Nanotechnology is the manipulation of material in the atomic and molecular scale. The atomic diameters are around 62 picometers (Helium atom) until 520 picometers (Cesium atom). Whereas the combination of several atoms forms several atoms forming molecules with a nano-size range. The initial description from nano-technology refers to the purpose using technology to manipulate atom and molecule for make product in macro scale. The more general description is manipulate material with the maximum size of 100 nanometer.
In August 2008, project on emerging nanotechnologies estimate that there are 800 product of nano-technology that are generally available with one new product appearing every 3-4 weeks. Most the application are limited to use the nanomaterial “first generation” which includes titanium dioxide in sunscreens, cosmetics, surface coating, and some of food product. Allotrope carbons that used in gecko tape, silver in food packaging, clothing, disinfectant, and household appliance, zinc oxide in sunscreen and cosmetics, and as a fuel catalyst.
Other application like a tennis ball that can last longer, golf ball that can fly longer straight and bowling ball that can be more resistant and have a harder surface. Trousers and shocks have also been incorporated into nanotechnology so they can last longer and stay cool when summer. Bandage infused with silver nano to heal wound faster. Video game consoles and personal computer are cheaper, faster, and have higher memory because of nano technology. Nano technology allows medical equipment that currently available become cheaper and easier to use. Car made by nano materials so they needs less metal and more fuel efficient in the future.
The scientists are currently developing nano technology for diesel engine with cleaner exhaust gases. Platinum are currently used as a catalyst in diesel engines. The reduced catalyst will bind the nitrogen atoms from NaOx molecules thus freeing the oxygen. Then catalyst oxidizes hydrocarbon and monoxide carbon to dioxide carbon and water. Platinum is used in catalyst reduction and oxidation. However, using platinum is inefficient because it is expensive and not renewable. The Danish innovation fonden invested 15 million DKK to search for new substitution catalyst with nanotechnology. The purposes of these projects are maximizing surface area and minimize the materials needed. If the catalyst surface area that exposed exhaust gases is increase, so the catalyst’s efficiency are increases. If successful, utilization of platinum can be pressed to 25%
Nanotechnology also has an important role in the development of network engineering. When designing scaffolds the scientist try to imitate nano scale of a cell. Example when making scaffold to support bone growth, the scientist can imitate osteoclast.
The scientist has been successfully to use origami based on nanobots that can carry the logical functions to reach achievement drugs to cockroach. It said that the computational ability of these nanobots can increased to equivalent with commodore 64.
What is the impact of nanotechnology?
- Cleaner environment through new methods of water purification and removal of various from grown water and soil.
- In energy sector, solar cell have been found that are more efficient, lighter and stronger windmills, and cars are become lighter which give effect to fuel saving.
- In the health treatment and cancer detection is much better and easier, and other of medical condition.
- In automotives, smart tires, anti-fog window, spare part of the stronger cars are brilliant inventions due to nanotechnology.
- In defense, sensors in the detection of chemical and biological weapons. In addition, the presence of nanotechnology has created high-performance materials used in defense.
- In daily use, anti-dirty fabrics and improvement in the quality of sports equipment.
- In the electronics field, instruments are now faster and more sophisticated. Moreover, it can be carried everywhere because it is lighter and holds more energy and information.
- 6 million people currently work in nanotechnology companies. In addition, the nanotechnology market worldwide can reach $ 1 billion USD.
Examples of Application of Nano Technology
Nanotechnology has been used in agriculture such as nano seed and fertilizer modification, food packaging techniques, environmentally friendly energy and tissue engineering. Nanotechnology itself can also assist in the production or repair of tissue damage artificially stimulated by using cell proliferation. Application of nano technology in agriculture will be able to assist farmers in increasing agricultural productivity, product quality to the use of resources. So in the end this can reduce agricultural costs and increase income.
Danger of nano dust
Applied nano technology that has now been marketed, mostly in the form of layers that are tightly bound to the surface of the material. Such techniques do not worry too much about inspectors from the German federal agency for occupational protection and occupational medicine. Unlike the case if the nanoparticles are in the form of dust or dissolved in liquid. Dangerous material expert from the German federal agency for occupational protection and occupational medicine, Rolf Packroff explained: “We also often work with materials that develop a lot of dust. The dust can enter the lungs. There is also a material in the form of fibers, which based on our experience with asbestos fibers, must be given special attention. “
In this case special attention is directed to the tubular nanoparticles of a carbon element called the nano-carbon pipe. These particles can be processed into fibers that under a microscope look very similar to asbestos fibers. But whether the fiber is as dangerous as asbestos, it isn’t just as easily affirmed.
“Not all fiber triggers cancer. However, we must observe the element in the form of fiber, and usually only trials that can help confirm whether the fiber can trigger cancer. In carbon nanotubes there are very striking differences,” Packroff said.
Dust is very fine, especially harmful to human health, because it can enter the lowest respiratory tract and even to the lung bubbles. Toxicologist from the German federal agency for occupational protection and occupational medicine, Thomas Gebel explains, dust particles that are relatively large in size, can usually be filtered and removed by fine hairs in the upper respiratory tract. But the lower respiratory tract does not have such fine hair.