Nanotechnology has a wide range of applications, from industrial to Energy, and nowadays, it has been gaining traction in various areas, ranging from medicinal uses to military applications. These include more lasting building materials, therapeutic medication delivery, eco-friendly high-density, high-performance hydrogen fuel cells, nanoparticles, nanodevices like nanoscale electronics, cancer therapies, vaccinations, high-performance lithium-ion, and nanographene batteries. Tiny drones or a swarm of artificial bees, as well as miniaturized bots armed with A.I. standing tall on the opposing lines, will soon find various uses in the military arena.
Nanotechnology is defined as the controlled manipulation of size and shape at the nanometer scale (atomic, molecular, and macromolecular scale) to produce structures, devices, and systems at the nanoscale level that has characteristic or property in the design, characterization, production, and application of networks, devices, and procedures. To learn more about What nanotechnology is, please read this article – Nanotechnology: Manipulating Atoms and Molecules, and Watch this video – Manipulating Atoms and Molecules.
In this article, we have revealed all the possible Applications of Nanotechnology, better known as Future Nanoscale Technology.
- 1 What is meant by Applications of Nanotechnology?
- 2 List of Nanotechnology Applications
- 2.1 Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
- 2.2 Applications of Nanotechnology in Military
- 2.3 Applications of Nanotechnology in Electronics
- 2.4 Applications of Nanotechnology in Energy
- 2.5 Applications of Nanotechnology in Aerospace
- 2.6 Applications of Nanotechnology in Consumer Goods
- 2.7 Applications of Nanotechnology in Foods
- 2.8 Applications of Nanotechnology in Catalysis
- 2.9 Applications of Nanotechnology in Construction
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 Sources
What is meant by Applications of Nanotechnology?
Applications of nanotechnology mean making, developing, or creating commercial and industrial nanoscale products and services by using nanotechnology in the fields of Energy, Industry, Medicine, Military, Space, etc. In other words, it is the science, technology, and engineering conducted at the atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scales to make nanoscale products for industrial or commercial purposes. The scale is from 100 to 1 nanometer.
Nanotechnology applications can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, material science, and engineering. For example, silver nanoparticles in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants, and household appliances; carbon nanotubes for stain-resistant textiles; and cerium oxide as a fuel catalyst. Over the next several decades, nanotechnology applications will likely include much higher-capacity computers, active materials of various kinds, cellular-scale biomedical devices, a wide range of military weapons, and much more. We have discussed almost all the possible Applications of nanotechnology below.
List of Nanotechnology Applications
Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine
Applications of Nanotechnology in Medicine mean the use of nanoparticles and nanodevices in medication delivery, health monitoring, and illness diagnosis. Because so many biological processes in the human body occur at the cellular level, nanomaterials can be employed as instruments that can readily circulate inside the body and interact directly with intercellular and even intracellular settings due to their tiny size.
Moreover, because of their small size, nanomaterials can have physiochemical characteristics that differ from their bulk counterparts, enabling different chemical reactivities and diffusion effects to be explored and altered for various applications. For example, nanoparticles carrying medicines for the treatment of disease are injected into the body and function as vessels that convey the pharmaceuticals to the targeted location, which is the frequent use of nanomedicine. The nanoparticle vessels’ ze, shape, surface charge, and surface attachments which can be comprised of organic or synthetic components, can all be altered (proteins, coatings, polymers, etc.).
Thus the ability to functionalize nanoparticles in this way is beneficial when targeting areas of the body where specific physicochemical properties prevent the intended drug from reaching the targeted area on its own; for example, some nanoparticles can bypass the Blood-Brain Barrier to deliver therapeutic drugs to the brain. In addition, nanoparticles have been used in cancer therapy and vaccinations recently. Below are a few areas where the application of nanotechnology in medicine can be employed in a big way:
- Nanoparticles: Nanoparticles can be employed as contrast agents for standard imaging techniques such as computed tomography (C.T.), magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.), and positron emission tomography (P.E.T.). In-vivo imaging is essential in nanomedicine (P.E.T.). Nanoparticles’ capacity to locate and circulate in specific cells, tissues, or organs can give high contrast, resulting in better sensitivity imaging, and therefore can be used to research pharmacokinetics or diagnose visual illness.
- Drug Delivery: This application involves employing nanoparticles to deliver drugs, heat, light, or other substances to specific types of cells, such as cancer cells. For example, Nanoparticles can attract sick cells, allowing for direct therapy of particular cells. This approach helps to protect healthy cells in the body while also allowing for earlier illness identification.
- Diagnostic Techniques: Diagnostic Techniques can identify cancer cells in the bloodstream using antibodies connected to carbon nanotubes in chips. This approach might be employed in basic lab tests to detect cancer cells and kidney disease early. For example, Gold Nanorods are functionalized to connect to the protein produced by damaged kidneys. The color of the nanorod changes as protein accumulates on it. The test is intended to be performed rapidly and inexpensively to discover an issue early.
- Cell Repair: Nanorobots might be designed to repair particular sick cells, similar to how antibodies operate in our natural healing processes.
- Wound Treatment: Electricity generated by nanogenerators worn by the patient to apply electrical pulses to a wound. Another technique to minimize blood loss in trauma patients with internal bleeding is required. Chase Western Reserve University researchers are developing polymer nanoparticles that operate as synthetic platelets. Injection of these synthetic platelets has been demonstrated in lab studies to minimize blood loss drastically.
- Vaccination: Next-generation vaccination is enabled through advances in nanotechnology, as nanotechnology in vaccine development and immune engineering is highly effective. Natural or synthetic nanoparticles resemble viral structural properties, whereas chemical biology, biotechnology, and nanochemistry enable the creation of next-generation designer vaccination technologies. This is an exciting period in vaccine technology development, as new technologies and techniques are ready to have a clinical effect for the first time. In addition, nanomaterials are suitable for antigen delivery, adjuvants, and mimics of viral structures. Hence they aid current vaccine formulation.
