The word “nanotechnology” can mean different things to different people. Some people, when they hear the word nanotechnology, will think of Hollywood sci-fi flicks, others will think of microscopic robots that clean gums and teeth, and some will conjure images of fab new materials that are stronger than steel, but light as air. It is clear that nanotechnology has captured not just the attention of the scientific community but that of the media and the public as well but what is nanotechnology, really?
What is It?
In the purest sense of the word, nanotechnology is the science of the very small. It involves things that are measured in units they call “nanometers,” which is about one-billionth of a centimeter. To give you a clearer idea of how small a nanometer is, imagine that if you were to stretch a single meter from NY all the way to LA, each nanometer would still be about the size of one aspirin tablet. It is that small and it is that fascinating.
Where can Nanotechnology be Used?
It might seem super high-tech and futuristic, and some of you might feel that nanotechnology will only be limited to things like robots or international espionage (as depicted in movies) but it can actually be applied to a great number of things such as some of the examples below:
Medicine – The use of nanotechnology in medicine has experts excited because it may just be the answer to cancer along with other treatments that are focused on tumors. Research involving gold nanoparticles has shown a lot of promise and remarkable results. Once the technology and the method of delivery are perfected, nanotechnology can kill tumors without surgical trauma.
Tablets and computers – Do you think nanotechnology is only reserved for the extremely high tech? If you are using a tablet or any other computing device, chances are, you may be using nanotechnology. They are quite common in many computing devices on the market, and you can even find nanotechnology used in the making of those anti-microbial coatings for your gadgets.
Is there a Bad Side?
Just like a lot of other things, nanotechnology has some disadvantages. For instance, “nanosilver” that is used in sports apparel to kill odors is quite dangerous to the environment and can cause birth defects to fish and other marine mammals if it gets into the water once the apparel are discarded by their owners.