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An Under Cut on Nanotechnology

Updated on October 13, 2009

Nanotechnology

Nanotech Explained

Science is an amazing and wonderful thing. It has helped people in more ways than they even realize. If it were not for great scientific advances the healthcare industry, automobile industry and the computer industry would not be where it is today. So what does the future hold for people where science is concerned? Nanotechnology is one of the most pioneering fields today. Within its confines there are worlds of applications that it can be used. You may have thought that it was delegated only to the minds of Science Fiction writers but it is real and it is in use today. This article is designed to help you understand the applications that nanotech has in today's society. You may be surprised to learn that there is more to it than you might have previously thought.

What is nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the term used to describe research and development of technologies occurring at the molecular and atomic level. In most cases, this means dealing with items that are 100 nanometers or smaller. In comparison, a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. (The diameter of a human hair measures about 80,000 nanometers.) From sculpted silicon wafers, to custom designed molecular motors, scientists in this field are already developing materials and devices within this minute environment.

What benefits are there for using nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology offers substantial benefits, once we fully understand how to take advantage of them. Researchers have already found that common laws of physics no longer apply to items at the nanoscale. Phenomenon such as insulating materials becoming conductors and melting points changing are but a few of the novel properties researchers have already found. As new compounds are investigated, more properties and uses become cataloged. Carbon nanoparticles, such as spheres and tubes, have already been developed and manufactured, presenting an infusion of this new technology into the global marketplace.

How is nanotechnology used in the medical field?

Medical nanotechnology has been come one of the most active fields in research and development. Scientists have already developed several methods to improve patient care, with numerous others just over the horizon. Drug delivery systems that will target only the cells that require the medication will reduce costs while using less medicine. Imaging enhancements will provide more accurate ultrasound and MRI images allowing doctors to identify and treat problems locally. Of particular focus is the promise of improved cancer treatments. Laboratory tests have already been conducted utilizing gold coated nanotubes to destroy cancer cells with harmless infrared radiation.

Is there health risks involved with using nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is such a young science that health risks are not fully known at this time. Research has been and continues to be conducted to establish toxicity of materials at the nano scale. Concerns have been theorized regarding the ability of nano particles to travel through barriers within the human circulation system, potentially jeopardizing the entire body. Experiments with nanotubes have shown risks of lung tissue scarring in laboratory environments. As with any other new science, testing and evaluation will be required to fully understand the impact of its use.

A Simple Explanation

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    • GreenMathDr profile imageAUTHOR

      GreenMathDr 

      9 years ago

      I'd like to think we'd go in the right direction, but it could go either way. Thanks for the comment.

    • lbtrader profile image

      lbtrader 

      9 years ago from Canada

      This is certainly an exciting field of science...it has potential for moving the doomsday clock either way. It will be interesting to see where it takes us...

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