Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nano-Technology

We know Tata's Nano car.  Have you come across a new technology called Nano-Technology.  
The following two news items are the most read news of the day.
1. Nano-Technology could let us go months without having to charge up our mobiles
2. An X-ray treatment that could save the sight of thousands is being trialed on the NHS. The 15-minute procedure has been shown to halt wet age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common forms of blindness in the elderly. Around 250,000 suffer from this debilitating condition which, if not treated, can cause loss of sight in just three months.
Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, 'nanotechnology' refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

When Eric Drexler popularized the word 'nanotechnology' in the 1980's, he was talking about building machines on the scale of molecules, a few nonometers wide—motors, robot arms, and even whole computers, far smaller than a cell. Drexler spent the next ten years describing and analyzing these incredible devices, and responding to accusations of science fiction. Meanwhile, mundane technology was developing the ability to build simple structures on a molecular scale. As nanotechnology became an accepted concept, the meaning of the word shifted to encompass the simpler kinds of nanometer-scale technology. The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative was created to fund this kind of nanotech: their definition includes anything smaller than 100 nanometers with novel properties.
Much of the work being done today that carries the name 'nanotechnology' is not nanotechnology in the original meaning of the word. Nanotechnology, in its traditional sense, means building things from the bottom up, with atomic precision. This theoretical capability was envisioned as early as 1959 by the renowned physicist Richard Feynman.
I want to build a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously. . . The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom. It is not an attempt to violate any laws; it is something, in principle, that can be done; but in practice, it has not been done because we are too big.  Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner in physics
What Could Nanofactories Produce?
  1. Life Saving Medical Robots or Untraceable weapons of mass destruction.
  2. Networked computers for everyone in the world or networked cameras enabling governments to watch people’s move
  3. Trillions of dollars of abundance or a vicious scramble to own everything.
  4. Rapid invention of wondrous products or weapons development fast enough to destabilize any arms race.