Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 08:16:07 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Nanotech makes life more exciting

photo by

By
20th-Jun-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

I've spent the best part of a week talking about the term "nanotechnology" and whether it's a real field, a real term or not. In its simplest sense, nanotechnology means working with materials at the scale of one billionth of a metre. The prefix "nano" refers to one billionth: it's part of the scientific scale of measurement.
I use the term nanotechnology as a convenient catch-all term to describe my field of research. My research is into making nanoparticles that can be used as tiny capsules to deliver drugs to cells. I work with proteins and a range of gold nanoparticles to try and achieve this goal. Like many scientific and academic terms, nanotechnology (also known as "nano") is an overused, overhyped term in the mass media.
Cosmetic companies advertise products with "nanotechnology" - perhaps hoping to convey that tiny robots are repairing your skin. However, these products are more likely to just include liposomes - tiny, double-layered bubbles of lipid. They are nanoparticles, not quite the nano robots we would envision from science fiction.
The Tata Nano car in India, and Apple's iPod Nano music player also use the prefix "nano". It's become a convenient prefix, in the same way that "micro" and "smart" are overused and effectively meaningless marketing terms. To complicate things further, nanotech and nanoscience are now popularly synonymous with "miniature robots that will turn the world into grey goo" or miniscule invisible threatsto our health and environment.
So does the term nanotechnology apply to everything, and therefore mean nothing? While nano is a buzzword in advertising and media, there is a more specific understanding of what it entails in science ?- ?or rather, engineering.
Nanotechnology is a wide field that covers research and inventions that make use of the quantum effects that happen at the nanoscale - that is, at the nanometre or billionth of a metre level.
Because of the size of the materials and particles at this level, the quantum effects become more pronounced at the nanoscale, and can be used to generate entirely new, thinner materials. The term "quantum effects" here refers to the properties of the material that shape melting point, fluorescence, electrical conductivity and chemical reactivity.
For example, at the nanoscale, there are novel optical properties - that is, reactions between light and the material - that can be used for applications such as nanobarcoding. Nanotechnology uses these properties to make new materials and devices ?- ?anything from soft electronics, plasmonic superlattices (ultrathin nanomaterials that interact with light), gold, silver and polymer nanoparticles, nanowires, and so on.
In truth, biomolecules and viruses are the original, all natural nanotech.
Biomolecules such as DNA may store the genetic code of life, but the structure of DNA can be used to generate nanowires, and DNA can be used as a bridge between particles to connect them together.
Proteins can be used as scaffolds to make metallic structures known as metallo-organic frameworks that can be used as filters or for delivering therapies, to name just two applications.
We can also make materials from inorganic materials like gold and silver - there are now pens available that allow you to draw nanowire circuits. Sunscreen has nanoparticles, and silver nanoparticles are used as anti-bacterial agents in many everyday items. Lithium batteries use nanotech for better storage: in fact, nanotech is critical for improving battery performance and capacity.
And nanotech is useful in miniaturising devices and improving their performance. We now have hand-held DNA sequencers that can be used in the field. We no longer have to send samples back to the lab and wait for the results - we can sequence DNA on site, thanks to the intelligent use of proteins in miniaturised devices.
Most nanotech research is interdisciplinary (combines different expertise), even transdisciplinary (operates across many fields of science). It requires that you delve into chemistry (inorganic and organic), electronics, analytical chemistry, surface chemistry, protein chemistry and structure, nucleic acid chemistry (both DNA and RNA), lipids (fats), and many more techniques. So, it's often easier to use the catch-all term "nanotechnology" when describing this kind of research involving many disciplines.
We use nanoscale properties of materials, creativity and inventiveness to create new tech, new materials, new structures, and perhaps in the future, new ways of being.
Think of it this way: if you want to shrink devices, you make the components of these devices smaller. Nanotechnology just uses nanometre size components to build these devices, using the quantum effects prominent at this scale.
But it's also a field many scientists and engineers work in every day, and that many universities acknowledge. It's a growing, burgeoning field full of exciting and intelligent new inventions. In many ways, it's a truly serious attempt to cross both organic and inorganic together into devices that mimic the exquisite refinements of nature. It's difficult - and exhilarating.

