• Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on
an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description
of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of
precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macro
• The associated research and applications are diverse, ranging from
extensions of conventional device physics to completely new
approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing
new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of
matter on the atomic scale.
• Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial
and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in
• The concepts that seeded nanotechnology were first discussed in 1959 by
renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his talk There's Plenty of Room at the
Bottom, in which he described the possibility of synthesis via direct
manipulation of atoms. The term "nano-technology" was first used by Norio
Taniguchi in 1974, though it was not widely known.
• In the early 2000s, the field garnered increased scientific, political, and
commercial attention that led to both controversy and progress.
Controversies emerged regarding the definitions and potential implications
of nanotechnologies, exemplified by the Royal Society's report on
nanotechnology. Challenges were raised regarding the feasibility of
applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology.
• Meanwhile, commercialization of products based on advancements in
nanoscale technologies began emerging. These products are limited to bulk
applications of nanomaterials and do not involve atomic control of matter.
• Governments moved to promote and fund research into nanotechnology,
beginning in the U.S. with the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which
formalized a size-based definition of nanotechnology and established
funding for research on the nanoscale.
• By the mid-2000s new and serious scientific attention began to flourish.
Projects emerged to produce nanotechnology roadmaps which center on
atomically precise manipulation of matter and discuss existing and
projected capabilities, goals, and applications.
After all, what is even the need for Nanotechnology?
• Small Particles - More surface area, more atoms to contact a surface.
• Extremely Precise – Materials can be made close to perfection to the point
that exact number of atoms can be measured.
• The development of more effective energy-producing, energy-absorbing,
and energy storage products in smaller and more efficient devices is possible
with this technology.
• Radically improved formulation of drugs, diagnostics and organ
• Atomically engineered food and crops resulting in greater agricultural
productivity with fewer labor requirements.
Various application of Nanotechnology. It makes Star Trek come alive.
• Fiber that is stronger than spider web.
• Metal 100 x’s stronger than steel, 1/6 weight.
• Catalysts that respond more quickly and to more agents.
• Plastics that conduct electricity.
• Coatings that are nearly frictionless –(Shipping Industry)
• Materials that change color and transparency on demand.
• Materials that are self repairing, self cleaning, and never need
• Nanoscale powders that are five times as light as plastic but provide
the same radiation protection as metal.
• Fuel cell technology becomes cost effective within 3 years.
• Batteries that store more energy and are much more efficient.
• Plastics and paints that will store solar power and convert to energy for
$1 per watt.
• Cosmetics that can penetrate the skin.
• Cures for AIDS, Cancers, Alzheimer's, Diabetes.
• Ability to view cells In vivo - Fast Drug Creation.
• Nanomaterials that can see inside vessels for plaque buildup.
• Technology that can re-grow bone and organs.
• Nano Sensors for disease detection – 10x’s faster and 100,000 x’s more
• Nano Filters will help create impurity free drugs.
• Silicon is hitting its size limit, Moore’s Law suspected to be obsolete
• Super Chips – Combination of Silicon and Gallium Arsenide create
• Plastic semiconductors manufactured by regular printing devices –
• Electronic Paper.
KEY TERMS YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
Important terms in the field of Nanotechnology.
• 4 nm width (smaller diameter than
• 100x’s stronger than steel 1/6 weight.
• Thermal/electrically conductive.
• Metallic and Semi-Conductive.
BUCKYBALLS – C60
• Roundest and most symmetrical molecule
known to man.
• Compressed – becomes stronger than
• Third major form of pure carbon.
• Heat resistance and electrical conductivity.
MEMS AND QUANTUM DOTS
• A quantum dot is a nano crystal made of
semiconductor materials that are small
enough to display quantum mechanical
• MEMS is as a new manufacturing
technology, a way of making complex
electromechanical systems using batch
fabrication techniques similar to those used
for integrated circuits, and uniting these
electromechanical elements together with
OBSTACLES AND HURDLES
Why isn’t Nanotechnology expanding as rapidly as it should?
• Mass Production.
• Throughput and cost constrains.
• Funding requires long-term investment.
• Theft of intellectual property.
• Potential danger if technology falls in wrong hands.
• Health issues - the effects of nanomaterials on human biology.
• Environmental issues - the effects of nanomaterials on the
• Societal issues - the effects that the availability of nanotechnological
devices will have on politics and human interaction.
• Speculative issues - the specific risks associated with the speculative
vision of molecular nanotechnology, such as "Grey goo“.
How much are countries investing in the future of science?
• With US government funding of nanotechnology receding slightly in 2011,
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates indicate that for the first time, China
will spend more than the US to fund nanotechnology.
• In the last 11 years, governments around the world have invested more than
US$67.5 billion in nanotechnology funding. When corporate research and
various other forms of private funding are taken into account, nearly a
quarter of a trillion dollars will have been invested in nanotechnology by
• Corporate research and private funding were thought to have surpassed
government funding figures as far back as 2004. But this year, according to
Cientifica’s estimates, in PPP terms China will spend US$2.25 billion in
nanotechnology research while the US will spend US$2.18 billion. In real dollar
terms, adjusted for currency exchange rates, China is only spending about
US$1.3 billion to the US’s $2.18 billion.
• This appears to be a temporary hiccup in US dominance in public funding of
nanotechnology with the US again taking the lead next year even in PPP
terms, spending $2.46 billion with China allotting $2.2 billion.
• Cientifica’s index of countries’ ability to take advantage of emerging
technologies indicates the US, Germany, Taiwan and Japan have the
combination of academic excellence, technology-hungry companies,
skilled workforces and the availability of early stage capital to ensure
effective technology transfer.
• When combined with levels of nanotechnology funding, the US is still the
place to be, although China and Russia are increasingly attractive. The UK
and India struggle at the bottom of the league.
This project would be impossible without external sources.
My good friend’s research thesis on Nanotechnology contributed a lot.