02 Sep Nanotechnology – Nature’s Lego Blocks!
Nanotechnology refers to the development and use of devices that are one-billionth of a meter in size. Nanotechnology is growing in importance as a science, and the term now describes many types of research where the characteristic dimensions are less than 1,000 nanometers of the substances involved in the research projects. This radical technology is a catalyst in the creation of exciting and innovative new products and materials in ways never before thought possible.
This is revolutionary! Nanotechnology will impact life events. Our approach to medicine and healing will shift radically once these new techniques become mainstream. Manufacturing will shift radically. The applications of these new and highly complex technologies are estimated to have an impact in excess of one trillion dollars on industry.
The possibility of building things atom by atom has been around for over forty years, and was first introduced by Richard Feynmand in 1959, when he said: “The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom.”
Nanotechnology will let us fabricate and test an entire new generation of products that are stronger, lighter, and cleaner to manufacture. There are still immense challenges ahead that need to be addressed and solutions implemented before all of this becomes a practical reality.
Scientists are devising tools and techniques needed to transform nanotechnology from just computer models into real products that can be manufactured on a very large scale.
Current manufacturing techniques are considered to be elementary at the molecular level. They include casting, grinding, and milling. In the world of lithography where huge numbers of atoms are constantly moving, there are tremendous limits. Nanotechnology changes all of that by allowing companies to snap together the fundamental building blocks of nature easily like Lego® blocks.
Manufacturing processes of nanotechnology require exact positional assembly in order to get the right molecular parts in the right places. Once this is solved, we must develop self-replication techniques to reduce the manufacturing costs to make it economically feasible. Self-replicating manufacturing systems have been discussed for over 60 years, and Dr. John von Neumann published papers about it in the early 1940’s.
Although nanotechnology is perhaps a couple of decades away from becoming a practical form of manufacturing on a massive scale, the exciting new frontier promises to rewrite history and allow mankind to take another quantum leap forward.
William Dollar is a Senior Contributing Editor for the Wisconsin Technology Network, and has his own consulting company at www.billdollar.com. You can also contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions offered by columnists on the Wisconsin Technology Network represent the writers personal perspective and not the editorial perspective of the Wisconsin Technology Network. The Wisconsin Technology Network is open to opinions and discussions, and debates from all parties that wish to contact us at email@example.com.