Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NANOTECHNOLOGY: Hope and Fear Factor

Nanotechnology is being categorized under the hood of engineering. Accorded as a branch of engineering that deals with things smaller than 100 nanometers or even smaller. This includes manipulation of individual molecules and sub-particles. Shortened to “nanotech,” this new technological brainchild includes not only manipulation but developing materials, devices or machines within that size.

Associates speculate that this breakthrough might as well breach and/or control matter's building block in an atomic level.

How should a 100 nanometers look like as a technical departure on the development of nanotechnology? Well its comparison is an ordinary pebbles to the size of the earth!

Nanotechnology works on different purposes, the way they are meant to be; such as cosmetics, construction materials, automotive, military and in the field of medicine. We have to bare in mind that nanotechnology works in an ultramicroscopic level that has significant impact on the macroscopic world. If we see equipment and machines that fix, improve and fortify curvy roads and dilapidated buildings, the same machines are used to destroy and put them into rubbles again. Nanotechnology works closely in the same fashion. Little machines can be made to produce or to do something on a material substances.

In the field of medicine for example, nanobots (though still a fancy) are deployed within the bloodstream to search and destroy cancer cells, repair damaged cell structures or even correct DNA imperfections. They can do this at an extremely microscopic size, since these nano agents' scale is smaller than the smallest bacteria in the world. It's like having a construction firm or hospitals with robotic doctors inside your skin.

On some other matter, materials can be enhanced or deduced to something else. Copper, which is opaque in its physical composition, exhibits transparency on its nanoscale properties. The same is through with aluminum which became combustible on its nanoscale despite being made of stable materials. The insoluble properties of gold on a macroscale is subverted in its nanoscale, hence it became soluble. In addition to, gold having an inert chemical composition became a potential chemical catalyst.

One of the most endearing (would be) products of nanotechnology in its infancy is the creation of “nanorobots” or “nanobots.” This tiny of the tiniest non-biological elements can be programmed to do a particular task both on human body and other things, as what we might have seen on several science-based documentaries and fiction films. Beyond this, some other nano elements are manipulated in a nanoscale to produce highly repellent car windshield, or to make more sturdier metals out of the same materials, since matter behaves differently at its nanoscales.

As of August 21, 2008, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies estimates that over 800 manufacturer-identified nanotech products are publicly available, with new ones hitting the market at a pace of 3–4 per week. The project lists all of the products in a publicly accessible online inventory. Most applications are limited to the use of "first generation" passive nanomaterials which includes titanium dioxide in sunscreen, cosmetics and some food products; Carbon allotropes used to produce gecko tape; silver in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants and household appliances; zinc oxide in sunscreens and cosmetics, surface coatings, paints and outdoor furniture varnishes; and cerium oxide as a fuel catalyst (from wikipedia). Nanomembranes are being produced to give hope to countries suffering from water problems carrying waterborne diseases, since it's nanoagents cleans, purify, detoxify and desalinate water from impurities. Forbes.com has release Top Ten nanotechnological products which includes specialized footwear(socks), easily washable bed mattress, specialized golf driver and balls, nanosilver wound dressing and a lot more.

From the post at ehow.com, in 2004, Naomi Halas, a professor of chemistry at Rice University, created the nanoshell particle as a possible detector and cure for cancer cells. Nanoshells are round in shape with a gold-coated core and a glass interior. The make-up of the particle would include a sensor and a heat generating element that would be applied inside the cancerous cell, thereby leaving nearby healthy cells intact. The nanoshell particles are injected into the blood stream. Their built-in sensors are made to seek out and attach to only cancerous cells.

With the dawn of nanotechnology, it brings hope and worries to us, all on both sides of the same coin. On its beneficent side, we've done a lot of talking, nonetheless by itself and at large, it creates, heals and give hope. On the maleficent side it destroys, wounds and give as our fear factor.

One movie I've seen, G.I. Joe (2009), nanotechnology is a spearheading element in the plot of the drama. The Cobra team created weapons of mass destruction through MARS company owned by a weapon expert. The four warheads that they produced are loaded with the nanotechnology's “nanomites” capable of munching up an entire city.

One warhead was released at the belly of Pari's Effel Tower and it deed made havoc taking up the tower halfway through.

On the lighter side, it worth the pay of my half-torn ticket.

Few of the difficulties advocates of this new science have to face are the setbacks it would create. Some of the recently developed nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that silver nanoparticles used in socks only to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash with possible negative consequences. Silver nanoparticles, which are bacteriostatic, may then destroy beneficial bacteria which are important for breaking down organic matter in waste treatment plants or farms.

Another study at the University of Rochester found that when rats breathed in nanoparticles, the particles settled in the brain and lungs, which led to significant increases in biomarkers for inflammation and stress response(wikipedia). Because of the considerable minute size of the nanoparticles it could possibly infiltrate the brain and the blood barrier in our system. Another things are the nanorobots, if it would be materialized, inside the human body if they get out of control they might as well cause serious consequences, otherwise consoling on the theory that it would self-terminate.

Whatever it is, there's nothing more disgraceful in any human advocacy, than human carelessness.

“In this world, there are more than meets the eyes...” a catchphrase of the Autobots commander Optimus Prime of the blockbuster film The Transformers. It would be the same time true with the world billion times beneath our carcasses and of any other matter on earth. There are worlds far beyond what our naked eyes could see. But those two hollows are just getting keener through time, we're canoeing on both words now, we're on our way imposing our own ideologies and sciences on them trying to see where our mental prowess can dangle extra miles more – hoping things would never be the same again.



  1. this article was great. I learned a few things and I am left with a few more questions that should be answered at some point.

    1. yeah..That's true.
      nanotech is great.
      this technology fulfills the prophecy in the bible
      that death will leave from all people...

  2. Revelation 9:6 "In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them!".