effectiveness, and versatility. Indeed, the packaging industry accounts for more than 40% of all plastic usage, with half of this 40% used for food packaging (Rhim et al. 2013 ). Ravichandran ( 2010 ) revealed that the development of exciting novel nanotechnology products for food packaging, and some antimicrobial films had been introduced to increase the shelf-life of food and dairy products (Fig.  5 ). Moreover, food preservation and food packaging materials have become essential in the food industry. Food spoilage can be detected using nanosensors; thousands of nanoparticles fluoresce in several colors after coming into contact with food pathogens. In our studies of the significance of time in nourishment microbiology, the chief goal of nanosensors was to decrease the time for pathogen detection from days to hours or even minutes (Bhattacharya et al. 2007 ). Packaging prepared with nanosensors can also track either the internal or external circumstances of food products, vessels, and pellets. For example, Opel, which is used to make Opalfilm, containing 50-nm carbon black nanoparticles, was used as a biosensor that could change color in response to food spoilage.

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Benefits and risks of nanotechnology applications in food and related products

Bioactive packaging resources necessity to be prepared to maintain bioactive chemicals, for example, probiotics, prebiotics, bioavailable flavonoids, and encapsulated vitamins, under optimal conditions, till they are released in a controlled method into the nourishment product (López-Rubio et al. 2006 ). Carbon nanotubes, which are mostly used as packaging for foods, constantly migrate into foods and can be used to control toxicity on the skin and lungs of human (Mills and Hazafy 2009 ). Lemes et al. ( 2008 ) prepared a nanocomposite with multiwalled carbon nanotubes and the biopolymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), enhancing its mechanical properties. Several microorganisms produce this polymer as reserve materials, and its use as packaging in food was approved in Europe. Reynolds ( 2007 ) demonstrated that approximately 400–500 nano-packaging products are commercially available, and nanotechnology is expected to be utilized in the manufacturing of 25% of all food packaging within the next generation. An ingestible nano-based track and trace technology was developed by pSiNutria, a division of the nanotechnology company pSivida. Possible pSiNutria products include products to identify pathogens in food for food tracing and preservation and temperature measurements in food storage (Alfadul and Elneshwy 2010 ). The FDA controls nanofoods, and the maximum allowable amounts of nanomaterials in food packaging and organic chemicals are monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA. Though neither the EPA nor the FDA has documented nanomaterials as novel chemicals or have required any new oversight of these materials-based products to engage in early and frequent consultation with the agency (Badgley and Perfecto 2007 ).

Application of nanotechnology in foods and bioactives

Archaeosomes are a type of microbial lipid membrane resistant to oxidation, chemical and enzymatic hydrolysis, low pH, high temperature, and the presence of bile salts due to the hostile living environment of Archaea microbes (Mozafari 2006 ). Canham ( 2007 ) found that the milk protein α-lactalbumin in certain conditions can undergo self-assembly to form tubular nanostructures. Such tubes are thousands of nanometers long, their diameter is 20 nm, and the inner cavity diameter is about 8 nm. These structures are formed in several stages. In the first stage, α-lactalbumin is partially hydrolyzed through the activity of a protease from Bacillus licheniformis . Also, along with other components, several derivatives with molecular masses varying from 10 to 14 kDa are formed. In the presence of calcium ions, this mixture self-assembles into helical tubes. Nanocochleates resulting from soy and calcium have been found to be suitable for the nano-encapsulation of vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and lycopene without affecting the organoleptic properties of foods (Joseph and Morrison 2006 ). Dairy products, beverages cereals, and bread are now supplemented with minerals, vitamins, bioactive peptides, probiotics, plant sterols, and antioxidants. Some of these active components are being added to foods as nanoparticles or particles of a few hundred nm in size (Shelke 2008 ). Gupta and Gupta ( 2005 ) demonstrated that nanometer-sized particles could be produced using food-grade biopolymers, e.g., polysaccharides or proteins, by inducing phase separation in mixed biopolymer systems, self-association, or aggregation. Nanoparticles are added to various foods to increase flow properties, color, and stability during processing, or shelf-life. For example, aluminosilicate materials are typically used as anticaking agents in powdered processed foods, whereas anatase titanium dioxide is a normal food whitener and brightener additive employed in sweets, some cheeses, and sauces (Ashwood et al. 2007 ). The applications explored here were particularly chosen because they are the most likely nanofood products to be accepted by consumers in the short term. Thus, food nanotechnology is still young, and the future of this exciting field is still largely uncertain. Regardless of how applications of nanotechnology in the food sector are ultimately marketed, governed, or perceived by the public, it seems clear that the manipulation of matter on the nanoscale will continue to yield exciting and unforeseen products.


Nanotechnology has used for alterations of the genetic structures of crop plants, thereby facilitating their improvement. Nanotechnology may offer in agronomic activities, with particular attention to critical features, challenging matters, and investigation needs for professional risk assessment and management in this developing field (Prasad et al. 2017 ). Nano-fertilizers (nano-coated fertilizers, nano-sized nutrients, or carbon-based nanomaterials or engineered metal-oxide), and nano-pesticides (inorganic nanomaterials or nano-formulations of conventional active ingredients), may provide a targeted/controlled release of agrochemicals, aimed to obtain their fullest biological effectiveness without over-dosage (Iavicoli et al. 2017 ). Smart delivery of foods, a fast specimen of biological and chemical impurity, bioseparation of proteins and nano-encapsulation of nutritional supplements are some of the new areas of nanotechnology for food and agriculture (Sozer and Kokini 2009 ). Reduced biosynthesis of chlorophyll by magnetic nanoparticles of Fe 3 O 4 induced a similar and statistically important decrease of chlorophyll and carotene levels of seedlings in sunflower (Ursache-Oprisan et al. 2011 ). The response of seedlings in Zea mays to the administration of the same range of Fe 3 O 4 NPs concentration caused by the decrease of chlorophyll while the seedlings of Cucurbita pepo showed a minor elevation of chlorophyll contents (Racuciu et al. 2009 ). Thiruvengadam et al. ( 2015 ) reported that silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) could regulate the expression of genes involved in the metabolic pathways of carotenoids, phenolics, and glucosinolate in turnips. However, in addition to plants, nanomaterials can also affect animals, such as Eisenia fetida (earthworms), which evade AgNP-improved soil (Shoults-Wilson et al. 2011 ).

Nano-sized calcium carbonate was prepared by reaction of sodium carbonate and calcium chloride by the reversed-phase microemulsion technique and then loaded with the pesticide validamycin. It exhibited excellent germicidal activity against Rhizoctonia solani than validamycin later 7 days, and the time of the release of validamycin was prolonged to 2 weeks. The loading efficiency, stability, sustained-release performance and excellent ecological compatibility of the substance, the system for its use may be prolonged to another hydrophilic pesticide (Qian et al. 2011 ). Guan and Hubacek ( 2010 ) encapsulated the imidacloprid with a coating of chitosan and sodium alginate via layer-by-layer self-assembly, increasing its growth rate in soil applications. Moreover, as a vehicle for active materials (pesticides, fertilizers, or plant growth regulators), nanoparticles can also be synthesized through catalytic oxidation–reduction. Subsequent use of these materials would decrease the quantity of these active constituents in the environment and reduce the time through which the environment is exposed to the effects of the nanomaterials. Using nanotechnology to create new formulations has revealed significant potential in enlightening the efficiency and security of pesticides. The improvement of nano-based pesticide formulation aims at the complete release of necessary and adequate amounts of their active constituents in responding to environmental triggers and biological demands through controlled release mechanisms (Zhao et al. 2017 ). The nanoparticle-mediated transformation has the potential for genetic changes of plants for further development. The use of nanotechnology in plant pathology goals exact agricultural difficulties in plant–pathogen interactions and bring new ways for crop protection. Nair et al. ( 2010 ) studied the delivery of nanoparticulate materials to plants and their eventual effects, which could deliver some perceptions for the safe use of this novel technology for the improvement of crops. Some potential applications of nanoscale science, engineering, and nanotechnology for agriculture, expressly designed to improve and to protect agronomic yields and crop production as well as to detect and remediate environmental pollutants, have been addressed with attention focused on emerging occupational risks in this field (Iavicoli et al. 2017 ).


In conclusion, nanotechnology has become progressively important in the food industry. Food innovation is observed as one of the sector areas in which nanotechnology will play a major part in the forthcoming. New and future innovation is nanotechnology that has exceptionally extraordinary property in food source chain (precision farming techniques, smart feed, enhancement of food texture and quality, bioavailability/nutrient values, packaging, labeling, crop production and use of agrochemicals such as nano-pesticides, nano-fertilizers, and nano-herbicides) round the world agricultural sector. Nanofood packaging resources may widen nourishment life, upgrade food safety, prepared customers that food is sullied or destroyed, repair tears in packaging, and uniform release added substances to grow the life of the food in the package. To maintain leadership in food and food-processing industry, one must work with nanotechnology and nanobio-info in the future. The future belongs to new products and new processes with the goal to customize and personalize the products. Improving the safety and quality of food will be the first step. Finally, nanotechnology enables to change the existing food systems and processing to ensure products safety, creating a healthy food culture, and enhancing the nutritional quality of food.


This paper was supported by the KU Research Professor Program of Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea.

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Conflict of interest.

The authors have declared that there is no conflict of interest.

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Govindasamy Rajakumar, Email: .

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Conclusion and Perspective


  • 1 Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea.
  • 2 Division of Science Education, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea.
  • 3 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Hanbat National University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
  • 4 School of International Engineering and Science, Jeonbuk National University, Jeonju, Republic of Korea.
  • 5 School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 6 Department of Chemistry Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 7 Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea. [email protected].
  • PMID: 33782878
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-981-33-6158-4_13

Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing area of development by numerous research groups across the world with its potential applications gaining recognition since the 1950s across various fields. During the last decade of the twentieth century, researchers have actively engaged in the synthesis of nanoparticles and investigation of their physicochemical properties. Advancing the research momentum forward at the beginning of the twenty-first century, rapid development of nanoscience allowed to demonstrate unprecedented advantages of the nanomaterials and its applications in a wide range of fields. The interdisciplinary nature of nanoscience and its expansion has led to establishment of new laboratories and research centers, with increasing needs on training and educating young scientists in advanced laboratory protocols. In addition, pedagogical demands in nanotechnology and nanomaterials have resulted an emergence of new dedicated curriculums at universities which has sped up the development of nanoscience and its contribution to the body of knowledge in natural science.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Environmental pollution; Nanobiotechnology; Nanomaterials; Nanotechnology; Therapeutics.

