About Nano Technology
“If I were asked for an area of science and engineering that will most likelyproduce the breakthroughs of tomorrow, I would point to nanoscale science and engineering.”
Former Assistant to the President for Science & Technology
On 27 April 2009 the White House announced that the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science will invest $777 million over the next five years to develop forty-six Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) focusing on enhancing solar energy, electricity storage, biofuels, nuclear and carbon capture research.
Manufactured products are made from atoms. The properties of those products depend on how those atoms are arranged. If we rearrange the atoms in coal we can make diamond. If we rearrange the atoms in sand (and add a few other trace elements) we can make computer chips. If we rearrange the atoms in dirt, water and air we can make potatoes.
Today’s manufacturing methods are very crude at the molecular level. Casting, grinding, milling and even lithography move atoms in great thundering statistical herds. It's like trying to make things out of LEGO blocks with boxing gloves on your hands. Yes, you can push the LEGO blocks into great heaps and pile them up, but you can't really snap them together the way you'd like.
In the future, nanotechnology will let us take off the boxing gloves. We'll be able to snap together the fundamental building blocks of nature easily, inexpensively and in most of the ways permitted by the laws of physics. This will be essential if we are to continue the revolution in computer hardware beyond about the next decade, and will also let us fabricate an entire new generation of products that are cleaner, stronger, lighter, and more precise.
Nanotechnology applications are developing the ability to control or manipulate materials at the scale of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology is the design, characterization, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at the nanoscale.
**We are now using nano-lithium sealer to color and rejuvenate pavers**
Nanotechnology spreads across many industries and technologies from electronics to communications to robotics. Nanotechnology is the present and future in many industries and technologies, from electronics and communications to robotics and artificial intelligence.
Jet Engines: The droplet size in a fuel spray influences the speed and efficiency of combustion, which impacts directly on engine performance.
Computer Industry / Electronics: Processors with declining energy use and cost per gate, thus increasing efficiency of computer by 10 to the power of 6. Integrated nanosensors: collecting, processing and communicating massive amounts of data with minimal size, weight, and power consumption.
Metal Powders: The Nano-size distribution of metal powders used for rocket propulsion (Space Shuttle) or alloys, such as titanium used for aircraft body parts. Metal powders play an essential role in many manufacturing processes with a growing need for high-specification powders, especially in the electronics industry.
Construction/ Flooring Industry: Nano sealing will enter arenas such as re-coloring and sealing brick pavers, rejuvenating tiled roofs, and clear nano sealer will be used for permanently sealing surfaces such as marble. This sealing process will also incapsulate micro – nano particles for non skid on smooth surfaces.
Transportation: Thermal barrier and wear resistant coatings, high strength, light weight composites for increasing fuel efficiency, battery technology, wear resistant tires, and enhanced displays.
Adhesives: The adhesives industry has many diverse applications for particle size and shape analysis, stability and rheological characterization. The strongest and most flexible molecular material because of C-C covalent bonding and seamless hexagonal network architecture.
Aircraft icing studies: Used routinely to simulate how the de-icing fluid will flow during takeoff and landing when subjected to varying conditions of shear and temperature. Many rheometers can directly simulate the potential shear conditions that have caused de-icing agents to fail, and enable formulation of materials that can withstand these rigorous conditions.
Biotechnology: Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) is a non-invasive method for measuring the size of molecules and particle dispersions. In biotechnology applications, samples may be available in small quantities and at low concentrations. Non-invasive backscatter (NIBS) optics, which provides the exceptional sensitivity required for measuring the size of small proteins at low concentrations. In addition to proteins, much work has been carried out sizing viruses, antibodies, liposomes, micelles, micro emulsions and complex carbohydrates
Health & Medicine: Nanodevices can make gene sequencing more efficient. More durable, rejection-resistant artificial tissues and organs. New formulations and routes for drug delivery, optimal drug usage.
