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What is Nanotechnology?

Columbia, MO

Have you ever been in a chemistry class or any science class and heard of the prefix “nano” when learning about the metric system? Maybe you’ve heard people say “nano” when talking about something super tiny. Chances are, you have heard of the word “nano” before and you’ve definitely heard of “technology,” but maybe you haven’t heard of “nanotechnology.”


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Magnified image of nanoparticles

In chemistry, the prefix “nano” equals 10^-9th power. Now, add “nano” and “technology” together and you get nanotechnology. First created by Richard Feynman in 1959, nanotechnology would later be named and used in 1974 by the Japanese scientist Norio Taniguchi. Nowadays, the use of nanotechnology has become increasingly widespread as more and more scientists use it to advance different scientific fields.


So, what is nanotechnology?


Nanotechnology, or nanotech for short, is essentially when scientists work with and “control” nano-sized matter. These scientists work with things on the molecular—or even smaller—scale.


But why? Why do scientists work with nanotechnology? What are the benefits of nanotech? Why is nanotechnology so necessary and revolutionary? How can nanotech shape our future?


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Image of a nanoparticle at 200nm by CILAS

Well, nanotechnology plays a vital role in almost all industries. First of all, nanotech can revolutionize fabrics by altering them to prevent staining or even bacteria growth. Nanotechnology can also be used to make technology more efficient while allowing for the production of brighter, more vibrant colors on electronic screens. With energy, nanotechnology can be used to create more efficient batteries. The applications of nanotech don’t stop there. Nanotechnology can even be used to detect different anomalies in DNA, nucleic acids, and proteins to identify dangerous diseases like cancer. All in all, nanotechnology has been used in many industries to help expand different fields.




Remember, while it might seem unimportant because of how minuscule things on the molecular scale are, nanotechnology has played a key role in advancing almost every single scientific field.


 

Sources:

“Applications of Nanotechnology.” National Nanotechnology Initiative, www.nano.gov/about-nanotechnology/applications-nanotechnology#:~:text=Nanotechnology%20is%20helping%20to%20considerably,environmental%20science%2C%20among%20many%20others. Accessed 1 Sept. 2023.


“Nanotechnologies.” Nanotechnologies: 1. What Is Nanotechnology?, ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/opinions_layman/en/nanotechnologies/l-2/1-introduction.htm. Accessed 1 Sept. 2023.


“Nanotechnology.” Education, education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/nanotechnology/. Accessed 1 Sept. 2023.


“Size of the Nanoscale.” National Nanotechnology Initiative, www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/nano-size#:~:text=Just%20how%20small%20is%20%E2%80%9Cnano,is%20about%20100%2C000%20nanometers%20thick. Accessed 1 Sept. 2023.


Image: “File:Nanoparticle and Nanotechnology - CILAS.Jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, 9 Mar. 2010, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nanoparticle_and_nanotechnology_-_CILAS.jpg.


Link to license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:GNU_Free_Documentation_License,_version_1.2


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