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Engineering LibreTexts

12: Case Study on Nanotechnology

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Here we delve into a case study on nanotechnology which is an ancient technology as well as a cutting-edge modern technology. This contradiction is exactly why this is an interesting case study for learning what engineering (and science) is all about.

This section is meant to be accompanied with an inexpensive textbook. Fortunately wikibooks has such a textbook (free): The Opensource Handbook of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

This book is an excellent if a bit incomplete introduction (for an engineer or scientist) to nanotechnology. Some of the topics however might be overly advanced for an introduction to engineering class, so in this section nanotechnology will be reviewed with an assumption that the student will use the textbook above (or another one of their choice) to supplement. This section is not meant to take more than a week in an actually instructive setting.

What is naontechnology?

To begin with let us do another class discussion that asks the question: What is nanotechnology? Discuss before looking at some answers.

Carbon allotropes

Because "buckyballs" are the start of the modern revival of nanotechnology (at least from a media point of view) let us go over some of carbon allotropes that are making headlines.

While nanotechnology is an old technology, a new modern revival of the technology came about with discovery of C 60 or the Buckminsterfullerene (buckyball) named after Buckminster Fuller because of his penchant for building geodesic domes. Why geodesic domes? Because these domes are based off the Platonic solids 3 and C 60 is a truncated icosahedron (one of the Platonic solids).

C 60 were produced in 1985 during an experiment to help understand certain carbon molecules that might have been generated in space. Why do such an experiment? Because most stars have debris surrounding them with carbon in it and some have very long chains that are of interest to astronomers. Hence the experiment. The actual generation of C 60 was not intended but serendipity. From an engineering and science point of view, the analysis after the experiment was the real research because C 60 was identified through analysis after the experiment that did not aim to produce them or even know of their existence.

The buckyball is now considered a part of the fullerene family. An outline of facts about buckyballs:

  • Truncated Icosahedron (like a Telstar football or "a soccer ball circa 1970s")
  • 0.7 nm in diameter with a spacing of about 1 nm between adjacent buckyballs
  • Can be made into a superconductor
  • Offshoot studies led to the discovery of the carbon nanotube (next topic)
  • Has been detected in burning candles (a modern addition to Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle , yes?)
  • Stacked buckyballs
  • A huge amount, not miniscule
  • The most massive particle to show wave-particle duality ( Nature 1999 )

There are many articles about buckyballs and interesting uses of buckyballs (though some are totally false, so be careful! See Understanding ). In this brief review though we will move onto the carbon nanotube as there have been actual products developed from this fullerene. That's not to say that buckyballs will never have products produced from them, there time just hasn't come yet.

Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes were first observed in 1991 and produced in 1992. Because of this discovery interest in buckyball technology shifted to these nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are like an individual layer of graphite (which is now called graphene) that is wrapped around to meet end to end. An outline of facts about carbon nanotubes:

  • Extremely strong
  • Known as buckytubes at one time
  • Science in making the sabers but serendipity that CNTs were involved (just like bread making, etc.)
  • Modern techniques make better sabers, but at the time they were the best (and their legend lives on)
  • Varying diameters from 1 nm to 100 nm and can in theory be as long as you desire, but in practice not so long (yet)
  • Good conductor of electricity
  • Or can be a semiconductor
  • Called (carbon) nanowires when discussing electrical properties (note: this is not the only type of nanowire)
  • Single-walled (SWCNT or SWNT) and multi-walled (MWCNT or MWNT)
  • Buckypaper offers many possible applications, but still is in its infancy
  • GSFC/NASA continues their groundbreaking work on carbon nanotube technology
  • CNT has been tested for such diverse ideas such as water filtration, supercapacitors, heat shields, etc.

A great way to look at nanotubes is to get a piece of chicken wire (plastic preferably) and cut out a rectangle (at this point you have graphene) and wrap it around (nanotube). You can do this at home which is way better then a flat screen simulation and definitely inexpensive.

Different wraps of graphene can produce different properties for carbon nanotubes. That is, depending on how you wrap the nanotube you can have metallic nanotubes or semiconductor nanotubes (or at this point you might want to call it a nanowire). Note that the ends of the wrap which normally don't have a cap in our representations represents the end of the nanotube itself.

There are two other possible wraps for the carbon nanotube and that is the chiral wraps. Chiral CNTs are stereoisomers and are mostly semiconductors.

For carbon nanotubes we can define a coordinate system that has unit vectors that help us describe the armchair, zig-zag, and chiral nanotubes.

Unit vectors on the hexagonal chicken wire that represents our graphene layer.

Using the unit vectors (\(\vec{e_1}\) and \(\vec{e_2}\)) defined in the figure above we can write an equation that describes the various nanotubes as \(m \vec{e_1} + n \vec{e_2}\) where m and n are integers and \(m+n \ge 2\). Given this equation if m or n equal zero then we have a zig-zag CNT (semiconductor), if m=n we have an armchair CNT (metallic), and otherwise it is chiral CNT. In general chiral CNTs are semiconductors but if \(\lvert (m-n)\rvert \) is a multiple of 3 then it is metallic 4 .

Fullerene research is just at its infancy and there will be more to discover which will include its share of disappointments, but that is science.

So what about that sheet of graphite we discussed above? A single sheet of graphite is called graphene. Through studies of the laminar nature of graphite oxide starting as early as the 1860s where chemist Benjamin Brodie produced thin layers of the crystal which he studied and was able to get atomic weight of graphite. Studies on this structure continued with every thinner layers which had high strength and noteworthy optical properties. In 1947, physicist's P. R. Wallace produced a theoretical framework for graphene in order to understand the electronic properties of graphite. Work continued on thin layers of graphite both experimentally and theoretically with some work possibly being on graphene (there would be no way to distinguish between one and a few layers of graphite). In 1961 chemist Hanns-Peter Boehm reported on very thin layers of graphite flacks and called a single layer of graphite, "graphene." The term would be revived in the late 1990s when disscussing carbon nanotubes. Finally in 2004, physicists' Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated and characterized free-standing graphene. And this is when things got interesting...

In the following outline we will list some properties of graphene that can possibly lead to exciting new products or are just very interesting scientifically:

  • Single atom thickness (carbon)
  • Normally a semiconductor has a greater than zero band gap and it is metals you would expect to have no band gap
  • That is the graphene actual absorbs light (over 2%)
  • This feature mean you can actual "see" graphene in certain conditions
  • Graphene's strong interaction with photons maybe useable for nanophotonics
  • Graphene is theoretically an excellent material for spintronics due to carbon coupling and long spin lifetimes (theory)
  • Lightest strongest material with large tensile strength
  • Small spring constant (flexible)
  • Very robust
  • But it has a impressive ability to distribute the force of an impact
  • This allows it to bend like metals
  • Graphene has high surface area to mass ratio (almost goes without saying) which could make it good for supercapacitors (instead of the currently favored idea of activated carbon)
  • Can by used for energy storage, filtration, and other applications

That was just a few of the interesting properties of graphene. But this is not the last word on nanotechology as up and coming new technology includes the hexogonal Boron Nitrite (h-BN) that has just as many interesting properties as graphene. And we can go even further with combining fullerenes, graphene, and h-BN. Already combining graphene with CNTs has produced interesting research avenues as well as graphene with bismuth nanowires and graphene with h-BN (hexagonal Boron Nitrite).

So let us move on to discussing nanotechnology in more general way to give just a brief overview.

Nanotechnology by discipline

Nanotechnology spans multiple engineering disciplines which we will list briefly below. For electrical engineering the processes of making integrated circuits (ICs) has been in the nanotechnology range for decades, but new techniques are possible with nanotechnology elements.

  • Bionanosensors
  • Utilizing natures nanotechnology (like mRNA for vaccines, etc.)
  • Nanofoods (nano-manipulation of food to improve taste, texture, etc.)
  • Nanopackaging (using nanomaterials to improve packaging)
  • Nanomembranes (for filtering)
  • Nanocatalysts (for water remediation)
  • Nanocoating (including CNT coating)
  • Nanosurface protection (including uses of CNT mechanical properties)
  • Quantum dots
  • Lithography (been at nano-level for a long time)
  • DNA nanoarray
  • Nanowires or nanosemiconductors
  • Nano-optics

The outline above is just a taste of nanotechology and how it effects a number of engineering disciplines.

There are three different areas of research in nanotechnology which usually are the domain of different disciplines.

  • Liquid environment
  • Usually biological
  • Filters (CNT) and example of cross-over technology
  • Silicon and other inorganic materials
  • Metals, semiconductors
  • Too reactive so they can't operate in wet conditions
  • This should be in addition to actual experimentation and prototyping
  • While this is important and could produce some excellent product or insight, it still has to be verified experimentally
  • So don't get excited until the process is complete
  • This is required to fully understand nanotechnology

What is so exciting about Nanotechnology?

The physical rules of the "macro" world are relevant all they way down to the microscopic level, but things change when you pass into the nano realm. Surface effects, chemical effects, optical effects, and physical effects are different in the nanoscale when compared to the macro or micro scale.

  • Stain resistant clothes
  • Sweat absorbing clothes
  • Antimicrobial socks
  • New exciting discoveries await
  • However, disappointments await as well
  • This is the nature of research
  • Is some money going to be wasted? Yes that is the nature of searching for things. "Failure" is an integral part of engineering and science. We want success but we want to progress as well and that means some failures
  • Can we predict where our money should go? Yes and no. Simulations can give us clues, but it is not a perfect solution
  • Should we only do research that is proven out by a simulation? No, but we should not ignore the contribution of simulation

Understanding the different effects at the nanolevel requires an understanding of physics. For engineers and scientists this is why physics is essential. Some ideas require a graduate level physics background, but even with a calculus-based physics understanding the ideas behind nanotechnology become clearer. Simulations are going to require graduate school level education.

  • Scaling laws
  • Transport phenomena
  • Hartree-Fock (computational physics - approximation method for wave functions)
  • Hydrophobic and hydrophilic
  • Diffusion, transport in all dimensions

Practical ways to do Nanotechnology

How do you go about making something in nanotechnology? There are two methods

  • Building nanotechnology using larger elements
  • Primary method in manufacturing at present
  • No atomic-level control
  • ​​​​​​State of photolithography for a couple of decade
  • Laser is a larger element producing smaller nano-element
  • Build from molecular components
  • Static self-assembly utilizes nature to reach minimum free energy
  • Dynamic self-assembly requires energy to force a solution
  • That is components assemble themselves based off of a code
  • What in nature might be used as a model for this?
  • What are some problematic issues with using this method?

The answer to our coding is DNA which we discussed at the start of this chapter.

