When looking upon the last few decades, it is quite apparent that there have been many spectacular advances in the countless branches of science and technology. If one tries to look for a general pattern for this growth, it is noticeable that as a race, humans are struggling to decrease the size of items, while maintaining or increasing its capabilities. This trend can be seen in almost all sorts of technologies. When it was first created the vacuum was horse-drawn and petrol-driven. Now, a vacuum of the same power can fit in closets and be run on electricity. Computers have also followed the same trend. The first computer took up the space of a large room and today a computer of the same computing power, in fact more computing power, can fit in a bag. Although these achievements are nothing short of spectacular they do not signify the end in progress. Indeed, there is a branch of Science and technology that is known as nanotechnology, which deals with items less than 100nm in size. This report, will attempt to briefly illustrate the advancements in nanotechnology as well as briefly discuss the applications of this branch of technology.
To truly fathom the awe-inspiring nature of this branch of science and technology it is important to realize how big a nanometer is. Saxl states: "Nanotechnology originates from the Greek word meaning "dwarf". A nanometer is one billionth of a metre, which is tiny, only the
length of ten hydrogen atoms, or about one hundred thousandth of the width of a hair! However, as is the law of nature, to gain, sacrifice has to be made. Nanotechnology is undoubtedly the most complicated field of technology. This is because as the devices become smaller and smaller, to the extent of being molecular in size, the more complicated their chemistry and the more unpredictable their performance. (CRN 1)
Now that you have an idea of how small a scale nanotechnologists work with, consider the challenge they face. Think about how difficult it is for many of us to insert thread through the eye of a needle. Such an image helps you imagine the problem scientists have working with nanoparticles that can be as much as one millionth the size of the thread. Only through the use of powerful microscopes can they hope to ‘see’ and manipulate these nano-sized particles
Nanotechnology is not an all-new concept. In essence it is just a continuation of the micro technology of yesterday. These micro technology dealt with in the previous years were of the size (10-6) and was just one step in the minimization revolution. The industry that pushed the limits in miniaturization was the computer industry and a lot of devices seen today have nano-features that originate in the computer industry. Cameras, portable media players, and inkjet printers are only from among the countless devices today that are an example of this. (Saxl 1)
To attempt to understand nanotechnology, one must attempt to understand the complications and...