- Antibacterial Treatments: Researchers at the University of Houston are working on a technology that uses gold nanoparticles and infrared light to destroy germs. This technology might lead to better equipment cleaning in medical settings. In addition, University of Colorado Boulder researchers are investigating using quantum dots to treat antibiotic-resistant diseases.
For example, North Carolina State University researchers are working on a technique for delivering cardiac stem cells to injured heart tissue. To boost the number of stem cells supplied to wounded tissue, they attach nanovesicles drawn to an injury to the stem cells. In addition, researchers at the University of Wisconsin have exhibited a bandage that uses electricity generated by nanogenerators worn by the patient to apply electrical pulses to a wound.
There is a vast range of nanotechnology applications in medicine, which may one day be utilized to cure life-threatening illnesses like cancer. However, It has significant disadvantages, too, such as toxicity, environmental impact, organ damage produced by nanoparticles, and ethical concerns about its use in this field. In addition, many conspiracy theories discredit the use of nanotechnology in medicine, such as nanosystems or chips implanted inside the human body to track our every move.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Military
Nanotechnology applications in the Military mean using nanotech in military weapons, equipment, systems, vehicles, etc. Indeed, nanotechnology has been hailed as the next big thing that would soon find multiple applications in the military domain. All military systems miniaturized would give a significant strategic advantage over the enemy. For example, miniaturized drones or a swarm of artificial bees would facilitate better battlespace awareness and situational visibility. Moreover, miniaturized bots equipped with A.I. standing tall on the enemy frontline give a clear picture of a changing battlefield. Nanotechnology would eventually enable a new class of lethal weapons that would alter the geopolitical landscape. Below are a few areas where the application of nanotechnology in the Military can be employed in a big way:
- Nano-Biological, Chemical, and Nuclear Weapons: Nanotechnology would open new avenues for developing biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons. Physical/chemical warfare is far more effective and controllable because of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has the potential to make it simpler to enter the body or cells. Nanotechnology might be used to create mechanisms that restrict or prevent harm to one’s force, such as self-destruction or dependable inoculation after a set amount of time. However, there would be no fundamental variation in the quality of nuclear weapons generated by nanotechnology. The total yield would be minimal, as would the bulk and dimensions, blurring the line between conventional and non-conventional weapons. This would also lessen the complete devastation.
- Nano-Systems implanted within human bodies: Nano-systems would monitor a soldier’s medical and stress level, delivering therapeutic medications and hormones as needed. Another use is connecting such systems to cerebral cortical sections or sensory organs, nerves, motor nerves, or muscles to shorten troops’ reaction times.
- Nano-Battlesuit or Body Armour: Soldiers carry a large number of heavy gear and clothing with them; however, their equipment and apparel do not provide them with complete bulletproof protection; thus, many nanotechnology R&D departments are working hard to produce “nano-battlesuits.” This battlesuit may be as thin as a stretched polyurethane cloth and could include health monitoring and communication technology. Furthermore, this material would be significantly more robust than currently existing materials and provide efficient bullet protection. Thus, nano-battlesuits enable the Military to miniaturize, reducing weight and improving efficiency and safety.
- Nano-sensors: Nano-sensors with neural networks can aid in detecting and identifying extremely minute quantities of airborne substances. When explosives are identified, an array of these sensors will be extremely useful to border troops on the front lines in determining the type and extent of the possible risk.
- Nano-drones: Nano-drones are tiny mobile devices with cameras and sensors, as well as the capability of facial recognition. Military nano-drones might also carry a few grams of explosives capable of penetrating the skull and destroying its contents. These nano-drones would enable surgical precision airstrikes. These nano-drones, if trained as a team, can pierce buildings, automobiles, and trains, escape humans, gunfire, and pretty much every other countermeasure, making them deadly enough to kill half the city.
- Nano-satellites: Nanotechnology might be used to create significantly smaller satellites known as nano-satellites and launch vehicles; this would open up several possibilities in outer space because these satellites will be cost-effective. Furthermore, swarms of these nano-satellites might be employed for radar, communication, and intelligence. These satellites may also provide specialized high-resolution photographs of hostile areas.
- Metamaterials: Invisibility is no longer a sci-fi fantasy. A totally invisible gadget should have the same scattering qualities as a vacuum to render an item invisible. Objects in the environment absorb, reflect, or refract light from the environment, allowing the object to be seen clearly. Only by bending light around an object can these materials be rendered invisible. In other words, the gadget and the item to be disguised should not reflect light or cast shadows. Neither the illusory see-through effect of computer-mediated camouflage nor the lowered radar cross-section of stealth technology can provide the ultimate invisibility device. In the absence of invisible jets, the Military has attempted the next best thing: stealth technology, which renders planes undetectable to radar. Stealth technology is a mishmash of techniques. Maxwell’s equations are used in stealth technology to develop a variety of tricks. A stealth fighter jet is completely visible to the naked eye, yet its radar picture on an enemy screen is a little larger than a big bird. By changing the materials within the jet fighter, such as reducing its steel content and replacing it with plastics and resins, changing the angles of its fuselage, rearranging its exhaust pipes, and so on, enemy radar beams hitting the craft can be dispersed in all directions, never returning to the enemy radar screen. A jet fighter, even with stealth technology, is not invisible; rather, it has deflected and dispersed as much radar as is theoretically possible. To read more about metamaterials in the Military, read this research paper – The Role of Nanotechnology in Making Metamaterials for Object Invisibility.