DNA is a coding device that is used in nature, but some have proven it can be used by humans. DNA is nanometer in size. Let us view a TED Talk by Paul Rothemund explaining his creation of DNA faces.

Note that the method described here is not the only method people are researching. You can go to the Rothemund Lab web page (under research) to get links to other researchers in the field.

Nanotechnology Examples

Because nanotechnology is so vast and covers so many disciplines we have picked only a few examples as a way of introduction. There are many many many more applications and examples in the literature. We encourage you to read as many as you can. And maybe one of your essays can be on nanotechnology in your field!

Bismuth Nanowires

Bismuth in has been used in one form or another for thermocouples and thermopiles for more than a century. Bismuth is a semimetal even in nanowire form until about 50 nm when it transitions to a semiconductor form. Most research is done, however, with Bismuth nanowires in the semimetal form as it is difficult to produce good nanowires below 50 nm (though advances continue). Nanowires offer different properties that can aid in the thermocouple/thermopile are of research such as optical properties and reduction of thermal conductivity (bulk semimetal general dissipate energy to quickly due to higher thermal conductivity.

Nanotechnology and the environment

  • Humans need clean consumable water for survival
  • Environmental contaminates are a serious problem that reduces the amount of consumable water to unacceptable levels
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Added reactive component (iron oxide ceramic membranes) add an extra-level of removal of contaminates
  • Aluminum oxide ceramic membranes are another membrane being investigated
  • Iron oxidization causes certain organic molecules (including toxic ones) to break down
  • Therefore nanoscale iron can improve remediation
  • Smaller size allows the iron to go further into the soil (percolation)

Nanotechnology materials

  • The grain size is an important characterization of metal (regardless if we are taking nanotechnology or not) that defines among other things the yield strength
  • \(\sigma_y = \sigma_0 + \frac{k}{\sqrt{d}}\) where \(\sigma_y\) is the yield strength, \(\sigma_0\) and k are constants that depend on the particular metal, and d is the average grain size diameter
  • The equation implies that smaller grain sizes give better yield strength
  • Possible negative Hall-Petch effect below 30 nm
  • Questions remain; studies needed
  • Issues are worsening corrosion and creep as the grain size gets smaller
  • Future shows promise however
  • Ceramic nanoparticles
  • Possible bone repair (see next example)

Nanotechnology and bones

A large portion of our bones are nanosize hydroxyapatite which could be repairable using bioactive and resorbable ceramics. The mechanism of this repair would be osteoinduction. This is a very promising research avenue.

Spintronics (or magnetoelectronics)

The idea behind spintronics is to develop electronics that uses the spin of the electron rather than the "movement" of the electrons. The promise of this technology is to make transistors smaller and faster.

  • Technically spintronics is not nanotechnology, however, nanotechnology offers the best approach for its practical use
  • By creating ferromagnetic semiconductors that require layers that are only a few nanometers (\(\leftarrow\) there you go)

Nanotechnology Machines

Can there be nanotechnology machines? No, not really, nanomachines are not very practical. But nanoparts for use by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is possible. For nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) we will outline some possible parts without getting into the details of how to control the motion (some sort of voltage will need to be applied).

  • Use multi-walled nanotubes
  • One tube rotates inside the other
  • Kinds of emulates rotational bearings
  • The nanomotor would be controlled by the use of a nanocrystal ram (sort of like a piston)
  • Control by voltage in some fashion
  • In general electronics this can be used as a clock or for blinking lights on a car
  • This works using liquid metal droplets that exchange mass
  • Utilizes surface tension (which in would be very strong at this scale)
  • Graphene has relatively small spring constant and therefore is relatively flexible
  • Graphene is very robust as well

Tools used in nanotechnology

A microscope is an optical device that uses light to magnify the object it is viewing, because visible light has a wavelength between 400 nm to 800 nm. Typically a "microscope" can at best see an object about twice the wavelength of light that is used. This means a normal optical microscope could at best see about 1 \(\mu m\) which is in its name...a micro scope. This would be cellular level. It is possible to infer some nanotechnology from a powerful microscope, but it would be better to use something else. Also there are UV microscopes, but still it would be better to use something else. So in this section we will go over the tools for nanotechnology.

  • Focused beam of electrons
  • Electrons' wavelength is much smaller than 1 nm (so this will work for nanotechnology)
  • 5 to 10 nm resolution; some special SEMs can get down to just less than 1 nm
  • Surface scanner
  • Electrons penetrate the sample (typically less the 1 \(\mu m\))
  • Magnets used to manipulate the electrons into the sample
  • 0.2 nm resolution (but field of view is severely reduced in exchange for this better resolution)
  • SEM, TEM with equipment like spectrometers
  • 0.1 nm resolution
  • While there are versions that can be used in a liquid environment, these Liquid-phase EMs have limited uses
  • Need to prepare certain samples by sputtering metal (like gold) on them
  • Sample is placed in a vacuum of at least 10 -4 torr
  • New innovations allow for "desktop" Scanning electron microsopes
  • Used electrical properties from tip to sample
  • 0.01 nm depth resolution
  • Uses force properties (this is how it distinguishes from STM) using a cantilever
  • Detects the Van der Waals forces by oscillating very close to the surface
  • Difficult mode to work because of its being close to the surface which induces troublesome forces
  • Most common mode
  • For soft surfaces
  • There are many different type of probes (maybe 100 or so)
  • Nanoscale Thermal Analysis probes for thermal maps of the sample
  • Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy probe for scanning local electrical properties
  • Magnetic probes for probing magnetic fields above the sample
  • Scanning Capacitance Mode probes for getting a sense of carrier concentrations in semiconductors
  • Deep Trench probe used for the integrated circuit industry
  • Tip Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy probe
  • Millimeters for Electron Microscopes
  • Micrometers for Scanning Probe Microscopes
  • Slow scan compared to SEM
  • Unless you really want to get to the atomic level then you need high vacuum
  • In the case of atomic level however we are not discussing nanotechnology any more though this could be of benefit to nanotechnology in the research sense
  • Tapping mode is usually used here
  • Usually use same sort of probes as with solid but designed for liquid (Silver Nitride)
  • Probes for AFMs can be used to do nanomanipulation (nanolithography or nanobuilding)
  • Nanomanpulators are available for SEMs as well
  • Only two types will be outlined here, more are covered in materials class
  • Spectroscopy is the study of how light interacts with materials
  • Basic spectrometers that most people are familiar with determine elements in a system but other spectrometers determine much more
  • Studying spectrometers could actual be a year-long course in itself, fortunately there are numerous web sites on spectroscopy for most types of spectrometers
  • Determines type of crystal structure along with defects and any other structural information
  • Some methods are non-destructive
  • "Common" spectroscopy in general determines if you have say carbon or not but not what form of carbon
  • Allotropes of carbon: buckyball, CNTs, graphite, diamond, graphene, glassy carbon, carbon nanobuds, etc.
  • Basis of this spectroscopy is Stokes Raman scattering (as opposed to say Mie or Rayleigh scattering)
  • This is covered more thoroughly in the materials science course
  • New advances have been produced in the lab (real) because of simulation that were originally preformed based off new theories or ideas
  • Theories are made into models which are then simulated
  • Need models of measuring tools and the materials to understand interactions
  • Theory: what do we know about the materials and tools
  • Model: represent the theory in a testable fashion (equations; numerical analysis techniques)
  • Use the model to predict some new results
  • Laboratory test for the new results to confirm the model
  • Re-work the model
  • In rare instances look at the theory

Nanotechnology involves almost everything

  • Nanoparticles (like quantum dots)
  • Light and its interaction at a nanoscale
  • Metamaterials (negative index of refraction among other "non-natural" properties) are the most promising here
  • Nanomechanics
  • Nanofluidics (study of fluids confined to a nanostructure)
  • Nanobiotechnology

Additional websites to satiate your curiosity on nanotechnology

  • - Nature Magazine's Nanotechnology Journal
  • - this is for educators and researchers can be very high level
  • - simulation of an electron microscope
  • - Renishaw's Raman Spectroscopy page (they have links to a lot of literature on Raman spectroscopy)
  • - Molecular Workbench: Simulator program for learning science in a realistic manner
  • - General science periodical but you can search for Nanotechnology and get interesting articles
  • - kinda like a warehouse of nanotechnology links (more for learning)
  • - kinda like a warehouse of graphene articles and links
  • - National Geographic article on Nanotechnology
  • - CDC laboratory that investigates the safety of nanotechnology
  • - open source Raman project so you can build your won Raman spectrometer (costs a bit, still)
  •  - An article on this history of nanotechnology that might be of interest to some

This is just a sampling of nanotechnology, a more detail look at nanotechnology will be provide in materials science class. This is the last teacher-led case study; now it is the students turn - starting in the next section.

1 For a more modern version of the Powers of Ten you might want to look at the Cosmic Eye version:

Another interesting approach is the tool on AAAS' ScienceNetlink that gives more scales then just the power of 10 movie: Scale of Universe 2 . Still the original movie from 1977 is still amazingly good and has music from the famous American composer, Elmer Bernstein ( The Ten Commandments, Magnificent Seven ,...).

2 The tendency is to use grain size here but that actually means something else with regards to metallurgy so instead we will say nanoparticle size. Gold is obviously gold when we look at it, but a 30 nm nanoparticle size of gold is red. As you make larger and large nanoparticles it starts to change from red to a bluish-purple hue. The shape also can cause color change so rather than grinding it like you would in ancient times you would purposely make spheres or prismoids to get different colors (note that the sphere would be different color then prismoid if both were the same size).

3 The Platonic solids were described by Plato (or, maybe, Pythagoras) and consist of five solids: the cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron. These solids are very interesting in the field of mathematics and crystallography (and by association materials science).

4 You can examine this more by using one of Scott Sinex's Material Sciences Excelets (in particular one named "Carbon Nanotube"). This, while designed for Excel, will run on LibreOffice's spreadsheet but does not work on MacOS Numbers.

5 The example list of probes herein is from Bruker , a company that sells scientific equipment, in particular AFM and STM probes ( Bruker probes division).

Nanotechnology in Modern Life

Introduction, nanotechnology and our life.

Indeed, there is no clear definition of the term ‘nanotechnology’. At the moment, the very existence of nanomaterial and nanotechnology is a variety of opinions, attitudes and creates myths. One of the most popular explanations for the ordinary inhabitants is as follows: nanotechnology is a technology for manipulating matter at molecular and atomic level.

