Comprehensive coverage

Nanotechnology: A look into the future

Similar to computer science in the 60s, this new field is currently in the basic stages of design and understanding and in the coming years it will gradually rise to prominence, in four stages of development

M. Rocco, Scientific American

Today, nanotechnology is still in its design phase - similar to the situation of computer science in the 60s and biotechnology in the 80s. But the field is maturing rapidly. From 1997 to 2005, worldwide government investments in nanotechnology research and development jumped from 432 million dollars to about 4.1 billion, and in 2005 industrial investment overtook government investment. By 2015, products incorporating nanotechnology will contribute about a trillion dollars to the global economy. About two million workers will be employed in the nanotechnology industries, and the number of related jobs will be three times higher.

Nanotechnology is usually described in terms related to the tiny dimensions of the physical properties it deals with - entities that range in size from one atom to 100 molecules in diameter. From this description it is possible to understand that nanotechnology is nothing more than the use of infinitely smaller parts than those of normal engineering. But on this scale, the rearrangement of atoms and molecules results in new properties. One can see the transition from the fixed behavior of single atoms and single molecules to the adaptive behavior of aggregates. Therefore, it is better to see nanotechnology as a tool for the application of quantum theory and other unique phenomena characteristic of nanometer sizes, which allows to fundamentally control the properties of matter and its behavior.

In the next decades, nanotechnology will develop in four partially overlapping phases of establishing industrial prototypes and initial commercialization. In the first phase, which began after the year 2000, the development of passive nanostructures began: materials with a fixed structure and function that are often used as parts of products. These structures can be as humble as zinc oxide particles in sunscreen, but they may also be reinforcing fibers in new composites or carbon nanotubes in electronics.

The second phase, which began in 2005, focuses on active nanostructures that change their size, shape, electrical conductivity or other properties during use. New drug delivery particles will release the medically active molecules in the body only after they reach the diseased tissues they were aimed at. Electronic components, such as transistors and amplifiers with tunable properties, will be reduced to single complex molecules.

Around 2010, workers will begin to develop expertise in systems of nanostructures and direct large numbers of complex components to achieve certain goals. One of the applications could be pre-directed self-assembly of nanoelectronic components to create XNUMXD circuits and complete devices. In medicine, such systems could be used to improve the compatibility of tissues with implants, or to create scaffolds for tissue reconstruction and perhaps even to build artificial organs.

After 2015-2020, the field will expand to include nanomolecular systems - heterogeneous networks in which molecules and supramolecular structures will be used for separate devices. This is how the proteins in the cell work together. But while the biological systems are water-based and very sensitive to temperature, these nano-molecular systems will be able to operate in a much wider range of environments and should also be much faster. Computers and robots will be miniaturized to extremely small dimensions. Medical applications will perhaps deal with ambitious tasks such as new types of gene therapy or anti-aging treatments. New interfaces that connect humans directly to electronics will be able to change communication systems.
Over time, nanotechnology will therefore be able to benefit all sectors of industry and medical care. It could also improve the environment through more efficient use of resources and better pollution control methods. But nanotechnology also poses new challenges to risk control. At the international level, more needs to be done to collect the scientific information needed to resolve ambiguities and install a comprehensive regulatory system. But in order for this new and powerful field to realize its amazing potential, there is a vital need to help the public see it in the settlement of the mind and in a broad context that preserves both human values ​​and the quality of life.

6 תגובות

  1. To the last commenter so far..

    Why do you think things don't go together?
    Is this a reason to abandon hundreds of millions of people to die of hunger?
    Isn't it better to use the education you offer without any connection and use technology to enable a quality of life for as many people as possible in a safe way that harms the environment as little as possible?
    I feel that you speak from the stomach and not from the head..

  2. The strong prevails over the weak. This is literally natural selection. This is how the world works - from bacteria to humans, since the creation of life (each according to his belief) until today.
    Then there will be cheap and plentiful food. So what? So more people will survive. And what will this help except for crazy population growth?
    What is this purpose of humanity? reproduce as much as possible?? God forbid! There are enough rapists, murderers and just people who are deformed and worse than animals that there is no need to try to preserve them as well.
    To advance humanity further, in my opinion, it is not to cause as many poor people as possible to survive (quantity), but to cause as many people as possible to be born as people who take care of themselves and others (if they want to) and only not harm others, meaning as many good-hearted people as possible and up to statesmen who are not interested in wars (quality).
    Think that everyone was good people and there were no wars between people and countries? So it was clear that everyone who needed help should be helped, because then no one had any negative hidden intentions.

  3. Nanorobots will protect the vegetation in the fields from pests. Nano accelerators will replace the fertilizers and then the agricultural yield will increase tens of meters. There will be food for everyone!

  4. When will you catch on, all this advanced technology will one day help develop cheaper, more pest resistant, more nutritious food and in larger quantities for all the bread hungry people you talk about, really some sense.

  5. Ray Kurzweil says in 20 years we will have the technology to live forever. Okay, what about all the people who don't have bread?

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.