The military applications of nanotechnology pose several scientific, geo-strategic as well as military risks too. Learn more about the Applications of Nanotechnology in the Military here – Nanotechnology in Future Warfare and Defense.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Electronics
Current high-technology manufacturing methods are built on classic top-down strategies, where nanotechnology has already been quietly implemented. In terms of the gate length of transistors in CPUs or DRAM devices, the critical length scale of integrated circuits is already at the nanoscale (50 nm and below). In 2010, the production of nanoelectronic semiconductor devices commercially began. In 2013, S.K. Hynix launched commercial mass-production of a 16 nm process, T.S.M.C. began commercial mass-production of a 16 nm FinFET technology, and Samsung Electronics began commercial mass-production of a 10 nm process. In 2017, T.S.M.C. began manufacturing a 7 nm process, while in 2018, Samsung began manufacturing a 5 nm process. Samsung stated ambitions in 2019 to commercialize a 3 nm G.A.A.F.E.T. technology by 2021.
- Energy production: Nanowires and other nanostructured materials are being studied in the hope of producing cheaper and more efficient solar cells than standard planar silicon solar cells. It is expected that the development of more efficient solar Energy will have a significant impact on meeting the world’s energy needs. There is additional research into energy production for in-vivo devices known as bio-nano generators. A bio-nano generator is a nanoscale electrochemical device, similar to a fuel cell or galvanic cell, except that draws power from blood glucose in a live body, much like the body does when it digests food. An enzyme capable of stripping glucose of its electrons and releasing them in electrical devices is utilized to create the effect. A bio-nano generator could hypothetically create 100 watts of power (about 2000 food calories per day) from the normal person’s body. However, this estimate is only valid if all food is converted to electricity, and because the human body requires some energy regularly, the potential power created is likely to be much lower. The electricity generated by such a gadget might power body-implanted devices (such as pacemakers) or sugar-fed nanorobots. Much of the research on bio-nano generators is still in its early stages, with Panasonic’s Nanotechnology Research Laboratory at the forefront.
- Medical diagnostics: There is considerable interest in developing nanoelectronic devices that can detect the quantities of biomolecules in real time for medical diagnostics, thereby falling under the purview of nanomedicine. A parallel line of study is attempting to develop nanoelectronic devices capable of interacting with single cells for use in basic biological studies. These gadgets are known as nanosensors. Such nanoelectronic downsizing for in vivo proteomic sensing should open new avenues for health monitoring, surveillance, and defense technologies.
- Fabrication: Electron transistors, for example, employ transistor activity based on a single electron. This category also includes nanoelectromechanical systems. As an alternative to producing nanowires separately, nanofabrication can create ultradense parallel arrays of nanowires. Silicon nanowires, in particular, are receiving a lot of attention in this field since they have a lot of potential applications in nanoelectronics, energy conversion, and storage. Thermal oxidation can produce huge quantities of such SiNWs, resulting in nanowires with adjustable thickness.
- Molecular electronics: Another option is to use single-molecule devices. These designs would heavily rely on molecular self-assembly, with device components designed to form a larger structure or even an entire system on their own. This has the potential to be extremely useful for reconfigurable computing, and it may perhaps totally replace current FPGA technology. Molecular electronics is a new technology that is still in its early stages, but it offers hope for true atomic-scale electronic devices in the future. One of the more promising uses of molecular electronics was proposed by I.B.M. researcher Ari Aviram and theoretical chemist Mark Ratner in their articles Molecules for Memory, Logic, and Amplification, published in 1974 and 1988, respectively.
- Printed Electronics: Nanotechnology is used in printed electronics such as RFID, smart cards, and smart packaging. It can also be used to create realistic video games and flexible e-book displays.
- Computers: Nanoelectronics can potentially make computer processors more potent than current semiconductor production techniques. A variety of styles are being investigated at the moment, including novel kinds of nanolithography and the use of nanomaterials such as nanowires or tiny molecules in place of typical CMOS components. For example, semiconducting carbon nanotubes and heterostructured semiconductor nanowires were used to create field effect transistors (SiNWs).
- Memory storage: In the past, electronic memory architectures depended heavily on the production of transistors. Crossbar switch-based electronics research, on the other hand, has provided a solution using programmable linkages between vertical and horizontal wiring arrays to construct super high-density memories. Nantero, which has created a carbon nanotube-based crossbar memory dubbed Nano-RAM, and Hewlett-Packard, which has proposed using memristor material as a future substitute for Flash memory, are two leaders in this field. Spintronics-based devices are one example of such new gadgets. Magnetoresistance is the dependency of a material’s resistance (due to electron spin) on an external field. For nanosized objects, this effect can be considerably enhanced (GMR – Giant Magneto-Resistance), for example, when two ferromagnetic layers are separated by a nonmagnetic layer several nanometers thick (e.g., Co-Cu-Co). The GMR effect has resulted in a significant improvement in the data storage density of hard discs, allowing the gigabyte range to be realized. Tunneling magnetoresistance (T.M.R.) is a spin-dependent tunneling of electrons through adjacent ferromagnetic layers similar to GMR. GMR and T.M.R. effects can be utilized to build non-volatile primary memory for computers, such as magnetic random access memory (MRAM). In the 2010s, commercial production of nanoelectronic memory began. In 2013, S.K. Hynix started mass-producing 16 nm NAND flash memory, and Samsung Electronics started producing 10 nm multi-level cells (M.L.C.) NAND flash memory. In 2017, T.S.M.C. began manufacturing SRAM memory on a 7 nm technology.
- Ionics: The use of ionics in the field of nanotechnology is known as Nanoionics; it is the study and application of phenomena, properties, effects, methods, and mechanisms of processes connected with fast ion transport (F.I.T.) in all-solid-state nanoscale systems. The topics of interest include fundamental properties of oxide ceramics at nanometer length scales and fast ion conductor (advanced superionic conductor)/electronic conductor heterostructures. Potential applications are in electrochemical devices (electrical double-layer devices) for converting and storing Energy, charge, and information.
