Nanotechnology is the one of ultimate miniaturisation mankind can achieve. Driving its origin from greek word nano meaning dwraf, it deals with technologies and materials in 0.1 to 100nm scale. A Nanometre is one billionth of a meter (m)-equivalent to the width of six bonded carbon items. Though nanotechnology applies to everything from medicine to industrial materials to agriculture, it offers special attractive opportunities for the electronics industry. The best and incomparable aspect of nanotechnology is that it allows re-structuring of atoms and molecules for construction of smaller, faster, efficient and safer products for home, communications, medicine, transportation, agriculture and industry. In other words, Nanotechnology is a hybrid science that combines engineering and chemistry.
Nanoelectronics or molecular electronics uses molecular assembly of organic compounds. To get a deeper understanding of the subject, Research is going on, ranging from quantum computing to using DNA as a structural material, focussing on electronic properties of biological systems. For example researchers at the University of Nebraska, USA, have shown that bacteria coated with gold nanoparticles can function as a humidity sensor.
DNA: Ideal for molecular electronics
DNA is a molecular electronic unit produced by nature. It stores, processes and provides information for growth and maintenance of living beings. But, for all this process to take place properly it is very important for all genes to respond at right time. Therefore, by controlling DNA, certain genes could be activated and deactivated at required time. This turning on and turning off action can be implemented by using DNA-based switches.
Carbon nanotubes (CNs), elongated permutation of 60-atom molecules, are key nano components of electronics. A CN behaves as a conductor, semiconductor or insulator depending on the way individual atoms are oriented relative to its axis, and can help built microscopic resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes or transistors. Concentric nanotubes can store charges because of capacitance among layers, facilitating development of high-density memory chips.
Tiny patient monitor
Researchers at Nanomix have shrunk the operating room machine into a small, disposable patient monitor that can be carried to a disaster site. The transistor developed by the team combines carbon nanotubes, polymers and silicon into a capnography sensor-a human breathing monitor. CN transistor attached with carbon dioxide-detecting polymers can determine carbon dioxide concentration in ambient and exhaled air.
Nanotechnology to create environmental friendly atmosphere
Nanotechnology can be used to create a clean environment by clearing problem causing elements. For instance, airborne nanorobots could be designed to rebuild the thinning ozone layer. Contaminants could be automatically removed from water sources, and oil spills could be cleaned up instantly. Hence, Resources could simply be constructed by nanomachines.
Nanotechnologists predict that they will soon be able to built tiny, artificial cells, which could be injected into the body to repair damaged cells. These microscopic machines and microbots could be used for curing dreadful diseases like cancer and life-threatening hereditary disease, which is killing millions of people all over the world everyday.