(Upulie Divisekara is a Phd scholar at Monash University. Courtesy: The Conversation)
Upulie Divisekera

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

We welcome Islamabad for awarding Bangladeshi-origin refugees Pakistan`s nationality


PAKISTAN government has decided to grant nationality to all Pakistan-born refugees of Bangladeshi and Afghan origins staying there for decades. Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan on Sunday made this announcement during his maiden visit to Karachi, saying the Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan would get National ...

Sports »

Argentina's Facundo Conte (left) and teammate Alexis Gonzalez celebrate during the Men's World Championships' volleyball match between Argentina and Slovenia, in Florence, Italy on Monday.


Football »

FIFA president Infantino has doubts about La Liga match in Miami


AFP, Barcelona :FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed concern about La Liga's proposal to stage a fixture between Girona and Barcelona in the United States.The two clubs have each approved a request submitted to the Spanish Football Federation for the match to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in ...

Entertainment »

Annie Sekhon all set to shine in Bollywood


Actress Annie Sekhon who has worked in many television shows and Punjabi films is having the time of her life. Off late she's been enjoying the success of her latest Punjabi film, 'Punjab Singh' opposite Gurjind Maan. The hangover of this film hasn't even faded yet and she's taking a ...

Entertainment »

2018 Emmy winners list


Best Drama Series: Game of ThronesBest Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselBest Actor, Drama Series: Matthew Rhys, The AmericansBest Actress, Drama Series: Claire Foy, The CrownBest Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Game of ThronesBest Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Thandie Newton, WestworldBest Writing, Drama Series: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, ...

Business & Economy »

Md. Momin Ud Dowlah, Chairman and Managing Director of Eon Group of Industries Limited, inaugurating its 18th anniversary celebrating programme by cutting cake at Eon Convention Center in the city on Sunday. Major ABA Mesbah Ud Dowlah, Vice-Chairman, ABA Shahid Ud Dowlah, Executive Director, Sayeeda Dowla, Director and Dr. Tamim Ud Dowlah, Group Director were also present.


City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a discussion on 'Voting Rights-Fair Justice and Human Rights: Present Bangladesh' organised by Bangladesh Jatiya Manobadhikar Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.


International »

US slashes refugee admissions to 30,000 for 2019


Reuters, Washington :U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the United States would cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, a sharp drop from a limit of 45,000 it set for 2018."We proposed resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the ...

Editorial »

Journalists` concern for free speech should not be ignored


EDITORS' Council on Saturday expressed its surprise, dissatisfaction, and shock at the final report of a parliamentary standing committee on the draft Digital Security Act which totally ignored the concerns expressed by journalists. Following disapproval from journalists, rights campaigners and foreign diplomats in Dhaka, the Law Minister earlier had admitted ...

Sports »

Japan's Osaka blames US Open tears on 'notorious' nerves


AFP, Tokyo :Naomi Osaka has put her US Open tears down to shredded nerves and her natural awkwardness, rather than the tantrum thrown by Serena Williams that overshadowed a historic Japanese win.The 20-year-old melted hearts when she burst into sobs as boos rang out following her emphatic 6-2, 6-4 thrashing ...

International »

Floodwaters rise as killer storm stalks southeastern US


AFP :Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage.Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South ...

International »

Imran Khan pledges citizenship to Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees


Al Jazeera News :Karachi, Pakistan - Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to implement existing Pakistani laws that would grant citizenship to all Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees who were born on Pakistani soil, a major departure from previous policy.Pakistan is home to more than 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees, according ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a protest rally organised by Nasir Uddin Ahmed Pintu Smriti Sangsad at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday demanding release of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and other leaders of the party.


Entertainment »

Radhika Apte turns adviser for AndhaDhun director


AndhaDhun director, Sriram Raghavan holds Radhika’s opinion in high regard when it comes to working on a project. Radhika being an omnipresent character in the entertainment world, the filmmaker feels that seeking advice from the actress always works in favor of him. According to sources, Sriram Raghavan said, “Since Radhika ...

Editorial »

DUCSU election is desirable but subservient party politics must end


ACADEMICS and former student leaders have emphasised favourable environment and immediate announcement of schedule to hold the long-awaited election to Dhaka University Central Student Union (DUCSU). While Dhaka University authorities initiated a discussion with student organisations over the issue yesterday, the participants welcoming the DU's move pointed out that flexing ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news