- Photonics: The use of photonics in the field of nanotechnology, known as Nanophotonics or nano-optics,, is the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale and the interaction of nanometer-scale objects with light. It is a branch of optics, optical engineering, electrical engineering, and nanotechnology. It often involves dielectric structures such as nanoantennas, or metallic components, which can transport and focus light via surface plasmon polaritons.
Nanotechnology is used in electronic components in nanoelectronics. Computing and electronic devices are two examples of applications. Flash memory chips and antimicrobial and antibacterial mouse and keyboard coatings are examples of devices. Furthermore, mobile phone castings are excellent instances of nanoelectronics. The purpose of nanoelectronics is to process, transmit, and store data. It accomplishes this by leveraging matter qualities that are unique from macroscopic properties.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Energy
The applications of nanotechnology in Energy mean the use of small nano-sized nanoparticles to store and distribute energy more efficiently and cost-effectively. This technology will promote the use of renewable energy through green nanotechnology by generating, storing, and using Energy without emitting harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Below are a few areas where the application of nanotechnology in Energy can be employed in a big way:
- Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Hydrogen utilization in Energy at a considerably higher capacity is now possible because of nanotechnology. While hydrogen fuel cells are not an energy source in and of themselves, they allow for ecologically beneficial energy storage from sunshine and other renewable sources with no CO2 emissions. The primary disadvantages of classic hydrogen fuel cells are that they are costly and not long-lasting enough for commercial application. However, adding nanoparticles improves both the durability and the cost over time dramatically. Furthermore, traditional fuel cells are too huge to store in bulk, but researchers have discovered that nano blade can store larger amounts of hydrogen, which can then be preserved within carbon nanotubes for long-term storage.
- Solar Cells: Using nanoparticles in solar cells increases the Energy absorbed from sunshine. Solar cells are now made of silicon layers that collect sunlight and transform it into usable power. Researchers discovered that by coating noble metals such as gold on top of silicon, they could convert Energy more effectively into electrical current. Much of the Energy lost during this transition is attributed to heat; however, by utilizing nanoparticles, less heat is emitted, resulting in greater power.
- Nanographene Batteries: Nanotechnology enables the development of nanographene batteries, which can store Energy more effectively while weighing less. Lithium-ion batteries have been the primary battery technology in electronics for the last decade, but current technological limitations make densifying batteries difficult due to the potential dangers of heat and explosion. Graphene batteries, which are now being tested in experimental electric vehicles, have claimed capacities four times larger than conventional batteries while costing 77 percent less. Furthermore, graphene batteries have steady life cycles of up to 250,000 cycles, allowing electric cars and long-term products to have a reliable energy source for decades.
- Fuels: Increasing the efficiency of fuel generation from primary resources. Nanotechnology has the potential to alleviate the scarcity of fossil fuels such as diesel and gasoline by enabling the synthesis of fuels from low-grade raw materials cost-effective. Nanotechnology may also be utilized to improve engine mileage and boost the efficiency of fuel generation from common raw materials.
- Piezoelectric Nanofibers: Electricity-generating clothing Piezoelectric nanofibers that are flexible enough to be sewn into garments have been produced by researchers. The normal motion may be converted into Energy by the fibers, which can then power your cell phone and other mobile electrical gadgets.
- Heat absorbing and reflecting materials: Reducing the amount of Energy consumed to heat and cool buildings. A device with a heat absorption sheet made of zinc-copper nanoparticles on a thin copper layer and a heat-reflecting sheet made of a thin silver film has been shown by researchers. The concept is to employ heat-absorbing and reflecting materials to supplement existing HVAC systems and minimize the amount of Energy necessary to heat and cool buildings.
- Sodium borohydride nanoparticles: Keeping hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. Researchers constructed graphene layers in a gasoline tank to improve the binding Energy of hydrogen to the graphene surface, resulting in more hydrogen storage and, as a result, a lighter-weight fuel tank. Other studies have proved the effectiveness of sodium borohydride nanoparticles in hydrogen storage.
- Electricity from waste heat: Using waste heat to generate Energy. Researchers employed nanotube sheets to create thermocells, which generate Energy when the sides of the cell are at different temperatures. These nanotube sheets might be wrapped over hot pipes, such as your car’s exhaust pipe, to create power from the heat that would otherwise be squandered.
- Windmill blades: Increasing the amount of power produced by windmills. Windmill blades are made from epoxy incorporating carbon nanotubes. The use of nanotube-filled epoxy allows for stronger and lighter blades. The longer blades that result improve the quantity of power generated by each windmill.
- High-efficiency light bulbs: Making high-efficiency light bulbs In one type of high-efficiency light bulb, a nano-engineered polymer matrix is employed. The new bulbs are shatterproof and have double the efficiency of small fluorescence light bulbs. Other researchers are working on high-efficiency L.E.D.s that use arrays of nano-sized structures known as plasmonic cavities. Another concept under consideration is to modernize incandescent light bulbs by encasing the traditional filament in crystalline material that turns part of the waste infrared radiation into visible light.
- Hydrogen from seawater: Hydrogen production from seawater. The utilization of a nanostructured thin layer of nickel selenide as a catalyst for the electrolysis of hydrogen from seawater has been shown by researchers at the University of Central Florida.
- Steam from sunlight: Researchers have shown that focused sunlight on nanoparticles may generate steam with great energy efficiency. The “solar steam gadget” is designed to be utilized in areas of impoverished countries where there is no power for purposes such as water purification and dental equipment disinfection. Another research group is working on nanoparticles that will harness sunlight to produce steam for use in power plants.
