Nanotechnology For Africa Development Essay

1721 words - 7 pages

Nanotechnology is the design and fabrication of materials that are devised to be controlled at the nano level. The essence of nanotechnology is therefore size and control on the nano-scale, which is incredibly small. The width of a human hair is 60,000–80,000 nanometers, and a human fingernail grows approximately 10 nanometers per minute. Nanotechnologists are working with materials that are between 1 and 100 nanometers in size. Nanotechnology is an emerging science that promises enormous growth for development in Africa in the field of water sanitation, medicine, solar energy, food technology, and agriculture.
Nanotechnology is rightly considered to be in the nascent stage; it was first used in 1974 by the late Norio Taniguichi [1] (University Of Tokyo). It consists of atoms and molecules used in different ways. The disciplines of physics, chemistry, and biology have long dealt with atoms, molecules, and their behavior. Quantum mechanics is firmly established as the science of the absolutely small. Nanotechnologists have only been able to measure the size of a cluster of atoms on a surface since 1981 (IBM, Zurich). Since then, nanotechnologists have begun to provide better models of self-organization and self-assembly in chemistry and biology. Ten years later, in 1991, nanotechnologists were able to move atoms around on surfaces (IBM, Almaden)[2]. In 2002, nanotechnologists assembled molecules by physically positioning the component atoms. Yet, nanotechnologists cannot visualize or model with proper spatial and temporal accuracy for engineering or biological relevance at the nano-scale, but the nano-scale phenomenon holds the promise of fundamental new applications. Possible applications include chemical manufacturing using designed molecular assemblies, processing of information using photons or electron spin, detection of chemicals or bio-agents using only a few molecules, detection and treatment of chronic illness through sub-cellular interventions, regenerating tissue and nerves, enhancing learning and other cognitive processes by understanding the science of neurons, and cleaning contaminated soil with designed nanoparticles. This is still the beginning of the road.
It is already evident that science and technology will play an important role in resolving the many problems that Africa faces. Nanotechnology promises enormous growth for development in Africa and has the potential to mitigate the problems of hunger, disease, and communication by making it possible for African villages to have sustainable facilities in agriculture, healthcare, and education. As there is a critical shortage of scientific and technical manpower in Africa, an arrangement should be created that will enable small groups of scientists and technologists in individual countries to collaborate effectively through a network. This group could work in close collaboration with governments and non-governmental institutions of higher learning in Africa and could establish a...

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