Advancements in the field of technology have allowed us to work on things that are so small that you would need a microscope to see them. Nanotechnology is no longer in its stage of infancy and scientists are developing new ways to work on a nanoscale.
To appreciate the beauty of nanotechnology, we need to understand how small these objects are. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. The sharp point lead of a pencil is a millimeter. A nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter.
The way ahead
Nanotechnology is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Some of the new trends that you may see in the future are as follows:
New nanomaterials and manufacturing processes
Nanotechnology has widespread use in manufacturing. With greater demand for nano products comes the need to find new nanomaterials. Carbon nanotubes, dendrimers, quantum dots and nanocrystals, silver nanowire and nanoparticles, fine and ultrafine particulates, titanium dioxide nanoparticles, fullerenes, and buckyballs are some of the new nanomaterials that have been recently discovered or created. What these materials are fully capable of is as of yet unknown.
Nanomanufacturing, the process of building nano parts or developing parts for nano products is a budding field. Memristors, silica nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes coated with diamond and other such nanoparticles are being used by today’s manufacturers. Techniques such as laser shock imprinting, which form nanoscale metallic shapes on objects, are being developed.
Of all the industries, manufacturing is one area which will benefit the greatest from and contribute the most to nanotechnology.
Although they don’t exist yet, this does seem to be a reality in the future. One of the best places where nanobots would be of help would be in the defense sector during reconnaissance missions. Healthcare is another area where nanobots may be used. Programmed to identify and nip diseases in the bud, these nanobots may be injected into the patient’s bloodstream and controlled remotely by the medical practitioner.
Nanotechnology in agriculture
Nanobiotechnology, the integration of nanotechnology and biotechnology, has the capability to bring in major changes to the global agricultural landscape. With the ever increasing growth in population, there is a need to increase the growth of top-quality food grains, vegetables, and fruits. Overutilization of land will lead to the depletion of nutrients in the soil. This is where nanotechnology can help. From analyzing nutrient presence in the soil to identifying the onset of plant diseases, researchers foresee huge scope for nanotechnology in agriculture.
Using nanotechnology in sports
Nanomaterials such as carbon nanofibers, nano-nickles, nano titanium particles and so on can be used to make sports gear and clothing, which will improve sporting performance and provide greater comfort. An example is how Swiss bicycle manufacturer BMC has manufactured Teammachine and Promachine bikes with CNT frames which have a tubular strength 400 times that of steel. This has been made possible using nanotechnology.
While these trends are extremely exciting, we need to remember that we have barely scratched the surface. Nanotechnology has a lot more to offer and only time will determine what’ll come next.