Showing posts with label Nanotechnology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nanotechnology. Show all posts

Jun 9, 2011

Nanotechnology and Nanoparticles

These tiny little things are used in all sorts of things we never hear about, but are changing our lives. Nanotechnology is a broad term that covers many areas of science, research, and technology. In its most basic form, it can be described as working with things that are small. Things so tiny that they can't be seen with standard microscopes. The same stuff that has always been there, but we just couldn't see it.

Here is a comparison - A nanoparticle size is compared to an ant as an ant is compared to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

More relative sizes: (nm is nanometer)
The head of a pin 1,000,000 nm across  You can see these with your eyes unaided
The page of a book 100,000 nm thick
A human hair 40,000 nm thick
A red blood cell 7,000 nm across You can see these using a light microscope
DNA molecule  2 nm wide
Most atoms  0.1–0.2 nm

During the next 20 years, nanotechnology will touch the life of nearly every person on the planet. Below is a guide to uses for some of these nano wonders.

Quantum dots
- are made of semiconducting molecules, they glow fluorescently and are great at absorbing light. Used for more efficient solar cells and microscopy dyes for cell biology research.

Silica - silicon dioxide nanoparticles enable so-called shear thickening fluid to become stronger on impact. Used for stab-resistant Kevlar for body armor.

Zinc oxide - tiny crystals stop UV radiation and are toxic to microscopic life. Used for UV-resistant packaging, sunscreen, and paint and textiles that inhibit bacteria and fungi.
Nano barcodes
- bits of various metals linked into tiny wires make good tags for microscopic things. Used for tracking DNA and cells.

Lithium iron phosphate - particles organize themselves into an anode, which allows batteries to charge and deliver power extremely quickly. Used for electric cars, power tools.

Iron oxide - mini magnets can stick to certain chemicals. Used for steering cancer drugs and genes to targets in the body while minimizing collateral damage. Sometimes smaller is better.

May 11, 2010

Breakthrough Nanotechnology

North Carolina State University has developed a computer chip that can store enough data to hold an entire library's worth of information on a single chip. The new chip stems from a breakthrough in the use nanoscale magnets, and represents a significant advance in computer-memory technology.

Magnetic nanodots that store one bit of information on each nanodot, allows storing over one billion pages of information in a chip that is one square inch. The nanodots can be made as small as six nanometers in diameter. Where did I put my glasses?

Nov 27, 2009


The term 'nano-technology' was first coined in a paper by Norio Taniguchi at the University of Tokyo, in 1974 and the term 'nanotechnology' by K. Eric Drexler in 1986.

Albert V. Crewe, the University of Chicago physicist who developed the high-resolution electron microscope that captured the first image of an individual atom picture in 1970, passed away last week. The significance of his finding is that the diameter of an atom ranges from about 0.1 to 0.5 nanometers

The term nanometer, abbreviated nm, is derived from the Greek word for midget and  nano is a metric prefix and indicates a billionth part. A nanometer is about the width of six bonded carbon atoms, and approximately 40,000 are needed to equal the width of an average human hair. Looking at it another way, 1 inch = 25,400,000 nanometers.

DNA width is 2 nm and common bacteria range from 1,000 to 10,000 nm. A nanometer is the length a man's beard grows in the time it takes him to raise the razor to his face.