Like any other phenomenon, the nano has created two opposing views: The first is that nanotechnology is our future, our development, and the second states that the nano is just a temporary whim of scientists involved in taking money for their experiments, some fashion in the scientific world. But both these views are, in principle, wrong. With regard to development, nanotechnology is truly a new level of scientific knowledge that can bring real improvements in terms of production technology. However, at this point in some areas of science or the application of nanotechnology products could be harmful or not very convenient.

Nano technology is used in the following spheres:

Nanofood is food created with the help of nanotechnology, for example, in processing plants or housing, or creating the package. Such foods contain modified molecules, which give food to their unusual properties: for example, they can glow in the dark or unusual colors. With regard to benefits, there it is the main argument in favor. The point is that nanotechnology in the food formation improve its nutritional properties and do better. These products ideally suit to developing countries, as it is relatively inexpensive. Developed countries are also seeking to obtain such a useful and valuable product, because it used to monitor their health and development of nanotechnology may give the food a large number of vitamins and reduce the content of harmful substances in it ( Rogers, 2007) .

Here, the development of nanotechnology is everywhere. Scientists apply their development in various fields of medicine. Not so long ago, experts from the University of Michigan have created a completely new version of a vaccine against anthrax, of course, with the use of nanotechnology. They entered one of the pathogens in a particle, consisting of water, alcohol, soybean oil and some others, and this emulsion injected into the noses of test mice. As a result, the animals develop immunity to the disease. Advantage of such vaccine is that it may be introduced into an organism affected by spraying, without the syringe, and unpretentious in storage: it can be at room temperature.

Applied nanotechnology is used to strengthen the prosthesis. Scientists have invented nanowire, which strongly reinforce titanium implants. These prostheses are used in medicine to replace damaged bone. But muscles can not be firmly consolidated in the smooth surface of conventional titanium implant, so it had to change, and thus, once again from outside to invade the body. However, the coating of implants with nanowire titanium dioxide allowed solving this problem. Specialists of Schools of Pharmacy have established a three-dimensional model of cancer cells, coexisting with normal healthy cells. They were able to enter into such a model of special nanoparticles that are suitable for drug delivery. In the experiment modeled the interaction of cancer cells from normal tissues, which is defined by the position of the tumor within the brain. According to scientists in the future, such studies may lead to effective therapies for brain cancer ( Uldrich, 2006) .

Scientists have created nanoparticles that can detect and show the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the body (it is known that cells in the early stages of the disease produce hydrogen peroxide). Such particles may some day be used as a universal diagnostic tool to detect any disease in its early stages. The synthesized nanoparticles in further studying this problem can help understand the role of hydrogen peroxide in the course of disease, as well as become a kind of diagnosis.

Nanostructures have their specific properties. For example, nanoparticles of ceramics used in the preparation of paints for cars, which are resistant to all kinds of scratch, gold nanoparticles have a reddish tinge, nanoparticles of silver, to protect people against infections. Typically, these particles are created chemical method and contain a lot of impurities.

Attitudes to such technologies in the world in general are ambiguous. In Europe, nanotechnology is considered as a basis for the future of medicine, energy, information and environmental technologies ( Uldrich, 2006) .

Experts believe that nanotechnology will become the driving force behind the next industrial revolution, and will change our way of life. Research and development of nanotechnology are in a state of recovery in the pursuit of original and useful things, and then comes off as a tailor-made, very little is done to ensure that ensure public and environmental safety.

Dollars invested annually in research and development of nanotechnology is approximately 3 billion dollars, representing approximately one-third of the total number of public and private investment in nanotechnology in the world, – stated in a press release the International Center for Scholars Woodrow Wilson (Washington).

Nanotechnologies offer great potential benefits in improving almost all types of industrial products: computers, cars, clothing, food, medicines, batteries and much more.

The growing number of research reports and government cautions that created nanoparticles may be hazardous to human health and the environment, even though it was a bit of research about their toxicity, – said in a recent report of Vital Signs 2006-2007 Worldwatch Institute (Worldwatch Institute).

Nanotechnologies comprise a wide range of technologies to control the structure of matter at the level of atoms and molecules. Nanometer is one billionth share of meters, width of 10 adjacent hydrogen atoms, the thickness of a human hair is approximately 80 thousands of nanometers.

At a microscopic level, matter behaves differently than in our daily lives in this world, which dominates the classical physics of Newton.

In nanoworld «properties of matter are determined by a complex and rich combination of classical physics and quantum mechanics», – said in an exclusive online edition of Scientific American for January 2006.

Also, large quantities of tiny nanosubstance can have enormous power because of their greatly increased surface area of the relationship to the volume.

«With the decrease value of the particles and the growth of their reactivity, a substance which may be inert in the micro or macro scale, can become dangerous properties in nanoscale», – reported in Vital Signs 2006-2007.

Under the complex of developed nanosubstances it is meant that their impact will depend on more than just the chemistry, only one microscopic nanoparticle size could allow them to more easily penetrate and infect human organs. The fact that the substance of nanoscale may have extraordinary properties – properties that is inconsistent with the «capital» physics and chemistry – can be a potential threat.

Researchers are not sure how to safely work with new nanosubstances, the nanocompanies just do not know how to create safe products, and public confidence in these new technologies, risks being undermined, head of developing nanotechnology (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies ).

According to Maynard, there is a need for international coordination: «It should find ways to harmonize research, sharing the costs and sharing of information between countries and economic regions» ( Jones, 2008) .

Maynard pointed out that the industry has a commercial purpose which is to sell products, and the results of their research are not always public. The most viable alternative system for research in industry is the system pursued by the Government.

Andrew Maynard – Chief Scientific Advisor of developing nanotechnology is an initiative organized by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Pew Charitable Foundation in 2005, he created and July 19 in Washington, introduced a new report entitled «Nanotechnology: a strategy for research to examine the risks associated with it».

According to the report, the efforts made by the Federal Government of the United States are inadequate.

In the study of the impact of nanotechnology on the environment, safety and health, there is no strategic direction and consistency. This report is the first attempt to propose a draft systematic study of the potential dangers of nanotechnology.

The report presents the requirement of two important developments: (1) Change of direction and funding for studies of risk in favor of federal agencies with a clear mandate to monitor. (2) Approximate minimal government investment of 100 million dollars over the next two years, which will provide for critical studies on the treatment of danger ( Jones, 2008) .

According to Vital Signs 2006-2007, serious concerns are not limited to security issues and the impact on health: should be explored and more profound social and ethical implications.

Scientists argue that the world stands on the threshold of unprecedented change: new economy, almost human immortality and, in general, the transition to a new civilization.

In theory, nanotechnology can provide the physical immortality of man due to the fact that Nano medicine can indefinitely regenerate cells die. According to the forecasts of the journal Scientific American in the near future will be medical devices in the size of a postage stamp. They have to put on the wound. This device will hold a blood test; will determine what medications should be used.

Nanotechnology can make a revolution in agriculture. The molecular robots would be able to produce food, replacing agricultural crops and animals. For example, it is theoretically possible to produce milk from grass, bypassing the intermediate link – a cow. Nanotechnology can also stabilize the environment. New types of industry will not produce waste, poisoning the planet.

It should be noted that the global cost of nanotechnological projects now exceeds to 9 billion dollars a year. The share of the U.S. now accounts for about one-third of all global investment in nanotechnology. Other major players in this field are the European Union and Japan. Research in this area are also active in the former CIS countries, Australia, Canada, China, South Korea, Israel, Singapore, Brazil and Taiwan ( Jones, 2008) .

In addition to the pros this branch of science has a number of disadvantages. Terrorists and criminals who obtain access to nanotechnology, can cause considerable damage to society. Chemical and biological weapons will be more dangerous and less of it will be much easier. Firearms will be much more powerful – and homing bullets. Aerospace technology could be much lighter and better constructed with minimum or no metal, which makes detection of radar will be much more complicated.

New items and changes in the customary way of life can lead to undermining the foundations of society. For example, medical devices, which will be relatively easy to modify the structure of the brain or the stimulation of certain divisions to produce effects that simulate any form of mental activity, can form the basis of “nanotechnological drug addiction.”

Charles P., Jr. Poole , Frank J. Owens , Introduction to Nanotechnology, Wiley-Interscience; 1 edition, 2003.

Foster Lynn E. , Nanotechnology: Science, Innovation, and Opportunity, Prentice Hall PTR, 2005.

Jones Richard A. L. , Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life, Oxford University Press, USA; illustrated edition edition, 2008.

Ratner Mark A., Ratner Daniel , Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea, Prentice Hall PTR, 2002.

Rogers Ben , Pennathur Sumita , Adams Jesse , Nanotechnology: Understanding Small Systems, CRC; 1 edition, 2007.

Uldrich Jack , Investing in Nanotechnology: Think Small. Win Big, Adams Media, 2006.

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500+ Words Essay on Nanotechnology in English: A New Revolution

essay on Nanotechnology

All important topics related to the essay on Nanotechnology are discussed in this article such as the Introduction of Nanotechnology, What is Nanotechnology, the Classification and Impact of Nanotechnology, Nanotechnology development in India, and many more.

Man is always looking for new things to improve his life. Computer technology has changed our lifestyle today. Everything changed in business and healthcare.

With the advancement of chemistry and physics, scientists discovered a new field called nanotechnology. In 1974, Japanese professor Nario Taniguchi first used the term “nanotechnology”. This was followed by the introduction of other nanotech sectors according to demand and usage.

  • 1.1 What is Nanotechnology?
  • 1.2 Classification of Nanotechnology
  • 1.3 Impact of Nanotechnology
  • 1.4 Nanotechnology Development in India
  • 1.5 Conclusion about Nanotechnology

Essay on Nanotechnology in English

Nanotechnology is the study of extremely small structures. The prefix “nano” is a Greek word meaning “dwarf”. The word “Nano” refers to a very small or small size.

Nanotechnology is the technology of the future and it will help in the manufacturing revolution. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, perhaps the width of three or four atoms. A human hair is about 25000 nanometers wide. In such a situation, it can be estimated how small these machines will be. The development and progress of artificial intelligence and molecular technology have given rise to this new form of technology that is called Nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is the engineering of small machines. This is done inside individual nano factories using the technologies and equipment being developed today to create advanced products.

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating materials, especially at the atomic or molecular scale, to manufacture microscopic devices like robots.

Nanotechnology, or nanotech for short, deals with matter at a level that most of us find difficult to imagine because it involves objects with dimensions of 100 billionths of a meter (1/ 800th of the thickness of a human hair) or less.

Classification of Nanotechnology

The term “nanotechnology” coined in 1974 is manipulation, observation, and measurement at a scale of less than 100nm (one nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter. It offers unprecedented opportunities for progress – defeating poverty, starvation, and disease, opening up space, and expanding human capacities.