New ways and methods are continuously being explored using nanotechnology to produce more efficient and cost-effective applications of Energy.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Aerospace
Applications of Nanotechnology in Aerospace include high strength, low weight composites, improved electronics and displays with low power consumption, a wide range of physical sensors, multifunctional materials with embedded sensors, large surface area materials, and novel filters and membranes for air purification, nanomaterials in tires and brakes, and many more. Carbon nanotubes (C.N.T.s) have gained traction for their use as fillers in various polymers due to their exceptional stiffness, toughness, and unique electrical properties. Memorably, Carbon nanotubes’ electrical properties were utilized for the advanced electrostatic charge dissipation and electromagnetic interference shielding of the Jupiter satellite launched in 2011.
Nanoclays are also frequently used in aerospace manufacturing due to their flame-retardant properties. This, combined with their high strength, low weight, and relatively low cost, means epoxy/clay nanocomposites have provided an affordable, high-performance substitute to titanium oxide for use as aviation fuel tanks.
- Nanocoatings: Nanocoatings, such as magnesium alloys, silicon, and boron oxides, and cobalt-phosphorous nanocrystals to increase the durability of metals used in aircraft and mechanical components that are subjected to high temperatures and friction wear, such as turbine blades. Magnesium nanocomposites as a promising alternative, although this investigation is very much in its infancy, and therefore further extensive analysis is required. Many nanostructured and nanoscale coating materials have been suggested as possible friction-modifying agents, including carbides, nitrides, metals, and ceramics.
- Carbon nanotubes (C.N.T.s): Nanomaterials or nanocomposites, including carbon nanotubes (C.N.T.s), nanoclays, nanofibres, and graphene, have been used in aircraft construction as filler materials to enhance the properties of structural and non-structural polymers.
- Nanostructured metals: Nanostructured metals, defined as metals consisting of nanoscale crystallites exhibit considerably improved properties compared to their counterparts with microscale or larger grain structures. This is particularly noticeable for properties crucial to aerospace applications – primarily yield strength, tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and a low density to facilitate substantial reductions in structural weight. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that nanostructured metals not only display enhanced properties but can also be engineered to exhibit properties uncharacteristic of conventionally-sized materials. An example of this is a nanostructured titanium-nickel alloy, which, in combination with extraordinary yield strength, exhibits superelasticity.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Consumer Goods
Consumer items on the market today have barely begun to tap into the possibilities of nanotechnology. Except for consumer electronics, most consumer items now available are based on interface effects, However, the vast majority of the potential that might be expected from massive research investments in nanoscience has yet to reach the customer.
- Surfaces and Coatings: Surfaces on ceramics or glassware are the most visible application of nanotechnology in the home. Nanoceramic particles have increased the smoothness and heat resistance of everyday home items. Shortly sunglasses will have protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings and scratch-resistant surface coatings. Nanoparticles can help to make surfaces and systems stronger, lighter, cleaner, and “smarter.” Scratch-resistant eyeglasses, crack-resistant paints, anti-graffiti coatings for walls, transparent sunscreens, stain-repellent textiles, self-cleaning windows, and ceramic coatings for solar cells are already being produced.
- Sports Materials: Sports such as soccer, football, and baseball may benefit from nanotechnology. New materials for sporting shoes may be developed to make the shoe lighter (and the athlete faster). Baseball bats already on the market include carbon nanotubes that strengthen the resin, which is supposed to boost performance by making it lighter. Other goods on the market utilized by National Football League players include athletic towels, yoga mats, and workout mats that use antimicrobial nanotechnology to protect against infections caused by germs such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as M.R.S.A.).
- Safety of Cars: Nanotechnology can improve vehicle safety as nanoparticles can increase tire grip on the road, lowering stopping distance in wet situations. Furthermore, nanoparticle-strengthened steels can increase the rigidity of the automobile body. Furthermore, ultra-thin transparent coatings can be added to screens or panes to reduce glare or condensation. In the future, transparent automotive body sections may be produced to improve all-around visibility.
- Textiles: Engineered nanofibers already make garments water- and stain-resistant, and wrinkle-free. Textiles treated with nanotechnology may be cleaned less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanotechnology was utilized to incorporate microscopic carbon particles membrane and provide the user with full-surface protection from electrostatic charges. Many more uses have been created by academic institutes such as Cornell University’s Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory and the U.K.’s Dstl and its spin-off business P2i.
- Cosmetics: Sunscreens are one area where they may be used. The standard chemical U.V. protection method has poor long-term durability. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles, such as titanium oxide, has several benefits. Titanium oxide nanoparticles provide equal U.V. protection properties to the bulk material, but when particle size is reduced, the aesthetically unattractive whitening disappears.
Consumer devices that use quantum effects or the unique electrical capabilities of carbon nanotubes, for example, have merely scratched the surface. There are also additional effects that show potential. For example, molecular recognition is a fundamental biological concept that is exploited in D.N.A. and other particular binds, such as antigen-antibody interactions on cell surfaces. This effect is commonly employed in biotech businesses such as medication research and diagnostics, but it has yet to make its way into consumer items.
The true potential of nanotechnology may emerge when goods begin to include more than one of these impacts. Carbon nanotubes are used in sports products because of their mechanical strength and high surface area-to-volume ratio, but future products could also take advantage of their electronic properties and small size, such as connecting different layers in integrated circuits or building novel nanotube transistors. Such an approach might result in new items that vastly improve the typical consumer’s quality of life.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Foods
Food processing can benefit from the use of nanotechnology. Furthermore, food packaging – and hence food safety – may be enhanced by using nanomaterials to place anti-microbial agents on coated films and change gas permeability as needed for different goods. Nanotechnology can tackle a complex set of technical and scientific issues in the food and bioprocessing industries for producing high-quality, safe food efficiently and sustainably.
