For decades, nanotechnology has held its head up high as the next big thing to watch out for. First introduced in 1959, nanotechnology has increasingly gained ground, with various applications across different areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, electronics, and medicine.
Currently, experts and innovative companies such as KNF seek to know how nanotechnology will spread its roots. This article details some of the most recent innovations in nanotechnology worth knowing.
What Is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is a field of research and innovations that focuses on building materials and devices using atoms and molecules. It involves the application of advanced scientific principles to create new, stronger, and more effective substances.
There’s a wide range of nanotechnology applications in different industries. Nanotechnology is hailed as having the potential to increase energy consumption efficiency, solve challenging health problems, and improve environmental conditions.
According to experts, the impact of nanotechnology on the health and lives of people will be equivalent to the combined influences of microelectronics and computer-aided engineering. With nanotechnology’s immense potential, private and public sectors believe it’ll lead to a new era of increased efficiency, productivity, and wealth.
Notable Innovations In Nanotechnology
Given the promise of nanotechnology, it’s essential to keep tabs on its most recent innovations. Here are some of the current innovations to take note of.
1. Cancer Treatment And Medications
Over the years, cancer has been treated through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. These techniques have helped save millions across the globe from cancer-related deaths. Nonetheless, these techniques have limitations, especially in their ability to precisely target individual cells. Most times, they damage healthy tissues while eradicating cancerous ones. Sometimes, they miss the cancerous cells, failing to provide the necessary treatment.
Researchers have found nanotech beneficial for the early detection and diagnosis of cancer. Nanodevices have been created to help capture proteins associated with cancer, alongside circulating tumour DNA and tumour cells. More efficient early detection increases the chances of successful cancer treatment.
2. Agricultural Production And Food Processing
As global food demand increases due to an ever-growing human population, agriculture will need to scale up to provide adequate, healthy, and safe food supplies. Nanocapsules, nanosensors, and nanopackaging materials are notable agricultural-based innovations that significantly improve food production.
Nanocapsules enable enhanced delivery of fertilizers and pesticides, while nanosensors make it easier for plant and animal pathogens to be detected, thus enabling timely control of disease-causing organisms.
Packaging materials made from nanoparticles help resist heat, block contaminants, and prevent light-related spoilage. With these measures, food can be safely produced and preserved well.
Recent nanotech efforts have led to several new methods of applying nanocoating films. A version of this technique allows flexible, multi-layered nano-films to be built and then transferred using solid adhesive layers. Some other versions allow nanocoating to be applied to surfaces through spraying.
These techniques enable greater flexibility, easy removal, and reapplication of coatings. To improve their functionality, they can be used on objects such as hydrophobic glasses and hydrophilic medical devices. They can also help add new surface properties to products without altering their base materials.
4. Transparent Conductive Thin Films
Transparent conductive films are used in many electronic devices for touchscreens and displays. They’re also used in photovoltaics and several other high-performance coatings. Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is commonly used as the conductive material in these films. Due to its brittle nature and rare and expensive source materials, ITO is often costly.
Hence, there’s a need for cheaper and more flexible alternatives as the demand for wearable electronic and bendable thin films keeps rising. As part of its latest innovation, nanotech scientists have developed flexible silver nanoparticles and nanowires that cost less and perform better than ITO.
5. Fireproof Nanomaterial
Using flammable materials such as polystyrene for building insulation may increase the risk of a household fire. If a fire breaks out, the addition of flame-retardant additives forms toxic byproducts that can harm both humans and the environment.
To solve this challenge, nanotech has produced a form of fire-retardant aerogel that’s ultralight and has high strength. The material’s structure limits the oxygen index and improves fire resistance. The aerogel also comprises a nano barrier that prevents the release of toxic substances while suppressing external heat and oxygen passage.
6. Water Purification Solutions
Lack of access to clean, safe water causes significant health risks. Scientists and engineers have turned to nanotechnology to help resolve water purification issues.
The nanotechnology approach to water purification is nanofiltration using carbon nanotubes and alumina fibres. It also uses zeolite filtration membranes alongside nanocatalysts and magnetic nanoparticles for purification. Furthermore, it employs nanosensors to detect contaminants in the water supply. This innovative method helps produce cleaner and safer water.
Notable innovations in nanotechnology give rise to significant advancements across a range of industries. They also point towards the direction of the sector in decades to come. More so, the field is expected to make excellent strides in the near and long-term future, increasing its potential to deliver greater solutions.