Impact of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is sometimes referred to as a general-purpose technology because, in its advanced form, it will have a significant impact on almost all industries and all sectors of society. Nanotechnology is the science, engineering, and technology that operates on the nanoscale, which is approximately 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used in all other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

essay on Nanotechnology

It is also important to understand that nanoscale substances occur in nature. For example, hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells (RBC), is 5.5 nanometers in diameter. Naturally occurring nanomaterials are present all around us, such as in fire smoke, volcanic ash, and sea spray.

Nanotechnology Development in India

The Nanotechnology Initiative in India is a multi-agency effort. The major agencies taking major initiatives for capacity building are the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Information Technology (DIT).

Other agencies that have shown major participation in the field of nanotechnology are the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). In addition, nanotechnology was initiated with the Nano Science and Technology Initiative (NSTI) in the 10th Five-Year Plan as a specialized area of research.

Some of the major initiatives in Nanotechnology are the launch of the Nano Mission and the introduction of PG programs in Nano Science and Technology. Nanotechnology intervention in a mission mode in the area of solar and hydro technology was also initiated.

Conclusion about Nanotechnology

Today’s scientists and engineers are exploring a variety of ways to intentionally fabricate materials at the nanoscale to take advantage of their advanced properties, such as higher strength, lighter weight, enhanced control of the light spectrum, and greater chemical reactivity, than their larger-scale counterparts.

We hope that after reading this article you must have got detailed information about how to write a long and short essay on Nanotechnology. I hope you like this article about Nanotechnology Essay in English.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ )

What is Nanoscience?

Answer: Nanoscience is the study of the properties and occurrence of materials with specific sizes in the range of 1–100 nm.

Answer: Nanotechnology is the technology that creates functional materials, devices, and systems through the control of matter on the nanometer length scale (1–100 nm) and exploits novel phenomena and properties (physical, chemical, and biological) at the nanometer scale or In a simple called atomic and at the molecular level.

How is nanotechnology used in everyday life?

Answer: Nanotechnology has an impact on almost all areas of food and agricultural systems, like food security, disease treatment delivery methods, new tools development for molecular and cellular biology, new materials for pathogen detection, and protection of the environment.

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Essay on Nanotechnology

Students are often asked to write an essay on Nanotechnology in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Nanotechnology


Nanotechnology is a field of science that deals with tiny, almost invisible particles. It’s about manipulating matter at an incredibly small scale, smaller than a human hair!

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology involves studying and applying materials at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. It’s used in many fields like medicine, electronics, and energy production.

Uses of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology has many uses. In medicine, it’s used to deliver drugs directly to cancer cells. In electronics, it helps make devices smaller but more powerful. In energy production, it’s used to improve solar panels.

Future of Nanotechnology

The future of nanotechnology is exciting. It could lead to new treatments for diseases, more efficient energy sources, and even tiny robots that can repair our bodies from the inside. It’s a field full of potential!

250 Words Essay on Nanotechnology

Introduction to nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology, the science of the extremely small, operates at the nanoscale, typically between 1 and 100 nanometers. This technology harnesses the unique properties and behaviors of matter at this scale to create innovative solutions and applications.

The Science Behind Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is rooted in quantum physics. At the nanoscale, the physical and chemical properties of materials can differ significantly from those at a larger scale. For instance, materials can exhibit different conductivity, reactivity, or magnetic behavior, which nanotechnology exploits for various applications.

Applications of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology has a broad spectrum of applications. In healthcare, it’s used in targeted drug delivery, regenerative medicine, and diagnostics. In electronics, it has enabled the development of nanoscale transistors, leading to faster, more powerful computing devices. Environmental applications include the use of nanomaterials for pollution control and renewable energy solutions.

Potential and Challenges

The potential of nanotechnology is vast. However, it also poses challenges. For instance, the environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanomaterials are not fully understood. Additionally, ethical considerations arise in areas like surveillance and privacy due to the technology’s potential misuse.

Nanotechnology, with its promise and challenges, is shaping our future. As we continue to explore the nanoscale world, we must also address the ethical and safety issues it presents, ensuring a balanced and responsible approach to this transformative technology.

500 Words Essay on Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology, the science of the extremely small, has been making waves in various fields, from medicine to energy production. It involves the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. The prefix ‘nano’ denotes one billionth of a meter, signifying the minuscule scale on which nanotechnologists work.

The Evolution of Nanotechnology

The concept of nanotechnology was first introduced by physicist Richard Feynman in a talk titled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” in 1959. However, it wasn’t until the development of the scanning tunneling microscope in the 1980s that scientists could observe and manipulate individual atoms, propelling the field into reality.

Nanotechnology’s most significant promise lies in its potential applications. In medicine, nanoparticles are used for targeted drug delivery, reducing side effects and improving treatment efficacy. In electronics, nanotechnology has led to the development of smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient devices.

In the energy sector, nanotechnology is revolutionizing solar cells, making them more efficient and cost-effective. Moreover, nanotechnology’s role in environmental remediation, such as the removal of pollutants and toxins, is emerging as a promising field.

The Ethical and Safety Considerations

Despite its promising applications, nanotechnology also raises ethical and safety concerns. The same properties that make nanoparticles useful in medicine and industry may also pose potential risks to human health and the environment. The long-term effects of exposure to nanoparticles are still not fully understood, necessitating further research and regulation.

The Future of Nanotechnology

The future of nanotechnology is brimming with possibilities. Advancements in nanorobotics could revolutionize medicine, allowing for precise surgeries and targeted treatments. In the realm of quantum computing, nanotechnology could help overcome current limitations, ushering in a new era of computational power.

However, the future also calls for a balance between technological advancement and ethical considerations. As we continue to explore the nano world, it is crucial to develop guidelines for safe and responsible use.

Nanotechnology, while still a relatively young field, holds immense potential to transform various sectors of society. Its applications are vast and continually expanding, offering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Yet, as we push the boundaries of the minuscule, we must also ensure that we navigate the ethical and safety considerations with care. The future of nanotechnology is indeed promising, but it requires a thoughtful and balanced approach to realize its full potential.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

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Ethics and Nanotechnology Essay

Modern science is in a constant progress in order to contribute to the increased people’s demands. Every day the speed of the public’s life grows, it becomes more intensive and involves more elements.

Today, to address all the people’s needs, it is necessary to have a lot of technological devices which function separately and makes the society’s life better. Nevertheless, can the results of the technological progress improve the quality of the people’s life?

What is the risk of developing the negative effects of technologies? Nowadays, the technological development is mainly discussed from the perspective of the progress of nanotechnology, but there are a lot of controversial questions which are connected with the aspects of ethics.

Is the impact of the developed and improved technologies on the society with references to ethics positive or negative?

Although the development of nanotechnology is significant for the general technological progress of the contemporary science and it can meet the people’s needs, from the perspective of their impact on humans, the achievements in nanotechnology are connected with a lot of ethical questions, and it is important to find the balance between the ethical issues and the effects of nanotechnology.

Some decades ago, the progress of technologies was discussed from many sides with references to the possible benefits and harms for humans.

In this case, science and its achievements were closely associated with the questions of ethics because of the impact of the technologies on the humanity. The next challenge was the accents on the researches in biotechnology.

Even today there are no strict answers to the issues of genetics and possibilities of biotechnology in the context of ethics. The progress of nanotechnology is the following stage of the scientific development which connects the modern world with the world of the future.

According to Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher, “the leading industrialized countries consider research in nanotechnology to be vital to economic and technological competitiveness in the 21 st century, and it is said that nanotechnology may lead to the next industrial revolution” (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher 452).

The researches in the field of nanotechnology are important because the standards of the future society are stated today, and according to them, the demands of people increase, and the requirements to the humans’ abilities also change.

The focus is made on the highly-developed world, qualified and skillful people. The necessary investigations in nanotechnology make this shift to the highly-developed world be the reality.

However, many ethical questions which were discussed during the development of the first achievements in biotechnology, genetics, and the other fields still remain to be unsolved.

Can it be possible that making a lot of discoveries and increasing the degree of the technological achievements, scientists break the laws of the nature and influence the evolution of the people and society negatively?

Nanotechnology as well as the other fields of science and technology is developed in order to complete “broad societal goals, such as better health care, increased productivity, and improved comprehension of nature” (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher 452).

The completion of all these goals can be effective for achieving the new quality of the people’s life. Nevertheless, the scientists and researchers should answer the question about the ethical character of their investigations and about the effect of the investigations’ results.

Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher state that the main issues associated with the sphere of ethics and nanotechnology have their origins in the discussions of the ethical problems of the biotechnology’s development (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher).

The problem is also in the fact that providing a lot of researches and experiments in the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology, scientists often cannot predict the results of the definite discoveries and innovations because of the high level of technologies.

From this point, nanotechnology is the step to the future, but this future can have a lot of unpredictable aspects which are connected with the development of these technologies.

Nanotechnology is developed to be actively used by a lot of different professionals according to their needs. Biotechnology is also developed to solve such problems as associated with the people’s health or with the issue of malnutrition.

From this perspective, biotechnologists focused on the possibilities of genetics in combination with a lot of modern technologies. The results of the investigations are still discussed as risky for the people’s health and nature because of the lack of the necessary evidence and researches in the field.

That is why, all the achievements of nanotechnology are also discussed with referring to the problem of the impact on the humanity and the ethical character of the investigations’ results. Is it ethically to use nanorobots or nanobots and nanoparticles to meet the demands of the world’s progress?

On the one hand, the science cannot stay unchanged and the scientific achievements are significant for the general world’s progress. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to predict the results of the nanotechnology’s development for the society.

Nowadays, researchers pay attention to the possible toxic effects of their innovations, but do they concentrate on the ethical aspect of the problem? Technologies continue to attack all the aspects of the people’s life, and in some years the control of technologies over the public’s life can become unlimited.

It is significant to note that the ethical questions are predominantly connected with those fields which directly influence the quality of the humans’ life, their abilities, and health.

Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher with references to the results of the other researchers’ determine such ethical problems as the uncontrolled function of nanobots and the toxicity of nanoparticles.

Moreover, the development of nanotechnology can contribute to the possible wars and increase the risk of terrorism, nanotechnology is the effective way to the invasion of privacy, and transhumanism is one of the most controversial ethical issues of nanotechnology (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher).

The researchers indicate that “the fear of biological warfare and terrorism caused by nanotechnology is not only a future issue but of current interest” (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher 454).

Thus, the achievements of nanotechnology can be utilized not only for improving the people’s life but also for stating the powerfulness in the war conflicts.

