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What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is basically the study of extremely small things that can be used across all science fields. Nanotechnology studies things that can be measured on a nanoscale. A nanoscale is a size that’s measurable in nanometers, but no more than 100 nanometers. To give you an idea of the size of a nanometer, a strand of your DNA is approximately 2 nanometers in width. Yep, that’s pretty small!
How Can You Measure a Nanometer?
Considering a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, the technology needed to measure a nanometer is pretty advanced. In order to observe a nanostructure, scientists use high powered microscopes that fill entire rooms.
Who Benefits From Nanotechnology and Where Can We Find It?
The answer is everyone and in a lot of places. Nanotechnology is used in the production of electronics from quantum computers to plasma display screens. Nanotechnology is also used to benefit energy sources because things like batteries, fuel cells, and solar cells can be made smaller but more effective. The manufacturing industry benefits from nanotechnology, as well, by being able to make materials smaller, lighter, but more durable. The most significant area that benefits from nanotechnology, however, is the medical field. Nanotechnology is currently being used to produce medications which cure illnesses faster with fewer side effects. Other medical areas positively affected by nanotechnology include tissue regeneration, bone repair, and the potential curing of illnesses like cancer and diabetes.
When Was Nanotechnology Discovered?
Physicist Richard Feynman is considered the “father of nanotechnology”. His ideas and concepts were presented at an American Physical Society meeting at CalTech on December 29th, 1959. He described the processes that scientists could use to manipulate and control atoms and molecules. This was the birth of nanotechnology, even before it had a name. It wasn’t until over 10 years later that the term “nanotechnology” was first used by Professor Norio Taniguchi. Finally, in 1981, a microscope that could see things on a nanoscale was invented. Although the concept of nanotechnology is 56 years old, scientists have only been able to observe the actual workings of nanotechnology for 34 years. That’s just crazy!
Even With So Many Advantages, There Are Always Some Disadvantages, Right?
That would be correct. Critics of nanotechnology claim that the advances may cause job loss by decreasing the need for farm workers and workers in the manufacturing industry. Nanotechnology may also reduce, or even eliminate, the need for fossil fuels; which would eliminate even more jobs. With nanotechnology, atomic weapons can be made more powerful, more destructive, and even more accessible. The small particles associated with nanotechnology are even thought to potentially cause human disease since the particles can be easily inhaled. In addition, the expense of nanotechnology is outrageously expensive, making nanotechnology less beneficial to the general public because it’s just not affordable.