- Food Quality Monitoring: Bacteria detection and food quality monitoring using biosensors. Intelligent, active, and smart food packaging systems and nanoencapsulation of bioactive food components are the developing nanotechnologies used in the food sector.
- Nano Foods: According to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (P.E.N.), new foods are among the nanotechnology-created consumer items that are hitting the market at a pace of 3 to 4 per week, based on an inventory of 609 known or claimed nano-products.
- Cooking: Canola cooking oil brand called Canola Active Oil, a tea called Nanotea, and a chocolate diet shake called Nanoceuticals Slim Shake Chocolate.
- Nano drops: According to corporate literature on P.E.N.’s Web site, Shemen Industries’ canola oil contains “nano drops,” which are supposed to deliver vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients through the digestive tract, as well as urea.
- NanoClusters: According to R.B.C. Life Sciences Inc., the drink employs cocoa-infused “NanoClusters” to increase the flavor and health benefits of cocoa without the need for additional sugar.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Catalysis
Applications of Nanotechnology in Catalysis means nanomaterial-based catalysts, electrocatalysis, photocatalyst, or heterogeneous catalysts that have been broken down into metal nanoparticles to improve the catalytic process. Metal nanoparticles have a large surface area, which can boost catalytic activity. Catalysts made of nanoparticles are readily separated and recycled. They are primarily utilized in moderate circumstances to avoid nanoparticle breakdown. Nanocatalysts are of wide interest in fuel cells and electrolyzers, where the catalyst strongly affects efficiency. Potential applications of Nanotechnology in Catalysis have been explained below.
- Hydrosilylation Reactions: When gold, cobalt, nickel, palladium, or platinum organometallic complexes are reduced with silanes, metal nanoparticles are formed that accelerate the hydrosilylation process. Under moderate circumstances, BINAP-functionalized palladium nanoparticles and gold nanoparticles were utilized for the hydrosilylation of styrene; they were shown to be more catalytically active and stable than non-nanoparticle Pd-BINAP complexes. A nanoparticle made of two metals might potentially accelerate the process.
- Dehalogenation and hydrogenation: Hydrogenolysis of C-Cl bonds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, is facilitated by nanoparticle catalysts. Another reaction that is significant for the synthesis of herbicides and insecticides, as well as diesel fuel, is the hydrogenation of halogenated aromatic amines. Hydrogenation of a C-Cl bond with deuterium is used in organic chemistry to specifically mark the aromatic ring for use in research using the kinetic isotope effect. Synthesized rhodium complexes, which resulted in rhodium nanoparticles. The dehalogenation of aromatic compounds, as well as the hydrogenation of benzene to cyclohexane, were accelerated by these nanoparticles. In addition, polymer-stabilized nanoparticles can be utilized to hydrogenate cinnamaldehyde and citronellal. Yu et al. discovered that ruthenium nanocatalysts are more selective in the hydrogenation of citronellal than standard catalysts.
- Organic Redox Reactions: The figure depicts an oxidation reaction that can be accelerated by cobalt nanoparticles to produce adipic acid. This is used on a large basis to make nylon 6,6 polymer. Other oxidation processes accelerated by metallic nanoparticles include the oxidation of cyclooctane, ethene oxidation, and glucose oxidation.
- C-C coupling reactions: Metallic nanoparticles can accelerate C–C coupling processes such as olefin hydroformylation, vitamin E production, and the Heck and Suzuki coupling reactions. Heck coupling reactions were shown to be effectively catalyzed by palladium nanoparticles. In addition, the enhanced electronegativity of the ligands on the palladium nanoparticles was shown to boost their catalytic activity. Pd2(dba)3 is a source of Pd(0), which is a catalytically active palladium source utilized in a variety of processes, including cross-coupling reactions. Pd2(dba)3 was formerly assumed to be a homogeneous catalytic precursor; however, the current research indicates that palladium nanoparticles are generated, making it a heterogeneous catalytic precursor.
- Nanozymes: Aside from traditional catalysis, nanomaterials have been investigated for their ability to imitate natural enzymes. Nanozymes are nanomaterials having enzyme-mimicking properties. Many nanomaterials have been utilized to imitate natural enzymes such as oxidase, peroxidase, catalase, S.O.D., nuclease, and others. Nanozymes offer a wide range of uses, from biosensing and bioimaging to medicines and water remediation.
- Alternative fuels: Using the Fischer-Tropsch method, iron oxide, and cobalt nanoparticles may be loaded onto various surface-active materials such as alumina to transform gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Much of the research on nanomaterial-based catalysts is focused on improving the efficiency of the catalyst coating in fuel cells. Platinum is currently the most common catalyst for this application, but it is expensive and scarce, so much research has been focused on maximizing the catalytic properties of other metals by shrinking them to nanoparticles in the hope that they will one day be an efficient and cost-effective alternative to platinum. Even though bulk gold is inert, gold nanoparticles have catalytic capabilities. It was discovered that yttrium-stabilized zirconium nanoparticles improved the efficiency and dependability of a solid oxide fuel cell. Nanomaterial ruthenium/platinum catalysts might be utilized to catalyze hydrogen purification for hydrogen storage. Palladium nanoparticles may be functionalized with organometallic ligands to accelerate the oxidation of Co and No in the atmosphere, reducing air pollution. Metal nanoparticles have been utilized to stimulate the development of carbon nanotubes, and carbon nanotube-supported catalysts can be employed as cathode catalytic support for fuel cells. Because they generate a greater stable current electrode, platinum-cobalt bimetallic nanoparticles paired with carbon nanotubes are interesting options for direct methanol fuel cells.
- Photocatalysis: Many photocatalytic systems can benefit from a noble metal connection; the initial Fujishima-Honda cell also used a co-catalyst plate. For example, the fundamental design of a disperse photocatalytic reactor for water splitting is that of a water sol, in which the dispersed phase is made up of semiconductor quantum dots, each coupled to a metallic co-catalyst: the Q.D. converts the incoming electromagnetic radiation into an exciton, while the co-catalyst acts as an electron scavenger and lowers the electrochemical reactions over potential.