The possibility of using nanotechnology expands the boundaries of the actions for the needs of people and also against them. From this perspective, nanotechnology can be discussed as the powerful arms against the humanity.

The next controversial issue is the invasion of privacy which can be affected with the help of nanotechnology. The group of researchers accentuates the idea that “the ethical problem of the invasion of privacy could grow if nanotechnology leads to the spread of spying nanomicrophones in the environment” (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher 454).

All the devices with some super qualities which some years ago were only the results of the cinematographers’ fantasy are the part of the everyday reality now. The field of ethics is involved in the discussion of the problem because all these devices can be used to control the people’s activity.

The risk of the unlimited control leads to considering nanotechnology not only as the way for improving the people’s life and expanding their possibilities but also as the method to make people dependent on a lot of technological devices.

People have the right to preserve their private life from the invasion of the other persons. However, the unfair usage of the nanotechnology’s achievements can become the real challenge for the society.

Nanobots can perform the definite functions and be utilized instead of using the humans’ work, nanoparticles can be used instead of the natural elements and components and contribute to forming the advantageous production, nanomicrophones can control the peculiarities of the people’s private life and their activities.

These facts can be discussed by the philosophers as challengeable for preserving the features of the world’s development with references to the artificial impact of nanotechnology.

Nevertheless, the question of the benefits or harms of the achievements of nanotechnology is rather controversial because the effective usage of the new technologies can result in expanding the boundaries of science.

For instance, the process of utilizing the nanotechnologies in engineering can make all the necessary procedures speedy and efficient. These innovations with references to the control of computers can contribute to the preservation of the energy and resources (Moor).

Moreover, it can seem that today there are no fields the investigation of which can be impossible because of the lack of the necessary technologies.

The field of using nanotechnology is the specific sphere which can be discussed as the nanoarea, and this nanoarea is the way to reaching the new horizons in science. From the ethical perspective, the peculiarities of the nanoarea can be considered as beneficial for persons till they do not influence the main aspects of the people’s life negatively.

The usage of implants and the other medical devices developed with the help of biotechnologies and nanotechnologies are important and useful for improving the modern medical care and contributing to the people’s health.

Nevertheless, when nanotechnologies are discussed with references to the possibilities of genetics and developing the issue of transhumanism the problem acquires new features.

Modern nanotechnology allows using nanostructures and nanomachines in the human body in order to expand its abilities. However, is it ethically to attack the human’s organism and change its biological program in order to improve its definite qualities?

Today, the researches in this field are continued, and the goal is to address the demands of the frequently changing world. Some scientists can state that the development of nanotechnology can make people be extremely powerful and can help to overcome the natural limits of the humans’ intellects and physical abilities.

The problem is in the fact the real results of such experiments cannot be predicted for certain, and the effects can be irreversible. Thus, the modern world changes rapidly, and the principles of ethics should be also altered with references to the issue of transhumanism.

Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher state that “ethics presupposes that the moral agent is a human being and thereby that we exist within the limits of humanity. With transhumanism, we will transgress the limits of humanity and thereby the limits of ethics” (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher 456).

The researchers also determine the concepts according to which it is possible to analyze the ethical aspects with accentuating the issues of nanotechnology.

These principles are “autonomy, integrity, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice”, and they can be challenged by the progress of nanotechnology, but there are two visions of the question (Ebbesen, Andersen and Besenbacher 456).

The results of nanotechnology can be discussed effective for people when they contribute to the improvement of their quality of life and are not connected with such ethical aspects as the invasion of privacy or lack of autonomy and nonmaleficence.

The achievements in the field of nanotechnology can be considered as risky when they can harm people. All the innovations can be used for expanding violence, stating the power of the certain authorities, and controlling the persons’ activities.

That is why, the development of nanotechnology should be regulated with references to the ethical norms and rules because the results of this progress are closely associated with the people’s lives, their health, and even with their abilities.

Focusing on the fact that nanotechnology can increase and expand the life span of the world population, it is also important to remember about the negative sides of the phenomenon which are not examined enough.

In their work, professionals should refer to the issues of ethics because ethics is connected with morality, and it is the effective way to control the development of the processes which are negative for people.

Works Cited

Ebbesen, Mette, Svend Andersen and Flemming Besenbacher. “Ethics in Nanotechnology: Starting From Scratch?” Bulletin of Science Technology Society 26 (2006): 451-462. Print.

Moor, James H. What is Computer Ethics? n.d. Web.

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Biology Discussion

Essay on Nanotechnology

nanotechnology essay conclusion


Essay on Nanotechnology. The below given article will help you to  learn about the following things:- 1. The Way into the Nanoworld 2. Building Blocks of Nanotechnology 3. Interaction and Topology and 4. The Microscopic Environment of the Nanoworld.

Essay # The Way into the Nanoworld:

From micro to nano techniques:.

Micro technology has changed our lives dra­matically. The most striking impact is appar­ent in computer technology, which is essential for today’s industry, and also for our individ­ual life- styles. Apart from microelectronics, micro technology influences many other ar­eas. The size of typical structures that is acces­sible is in the sub-micro-meter range, which is at the limits of optical resolution and barely visible with a light microscope. This is about 1/1000 smaller than structures resolvable by the naked eye, but still 1000 times larger than an atom.

Today’s developments are address­ing the size range below these dimensions. Because a typical structure size is in the nano­meter range, the methods and techniques are defined as nanotechnology. The consequent extension of the resolu­tion limit of microscopes led to instruments with the capacity to resolve features below the wavelength of light: the field ion microscope, the electron microscope, and, finally, the fam­ily of scanning probe microscopes. Now it is possible to image individual molecules, and even single atoms.

Although chemistry and micro technology appear to be fundamentally different, they are somehow related. They have mutual in­terests in the area of properties of materials. Micro-technology is not a simple extrapolation of conventional precise mechanical methods down to smaller dimensions.

Chemical meth­ods—such as plasma processes, wet chemical etching and photo-resist techniques—are pre­dominant compared with cutting or reshaping processes. However, micro technology follows physical principles.

As in classical chemistry, chemical processes in micro technology use a relatively high number of similar particles. Individual particles play no dominant role, whether in fabrication methods or in appli­cations. In nanotechnology, the primary role of classical physical principles is replaced as molecular and atomic dimensions are ap­proached. Physical-technical and chemical aspects influence the fabrication and the use and application of Nano-technical structures on an equal basis.

The effects of microscopic physic—a field that is influenced by and uses quantum phenomenon—complement these aspects. In contrast to classical chemistry, small ensembles or even individual particles can play a decisive role. The nanotechnology literature often focus­es on the structure size and differentiates be­tween two basic approaches.

The Top-Down approach tries to enhance the methods from micro technology to achieve structure sizes in the medium and also lower nanometer range. This approach is based on a physical and micro lithographic philosophy, which is in con­trast to the other approach, where atomic or molecular units are used to assemble molec­ular structures, ranging from atomic dimen­sions up to supra-molecular structures in the nanometer range. This Bottom-Up approach is mainly influenced by chemical principles.

The challenge of modern nanotechnology is the realization of syntheses by the Top-Down and Bottom-Up approaches. This task is not driven entirely by the absolute struc­ture dimensions, because today macro and supra-molecules extending-up to hundreds of nanometers or even micro-meters can already be synthesized or isolated from biological systems. So the overlap of both approaches is not a problem. Both techniques provide spe­cific capabilities that can be implemented by the other. The lithographic techniques (Top- Down) offer the connection between struc­ture and technical environment.

The interface with the surrounding system is given in this approach, but it is not really possible with the chemical (Bottom-Up) ap­proach. At the same time, the integration of nanostructure into a functional micro-technical environment is realized. On the other hand, chemical technologies provide adjust­ment of chemical binding strength and pre­ferred orientation of bonds, together with a fine tuning according to the numbers of bound atoms or atomic groups and a classifi­cation of the spatial orientation based on the number of bonds and their angles.

Therefore, nanotechnology depends on both classical micro-technology, especially microlithography, and chemistry, in par­ticular interfacial and surface chemistry and supra-molecular synthesis. Additional basic methods are molecular biology and biochem­istry, because nature has provided, with the existence of large molecules and supra-molec­ular complexes, not only examples, but also interesting technical tools).

Definition of Nanostructures :

A clear distinction between nanostructures and microstructures is given here, arbitrarily using length measurements. Nanostructures are defined according to their geometrical dimensions. This definition addresses techni­cal dimensions, induced by external shaping processes; with the key feature being that the shaping, the orientation and the positioning is realized relative to an external reference system, such as the geometry of a substrate. Of less importance is whether this process uses geometrical tools, media or other instruments.

A narrow definition of nanostructures is that they include structures with at least two dimensions below 100 nm. An extended definition also includes structures with one dimension below 100 nm and a second dimension below 1 pm. Following on from this definition, ultra-thin layers with lateral sub micro-meter structure sizes are also nano­structures. All spontaneously distributed or spontane­ously oriented structures in materials and on surfaces are not incorporated in Nano technical structures.

However, this does not exclude the presence of such structures in Nano technical setups, as long as their dimensions are in accord with the above-mentioned crite­ria. Also microstructure ultrathin layers are excluded, because they exhibit only one nanometer dimension. Nano devices are de­vices with at least one essential functional component that is a nanostructure. Nano systems consist of several Nano devices that are of importance to the functioning of the whole system.

Insight into the Nanoworld:

The realization that there are small things in the world that are not visible to the naked eye extends back into human history. The devel­opment of the natural sciences created an in­terest in the micro world, in order to enable a better understanding of the world and the processes therein. Therefore, the develop­ment of new microscopic imaging methods represents certain milestones in the natural sciences. The micro world was approached by extending the range available for the direct visualization of objects through the enhance­ment of microscopic resolution.

Access to spatial modifications in the Nano world is not limited to one direction. Long before instruments were available for the im­aging of molecules, an understanding of the spatial arrangements of atoms in molecules and solids, in disperse systems and on surfaces had been developed.

The basis for this devel­opment was the anticipation of the existence of small building elements, which extended back to Greek philosophers (Leukip and Demokrit: ‘atomos’—the indivisible = small­est unit). ‘This hypothesis was confirmed by Dalton with the discovery of stoichiometry as a quantitative system in materials: chemical reactions are comprised of fixed ratios of reactant masses.

Based on the systematic orga­nization of chemical elements—developed by Dobereiner, Meyer and Mendeleyev—into the Periodic Table of the elements, and supple­mented by models of the internal structure of atoms, a new theory of the spatial connection of atoms was created: the theory of chemical bonds. It not only defines the ratios of atoms involved in a reaction but leads also to rules for the spatial arrangement of atoms or group of atoms. We know today that the immense variety of solid inorganic compounds and or­ganisms is based on this spatial arrangement of chemical bonds.

