Over the years, the world of science and technology has grown at such an exponential rate and new and innovative methods and techniques are being developed for the creation and manipulation of matter. This results in new materials that are faster and better than has ever been created. This manipulation of matter is carried out on the nanoscale; which is the one billionth of a meter, commonly referred to as an atomic or molecular level.
This means that the atoms involved in this manipulation are so minuscule that they cannot be discovered by a light microscope. With the process of manipulating molecules into forming different shapes, different materials can be created with better qualities and greatly improved functions.
A Brief History of Nanotechnology
This unconventional aspect of science, engineering, and technology first started on December 29, 1959. Dr. Richard Feynman, a renowned Physicist, gave ways in which scientists successfully manipulate atoms and molecules individually. This is not to say that before this time, mankind hasn’t been doing atomic manipulations but it was not intentional. After Richard Feynman gave his talk however, deliberate attempts were made by scientists to create materials ranging from fibers to cures for atomic manipulation.
At this time, this aspect of science, technology, and engineering was not referred to as nanotechnology because it was a budding concept with no deliberate discovery or inventions on it. At 1974 however, the situation changed, Taniguchi, a Japanese scientist wrote a paper on a technology which can be used to create objects on a nanometer scale.
Applications of Nanotechnology
When nanotechnology is applied to the realm of medicine to help with the better detection of diseases, the treatment of them and the elongation of individual lifespans, we call it nanomedicine. For the diagnosis of diseases, nanomedicine makes use of nanosensors to gauge the internal signals of a person. This advancement in nanotechnology was possible as a result of researches carried out by individuals and organizations who are interested in developing a better way to save human beings from the clutches of disease.
Through the discoveries made in nanomedicine, certain cures were created along with better ways of administering and treatments. An example of such is the improvement that has been made in the treatment of malaria through nanotechnology. Another example is the discovery that was made with regards to HIV Aids and the reason why the drugs that have been used for HIV treatment have proven rather ineffective. Nanofibers is also an improvement in the nanomedicine field and they have the capacity to repair damaged cartilage and can also be to build or repair various other body parts.
Another way in which nanotechnology can be used is to build more efficient machines. This use of nanotechnology is called nanorobotics. It is the process of building machines at the nanoscale that are capable of building other machines that are like them or unlike them. They are also capable of rebuilding themselves since they are made of the combination of tiny nanoparticles which can be multiplied or subtracted.
This aspect of nanotechnology can be traced back first to Richard Feynman who gave the speech on nanotechnology which jumpstarted the development of nanotechnology itself and mostly to K. Eric Drexler’s book in 1986 who spoke at length about engines (machines) which can create other machines. These nanomachines which are created as a result of nanorobotics are capable of performing various precise tasks including pulling atomic components apart and rearranging them. They can uproot the soil, repair damage or change the composition of the surrounding air.
Nanorobotics is divided into two parts which are: wet or biological based nanotech and the Drexlerian nanotech. The Drexlerian nanotech has been explained as the building of machines which can build other machines all through the manipulation of atoms while the wet nanotech has to do with the manipulation of the DNA through an ample understanding of the machinery of life to create unique structures made of protein.
Other applications of Nanotechnology include:
Nanotechnology has rekindled hope in the creation of clean, renewable, and affordable energy sources while reducing energy consumption and adverse effects on the environment. Through better catalysis, nanotechnology has improved the efficacy of fuel production from raw petroleum materials. It has also been used to develop better batteries that are lightweight, faster to charge, more efficient, and longer-lasting.
Nanotechnology is currently being used to detect and remove environmental contaminants, paving the way for cleaner water through faster, low-cost recognition and treatment of water impurities. Nanotechnology engineers have developed a new thin-film membrane that filters up to five times more water than conventional water filters. It is also being used in oil spillage remediation efforts with water repellant nanoparticles.
Nanotechnology promises the development of multifunctional materials that are necessary for the construction and maintenance of safer, lighter, more efficient, and smarter vehicles, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft. This will be achieved through the creation and use of lower-rolling-resistance tires, thin-film smart solar panels, thermoelectric materials that manage temperature, high-efficiency yet low-cost sensors and electronics, cleaner exhaust, etc. Nanoscale sensors will also continually monitor the structural integrity of bridges, rails, parking structures, and tunnels over time.
The Growth of Nanotechnology
For nanomedicine, there has been a high demand and growth in market rate which has led to two things. The establishment of new companies that are focused on performing nanotechnology-based researches with scientists who are adept in this aspect in order to create materials and substances that can be used productively to help humanity.
In recent years, more scientists have been introduced into the field of nanomedicine and as a result, more discoveries have been made which have seemed to stabilize the market of nanomedicine so much that in a report published by Grand View Research Inc., a leading research and report company in the field of business, the market value of nanomedicine only is estimated to be worth 350.8 billion US Dollars by 2025 with an increase of 11.2% in its CAGR.
According to the Market Research Consulting, the global nanorobotics market in 2017 was able to generate up to 4.10 billion US Dollars and my 2026, it is expected to have gone as high as 11.8 billion dollars with an increase of 12.5% in its CAGR.
Nanotechnology’s global market is expected to reach an excess of US$125 billion by 2024 and an estimated US$173.6 billion by 2025.