Nanotechnology: Small Ideas... Big Impacts!

Uploaded by techNyouvids on 21.12.2011

Today, we will be talking about Nanotechnology.
Small ideas with big impacts!
To start with,
this is a rather tricky subject
so I'll need the help of my assistant, Professor C. Arbon.
But where is he?
Oh, here he is! Hello, Professor.
Hmm, so what is Nanotechnology? Let's take a look at the dictionary:
"Nanotechnology: the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances
of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of
individual atoms and molecules."
Hmm, that seems rather complicated.
Let's start from the beginning.
You have probably already heard a bit about Nanotechnology
and some of the amazing things that it will do for us.
But what exactly is Nanotechnology?
Well Nanotechnology is the design and engineering of things at the nano-scale.
What is a nano-scale I hear you ask? The prefix nano comes from the greek word
'nanos' which means dwarf.
Whereas a millimetre is one thousandth of a metre, one nanometre is one billionth of
a metre.
A single hair from your head is sixty thousand nanometres wide.
One nanometre is only about six atoms in width.
So, you want to see some Nanotechnology, huh? Well, all we need is a really strong
magnifying glass right?
Oh, sorry to disappoint you but, unfortunately even light itself is far too big to see
Nanotechnology in action.
You see, the smallest ray of light is four hundred nanometres across.
To see Nanotechnology we need to use something different.
In the 1980's, several machines were developed to enable us to see
this tiny world.
One of these was the Atomic Force Microscope or AFM as it is known.
This works similar to a record player.
A tiny needle moves across the surface recording the patterns of fields.
This tool and many other advances in technology are giving us complete
control of the way we make and design things at smaller and smaller levels.
Nanotechnology is all about building at the atomic level up,
a bit like a tiny version of minecraft or lego.
The idea for the future is that we will have tiny machines in nano-factories assembling
things for us. In the near future, we may even have nano-3D printers
in our own homes.
Imagine - the ultimate recycling tool.
Need a new phone? Get your nano-printer to make you one from the atoms of your old phones!
These tiny machines could do other stuff for us too.
Imagine if your stuff could repair itself when it breaks.
Putting nano-size robots or 'nanobots' inside our products,
could make this possible.
At the nano-scale, the properties and materials behave differently.
The graphite in your pencil normally seems soft and weak when you write on paper.
But, when you look at a nano-scale, it turns out to be made of stacked, super strong, slipper sheets of carbon
called graphene.
A hundred times stronger than steel.
This stuff looks like chicken wire fencing.
But if you had a cloth made of this material
it would be bulletproof, but also light-weight.
Further research is happening today in to ways of making larger amounts of this
magical material.
Nanotechnology has potential uses
in many other fields as well.
Doctors want to use hollow nano-size balls to deliver medicine within the body.
These nano-balls are being designed to only release medicine at the right location,
sort of like how your key can only open your house in your street.
Engineers are working on thin, nano-coatings to be applied to glass or
mix in to paint.
So your shower glass doesn't fog up and so that ice doesn't stick to your car on cold mornings.
Some of these things are still in development but scientists, engineers,
mathematicians, and regular geniuses like Professor C. Arbon, are hard at work making
this tiny future a big reality.