Nanoscience and nanotechnology are rapidly growing fields of study, one that promises to revolutionise industry as we know it today. Just as you can find solutions in all the different industries by a simple search online, such as typing myob pricing for software solutions, you can realise that even nanoscience is being used that diversely. Through the use of nanoscience, we will be able to harness the unique properties of molecules on an incredibly small scale, bringing about many new applications and commercial opportunities. One area that will be particularly affected by this trend is nano fabrication, where the manipulation of matter at the nanoscale will enable us to make incredible things out of ordinary materials. This article discusses some current work in nano fabrication, and highlights its potential future applications.
Why nano-fabrication is a game changer in nanoscience
Uses of nanotechnology
You may not have heard of nanotechnology, but you’ve almost certainly used it. Today, nano-scale technologies are showing up in all sorts of products—most notably household appliances and computers. In time, expect to see your clothes made with nano-fabric that deodorises as it cleans. Your car might be able to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol fuel or repair its own scratches.
Examples in medicine
In May 2016, doctors at Erasmus University Medical Centre used a 3D printer to print living tissue. The team plans to use it for drug development and research. And then there’s 3D-printed organs and tissues. Yes, many of these concepts sound like something out of science fiction, but with some help from 3D printing and nanotechnology, many new therapies are about to enter reality.
Examples in manufacturing
From 2011 to 2012, while global GDP stayed flat, worldwide manufacturing output rose by $2.5 trillion. This was thanks to rapid growth in emerging economies and new technologies like 3D printing. For years, research labs have been developing microscopic processes to fabricate more intricate products, such as micro-robots and nano-sized computer circuits. These technologies have already become commonplace; earlier this year, Cisco Systems Inc., announced that it would invest $100 million on 3D printing technology. The U.S Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently launched Inform, a program that aims to transform how manufacturers design new parts for aeroplanes and other machinery using three-dimensional printing technology.
Applications of energy
One of nanotechnology’s applications, fabrication of tiny electronic circuits that can do everything from controlling robots to performing brain surgery, has enormous energy implications. For example, when it comes to solar power, nano-fabricated solar cells are expected to bring down costs by 30 percent. In wind power, constructing blades with nanotechnology methods could reduce material costs by 50 percent and decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent or more. And cutting manufacturing costs makes all green tech projects more viable. The possibilities are endless.
The future of nanotechnology
Imagine being able to harness energy from anything—from ambient sound to hot garbage—just by breaking it down into smaller and smaller parts. That’s just one of many ideas on how to apply nanotechnology’s futuristic promise. Still others are using nanomaterials as drug delivery systems, protein filters and much more. No matter what field you’re working in, it’s likely there are applications that can make your work better or give new insight into your field of expertise.