What is nanotechnology and where is it taking us?

In this technological age does nanotechnology hold the answer to increasing the capabilities of the electronics we have grown so attatched to?

Nanotechnology takes place on a tiny scale that is larger than the level of atoms and molecules, but within the range of 1-100 nanometres (one nanometre is equivalent to one-billionth of a metre!). Nanotechnology has become a hot topic in science and engineering and has given life to new technologies that span over an array of disciplines.  Recent developments into nanotech have led to scientific discoveries that have formed the foundations for a plethora of new age technologies that will inevitably change the way we live our lives.

Concepts based on the increased use of technology in society have contributed to the coining of the term “smart cities”, in which large cities will feature and make use of the newest available technology to form a connected infrastructure of services and information. The materials to carry out such an operation on a large scale are not yet widely available, but  nanotechnology seems the be the front runner in delivering new and exciting prospects including smart solar panels and intelligent roads that will include glow in the dark lines and interactive light.

Information technology is an industry that has been highly affected by nanotechnology and is currently reaping the benefits in the development of faster, smaller, and more portable systems that can manage and store huge amounts of information. Nanoscale transistors that are faster, more powerful, and increasingly energy-efficient will, in the not too distant future, be able to store your computer’s entire memory on a single tiny chip.

The most recent nanomaterial to come to light is Graphene, a recently discovered form of carbon. Graphene is just one atom thick but 200 times stronger than steel; is extremely conductive yet transparent and flexible. The nanomaterial has potential to become the new material for transistors and looks to be one of the key components of  a new breed of super computers that will support extremely powerful  processors.

In this modern age of technology and free flowing information, nanotechnology, which reduces the size, weight and power consumption of our beloved electronics, is a feasible evolutionary step towards a technologically advanced existence that not long ago would have been associated with a science fiction fantasy novel. Future applications are seemingly only limited by the creativity of researchers who will look to change the landscape of modern science with new applications of nanotechnology.

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