What is nanotechnology

What is Nanotechnology?

As the European Union says in its famous film, Nanotechnology: the Next Dimension, this emerging discipline represents a new dimension for scientists, industries and entrepreneurs. All of them will search into Nanotechnology for new applications and solutions to some of the big dilemmas of the humakind: effective cancer treatments, efficient renewable energies, potent quantum computers, affordable and safe transportation, etc.

That is precisely Nanotechnology, a compendium of properties and technologies extracted from nanoscale with multiple and fascinating applications in our daily life. For the most perfectionists, a good definition comes from the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), American institution usually associated to the Nanotechnology takeoff: “Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale.”

What is a nanometer:

When we consider devices between 1 and 100nm, we talk about really small things. Things so small that they can only seen and manipulated through very special and sensitive tools such as the Scanning Probe Microscopes and Electron Beam Nanolitography tools. A better idea comes from the next representation: Whereas the diameter of pencil tip accounts for about 1million of nanomters a bacterium cell has around 10.000 nanometer size. At the Nanoscale, scientists deal with antibodies and biomolecules such as DNA. They also have capabilities to synthesize and manipulate appealing molecules such as fullerenes, Carbon Nanotubes and Nanoparticles.

Nanoscale, a dimension of fascinating properties

At the Nanoscale, materials exhibit unusual and attractive properties: lower resistance to electricity, lower melting points, and faster chemical reactions. Besides, their extremely small feature size allows direct interaction with enzymes, proteins, DNA and other biomolecules, opening great possibilities for drug delivery, gene therapy, and medical diagnostics.

What is Nano? Educational Links:

Nanoyou: (Nano for Youth) is a project funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme that aims to increase young people’s basic understanding of nanotechnologies (NT) and to engage in the dialogue about its ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA).

The Nanotechnology Homepage of the European Commission: It provides an overview of nanotechnology related activities at the European Commission, highlighting those elements specifically relevant to nanotechnology in Europe such as the European strategy and the Action Plan, projects and funding opportunities in the Framework Programmes and related publications and events. Its list of publications, videos and brochures are highly recommendable. Some materials are available in different languages.

NNIN educational Portal: NNIN is funded by a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation as a national resource for nanoscience instrumentation. Its website includes vast information about this emerging discipline. It includes material for students and teachers.

http://www.nanoed.org/: The NanoEd Resource Portal from Northwestern University that acts as a dynamic repository for information dissemination, research and collaborations.The goal of NanoEd Resource Portal is to build up a comprehensive network and resource portal to serve the greater NSEE community around the globe. Its repository of Nanolessons for instructors incorporate new cutting-edge nanoscience concepts very useful for their curricula.

What is Nano? Application Links

ObservatoryNANO: funded under FP7, it aims “to create a European Observatory on Nanotechnologies to present reliable, complete and responsible science-based and economic expert analysis, across different technology sectors, establish dialogue with decision makers and others regarding the benefits and opportunities, balanced against barriers and risks, and allow them to take action to ensure that scientific and technological developments are realized as socio-economic benefits.” Its General Sector Reports serve as referential documents for business and research key players.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. This portal started 2005 and it is dedicated to helping ensure that as nanotechnologies advance, possible risks are minimized, public and consumer engagement remains strong, and the potential benefits of these new technologies are realized. It contains high quality reports and roadmaps. Its product and business directory is also very attractive.

Nanotechnology Now: created to serve the information needs of business, government, academic, and public communities, this website is one of the most informative and current free collection of "nano" reference material, covering related future sciences, issues, news, events, and general information. Special attention should be paid to its company directory with business around Nanotechnology.

Nanowerk: this portal contains lots of news and articles about Nanotechnology. Authors claim to run on average, between 70-100 news articles every week. Taking into account such huge amount of information, Nanowerk news section is separated into Business News and Research & General News.

Azonano: Totally focussed on the needs of the end users of Nanotechnology, AZoNano offers all its educational, informative and news content through an easy to access and search format and it is provided on a free of charge, no subscription, no charge per article, totally free basis.Some of these materials are presented through videos and podcasts