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Nanotechnology … Nano what?

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No one can doubt that we live in a technological revolution: new research, improved techniques, products or recent applications with a shorter half-life in which one has to keep “up to date” or we will be offside in a conversation. New more words ending in –logy, so that is why, dear readers, today I am going to speak about Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

We have to change our perspective and think of small scale in order to talk about nanoscience. Nanoscience and Nanotechnology are defined as “the manufacture of materials, structures, devices and systems through control function and assembly of matter at the nanometer scale and the application of new concepts and properties” according to FECYT. That is to say, the construction of nanoscale materials (one meter is equal to 109 nanometers) for the development of novel items.

That is why it requires the use of nanomaterials, or whatever it is, the manipulation ofmatter at the level of atoms and molecules which offer new properties and phenomena. It is essential to mention it, as one of carbon nanomaterials.

We all know the important role that carbon plays in life, as it is the 20% by mass of living organisms found despite only 1% of the known matter in the universe.

Several features make carbon an useful element for life itself as well as organic chemistry. This property has submitted under different chemical structures and various allotropic states like graphite, diamond, nanotubes and fullerenes.

One of the best known examples is one that compares diamonds and lead or graphite. Both are composed of carbon atoms, but differ that their arrangement in space is different. Therefore, we can say that these properties derive from the chemical bond, in other words, how to join each atom with another atom of the same element.

A new recently discovered form of carbon, fullerenes, differs from the previous ones that the combination of atoms forms a truncated icosahedron (60 carbons) for example, like a soccer ball. Also, another important discovery has been nanotubes, which has seen a revolution as it allows tools 10 times lighter than steel, 100 times more resistant to stress and 10,000 times thinner than a hair. These were discovered accidentally in 1991, and are characterized by cylindrical structure. You can glimpse the impact that represents in terms of metal and electrical properties because they can be used as conductors or insulators but with the advantage of having smaller diameters.

So to end this short introduction about nanoscience, it is worth it to mention the nano-biotechnology. In science, The best source of inspiration it’s nature, that is why there are several studies which try to use viruses (most with diameters between 20 and 300 nanometers) as nanomachines capable of integrating mechanical properties so that they can be modified and controlled . This is achieved through genetic engineering and nanotechnology, useful, for example, to create vaccines.

Also, it should be mention, as an example of DNA nanobiopolymer as it may be interesting to construct functional artificial nanostructures.

As we can see, we could talk a lot  (and we will talk) about nanotechnology, but it would be in another post 🙂 .

To learn more:

Nanociencia y Nanotecnología. Entre la ciencia ficción del presente y la tecnología del futuro. Edited by the FECYT foundation (Recommended).

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Autor: ScienceOut

Biotecnóloga y Bioquímica, Coleccionista de sueños, haciendo de la ciencia una filosofía de vida... Biotechnologist and Biochemistry, Collector of dreams, making science a life's philosophy...

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