What is Nanotechnology

Aparajita Mohanty

Nanotechnology can be defined as “the engineering of the functional system at the molecular level”. In a more general term, it can be defined as the study of extremely small things in the range of 1 to 100 nano meters.  One nanometre is 10 -9 meter. On a comparative scale if a marble were a nanometre, then the Earth will be a meter.  Nanotechnology has application across all branches of science such as, chemistry, physics, biology, material science, engineering, medicine, biomedical, paint and coating etc.

The term nanotechnology was coined by Norio Taniquichi, in the year 1974. Since then the term nanotechnology was appropriated by many researchers, funding agencies and entrepreneurs to describe the technology involving particles of the range 1nanometer to 100 nanometres. However, the idea of nano science and nano technology was conceptualised long before that by physicist Richard Feynman, which he explained in his talk “there is plenty of room at the bottom”, at an American physical society meeting at the California institute of technology on December 29, 1959.


Application of Nanotechnology-

Medicine-  Extensive research has been going on to implement nanotechnology in the field of medicine.  Customise nanoparticles of the size of a molecule has been developed to deliver drugs to the target organ to treat diseases like cancer.

Food –From growing food to its packaging, everything has been altered by the application of nanotechnology. Companies are now developing nanomaterial that can enhance the taste at the same time providing better health benefits and preserving the food for a longer time period.

Cosmetics – Nanoparticles are used in many cosmetics products such as moisturiser, hair care, sunscreen and make up. Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide nanoparticles are used for UV blocking. Nanotechnology is used to enhance the process of delivering the products in to the skin and its effectiveness.

Electronics – nanotechnology can be used to enhance the power consumption of electronic devices and to make them effective even in the miniature version.

Solar cell – solar cells using nanotechnology are more efficient and helps to cut down on the production cost.

Batteries– Researchers have successfully manufactured batteries using nanoparticles which can charge faster and will have a longer shelf life.

Space– Nanotechnology is extensively used in the space science. Nanoscience can be effectively used to construct much stronger and lighter space craft as well as modifying engines for lesser fuel consumption.

Fuel–  Nanotechnology can be used to increase the efficiency of producing oil from low grade raw materials.

Better air quality–  Nanoparticles can be used as catalyst to chemically alter the quality of the gas releasing from the industries or vehicles. As nanoparticles have a greater surface area, they are faster and effective in converting the harmful gas to harmless.

Water filter – Nanoparticles are now a days used to make water filters. Nano particles with different chemical groups can be used to trap a variety of specific impurities, hence can be used as water purifier.

Chemical sensor– Nanotechnology based sensors are very much in used these days for detecting chemical vapour. Carbon nanotubes, zinc oxide nanowire, palladium nanowires are usually in use as sensors. Presence of even a minute quantity of chemical can alter the electrical properties of this nano sensors which can be interpreted to detect the chemical.

Sporting goods – Current nanotechnology applications in the field of sports include, increasing the strength of tennis racquets, filling any imperfections in club shaft materials and reducing the rate at which air leaks from tennis balls etc.

Fabric – Composite fabric with nano-sized fibre allows improvement of qualities without a significant increase in weight, thickness, or stiffness of the fibre.



Conclusion– The field of nanotechnology holds the promise of magnificent benefits, if it could successfully be employed in the field of science and engineering. With the enormous efforts by scientists and research organisations along with industries interested in huge investment in this field, it’s obvious that our future world is going to be ruled by Nanoscience and technology.

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