What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is a broad term that encompasses many application specific technologies & research into objects that are a nanometer or smaller (Nanometer being one billionth of a meter). Nanotechnology is expected to revolutionize our world much the same way that Airplanes, Televisions & Telecom revolutionized the 20 th century. Imagine a thousand machines being able to fit in an area the size of a pinhead, or a spaceship that can repair itself mid-flight.
The foundation of nanotechnology is understanding how to manipulate specific atoms to create a desired result. Since it is known that positive & negative atoms attract much like magnets, the next step is to begin to use these atoms one at a time to produce a machine using the least amount of atoms possible. There are three primary stems to creating nanotechnology-based good.
1. Manipulation of Single Atoms – The basis for all nanotechnology, the manipulation & control of individual atoms is essential to begin the development & programming of assemblers. Scientists have already demonstrated this ability, in as early as 1990, where IBM positioned 35 Xenon Atoms to spell out the letters IBM.
2. Development of nanoscopic machine called assemblers – The assemblers will have the ability to be programmed to manipulate molecules & atoms to create materials one atom at a time. Since it would take many years for a single assembler to create a desired material, billions or even trillions of assemblers will work together to develop products in an acceptable timeframe.
3. Application of Replicators – Replicators will be manufactured & employed to mass produce assemblers. Since the creation of assemblers manually is extremely resource consuming it makes sense to develop a nanofactory where nano machines will build themselves.
The Replicators & assemblers will work in tangent to create products automatically. Eventually this will allow products to be reproduced more efficiently & at a reduced cost. With the increase in Government national spending on research & development, there is definitely commitment to the research & development into furthering our understanding & control of nanotechnology. Though results will not be instantaneous, we will start to see developments shortly. Some of the things we are likely to see in the near future are:
Stronger Fibers – Already Buckytubes have demonstrated the effectiveness of nanotechnology, reaching close to 90% of their theoretical breaking point (in constrast, Steel achieves less than 10%). Nano machines will also eventually be able to construct such things as water, food & even diamonds.
Faster Computers – Modern cay silicon computers are quickly reaching their limits due to the size needed & heat produced from power consumption. Nanotechnology will enable manufactures to design & build molecular computers capable of storing terabytes of information while reducing size to that of a deck of cards, or even smaller.
Medical Revolution – Nanobot will be produced with the ability to be consumed by patients to attack & cure specific ailments. The nanobots could be programmed to reconstruct the viruses or affected cells to make them harmless. Nanobots will also make delicate surgery easier. Where such nanosurgeons are implemented, the refined level of detail at which they will work will be hundreds of times more precise than the sharpest scalpel, all while doing away with the scars that conventional surgery leaves behind.
Environmental applications – Imagine airborne nanobots that could be programmed to clean up oil spills instantly, or purify drinking water. Our reliance on renewable resources could be reduced through constructing equivalent products using nanobots.