As technology advances, we expect our devices to become smaller and more efficient. The most noteworthy example is the computer. We’ve all seen pictures of the first computers. So big they would take up a whole room. That, of course, depends on the size of the room. A larger room wouldn’t be that bad, but that is neither here nor there. The point is that today, computers are a fraction of the size they used to be. We can even fit them in our pockets! Our computers and devices have increased performance at such small sizes because of advancement in nanotechnology. So, what is that exactly?
What is Nanotechnology?
To understand what nanotechnology means, we must break down the specific parts of the word. First, the prefix nano, which means ‘one billionth.’ Like a lot of prefixes, it is derived from the Latin nanus, or ‘dwarf.’ It is used in terms of measurement. Next is technology. A word we are all familiar with. But technology is not a measurement. In this context, nano is describing the measurement of nanometers. When combined, nanotechnology refers to technology that is somewhere between one and one-hundred nanometers.
To add even more amazement to nanotechnology, due to its size, it works on a different set of physics than most of the world does. Even major changes can happen without it being realized.
Why This Technology Isn’t More Popular
Even with many potential uses, nanotechnology still faces many challenges. Dr. George Tulevski, a researcher at IBM’S TJ Watson Research Laboratory, says nanotechnology growth has slowed since the significant advancements made in the 1980s.
Tulevski believes that progress can be resumed through the use of carbon nanotubes. According to the researcher, these nanoscopic tubes made of carbon can magnify a computer’s performance tenfold. However, a computer chip will need billions of these, which makes for a complicated setup.
Chemistry provides a solution to this dilemma by providing a way to arrange circuits in a better way in the final product. Nanotechnology can be used to provide a myriad of technological and practical benefits, including medicine delivery, fuel production, more efficient electronics, and cleaner natural resources. If leveraged properly, nanotechnology can change the world.
That’s a lot of pressure put on such a tiny piece of technology.