Applications of Nanotechnology in Physics [Mechanical engineering]

Applications of Nanotechnology in Physics

Physics and Nanotechnology Building

students at folwell hall's west entrance.

Nano Basics

Nanotechnology harnesses the unusual behaviors of materials at a very small scale to achieve amazing scientific and practical results. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. A sheet of paper is about 100, 000 nanometers thick. Dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers are known as the nanoscale.

Materials behave in different and often useful ways at the nanoscale. Applications of these unusual properties are emerging in aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, medicine, energy, environmental improvement, information technology, transportation, and impact homeland security and national defense. Nanotechnology is used in everything from electronic devices to sunscreens–rapidsly expanding and predicted to grow jobs by leaps and bounds. (The U.S. Department of Labor predicts an increase up to 2 million jobs related to nanotech, from 200, 000 in 2010.)

Commercial Applications

New commercial applications of nanotechnology expected in two to five years in these and other industries include:

  • Advanced drug delivery systems, including implantable devices that automatically administering drugs and capable of sensoring drug level
  • Medical diagnostic tools, such as cancer-tagging mechanisms and "lab-on-a-chip", real time diagnostics for physicians
  • Cooling chips or wafers to replace compressors in cars, refrigerators, air conditioners and multiple other devices, utilizing no chemicals or moving parts
  • Sensors for airborne chemicals or other toxins
  • Photovoltaics (solar cells), fuel cells and portable power to provide inexpensive, clean energy
  • New high-performance materials; and much more.

It’s difficult to predict what products will move from the laboratory to the marketplace over longer periods, but it is believed nanotechnology will facilitate the production of ever-smaller computers that store vastly greater amounts of information and process data much more quickly than those available today. Computing elements are expected to be so inexpensive that they can be in fabrics (for smoke detection, for instance) and other materials.

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