- Nanowires: Nanowires are highly attractive for electrocatalytic purposes because they are easy to create and have very fine control over their features during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, because of their spatial expanse and hence increased availability of reactants on the active surface, nanowires can improve faradaic efficiency.
- Nanoporous surfaces: Cathodes in fuel cells are commonly made from nanoporous materials. Platinum porous nanoparticles exhibit high activity in nanocatalysis, but they are less stable and have a limited lifespan.
- Nanoparticles: One disadvantage of using nanoparticles is their proclivity to agglomerate. With the proper catalyst assistance, the issue may be minimized. Because they may be tailored to detect specific chemicals, nanoparticles are ideal structures for use as nanosensors. Pd nanoparticles electrodeposited on multi-walled carbon nanotubes have demonstrated good activity in catalyzing cross-coupling processes.
- Materials: Different materials can be used to construct nanostructures in electrocatalysis processes. Electrocatalysts can achieve strong physical-chemical stability, high activity, good conductivity, and cheap cost using nanostructured materials. Transition metals are extensively used to fabricate metallic nanostructures (mainly iron, cobalt, nickel, palladium, and platinum). Because of the unique properties of each metal, multi-metal nanostructures exhibit novel behaviors. The benefits include increased activity, selectivity, and stability, as well as cost savings. Metals can be mixed in various ways, such as the core-shell bimetallic structure, in which the least expensive metal forms the core and the most active metal (usually a noble metal) forms the shell. By using this design, the consumption of rare and expensive metals may be decreased by 20%. One of the future difficulties will be to discover new stable materials with high activity and cheap cost. Metallic glasses, polymeric carbon nitride (PCN), and materials generated from metal-organic frameworks (M.O.F.) are a few examples of electrocatalytic materials on which the study focuses.
When compared to non-functionalized metal nanoparticles, functionalized metal nanoparticles are more solvent-stable. Van der Waals force can affect metal nanoparticles in liquids. Particle aggregation can reduce catalytic activity by reducing surface area. Nanoparticles can also be functionalized with polymers or oligomers to provide a protective barrier that inhibits the nanoparticles from interacting with one another. Bimetallic nanoparticles are alloys of two metals that are used to provide synergistic effects on catalysis between the two metals.
Applications of Nanotechnology in Construction
Applications of Nanotechnology in Construction have the potential to make building more efficient, less expensive, safer, stronger, and more diverse. Thus the rapidly growing scientific field that includes areas like electronics, biomechanics, and coatings will help civil engineering and building materials.
- In Wood: For the wood sector, nanotechnology has the potential to produce new products, significantly lower processing costs, and establish new markets for biobased materials. Wood is also made up of nanotubes, commonly known as “nanofibrils,” which are lignocellulosic (woody tissue) constituents twice as strong as steel. Harvesting these nanofibrils would usher in a new era of sustainable building, as both creation and consumption would be part of a renewable cycle. Some researchers believe that imprinting functionality onto lignocellulosic surfaces at the nanoscale might open up new possibilities for self-sterilizing surfaces, internal self-repair, and electrical lignocellulosic devices. These unobtrusive active or passive nanoscale sensors would monitor structural stresses, temperatures, moisture content, decay fungus, heat losses or gains, and conditioned air loss to provide input on product performance and environmental conditions throughout service. However, research in these areas appears to be restricted at the moment. Because of its natural roots, wood is pioneering cross-disciplinary research and modeling methodologies. B.A.S.F. has created a high water-repellent covering based on the activities of the lotus leaf by using silica and alumina nanoparticles as well as hydrophobic polymers. Mechanical studies of bones have been used to mimic wood, for example, during the drying process.
- In Steel: Steel is a common building material that plays an important part in the construction industry. The application of nanotechnology in steel aids in the improvement of its physical qualities.
- In Cement: Concrete is being studied at the nanoscale to understand its structure better. Various methods established for research at that size, such as Atomic Force Microscopy (A.F.M.), Scanning Electron Microscopy (S.E.M.), and Focused Ion Beam Microscopy (FIB), are employed in this examination. This is a byproduct of creating this equipment for studying the nanoscale in general but knowing the structure and behavior of concrete at the fundamental level is an important and highly relevant use of nanotechnology. Concrete is a macro-material that is heavily impacted by its nano-properties, and knowing it at this new level opens up new paths for improving strength, durability, and monitoring. As part of the regular mix, silica (SiO2) is incorporated into traditional concrete. However, one of the breakthroughs gained by the nanoscale research of concrete is that particle packing in concrete may be increased by utilizing nano-silica, which leads to a densification of the micro and nanostructure, resulting in improved mechanical qualities. Adding nano-silica to cement-based materials can also limit the breakdown of the fundamental C-S-H (calcium-silicate hydrate) reaction of concrete produced by calcium leaching in water, preventing water penetration and increasing durability. High energy milling of ordinary Portland cement (O.P.C.) clinker and average sand results in more considerable particle size reduction than traditional O.P.C. As a result, the compressive strength of the refined material is 3 to 6 times higher.
- In Glass: The application of nanotechnology to glass, another key building material, is being researched. Because of its sterilizing and anti-fouling qualities, titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are utilized to cover glazing. Organic contaminants, volatile organic chemicals, and bacterial membranes are all broken down by the particles, which catalyze strong reactions. TiO2 is hydrophilic (attracts water); therefore, it may attract raindrops, which wash away dirt particles. Thus, using nanotechnology in the glass sector integrates glass’s self-cleaning feature. Another application of nanotechnology is fire-resistant glass. This is accomplished by sandwiching a translucent intumescent layer between glass panels (an interlayer) made of silica nanoparticles (SiO2), which, when heated, becomes a stiff and opaque fire shield. The majority of glass used in construction is used on the outside of buildings. As a result, light and heat entering the structure through glass must be avoided. Nanotechnology may give a better solution for blocking light and heat entering through windows.