Stoichiometry and geom­etry describe the chemical aspects of mol­ecules and solids. The stability and the dy­namics of chemical changes are determined by the rates of possible reactions that are based on thermodynamics and kinetics. Key contri­butions to the understanding of the energetic and kinetic foundations came from Clausius, Arrhenius and Eyring.’

Intervention into the Nanoworld:

The scientific understanding of the molecu­lar world and the application of quantitative methods laid the foundations of modern chemistry Before the quantification of chemi­cal reactions, there was already an applied area of chemistry, for example in mining or met­allurgy. However, it was established through an empirical approach.

The understanding of the molecular context and its quantitative description, supplemented by the control of reactions by parameters derived from theo­retical work or model calculations, improved dramatically the conditions for manipulations in the molecular world.

Measurements and quantitative work established the structure oriented chemistry. Synthetic chemistry, with its beginnings usually being attributed to the synthesis of urea by Friedrich Wohler (1828), provides a molecular-technical approach to the Nano world.

The formulation of binding theories and the development of analytical methods for the elucidation of the spatial ar­rangements in molecules (e.g., IR spectrosco­py, X-ray based structure determination, and NMR spectroscopy) transformed chemistry from a stoichiometric to a structured-orient­ed science.

Modern chemistry is a deliberate intervention into the Nano world, because the arrangement of the bonds and the geometry of the molecules are addressed by the choice of both the reaction and the reaction parame­ters.

In contrast to micro technology, synthet­ic chemistry uses a large number of similar particles, which show a statistical distribu­tion with regard to spatial arrangement and orientation. So today’s molecular techniques connect a highly defined internal molecular geometry with an uncertainty in the arrange­ment of the individual particles with respect to an external frame of reference.

Recent decades have witnessed the synthesis of an increasing variety of internal geometries in molecules and solids with small and large, movable and rigid, stabile and high-affinity molecules and building units of solid materi­als.

Apart from the atomic composition, the topology of bonds is of increased interest. A large number of macromolecular compounds have been made, with dimensions between a few nanometers and (in a stretched state) sev­eral micro-meters. These early steps into the Nano world were not limited to the molecular techniques. Physical probes with dimensions in the lower nanometer range are also suited to the fabrication and manipulation of nano­structures.

Essay #  Building Blocks of Nanotechnology :

Nanotechnology utilizes the units provided by nature, which can be assembled and also manipulated based on atomic interactions. Atoms, molecules and solids are, therefore, the basic building blocks of nanotechnology.

However, there is a fundamental difference from the classical definition of a building material used in a conventional technical en­vironment, which also consists of atoms and molecules in solid materials. The smallest unit in technical terms includes an enormous number of similar atoms and molecules, in contrast to the small ensembles of particles—or even individual particles—addressed in nanotechnology. This puts the definition of material into perspective.

The properties of a material are determined by the cooperative effect of a huge number of similar particles in a three-dimensional arrangement and by a mixture of only a few types of similar particles (e.g., in an alloy).

Many physical properties of materials require a larger ensemble of atoms for a meaningful definition, independent of the amount of material, for example, density, the thermal expansion coefficient, hardness, colour, electrical and thermal conductivity. With solid materials, it is known that the properties of surfaces may differ from the bulk conditions. In the classical case, the number of surface atoms and molecules is small com­pared with the number of bulk particles. This ratio is inverted in the case of nanoparticles, thin layers and Nano technical elements.

The properties of nanostructures are, therefore, more closely related to the states of individual molecules, molecules on surfaces or interfac­es than to the properties of the bulk material. Also, the terminology of classical chemistry is not fully applicable to nanostructures. Key terms—such as diffusion, reactivity, reaction rate, turnover and chemical equilibrium—are only defined for vast numbers of particles.

So their use is limited to the case of nanostructures with small numbers of similar particles. Reaction rate is replaced by the probability of a bond change, and diffusive transport by the actual particle velocity and direction.

How­ever, not all definitions from classical physics and chemistry are unimportant at the Nano scale. The consideration of single particles is preferred compared with the integral discus­sion of particles in solid, liquid or gaseous media. Because the dimensions extend to the molecular scale, the importance of the chem­ical interactions between particles is greatly enhanced compared with the classical case. Nano technical elements consist of individual particles or groups of particles with different interactions between the atoms (Fig. 1).

The following types can be distinguished:

Molecules, Atomic Solids and Molecular Solids

Three dimensions for individual particles can be quite different. Atoms have diameters of about 0.1 nm; individual coiled macro molecules reach diameters of more than 20 nm. In an extended state, these molecules exhibit lengths of up to several micro-meters. In principle, there is no upper size limitation for molecules. Technical applications usually use small molecules with typical dimensions of about 1 nm besides polymers and solids with three dimensional binding networks.

Synthetic mole—Ides, such as linear polymer, exhibit, typically, molar masses of 10 000 to 1 000 000. These values correspond to particle diameters of 2-10 nm in a coiled state in most instances. Apart from the molecules, both elemen­tal solids and compound solids are essential for nanotechnology. They are, for example, prepared as nanoparticles with dimensions ranging from a few atoms up to diameters of 0.1 pm, corresponding to about 100 000 000 atoms.

Similar values can be found in struc­tural elements of thin atomic or molecular layers, in monomolecular films or stacks of monolayers. A number of one hundred mil­lion seems large, but it is still small compared with the number of atoms in standard micro-technological structures. This quantity corre­sponds to the number of atoms in individual large macromolecules, e.g. in long-chain or­ganic polymers. It is not usually the single atom, but small solids, large individual mole­cules and small molecular ensembles that are the real building blocks for nanotechnology.

The nature of their connection and arrange­ment determines the constructive potential and functions of the Nano technical devices and systems. Besides the standard litho­graphic methods known from micro technology, a wide range of chemical techniques are applied in nanotechnology, from fields such as synthetic, surface, solid state, colloid and bio-molecular and bioorganic chemistry.

In addition to the importance of chemical meth­ods in many micro lithographical processes, these methods are increasing in influence in the nanometer range to become a key com­ponent in addition to the so-called physical techniques for the creation of small struc­tures.

Interaction and Topology :

Shaping and joining of materials to devices, instruments and machines is the prerequi­site for functional technical systems. The spatial modification of material surfaces and the three-dimensional arrangement of the components result in a functional structural. This principle applies to both the macro­scopic technique and the Nano world.

How­ever, the spatial arrangement and functions at the nanometer scale cannot be described adequately by the classical parameters of me­chanics and material sciences. It is not the classical mechanical parameters of solids, but molecular dimensions and individual atomic or molecular interactions (especially the local character of chemical bonds) that determine the arrangement and stability of nanostruc­tures, their flexibility and function.

The properties of a material are controlled by the bond strengths between the particles. For shaping and joining, the processes are determined by the strength and direction of positive interactions between the joining sur­faces. In classical technology and usually also in micro technology, a separation between the bonding forces in the bulk material and the surface forces has some significance. Both internal and external bonds are based on in­teratomic interactions, the chemical bonds.

With the dimensions of Nano technical ob­jects approaching molecular dimensions, a combined consideration of both internal and external interactions of a material with its environment is needed. Besides the spatial separation of a material, the orientation of the internal and the surface bonds also deter­mine the properties of materials or of mate­rial compounds.

Conventional technology uses materials with isotropic properties. Isotropic means that these properties are approximated as be­ing similar in all spatial orientations of the solid. Restrictions are as a result of materials being created in an inhomogeneous process (e.g., wood) or materials transformed by processes inducing preferred orientation (e.g., shaping).

The macroscopic model of ideal isotropy is also not valid for single-crystalline materials such as silicon, gallium arsenide, or other typical microelectronic materials. A single-crystalline solid excludes the statisti­cal distribution of interatomic distances and of bond orientations.

It includes elementary cells consisting of a few atoms, and a random­ly oriented plane results in a density fluctuat­ing with the angle of this plane. In addition, the bond strength between atoms is localized and is determined from its orientation. Such elementary cells create the solid in a periodic arrangement in an identical orientation. So the anisotropy of the particle density and bond strength on the atomic scale is trans­formed into macroscopic dimensions.

However, non-crystalline materials created by surface deposition processes can also show anisotropy almost all thin layers prepared by evaporation or sputtering exhibit anisotropy due to the preferred positioning by an initial nucleation and a limited surface mobility of the particles, which results in grain boundar­ies and the overall morphology of the layer.

Even spin-coated polymer layers have such anisotropic properties, because the shear forces induced by the flow of the thin film lead to a preferred orientation of the chain-­like molecules parallel to the substrate plane.

The transition from an almost isotropic to an anisotropic situation is partly based on the downscaling of the dimensions. For example, a material consists of many small crystals, so these statistically distributed crystals appear in total as an isotropic material.

A classifica­tion of isotropic is justified as long as the in­dividual crystals are much smaller than the smallest dimension of a technical structure created by the material. The dimensions of Nano technical structures are often the same as or even less than the crystal size.

The mate­rial properties on the nanometer scale corre­spond to the properties of the single crystals, so that they possess a high anisotropy even for a material with macroscopic isotropy. The anisotropy of a mono-crystalline mate­rial is determined by the anisotropic electron configuration and the electronic interac­tions between the atoms of the crystal.

It is based on the arrangement of the locations of the highest occupation probability of the electrons, especially of the outer electrons responsible for chemical bonds. The length, strength and direction of the bonds as well as the number of bonds per atom in a material, therefore, determine the integral properties of the material and the spatial dependence of these properties.

The decisive influence of number, direction and strength of interatomic bonds is even stronger for the properties of molecules. Al­though molecules can have symmetrical axis, outside of such axis practically all properties of the molecules are strongly anisotropic.

A material consisting of molecules can exhibit isotropic properties at a macroscopic level, as long as the orientation of the molecules is dis­tributed statistically in all directions. At the Nano scale, anisotropy is observed, especially in the case of monomolecular layers, but also for molecular multilayers, small ensembles of molecules, clusters and individual molecules. Because Nano technological objects consist of anisotropic building blocks, it is usually not possible to construct systems where ob­jects of the same type are distributed statisti­cally with respect to their orientation.

On the contrary, preferred directions are chosen, and also the connection to other molecules oc­curs in preferred orientations. So the aniso­tropic connection network of smaller and larger molecules and small solids leads to a constructive network of objects and connec­tions, with anisotropically distributed stron­ger and weaker bonds—both at the molecular level and in larger modules.

