If you’ve ever watched a sci-fi movie, you’ve surely seen nanotechnology on the big screen (ehm, Ironman). Unfortunately, we’re not at the point where such tech can be used to heal cancer through microscopic robots, but nanotechnology is still a pretty interesting invention – one that has a plethora of applications across different industries.
So, what is nanotechnology used for?
What Is Nanotechnology Used For?
Although nanotechnology is used in almost every industry, there are five main fields in which it really shines, which are medicine, energy, electronics, environment, and consumer products. What is nanotechnology used for in each of those fields?
Medical Applications of Nanotechnology
These days, medical researchers are starting to develop nanoparticles that are the size of molecules; can you believe that?
Such particles can be used to deliver drugs as well as other substances, heat, and light to specific cells in the body. Diseased cells, such as cancerous ones, are the main target of nanoparticles, which work on facilitating the treatment without affecting healthy cells.
Nanotechnology is used across different energetic fields, such as fuel cells, solar cells, and batteries.
Fuel cells use various catalysts to produce hydrogen ions from methanol and other fuels. Engineers use nanotechnology to reduce the cost of those catalysts.
Many companies are using nanotech to reduce the cost of solar cells and panels as well, which means that electric power is going to become even more affordable in the future. It’s about time we started thinking seriously about getting more Tesla cars on the streets.
Batteries are being revolutionized as well, all thanks to nanotechnology, which should make them last longer and keep the same capacity for years on end. Nanoparticles are also being used to make charging time shorter for electronic devices and batteries.
Finally, nanotechnology can be used to substitute fossil fuels such as gasoline with more economical, low-grade raw materials. That way, the production of fuel can become more economical and efficient.
Applications of Nanotech in the Field of Electronics
Thanks to nano technology, electronic devices are becoming smaller and lighter while being more efficient and advanced. Improvements include increasing the display size, internal memory, as well as battery capacity. Some researchers believe that, in the future, we’ll be able to hold the power of all electronic devices available today within the palm of one’s hand. How cool is that?
Environmental Uses of Nanotechnology
Nanotech has a plethora of applications that are intended to improve the environment. For starters, several studies have shown that iron nanoparticles can be used to clean up organic solvents that are currently polluting groundwater. Currently, groundwater can only be cleaned after being pumped out of the ground, which is a costly process, as opposed to dispersing iron nanoparticles throughout the body of water to decompose the polluting organic solvents.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, nanotechnology can make the production of fuel more efficient, which should reduce air and water pollution and thus help improve the environment. That can be done through the use of silver nanoclusters, which can reduce the polluting byproducts generated in the production of propylene oxide.
Although this is a bit unobvious, nanotechnology is actually used to improve the quality of different consumers products, such as clothes. For instance, silver nanoparticles are being used in the process used to make different kinds of fabric to kill bacteria and make clothes odor-resistant.
Skincare products, such as skin lotions, also use nanoparticles to deliver vitamins deeper into the skin, thus making them more effective and healthier.