translated from Spanish: What is the purpose of nanotechnology?

The word ‘ nanotechnology ‘ is increasingly present among us. It is not necessary to devote oneself to science to run into it for one reason or another: Since the beginning of the 21ST century, in fact, it has been introduced into popular culture and our daily life. From sci-fi movies (Hulk, in 2003, had nanotechnology in the body, like the evil Spiderman of 2002), up to a few products that are advertised with the word «nano» involved somewhere in the brand or model (there are, even, shims For the hair and tennis rackets that contain nanotechnology).

The 2003 Hulk had nanotechnology in the body.

If nanothings have now become a common place in everyday language, this did not happen before: to those over forty, «Nano» will refer them to a successful telenovela of the Nineties. And those who have one more year still, will remind them of Joan Manuel Serrat. To understand why the world of nanotechnology is fascinating, we first have to take a dimension of how small a nanometer is. As well as within every centimeter of a school rule there are ten smaller hairlines each corresponding to one millimeter, within each millimeter there is nothing less than a million nanometers. Even with a microscope we can get to see structures of a few nanometers. They are very, very young, so girls that it is difficult to conceive without proposing any comparison a little closer to our daily life. Imagine that there are ten people waiting in line for the collective. This row is about seven meters long, because each person, standing, occupies something less than a metre. Now, if each person occupies only one nanometer, in that same row there would be only ten people but all the whole humanity. The whole humanity in seven meters of row. It’s not gold all that glitters
But why is the nanoscale so interesting? Is it just a fad after the world that revealed the microscope became habitual and everyday? Definitely not. When materials are presented in particles smaller than a hundred nanometers in size, their properties begin to change surprisingly, so that, more than a fad, we must understand nanotechnology as a revolution that introduces a new Paradigm. If we divide a gold ingot into smaller pieces, we will continue to have pieces that look apparently the same as the original ingot. If in turn we divide these pieces into smaller pieces, the same thing will happen… And this is where someone could interrupt us and say that this was already postulated by the Greek Democritus almost 2500 years ago, and that the piece of gold can be divided until the size of an atom, which is just the elementary unit indivisible. And this is all true. But before we get to that point, something interesting happens. Gold of less than 100 nanometers is no longer gilded: successively it goes through different colors as its size is reduced. There is red nanoparticulate gold, there is also green color, and blue. A surface problem
The key to understanding this phenomenon is to compare how many atoms it has in total a piece of material and how many of them are on the outer surface of that piece. Let’s see: Imagine that we took a dice from a beaker and want to paint it blue. If the dice is about two centimeters per side, at the end of our task we will have painted blue 6 full faces, each 2 cm x 2 cm. If now with a sierrita we cut the dice in half, they would appear 2 new faces, also of 2×2, which are unpainted. The two means given together would weigh the same as the dice before being cut, but now, obviously, there would be more molecules exposed to the surface. If we paint them and then cut back the pieces we obtained, for every cut we make, new molecules that were previously inside the die will now be on the surface and must be painted. As the pieces of the dice are cut into smaller and smaller pieces, more molecules will be exposed to the surface. At first, most of the dice molecules were inside. By dividing it into an enormous amount of smaller dice, more and more molecules from the interior became in contact with the outside. When the pieces of the dice measure approximately 100 nanometers sideways, the amount of molecules on the surface will begin to increase exponentially. In other words, when we get to the nanoscale the pieces of any material are so small, they already contain more molecules on their surface than inside. And it turns out that atoms and molecules located on a surface behave differently than those that are housed inside a material. When there are more internal atoms than external in the gold ingot, the prevailing effects are those of the atoms of the interior. But in the democracy of nanomaterials, the majority are reversed as we know below the 100 nanometers and then go to govern the surface atoms, which have other optical and electronic properties. And then gold is no longer golden. The Uses of nanoobjects
At even smaller sizes, many quantum and energy-transfer effects begin to play a crucial role, allowing certain nanoobjects to emit very intense, or heat, light. In the biological field, nanoobjects can enter both cells that decide to capture them, as well as others where they are filtered without asking permission, taking advantage of their tiny size. In addition, they can overcome impervious biological barriers for larger entities, such as a bacterium, for example. All this makes them especially useful when designing strategies to access a specific set of cells, to reduce the toxicity of a drug, or to increase its efficacy. A real revolution in pharmacology and medicine. Other applications of the nanoobjects have to do with computer science and circuits, due to the enormous increase in speed that can be achieved to transmit the information in the nanoscale and thanks to the excellent conductivity of nanomaterials that do not Dissipate energy in the form of heat. Nanomaterials, such as graphene, are increasingly light and resistant. Among the fascinating properties of the graphene are to be very flexible but at the same time harder than the diamond.

The graphene, a nanomaterial considered by many revolutionaries.

The number of applications that are already appearing and those that are to appear are innumerable, but they include from screens at the same time unbreakable and folding, to paints that collect the energy of the sun, passing by replacements of damaged parts of our body That go far beyond a conventional prosthesis. Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate, was already seen coming in 1959 and, to refer to the possibility of working in a future on the nanoscale manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level, prophesied, which vernacular driver of public transport: «There is much place there in the Background «.

Original source in Spanish

Related Posts

Add Comment