N.A.S.A. applications: Revolutions in electronics and computing will allow reconfigurable, autonomous, “thinking” spacecraft, Nanotechnology presents a whole new spectrum of opportunities to build device components and systems for entirely new space architectures - networks of ultra small probes on planetary surfaces - micro-rovers that drive, hop, fly, and burrow taking a variety of measurements.
Asphalt: In order to improve the life performance of asphalt road systems, pavement failures such as rutting, pushing, shoving; thermal and fatigue cracking must be eliminated or minimized by design and even effects of additive interactions.
Cement Industry: The properties of cement are directly dependent on the rate of hydration of the product. This is a function of specific surface area, or more accurately particle size and particle size distribution.
Ceramics: The performance of ceramic materials i.e. the strength of the final product is dependent upon the dynamic mechanical properties of the powdered material. Of particular importance is the particle size and size distribution of the ceramic powder and rheological properties of the resulting suspension. The particle size defines the time and temperature required to attain full density.
Chemical Industry: The technologies of spray drying, granulation, atomization, milling, and others, are all commonly used in the chemical industry. As particle size is typically a key product variable, on and off-line particle size measurement are valuable for improving process knowledge and optimizing the yield of product having the correct specification.
Soils & Sediments: Soils and sediments are an important category of materials in the field of particle size analysis. Particle size is important as it determines many aspects of the strength and stability of a soil and properties related to transport and retention of water, heat and nutrients. In the case of sediments it may well give important information about the origin and distribution of material through the action of tidal, wind and other flows. Often the examination of the size of pollen granules present in the sediment can provide important information about a site (such as what types of plant life were present many years ago).
Water Treatment: Nano research is an important tool in the water treatment industry. While many applications require a high charge on the particles to ensure stability, in the water industry the aim is to reduce the zeta potential of the suspended particles close to zero.
Food & Drink: The taste and feel of chocolate for example, the dissolution rates of milk and coffee, the stability of cream liqueurs and the viscosity of emulsions are all influenced by particle size. Particle size, particle charge and rheology also characterize other processes such as the emulsification of mayonnaise and the crystallization of sugar.
Personal Care: Sprays, Toothpaste, Lipsticks, Mascara, Foundation, Concealers, Blushes, Eye Shadow, Moisturizers, Exfoliants, Nail Polish are all influenced by the type and particle size distribution of the pigments used.
Pharmaceutical Solutions: Size measurements provide an important in vitro indicator of the bioavailability of a given formulation, allowing formulators to predict the dynamics of drug release for both traditional dosage forms, such as tablets or suspensions, and novel systems based around aerosol, transdermal or other delivery modes.
Polymers, Plastics & Rubbers: The measurement of Viscoelastic properties of polymers and plastics are most commonly done on dilute solutions or molten polymers, and are critical for determining molecular architecture (molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, and degree of branching), processing behavior and end product performance.
Protein Characterizations: Determination of protein structure is a priority for understanding the role and function of many proteins. One indicator of structure is the size of the molecule.
Pulp & Paper Products: The interaction of all of the components used on the physical properties of the product and efficiency of the paper making plant is complex. Measurements are generally performed on bulk fluids requiring no dilution, enabling one to simulate how, for example, a paper coating material (with its complex composition) will perform when subjected to the high shear rates and stresses associated with the paper coating process. Costly production and product problems can be avoided by simulating these conditions before experiencing process problems and downtime.
Surface Coatings & Paints: Particle size and particle size distribution are key product quality parameters for the surface coatings industry, impacting directly on the handling properties of the product and the finish achieved. Performance during the application process is strongly influenced by particle size.
Energy Production: Clean, less expensive sources enabled by novel nanomaterials and processes. Nanoparticles like quantum dots will be used to enhance traditional silicon cells used in producing solar panels. In the end, nanotechnology will potentially enhance current alternative energy products to increase energy efficiency in an effort to make solar energy widely available.