These networks of bonds create connection topologies, which cannot be described simply by their spatial distribution. Depending on the character of the bonds between the particles, various complex topologies can interact with each other, depending on the point of view (e.g., conductivity, mechanical hardness, thermal or special chemical stability) of the descrip­tion of the connection strength.

The discussion of topological connections in three-dimensional objects at the nanome­ter scale assists with the evaluation of proper­ties, which are only described in an integral manner for classical solids. These properties are essential for the function of Nano structured devices, for processes involving move­ment, for chemical transformations, and for energy and signal-transduction. The spatial relationship is of particular importance for the evaluation and exploitation of microscopic effects, which are unique for Nano systems, such as single quantum and single particle processes.

Essay # The Microscopic Environment of the Nanoworld:

Nanometer structures are abundant in na­ture and technology. The general tendency of nature towards the spontaneous creation of structures by non-equilibrium processes leads to the formation of more or less regular structures with nanometer dimensions. Such objects exist in a variety of time scales and ex­hibit rather dissipated or conserved charac­ter. Typical structures can be found in cosmic dust, in the inorganic structures of solidified magma, or in the early seeds of condensing atmospheric water vapour.

In contrast to many inorganic structures, the Nano-Scopic objects in Nano systems are not spatially independent, whether they are in technical systems or in natural functioning systems. They are always embedded in an en­vironment or at least adjusted to interactions in a larger setting. Nature demonstrates this principle in an impressive manner. The small­est tools of life, the proteins, have dimensions of a few nanometers up to some tens of nano­meters. They are usually found in closed com­partments, in cells or cell organelles.

Often an arrangement into superstructures—as in, for example, cell membranes, can be observed. These tools for the lower nanometer range are produced in the cells as biological microsys­tems, and are usually also used by these cells.

The slightly larger functional Nano objects, such as cell organelles, are also integrated into this microsystem environment. The smallest biological objects with a certain functional autonomy are viruses. With dimensions of several tens of nanometers up to a few hun­dred nanometers they are smaller than the smallest cells; nevertheless they can connect thousands of individual macromolecules into a highly ordered and complex structure.

However, they are not able to live on their own. Only when they (or their subsystems) interact with cells in more complex Nano machinery are they able to reproduce and to in­duce biological effects. This principle of integrating small func­tional objects into a wider environment is common in technical applications.

It can already be seen in conventional construc­tion schemes, e.g., in the combination and functional connection of several units in the hood of a car. This principle is essential in micro technology. Electronic solid state circuits combine individual electronic devices, such as wires, transistors and resistors in a chip.

The circuits are arranged on a circuit path, and these paths are assembled into machines. Approaching the nanotechnology range, even more levels of geometrical and functional in­tegration are required, to make the Nano objects usable and the interface functional.

The large distance between the macro world with typical dimensions of centimeters to meters and the structure sizes of the Nano world has to be considered. This gap is comparable to the difference between a typical machine and up to near cosmic dimensions (Fig. 2).

Macroscopic and Microscopic Object

The application of micro technological ob­jects requires the integration of microchips into a macroscopic technical environment. Such an arrangement is needed to realize all interface functions between the micro and macro world. The lithographic microstructures are not accessible for robotic systems as individual structures, but only in an en­semble on a chip with the overall dimensions in millimeters.

The smallest lateral dimen­sions of such a structure are in the medium to lower nanometer range, but the contact ar­eas for electrical access of the chip are in the millimeter range. This principle of geometric integration is also utilized in nanotechnology; in this case the micro technology is used as an additional interface level. Although selected nanostructures can be produced independent of micro technology, a functional interfacing of Nano systems re­quires the interaction with a microsystem as a mediator to the macroscopic world.

There­fore, a close connection between Nano and micro technology is required. Additionally, a variety of methods originally developed for micro technology were further developed for applications in nanotechnology.

So, not only is a geometrical but also a technological in­tegration observed. Nevertheless, apart from the methods established in micro technology and now also used in nanotechnology (such as thin film techniques), there are other methods preferably used in only one area, e.g.: photolithography and galvanic tech­niques are typical methods in the micro-m­eter range; and scanning probe techniques, electron beam lithography, molecular films and supra-molecular chemistry are interesting methods in the nanometer range.

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    6 Summary and Conclusion. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) comprises the collective activities and investments of the participating agencies, coordinated through the efforts of the interagency Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee and with the support of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO).

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    Nanotechnology, within a short period, has taken over all disciplinary fields of science, whether it is physics, biology, or chemistry. Now, it is predicted to enormously impact manufacturing technology owing to the evidential and proven benefits of micro scaling. ... Conclusions. Highly cost-effective and vibrant nanotechnologies are being ...

  4. Nanotechnology: current uses and future applications in the food

    Conclusions. In conclusion, nanotechnology has become progressively important in the food industry. Food innovation is observed as one of the sector areas in which nanotechnology will play a major part in the forthcoming. New and future innovation is nanotechnology that has exceptionally extraordinary property in food source chain (precision ...

  5. An Introduction to Nanotechnology

    Conclusions. Nanotechnology has made enormous progress over the past few decades. In summary, nanotechnology requires the measurement, prediction, and fabrication of matter on the scale of atoms and molecules. It is hoped that atomic-scale nanotechnology will have a revolutionary impact on the way we do, design, and produce things in the future

  6. (PDF) Nanotechnology: A Review

    Conclusion. Nanotechnology is the science of tiny particles. ... Nanotechnology, the emerging field that encompasses knowledge from multiple disciplines including chemistry, physics, engineering ...

  7. Conclusion and Perspective

    Conclusion and Perspective Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021:1309:289-292. doi: 10.1007 ... Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing area of development by numerous research groups across the world with its potential applications gaining recognition since the 1950s across various fields. During the last decade of the twentieth century, researchers have ...

  8. Applications of nanotechnology in medical field: a brief review

    For carrying out this study, relevant papers on Nanotechnology in the medical field from Scopus, Google scholar, ResearchGate, and other research platforms are identified and studied. ... Conclusion. The healthcare revolution is driven by nanotechnology that emphasises preventive population health management. Nanotechnology helps resolve the ...

  9. Nano Technology Essays: Examples, Topics, & Outlines

    Nano Technology. PAGES 3 WORDS 871. Nanotechnology, as its name implies, is, at its essence, the science of small things. However, nanotechnology is not so much the study of small things as it is the study of how to use small things to advance technology. "Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale.

  10. Conclusion

    Abstract. Nanotechnology is an emerging field in which new and innovative tools are being developed to tackle issues of water, air, and soil pollution. Nanomaterials are being functionalized with organic and inorganic materials to make them more useful for biosensing, environmental remediation, disease diagnosis, and much more.

  11. 12: Case Study on Nanotechnology

    43056. Here we delve into a case study on nanotechnology which is an ancient technology as well as a cutting-edge modern technology. This contradiction is exactly why this is an interesting case study for learning what engineering (and science) is all about. This section is meant to be accompanied with an inexpensive textbook.

  12. Nanotechnology in Modern Life

    Conclusion. Scientists argue that the world stands on the threshold of unprecedented change: new economy, almost human immortality and, in general, the transition to a new civilization. In theory, nanotechnology can provide the physical immortality of man due to the fact that Nano medicine can indefinitely regenerate cells die.

  13. Nanotechnology Essay Examples

    Essays on Nanotechnology . Essay Examples. Essay Topics. new. Nanotechnology and Its Remediation. Nanotechnology is a rapidly advancing field that involves manipulating matter at the nanoscale level, typically within the range of 1 to 100 nanometers. At this size, materials exhibit unique properties and behaviors that can be harnessed for ...

  14. Nanotechnology Essay

    794 Words4 Pages. Nanotechnology Essay. Nanotechnology is a part of science and technology about the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale. Nanotechnology is one of the newest science technologies until now. It is used in many applications. For example, nanotechnology can be used to link elements of Carbon together so that they ...

  15. 500+ Words Essay on Nanotechnology in English: A New Revolution

    The prefix "nano" is a Greek word meaning "dwarf". The word "Nano" refers to a very small or small size. Nanotechnology is the technology of the future and it will help in the manufacturing revolution. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, perhaps the width of three or four atoms. A human hair is about 25000 nanometers wide.

  16. Essay on Nanotechnology

    Nanotechnology is the development of atoms in a certain object. Nanotechnology has become very popular in the past few years. It is a way to rebuild the systems of life. To make systems move faster than ever before. Nanometer is about 10 times the size of an atom. Each of these has a huge effect on a system. Still there are questions out there ...

  17. 100 Words Essay on Nanotechnology

    Conclusion. Nanotechnology, with its promise and challenges, is shaping our future. As we continue to explore the nanoscale world, we must also address the ethical and safety issues it presents, ensuring a balanced and responsible approach to this transformative technology. 500 Words Essay on Nanotechnology Introduction to Nanotechnology

  18. Essay on Nanotechnology

    Nanotechnology (Feyman, 1991) is enabling technology that deals with nano-meter sized objects. It is expected that nanotechnology will be developed at several levels: materials, devices and systems. The nanomaterials level is the most advanced at present, both in scientific knowledge and in. 733 Words. 3 Pages.

  19. Nanotechnology Essays

    Nanotechnology Essay 555 Words | 2 Pages. Nanotechnology, shortened to "nanotech", is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Nano science and nanotechnology are recent, revolutionary development in Science and Engineering that are evolving at a very fast pace.[1,2] It is driven by the desire to fabricate materials ...

  20. Ethics and Nanotechnology

    The researches in the field of nanotechnology are important because the standards of the future society are stated today, and according to them, the demands of people increase, and the requirements to the humans' abilities also change. The focus is made on the highly-developed world, qualified and skillful people.

  21. Nanotechnology: Conclusion

    Conclusion. As a conclusion to this topic I would like to say that Nanotechnology is a brand new technology that has just began, it is a revolutionary science that will change all what we knew before. The future that we were watching just in science fiction movies will in the near future be real. This new technology will first of all, keep us ...

  22. Essay on Nanotechnology

    ADVERTISEMENTS: Essay on Nanotechnology. The below given article will help you to learn about the following things:- 1. The Way into the Nanoworld 2. Building Blocks of Nanotechnology 3. Interaction and Topology and 4. The Microscopic Environment of the Nanoworld. Essay # The Way into the Nanoworld: From Micro to Nano Techniques: Micro technology has […]

  23. Conclusion Of Nanotechnology

    Conclusion Of Nanotechnology. We continued the quantitative analysis of data about products has used nanotechnology in manufacturing. We gave three options cosmetics and sun creams, safety technologies and food. 38% of the respondents felt that nanotechnology used in safety technologies in manufacturing. By contrast, 7% of sample participants ...