- Fire Protection and Detection: Steel constructions’ fire resistance is frequently supplied with a spray-on-cementitious coating. Because the resultant material may be utilized as a robust, durable, high-temperature covering, nano-cement has the potential to create a new paradigm in this area of application. It is a fantastic way to increase fire protection and is a less expensive choice than traditional insulation.
- Coatings: Coatings are an important part of construction since they are used to paint walls, doors, and windows. Coatings should create a protective layer bonded to the underlying material, resulting in a surface with the appropriate protective or functional qualities. The coatings should be capable of self-healing via a “self-assembly” process. Nanotechnology is used in paints to create coatings with self-healing properties and corrosion resistance under insulation. Because these coatings are hydrophobic, they resist water from metal pipes while protecting the metal from saltwater assault. Nanoparticle-based solutions have the potential to improve adhesion and transparency. The TiO2 covering absorbs and degrades organic and inorganic air pollutants via a photocatalytic process, allowing roadways to be used in a more environmentally friendly manner.
- Risks in Construction: Nanomaterials are frequently employed in building construction, ranging from self-cleaning windows to flexible solar panels to wi-fi blocking paint. The latest nanomaterials in construction include self-healing concrete, materials that block U.V. and infrared radiation, smog-eating coatings, and light-emitting walls and ceilings. Nanotechnology has the possibility of bringing the “smart house” to fruition. Nanotechnology-enabled sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, and airborne pollutants, which necessitates enhanced nanotechnology-based batteries. Because the sensor employs wireless components, it can collect a wide range of data, making the building components intelligent and interactive.
Nanomaterials are still expensive in comparison to conventional materials; hence they are unlikely to be used in high-volume construction materials. However, the automation of nanotechnology construction can enable the rapid and low-cost construction of structures ranging from sophisticated dwellings to huge skyscrapers. Soon, nanotechnology will be able to detect faults in architectural foundations and dispatch nanobots to repair them.
What are the effects of nanosensors and nanomaterials on humans if they become a daily feature of structures, as with smart homes? Effects of nanoparticles on health and the environment: If building water supplies are filtered by commercially available nanofilters, nanoparticles may reach the body. Nanoparticles in the air and water are introduced via building ventilation and wastewater systems. The impact of nanoparticles on social issues: When sensors grow more widespread, users’ privacy and autonomy may be jeopardized as they interact with more sophisticated building components.
Zinc oxide (ZnO) has become a highly essential semiconducting material due to its flexible qualities and countless superb nanostructure combinations, and its application field is continually expanding: optics, optoelectronics, sensors, actuators, Energy, biomedical sciences, and spintronics. ZnO is now one of the most important nanomaterials for micro and nanotechnology.
ZnO is a very promising material for energy harvesting in the context of energy scarcity and sustainable development due to its capacity to transform ambient Energy into electrical Energy and its production capability with cost-effective methods. Scientists all around the globe have investigated, created, and device realized several types of nanogenerators of Energy and solar cells based on ZnO nanostructures.
However, the rapid growth of smart devices such as chemical and biosensors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), nanorobotics, and personal electronics necessitates the use of independent, long-lasting, and maintenance-free Energy. Thus, emerging nanomaterials and micro and nanotechnologies that gather ambient Energy as self-sufficient, sustainable micro/nano-power sources provide a suitable option for powering these devices and ensuring their ongoing functioning. It is worth noting that because implanted devices and/or wireless sensor networks must be self-sufficient, these novel Energy collecting cells are critical. Furthermore, there is a growing need for these devices in a variety of applications.
A research field called “nano energy” has recently emerged, using nanomaterials and nanotechnologies to harvest various types of surrounding energies, and the development of nano energy may replace the use of batteries or at least extend the lifetime of a battery in smart devices and sensors.
Many applications, including healthcare, medical data monitoring, infrastructure security monitoring (bridge, road, building or monument, etc.), environment monitoring (air and water quality, etc.), logistic control, and our smart homes, will increasingly rely on wireless sensor networks to collect maximum data to ensure our safety and quality of life soon. Thus, the crucial and decisive component in effectively developing these micro/nanodevices, particularly implantable devices, is to own a sustainable power source via harvesting systems to utilize the surrounding accessible and inexhaustible Energy.
Not only has the individual nanogenerator solar cell been studied in recent years, but hybrid energy cells have also been constructed. The latter is made up of many energy harvesting units, each of which may function alone or in tandem with the other(s) to gather various forms of accessible Energy in the environment where the devices are deployed.
Several uses of nanogenerators and/or nanostructure-based compact solar cells for powering various micro/nanodevices, both for individual cells and hybrid cells, have been demonstrated. A self-charging power cell coupled with an energy storage unit was recently shown. This novel method allows the gadget to work continuously even when no energy is available for short periods.
Despite the outstanding progress being made in the field of nano energy research, much more study on the design, high-quality nanomaterial synthesis, and device manufacturing are necessary to build self-sufficient micro/nanodevices with a high-reliability energy harvesting system. Furthermore, the energy collecting system will be compatible with existing and cost-effective microfabrication methods, enabling industrial mass production to meet the high demand for self-powering devices.
In addition to the concerns, security measures, and potential risks of nanotechnology, we also need to take a fresh look at the potential for the deliberate misuse of the technology. This requires establishing a nanotechnology safety system that incorporates toxicological research, risk identification, and exposure and risk assessment as well as risk management so that we can save the environment for generations to come.
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