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Using nanotechnology, matter is manipulated on atomic, molecular and supermolecular scale. The finished products possess extra-ordinary properties arising from these changes /"at the bottom"/ (scale of 0.1 to 100 nm).

The earliest ideas are found in a lecture given by Richard P. Feynman's lecture titled 'There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom' (1959) in which he explored the possibilities of manipulating matter at atomic and molecular level, something beyond synthetic chemistry of the times.

The term nanotechnology was coined by Norio Taniguchi in 1974 to describe control he was able to achieve in semiconductors. Nanotechnology as we know it largely is a thing of 1990s.

Some commonly used materials in nanotechnology are:

  1. carbon nanotubes
  2. silver nanoparticles (nano silver)
  3. titanium dioxide

1 Applications

  1. Everyday uses
    • Nanotubes in inkjet printers
    • Nanofibres to make clothes stain-repellent and wrinkle-free
    • Cosmetic creams contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which prevent them from living a whitish tinge on the skin
    • nano-scale thin films on eyeglasses, computer screens and other surfaces make them water-repellent and self-cleaning
    • nano-sensors built into plastic packaging to detect salmonella, pesticides and other contaminants on food before packaging
  2. Avionics and aircraft industry
    • nanofibres in aircraft wings to make them lighter
  3. Electronics & IT
    • nanoscale transistors using graphene in place of silicon, which are smaller, faster and increasingly energy-efficient
    • nanopolymer films that offer brighter images and low power consumption

2 Carbon Nanotubes

A carbon nanotube is an allotropes of carbon in which the moleucle is in a cylindrical nanostructure.


These cylindrical molecules have intrinsic mechanical and transport properties making them valuable for nanotechnology, electronics, optics as well as other fields of material science.

They have a unique combination of stiffness, strength and tenacity compared to other fibre materials. They exhibit high thermal and electrical conductivity.

2.1 Applications

  1. Conductive plastic
  2. Flat panel displays
  3. Biosensors because of active surface area and ability to absorb gases
  4. Solar photovoltaic cells
  5. Transistors due to efficient energy dissipiation
  6. Radar absorbing coating
  7. Anti-fouling paint
  8. Batteries with improved life

2.1.1 Environmental Uses

  1. to develop sensors to detect chemical and vapour such as CO
  2. environmental remediation by filtering out impurities in the air

2.1.2 Medical Uses

  1. to develop drug delivery systems for body such as stem cell implantation into specific organs of the body
  2. nanomedicines developed by Dabur Pharma,
  3. nanotube injections into fractures to hasten recuperation.
  4. gold nanoparticles tagged with short segments of DNA are used to detect genetic sequence.
  5. smart drugs – faster, less side-effects
  6. to prevent cancer from spreading by using sticky nanoparticles attached to trail proteins which kill cancer cells
  7. Nanoxel – anti-cancer drug delivery system by Dabur

2.1.3 Agriculture

  • nanofertilizer for delivering nutrients to crops in nanoquantities to save on costs and ensure better yields.

2.1.4 Hydrology

  • nanosilver particles are used to coat filter paper and other water clearing agents to purify water by killing disease causing bacteria like salmonella, shigella.
  • nanotechnology based biosensors for analysis of water contaminants such as microbes, fluorides, arsenic, etc.
  • puritech - a nanosilver candle filter technology for drinking water disinfection

3 Nanotechnology in India

  • NSTI – Nano Science & Technology Initiative launched in 2001 by Department of Science & Technology.

3.1 National Mission on Nano Science & Technology (Nano Mission) - Phase 1

  • Five year mission launched in 2007 to promote and develop all aspects of nanotechnology for the benefit of the whole country.
  • an umbrella capacity-building programme, aims to extend Rs. 1000 crore in funding support to projects.
  • Useful products of phase 1
    • hydrogel based eyedrops
    • pesticide removal technology for drinking water
    • water filters for arsenic, fluoride removal
    • nanosilver based antimicrobial textile coating

3.2 Nano Mission Phase 2

  • Rs. 650 crore
  • under 12th FYP – "faster, sustainable, inclusive growth"
  • theme: to promote application oriented R&D
  • will be steered by Nanomission Council headed by an eminent scientist
  • aims to make India a global knowledge hub in nanotechnology by setting up dedicated institutes of nanoscience and technology
  • by launching post-graduation programmes (MSc, MTech in 16 universities across the country)

3.3 Problem areas

  1. high costs, low allocation
  2. lack of infrastructure
  3. absence of skills, experts, workforce
  4. lack of standardisation
  5. lack of knowledge and significant brain drain
  6. need for effective regulation body dealing with deployment of nanotechnology, handling and movement of nanoproducts
  7. mindset must change

3.4 Ethical concerns and challenges

  1. weapons of nanogeneration will be deadlier than anything humankind has ever witnessed before
  2. nano-divide – the technical barrier, concentration of knowledge in few hands
  3. Nanopollution risk
  4. Need to learn about materials and their properties at nanoscale
  5. Concern regarding toxicity, interference with biological processes inside body

4 Global Scenario

  • China is a leader in nanotech research
  • 90% of nanotech-based patents and products originate in 7 counties
    1. China
    2. Japan
    3. US
    4. Germany
    5. France
    6. Switzerland
    7. South Korea

Author: likeaflower

Created: 2018-05-07 Mon 01:37

Emacs 24.5.1 (Org mode 8.2.10)