Nanotechnology is one of the most exciting and promising technologies available today. It drives innovation in a variety of sectors and allows industrial designers to create entirely new properties through the controlled manufacture and structuring of materials.Of late, the technology has been applied in many sectors, and it has opened the doors of implementation in many other areas where it will play a significant role in shaping the future and growth of the world.As scientists continue to experiment the many new ways nanotech will bring about a positive outcome, we look at some of the applications that will have the most impact in the world.
What is Nanotechnology?
Despite the hype surrounding it and its perceived potential for many diverse fields of science, nanotechnology can be difficult to comprehend. This is not surprising considering it’s a wide field. Nanotechnology refers to a technology that involves working with materials at the scale of one billionth of a meter. In other words, it relates to a technology that is between 1 to 100 nanometers in size. The prefix “nano” refers to one billionth. Nanotechnology scientists use atoms and molecules to make amazing new technologies that help improve electronics and nearly all aspects of modern life.
Benefits and Applications
Nanotechnology has several advantages and applications across a range of industries:
Treating spinal cord injuries
Nanotechnology has shown significant potential in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. Scientists at the Institute of BioNanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University have shown that nanotechnology can be used to stimulate the body to heal itself by injecting “molecules that were designed to self-assemble into nanostructures in the spinal tissue.” When injected into the bloodstream with a syringe, these molecules repair damaged neurons, preventing the damage caused by inflammation and scarring.
Heal injuries and restore organ function
In addition to being a breakthrough in the treatment of spinal cord injuries, nanotechnology offers exciting results when it comes to repairing injuries and restoring aging tissues. Scientists at The Ohio State University developed a new technique, called tissue nanotransfection, which helps to turn skin cells into other types of functional cells that can then be used to repair or restore function to damaged tissues such as nerves, blood vessels, and organs, among others.
The procedure uses a tiny device that is placed on the surface of the skin to replace injured or compromised organs by incorporating some new genes into them. Using the technology, the researchers successfully fixed mice that had lost blood flow to their legs within 14 days. Plans are underway to start clinical trials in humans as soon as possible.
Generating electricity from motion
Researchers at Vanderbilt University developed an ultrathin device that produces electrical current from human movement. The device, which is made up of layers of very thin black phosphorus and is powered by battery technology, harvests energy when it is pressed or bent during human motion.
When the black phosphorous nanosheets are bent or pressed, this action produces an electrical current that is then tapped and stored in the battery. This has been made possible by the thin size of the sheets, which makes it easier to incorporate them into clothing as well as the ability of the nanosheets to harvest energy at low frequencies. The nanosheets can generate electric current at movement speeds as low as 0.01 Hz.
This means that energy can be harvested from one movement cycle every 100 seconds from everyday activities such as walking, sitting, and standing. The Future is in Nanotechnology Globally.